As a kid, Halloween was one of the most exciting days of the year — between dressing up and pilfering candy from the neighbors, the day had a way of feeling absolutely magical. But now, in your 20s, the hype has likely settled. Not only can Halloween be expensive — with 2016 reports proclaiming the average person spent $86.13 on the holiday — but also it can feel kid-focused. Dig yourself out of the Halloween rut (and debt!) by trying something new and exciting this year.
If you’re looking for both frugal and creative ways to celebrate October 31 this year, keep reading for some fun and unique suggestions!
Roast pumpkin seeds
Carving pumpkins might still be your thing, but even if it isn’t, there are a ton of creative ways to keep the pumpkin as the central part of your Halloween celebration. After sloughing out the guts, save its seeds for roasting! You can also explore Pinterest for creative pumpkin recipes like pumpkin s’mores, pumpkin creme brulee, and more.
Take another shot at Clue
Maybe you haven’t revisited the classic game Clue since before you and your cousins had made it into the double digits. Regardless of your childhood experiences with the board game, invite some friends over, and together, try to solve who committed the crime. (With a name like Colonel Mustard, he seems to just ooze guilt, but I’m biased.) Give it an adult twist by adding some glasses of wine!
Visit a historically haunted place
Walking ghost tours might’ve been a thing of your childhood but even now, checking out a historically haunted place — especially if it’s close in proximity to where you live — is guaranteed to send shivers down your spine. No matter your zip code, there’s likely to be either a haunted house, Civil War town, battleship, or graveyard in driving distance. (By me, we have a terrifying, abandoned psych ward!) Every city has its own resident ghost story or two, so skip the fake blood at the haunted house this year and opt for some hauntings from history. It’s all the more terrifying when it’s rooted in truth.
Go haunted kayaking or for a paranormal hike
Yep, it’s totally a thing. Of course, access to a haunted kayak trip will be dependent on how close you live to a body of water, but in many parts of the country, haunted water adventures are growing in popularity. From Tennessee to New York, water-based ghost adventures can be a great, unique experience for couples, your group of friends, and even as solo rides. If you’re too inland for kayaking, check to see if your local nature center offers a paranormal or night hike this time of year. Night hiking isn’t for the faint of heart — it’s downright creepy, and you’re almost guaranteed to encounter some wildlife. If you’re looking for the scare of your life, this might be the perfect fix for you!
Host a pet costume party
There is no shame in your pet costume game! (Full disclosure, my pomsky’s going to be a monster this year.) If costume parties and drinking spooky-themed cosmos at the bar are no longer your thing, and you’d rather stay at home and dress up your cat, much respect. (Just envision the Instagrams!) Make it an evening by inviting your friends with pets. Best-dressed takes home a satchel of catnip or a Bully stick — depending on his/her preference!
Prep for the zombie apocalypse
Folks, it’s inevitable. While there’s something to be said for believers who prepare for the zombie apocalypse year-round, there is nothing wrong with using zombie folklore to get into the Halloween spirit. REI hosts Zombie Preparedness classes, which aim to teach participants integral survival skills should a full-fledged attack occur. These survival techniques, REI says, can also be used in any natural disaster in an urban environment. So, zombie or not, it might be a good idea to get prepped.
Originally published October 31, 2019.