Pumpkin patch photos are flooding instagram, decorations are in every window and you have to go to the supermarket blindfolded to avoid impulse buying 20 tubs of Haribo – yes, Halloween is just around the corner!
Kids and adults alike are carefully planning costumes and doing bicep curls to ensure they’re in tip top condition for carrying the industrial-sized bucket of treats they’re hoping to collect whilst trick or treating. But if you don’t feel like getting all dressed up as a sexy zombie cheerleader and knocking on strangers’ doors, check out my ideas for an awesomely alternative Halloween.
Capitalising on the nations apparent love for the spooky, macabre and downright gruesome, most major cities now offer guided ghost tours.
Let a fully costumed member of the local am dram society escort you to your city’s most haunted locations and regale you with its secret history and stories of the terrible acts committed by its deranged previous residents.
I’ve done ghost walks in Nottingham and Edinburgh and they were both brilliantly creepy fun. Just make sure you book onto a reputable tour and don’t end up down a back alley with the local oddball…
If you want to get into the party spirit but don’t fancy going out, try getting sentimental and reliving your childhood by holding a retro Halloween party.
For the food, think bowls of strawberry jelly with gummy worms inside; sausage fingers with an almond fingernail and ‘blood’ (ketchup) dip, and marshmallow ghosts – the kitscher the better.
Then you’ll need games. Try Wrap the Mummy (a classic that only requires a couple of rolls of cheap toilet paper) or my personal favourite – Halloween mystery boxes. Fill blacked out boxes with the grossest-feeling contents of your cupboards and fridge (peeled grapes for eyeballs, cooked cauliflower for brains or a tin of spaghetti for bloody guts) and invite your guests to feel inside – if they dare…
Black bin bag costume and plastic Dracula teeth are essential.
Scary Movie Fest
Looking for some scares without having to leave the comfort of your onesie? Then movie night is a must.
You could pick a theme, like ‘Slashers’ (Scream, A Nightmare on Elm Street or Halloween) or ‘Classic Horror’ (Psycho, Night of the Living Dead or Rosemary’s Baby) or just dive into Netflix and do a lucky dip. Or if you, or any of your movie night buddies, have a sensitive stomach, you could always keep it light with Hocus Pocus or Casper. I wish I’d chosen this route instead of forcing my housemate to watch The Grudge one rainy movie night… Let’s just say that the sight of her bringing her red wine and chow mein back up afterwards meant we stuck to Bridget Jones’s Diary the next time.
Murder Mystery Party
You could look for an organised event, but they tend to be quite expensive. Instead, you can buy a murder mystery board game box fairly cheaply, that contains everything you need to host your own. There are a variety of different stories available and they come with scripts, character notes, costume suggestions and sometimes even a CD or DVD with scenes to listen to or watch at key parts of the story.
I hosted a French themed murder mystery party myself: I printed off vintage posters and French flags to make bunting, friends made an amazing French-inspired dinner and there were berets and boas aplenty. The only problem was that we all got a little too committed to the decadent Moulin Rouge mindset and to this day, nobody knows who the murderer was…
Fancy something a bit more creative and wholesome? Why not get stuck into some Halloween crafts.
If you’re comfortable in the kitchen, there are so many fun baking ideas to experiment with from eyeball cake pops to monster muffins. If you’re more into interior design, pumpkin vases are proving popular this year – all you need to do is chop off the top, scoop out the middle and arrange some lovely Autumnal flowers inside, no special carving skills needed! Or if you fancy making some homemade decorations, don’t just stick with ghost paper chains – get ambitious! From cardboard gravestones with personalised messages to freak out your neighbours to transforming your empty bottles into poison jars straight from an evil apothecary, there are some amazing ideas to be found online. Just remember that Pinterest is a time thief – don’t log on for a bit of Halloween inspo and end up browsing until Christmas!
So there you have it – my top ideas for an alternative Halloween. Will you be giving any of them a try? Or do you have any other ideas? Let me know in the comments below.