Growing up as a child enamored with the spookiest season of them all, Halloween, was a difficult venture in my family. Conservative Christians, Halloween verged on the Satanic and celebrating Halloween…well. But I loved all of it (except for the skeletons): black cats, angry witches, cobwebs, costumes, some of the candy (I was allergic to the chocolate ones).
I, however, had to celebrate it all on my own. In my own little ways, without the immediate support of other people. (I was also homeschooled, which led to a cloistered upbringing.) There was the occasional “Harvest Fest” that I was allowed to participate in, but even that was pushing it.
This year, we find ourselves in the unusual place of having to celebrate a largely social holiday from a distance. Halloween isn’t canceled, per se, or at least not canceled in the sense with which we know the term now. It’s just…different. Lonelier. But really, isn’t a holiday dedicated to the celebration of the gothic meant to be lonely every now and then?
These are some of the things I did to hold myself over when I was all alone in the middle of Halloween. Take them with a grain of salt, or add your own ideas.
Changing usernames to spooky things on social media
This is most popular on Twitter, especially since you can change your name at will on there, to whatever you like. This is me, currently:
Does it make any sense? Not really. But it’s kind of spooky, and it involves the word “bones” in some capacity, so it works. For all that social media pushes us apart, it also can drive us together. Celebrating Halloween this way might help a little. At the very least, it makes me smile.
Watching your favorite spooky (or not) movies and TV shows online
When I was a kid, horror movies weren’t allowed either. Mary Poppins was barely suitable, but it was one of the films that did the trick, with its magical nanny. I also read a lot of spooky or spooky-adjacent books under the cover of darkness, like Lemony Snicket’s body of work or The Spiderwick Chronicles by Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black.
But about the movies…there’s nothing like turning out all the lights in your home and immersing yourself in another world, be it magical, gothic or just straight-up horror. And with the streaming services increasingly offering ways to watch movies and TV shows with your friends, you don’t necessarily have to do it alone!
Creating creepy/spooky fan works
One thing fandom (and fandom-filled sites like Tumblr) just loves is Halloween. Whether through memes, fan art challenges, fic fests, or just enjoying older art and fanfiction, there’s plenty you can do to entertain yourself on the fan side of things. Fandom has really come together to provide further entertainment during these times, so if you’re of that persuasion, come join the fun!
Dressing up in costume, even if just for yourself
Once, before our socially distanced days, I’d just wear closet cosplays (or just straight-up cosplays) on Halloween. Once I fully dressed up as Dolores Abernathy two days in a row and went to class as her in two of her outfits from Westworld.
But even if you can’t show off your costumes in person, there’s no one stopping you from showing off your costumes on social media or to your pets (heck, get them dressed up too). There’ll be another article coming soon here at The Beat about some ideal closet cosplays, so keep an eye out!
Decorating your home in little ways
There are some really cool Halloween decorations out there these days–when I was growing up it was mostly realistic faux spiders (which I loved and wanted) and cackling skulls. JoAnn’s has these neat Art Deco-themed Halloween decorations which evoke The Haunted Mansion ride at the Disney Parks.
I can’t decorate this year (mostly because I’m at my grandma’s house and she said no), but typically I’d at least put up something like hanging a witch’s hat on a TV (like a Santa hat, but make it spooky) or putting little black cat stickers on your window. Or just carving pumpkins with your favorite characters and setting them out on the doorstep. There are so many possibilities.
Eating lots of sweets and candy
This may seem obvious (and unhealthy), but honestly? This is comfort at home at it’s finest. Whether you bake or make candy, or just buy candy in bulk off of your online shopping site of choice, there are so many chances for sweets this month…and beyond. I feel like, with temperatures dropping, we’ve officially entered baking season. Heat up those ovens and make something delicious!
Arguing with people about why Halloween is cool
Maybe this one is just me. I do like arguing with people about my passions, especially since a lot of them are straight-up dorky. Whether you choose to take the “it’s just good fun” stance, or “we need to celebrate the inner and outer darkness in order to exorcise our demons yearly” argument, you could convert someone to your side.
Well, you might. I never succeeded in converting my parents, and I never have gone Trick ‘n’ Treating, but I at least have fun in my own way. I hope you, too, can still celebrate the season!