This may shock you, but Halloween is not actually my favorite holiday. I am a huge fan of Christmas, but not because of the presents. I like how quiet the world gets around Christmas, how everything slows down until it’s just my family sprawled across the couch, not doing anything, not even really talking all that much, just together and soft and quiet. If Halloween had the same effect, if people drew inward instead of exploding outward, it would definitely be my favorite, but alas, Halloween has long been about partying, overeating on candy, and making a ruckus. It’s never quite been that for me, and so, here are my favorite things to do on Halloween.
I am downright terrified of haunted houses, and I don’t know why I think it’s a good idea to go in them, but I’ll never forget the time that we visited a series of them during college. There were four houses installed across a field, and the worst of them had an outdoor portion where people were camouflaged in leaves well enough that no one saw them until they were bursting up from the ground. I kept holding onto the person in front of me and ducking my head into their shoulder, but it was so fun to be just consistently scared for, like, three straight hours? I don’t know why it’s fun, but it just is!
visit memorial in Danvers
It baffles me every year that all of these Instagram aesthetic witches post about being in Salem on Halloween, posing in front of the Witch Museum in all black and pretending to be spooky in front of the statue of John Proctor, and yet? The memorial in Danvers is literally always empty on Halloween. Y’all. The witch trials didn’t happen in Salem! Back then, the city was just a larger portion of Danvers, and when the city lines were split, everything remained in Danvers. The memorial has all of the names of the people who were murdered during the trials, and I have never experienced more magic than I have on Halloween in Danvers.
Another of my favorite places in Danvers is the swamp walk along a portion of the rail trail. The rail trail winds down from Vermont, I believe, and into Florida, and it’s an insane amount of miles, but a large stretch of it passes through the North Shore, and there’s about a mile of it that drifts off into the woods and loops through part of the swamp. Years ago, a boy scout built wooden walkways through the swamp as part of a project, and it connects the swamp to the forest in a way that is beyond anything I can possibly describe with words. I’ve gone there every Halloween for the last few years, and it’s just incredible.
dance around fire
It’s been a while since I last even sat around a fire because it’s usually late when one gets going, and I’m always tired, but I love to be around fire during Halloween. Well, at all times, really, I’m a raging Aries, but there’s something wild about just getting lost in the flames and letting them draw you closer and closer until you’re dancing, too.
watch scary movies
I mean, duh. What’s Halloween without scary movies? I know that I’m not doing any Halloween-specific posts this month, so here are some old ones about my favorite scary movies:
- The Tim Burton Theory!
- Discussion on why we love found film horror
- a review of one of my all-time favorite horror films, As Above, So Below
- a list of my favorite found film horrors
Back in college, we put on a scary movie film festival for October every year, and we’d all cram into one room and each pick a different movie that would scare us senseless for the entire month. It was so much fun, and I miss just overdoing it on horror movies for four straight weeks.
watch Nightmare Before Christmas
I recently discovered that one of my coworkers didn’t eve know what The Nightmare Before Christmas was, and I am shook. I knew that I worked with mostly people younger than me, but y’all, what? How do you not know Nightmare? It is literally one of the most pivotal classics ever! He also asked me if it was a seasonal movie, and pffffffft, no, watch it whenever you want, but also definitely watch it for Halloween and Christmas. This movie is amazing, and you can bet your asses that I’ve watched it every single Halloween of my entire life.
I am so relieved by the fact that I have a new place to teach yoga, particularly as we come up on Halloween, because I had to scrounge together some friends for Halloween yoga last year, and it made me so sad. For five years, I taught a spooky, silly class on Halloween at Barefoot, and it broke my heart that I couldn’t last year. Halloween is on a Sunday this year, and not only will we be doing spooky classes in the week leading up, we’re definitely getting weird on the day of, too.
sigh about House of Furies
I think this is just an in general statement about my life because if I’m not currently sighing about Madeleine Roux’s incredible horror trilogy, House of Furies, then something is well and truly wrong. I wrote a review last year about them, and I’m never not going to be weeping just a little bit over Mr. Morningside, not gonna lie.
read/watch something Joe Hill related
I’ve also reviewed every Joe Hill book ever! This does not include Locke & Key because I reviewed those through my wrap-ups and then talked about them during my adaptation review, but Hill is one of my auto-buy authors, and I’ve had so much fun this month catching up on all the things I haven’t watched for him. I had the AMC adaptation of NOS4A2 and his short story with his father, In the Tall Grass, outstanding, and it’s been really nice to work my way through them since I have nothing left to read by him. I’m not a huge King fan, but there’s something about the way that Hill tells a story that’s always going to draw me in.
not dress up
I know this is lame, but I am a lame person, and I like to go to bed early, trick or treating is exhausting, and I’d rather hang out with a couple friends and watch spooky movies rather than do literally anything else on Halloween. I’ve never actually gone to Salem for the holiday, and I never plan on it, and dressing up is just not my vibe. I’d rather be in my cozy skeleton onesie, hiding behind a pillow over Blair Witch Project, and eating M&Ms and popcorn by the handful.