The month of October is always an exciting buildup to that highly anticipated day... The day where ghouls and ghosts come out from their hiding places and roam around for a frightful night of fun. We’re talking about ourselves here, of course.
Throughout the month, we all go out of our way to celebrate Halloween: dressing up in Halloween-themed outfits, watching scary movies, even decorating our homes like it was Christmas. But when everything is all said and done, and that hallowed day comes, what exactly do you do on Halloween? This is less of a physiological question and more of a general one. What is there to do on Halloween? How should you celebrate it?
Luckily for you, we’ve got you covered. Ghost City has piled together some of the best and most classic Halloween activities that will assuredly get you in that Hallow’s Eve spirit.
There’s this social stigma that trick-or-treating is just for kids. And, while it’s true that it’s a child-heavy affair, there’s no reason that adults can’t enjoy themselves, too. Nevertheless, there are guidelines to follow - especially if you don’t want to look creepy or have the police called.
You should always have children with you when going out, preferably either yours or your friends. That’s VERY preferable, even. Don’t forget to dress up in a costume, too. (It’s Halloween! Everyone should be in costumes.) You should also let the kids take the candy first - almost like an offering to allow you and your friends to swipe some too.
While you’re at it, you should get the entire neighborhood in on this adult trick-or-treating. That way, everyone can have fun and no one is slightly creeped out by a fully-grown man dressed as Mario standing outside their front door.
The early facets of modern Halloween and trick-or-treating can be found as early as pre-Christian Celtic societies.
October 31st was their new year. To celebrate, they would dress in costumes and leave offerings outside their doors. Since they believed that spirits were able to walk the earth on that day, costumes were worn to ward of any evil spirits. As Christianity spread and November 2nd became All Souls Day, poorer families would go door-to-door and ask for food and money in exchange for a prayer for the homeowners’ deceased family members.
Scotland and Ireland had a tradition where children would dress in costumes and mask for bits of food and coin. In exchange, they would perform a song or a dance - a “trick” as it were. It wasn’t until immigrants brought these European traditions to America that the modern Halloween was able to take shape and become what it is today.
Let’s be honest: what we really want to do on Halloween is get scared.
Haunted houses provide some of the best heart-stopping fun imaginable. You’ve got costumed creeps popping out at unexpected moments, a terrifying environment, you and your friends clenching your teeth while you await your next scare... From mad doctors in insane asylums to crazy clowns in theme parks and everything in between, haunted houses manage to find endless creativity in their presentation.
If you’re going to a local community haunted house, or an insanely budgeted scare-a-torium, haunted houses are the sure-fire way to spend Halloween. Get your scare on!
The origin of the haunted house is an interesting one, filled with as much terror as an actual haunted house.
1802 saw the opening of Marie Tussaud’s Wax Museum, a name that still has reverence today. Her museum exhibited realistic wax figures of famous French figures, using death masks that she created herself to make them more realistic. As you can see, the 19th century saw an explosion of weird and macabre attractions that were created to frighten and intrigue patrons.
The actual invention and widespread craze of haunted houses can be found during the Great Depression, though. Halloween was already taking quite a hold on America at the time, but what was becoming truly infamous was the “trick” aspect of trick-or-treating. Many young boys took the opportunity to cause mayhem and vandalism on the 31st.
Halloween in 1933 saw the worst of it. Across the country were sawed-off telephone poles and turned-over cars. It was so bad that the United States considered banning the holiday altogether. If it wasn’t for the community, there might not have been more Halloweens. They would organize large trick-or-treatings and Halloween parties. They even started to make haunted houses in basements to scare kids - but mainly to keep them off the streets.
In a weird way, Halloween itself created the haunted house, but haunted houses helped solidify Halloween to what it is today
Like with haunted houses, we like to be scared. That’s why we watch horror movies. We love to see monsters and ghosts pop out on our screens, or a killer chasing a helpless victim. It’s a fun way to spend a spooky Halloween night. While there are hundreds of horror movies to pick from, we at Ghost City have a few recommendations that will really bring out the Halloween spirit on Halloween.
Of course, you can’t go wrong with John Carpenter’s Halloween. It’s probably the definitive film to watch on Halloween. The holiday is in the title, and the film is set on Halloween. Seeing that white face and silent Micheal Myers will assuredly have you checking to see if the doors are locked.
Was that doorbell just some kids looking for candy or was it the Boogey Man himself?
Perhaps not as scary today as they were almost 90 years ago, the Universal Monster films are classics in their own right. They’ll certainly provide some gothic horror to your Halloween experience. Films like Dracula, Frankenstein, and The Wolfman are icons of horror. People to this day still dress up as the titular characters on Halloween. Don’t let the black and white scare you away - these are films that you don’t want to miss out on All Hallow’s Eve.
Let’s be honest, this is probably what most of us will be doing on Halloween. Halloween is the perfect time to gather your friends and host a spooky party, filled with costumes, spooky food themes, and a stream of black and orange decorations.
But that’s just the party happening inside.
Outside, you have a roaring bonfire, flicking light across the grass and fallen leaves. Surrounding the fire, you have yourself and your friends, huddled by the warmth, roasting marshmallows, and telling ghost stories. Maybe someone hiding in the brush to give unexpecting listeners a good scare at the right time.
For many of us, this is what Halloween is all about. Spending time with your friends by the fire, trying to scare one another with corny ghost stories. It’s been like this since the ancient Celts, lighting fires and huddling by them in costumes.
In colonial times, they would celebrate the harvest by hosting community parties with food. Afterward, they’d do what we do every year, what our Celtic ancestors did every year, what we do on Halloween.
Sitting by the fire. Telling ghost stories.