Tricks, Treats, and Tips for Halloween
Halloween is a week away and there’s so much to do between now and the 31st. Being a part of the scaremaker family, I’ve been trying to think of some fun crafts and ideas to share with my son this season as well as party plans. Whether you’re hitting the streets to Trick-or-Treat, throwing down with a Halloween party, or just staying in for a quiet, spooky night there are plenty of things you can do to make All Hallow’s Eve a little more fun.
Music is important and YouTube has a great selection of music and music videos that can provide a cool soundtrack and visual experience if you’re having a party or just lounging around. There are plenty of mainstream hits, seasonal classics, and some obscure or less well known tracks that you can mix together to create a perfect playlist. Or, you can just look up Halloween Music in the search and come up with a few dozen options that other YouTubers have put together. Here’s a pretty good list that I put together on my channel that you can play for free whether you’re partying or not. Danno’s Halloween Mix
The older I get, the less inclined I am to venture out into the night. It’s cold and crowded and I’d much rather crash on the couch and watch scary movies. This is often the cheapest, most enticing option for those of us on a budget and all the introverts who want a little peace and quiet on Halloween night. Put a bowl of candy out on the porch, turn down the lights, and consider binging a couple of these great Halloween themed horror flicks instead of dealing with all the hustle and bustle of the holiday. Here’s some double feature suggestions to get you through the night.
Tales of Halloween/Trick ‘r’ Treat - A duo of Halloween themed horror anthologies, each tells a series of unique stories interconnected and with an overarching theme. You’ll laugh. You’ll think. But mostly you’ll find yourself a little creeped out.
WNUF Halloween Special/Ghostwatch - Both films are shot in the great tradition of late 80’s Halloween specials. A bit of nostalgia with the “live” shows about ghosts and the paranormal that you’ll find fun and frightening.
Halloween/Halloween III - Either of these classic John Carpenter flicks will do. If you’re looking for the creepy, murderous slasher vibe, go with the original. For a sci-fi horror thriller about masks and murder, go with number three.
It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown/Hocus Pocus - Here’s a family friendly Halloween double. Peanuts and witches with lots of good natured spooks and holiday feels. These are both beloved classics and are safe and entertaining for any audience.
The Simpsons Treehouse of Horror Collection - Amazon has three volumes of The Simpsons Halloween Specials -best known as the Treehouse of Horror- for those who want to binge these classic cartoon anthologies. You can pick and choose from the first twenty years of the holiday themed horrors for lots of creepy laughs.
Arts and Crafts
Still looking for something to do other than vegetate? No worries, we’ve got you covered. Here are a couple of quick, simple craft ideas for all of you Halloween fans out there. From decor to costumes, here are a few things you can do to pass the time and even make some cool treats to give out to the kids who come to your door.
I have a dead body wrapped up and flung out on my front porch amongst my Halloween decorations. Wrapped in duct tape and garbage bags, this life size corpse is easy enough to make and can be done in less than twenty minutes if you’re looking for that great, gruesome prop for your party or your porch. Depending on what you’ve got handy, you can create a body in minutes. Using plastic recyclables such as empty milk jugs, 2 liter soda bottles, and boxes you want to lay out all the items in a “t” shape. With a large, roundish object at the top for the head, build each section and then wrap it up inside the garbage bag with a bit of duct tape. Before long you’ll have a prop that looks good on film and even better in person. With some yellow caution tape and fake blood, you’ll have a perfect crime scene in no time.
Bodies a little more intense than you feel like doing? How about some ghosts instead. This one you can do with the kiddies if you like. All you need is a marker, some paper napkins or paper towels and twine. Crumple up a couple of napkins in a ball and wrap them up inside a fully opened napkin. Pull the napkin together and twist once to secure the balled up paper inside then secure with twine. Draw a spooky face on the outside and you’ve got yourself a ghost.
You can get Halloween themed silicone baking molds at almost any shop right now. Many will run you about $5 to $10 and can bake about eight treats in the shape of Jack-O-Lanterns, bats, skulls, or ghosts. But we’re not cooking up food in them. Parents, you’ve most likely got a box full of old, broken crayons lying around somewhere. Cut the paper off the crayons, break them into small bits, and put them in the individual cups of the mold. Bake in the oven at about 350 until liquid then pull them out and let them cool. Once cooled, pop out the shapes and you’ll have some cool Halloween crayons to hand out to the kids along with the candy.
Don’t want to make crayons? That’s okay. Scented wax and soaps can be made the same way so you can Martha Stewart up your home with melts and unique items.
So you’ve decided you’re going to go out to that Halloween party after all. Good for you! But you’re out of time or cash to get a costume and don’t know what to do. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! As a true fan of 52 Weeks of Horror you’re ready to commit to our motto of making that scary and there’s nothing scarier than the Scary Jeff emoji. Taking a tip from old school cereal boxes, you can print out your very own Scary Jeff mask to wear to your party or event this Halloween.
Using a decent weight paper or card stock, print the picture and cut along the dotted lined. Cut holes for the eyes and for a string to attach to your face. Or, if you prefer, use a popsicle stick or wood dowel and create a masquerade style mask you can hold in front of your face.
Halloween is only a week away. I'll be doing a little bit of everything on this list and a whole lot more. If you know something cool that we can add to this article to make the season a little spookier, be sure to share it in the comments.
Dan is an author, editorialist, podcaster, and horror culture & lifestyle correspondent from the Southeast. You can find Dan's stories at Danno of the Dead Blog and through PDI Press.