Ever since I was two years old, wearing a fuzzy bumblebee costume, my idea of Halloween has been piles of candy, friends in various (and hilarious) ensembles and endless excitement, all while traversing from house to house in some stereotypical suburban neighborhood. I trick-or-treated up until my senior year of high school, because the activity only got better with age.
But when I came to college, I realized my traditional experience with Halloween would be replaced with party after party, after party. This means a collection of easy, DIY outfits instead of one epic costume and cheap beer instead of candy. While this version of Halloween is probably a lot more thrilling than my PG memories, partying has never been my favorite pastime. But that doesn’t mean I have to stop celebrating. If you’re like me and want to get in the Halloween spirit without sweaty basements and red solo cups, here are my suggestions to have a spooktastic end of October.
Carve some pumpkins with your friends
Making a jack-o’-lantern is cliché (and messy), but it’s something easy you can do with your friends. Plus, you’ll end up with a festive decoration, at least until your pumpkin rots. If you want to really put your skills to the test, Norris is hosting a free pumpkin carving contest on Thursday, Oct. 26, with supplies included (a great way to avoid dragging a pumpkin across campus). Not only do you get to show off your crafty abilities, but you can even win a prize if your design is voted the best. Who doesn’t love some friendly Halloween competition?
Dress up in costumes for a Halloween photoshoot
Just because you don’t party doesn’t mean you can’t get a cute pic for your Instagram. Pose in Deering Meadow, your dorm hallway or even at a pumpkin patch if you and your pals are feeling adventurous. This might be the most millennial thing ever to do for Halloween, but photoshoots are an excellent way to show off your confidence and spooky spirit.
Bake some Halloween treats
The second best thing to free food is Halloween-themed food. If you don’t crave Pillsbury pumpkin cookies every October, you’re missing out. You can go all out and decorate caramel apples (World Market has some awesome kits available), or stay simple and make some spooky Rice Krispies Treats. The possibilities are endless, and once you’re done getting creative, you will have festive snacks to share (or not).
Host a horror movie marathon
This is possibly the most ~basic~ Halloween activity, but it’s so quintessential that I couldn’t bear to leave it off the list. You can go classic with selections like A Nightmare on Elm Street and Halloween, or venture into the modern horror realm with movies like Insidious and The Conjuring. If you hate scary movies, but still want to celebrate, you can always watch Hocus Pocus and Halloweentown (available through Xfinity on Campus, which we all get free through Northwestern). You can even check out Fright Flicks at Navy Pier, a free outdoor screening of iconic Halloween movies.
Volunteer at a Halloween event
Sometimes the best way to get into the holiday spirit is to give back to your community. One example of an opportunity on campus is Project Pumpkin, hosted by the Northwestern Community Development Corps on Thursday, Oct. 26. This is when children from Evanston and all around Chicago come to trick-or-treat at Norris. You can sign up to be a chaperone for some of the attendees, or volunteer with a student organization hosting a booth at the event.
Go to Halloween Scream and Scary at ARTica Studios
ARTica is all aboard the bus to Halloween Town! We have all your Halloween essentials! Going to have a Halloween Party? Decorate with personally designed skulls and coffins! Or even paint some bisque with friends for a fun time! Whatever your halloween needs, check out ARTica for all things Halloween, cute or creepy!
Starting October 20, ARTica in Norris is offering the Northwestern community a chance to embrace their inner craftmaster. You can make decor for your room or even a personalized costume; supplies are $5 and under. Escape the endless midterm stress and get crafty!
“Trick-or-treat” at Norris
From 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 31, Norris (the obvious leader of Halloween programming) has a “Candy Grab,” where every department hands out treats. We may be adults now, but that doesn’t mean we can’t indulge in fun-size chocolate bars from time to time.
Even though Halloween and parties seem to be synonymous when you’re on a college campus, they don’t have to be. Celebrate this holiday in whatever way makes you feel comfortable – and don’t forget to trick-or- “treat yourself.”