As a holiday, Halloween is one of the least depressing ones out there. I mean, this is a day that is designed to support people embracing alter egos, coming out of their shells, experimenting, letting the hair down—you get the picture.
Halloween is not a time for reflection (you’ve done enough of that) nor does it require a lot of awkward family time (if you’re in the middle of a divorce, you could use a break from that). Instead, Halloween is an opportunity to have some non-reflective fun, and probably get a little creative, drunk, or both. And what could be a better distraction from your crumbling marriage than a sugar high and a lot of weird costumes?! Here’s what you do.
If You Have the Kids
- Trick-or-Treating. The classic Halloween activity, though it has become a bit worrisome in recent years as people are advised to be more and more careful. If you live in a safe area, you should have no qualms, surely, about taking your kids out begging for candy in the dark—but if there’s any doubt, perhaps stick to one of the alternatives.
- Throw a Kids’ Party. Cupcake decorating, Halloween games, even create a haunted house with peeled grapes standing in for eyeballs—why not go the whole nine yards. After all, now that you’re divorced, you need to REALLY make an effort to make sure you’re the Fun Parent.
- “Scary” movie marathon. Age-appropriate scary movies, of course—ie. no need to drag out Freddy Kruger if the kids are under five. No, in all seriousness, if you’re hosting your kids and possibly their friends for Halloween night, there’s almost nothing better than Nightmare before Christmas or a selection of Halloween Specials on Netflix, some candy, popcorn and fizzy apple juice—you get to chill out and everybody’s happy.
- Scavenger hunt. If you have a bit of time to spare, putting together a scavenger hunt for candy or small prizes or whatever is pretty fun. Write out a sequence of clues, and place them in and around your house for the kids to find, accompanied by treats along the way—with the final treat being a giant pile of candy OR a giant pizza and Halloween movie. Total win.
If You Don’t Have the Kids (or if You Don’t Have Kids at All)
- Make an amazing Halloween-themed dinner party. I once went to this dinner party where the hostess dressed up like Morticia and served six courses of things like Jack O’Lantern Soup and Poisoned Apple Pie – and it was all delicious and it was all really fun to eat and talk about. (I mean, the adult palate gets so neglected at Halloween time, seriously.) If I wasn’t so lazy I would do this.
- Throw a Grownups’ Costume Party. Making your friends dress up can either make them love you or hate you, depending on your friends; you really have to make this call for yourself. One tip if you decide to do this: leave it pretty open as to what people can dress as. The worst thing is if you specify people should dress up as either pirates or monkeys, and then everyone comes as Sexy Donald Trump. Just let them go nuts.
- Bar crawl (in costume of course). Feel like embarrassing yourself and/or your friends? Organize a bar crawl in costume, which demands that people actually be seen out in public in full Heidi/Edward Scissorhands/Sexy Donald Trump attire, a fact that just adds to the general fun.
- Halloween cocktails. Just want to get drunk with your friends, and Halloween is a good excuse? No problem. There are actually a LOT of Halloween cocktails out there, like a Candy Corn Martini, a Smoking Zombie, or THIS super-weird, super great Glow-in-the-Dark Cocktail. Bottoms up!
- Scary movie marathon. Okay, now you get to break out the REAL scary movies, and these days there are a lot to choose from. Just to help you out, here’s a list of the most popular horror movies released in 2015, and HERE’s a list (I actually recommend this one more) of the best horror films of all time.
Have something to add, ask, or some inconsistency to point out? I LOVE IT. I’m all ears. Leave a comment below or tweet to me.
James J. Sexton