If you’re a recent college grad who feels like spooky season just isn’t hitting the same…well, you’re not alone. While you may be finding your footing in your new post-grad job and celebrating the fact you’re not taking midterms right about now, there are some aspects of your school life that are so easy to miss or feel nostalgic for. One of those being the social scene that is Halloween.
In a way, it can feel like college sets up the perfect Halloween landscape. When October rolls around each year, the pumpkin spice lattes start appearing all around campus along with fall wardrobes and lots of spooky decorations. You’re reminded that you’re entering the last big push of the semester between midterms and final exams, while simultaneously ditching all thoughts of school to shop for the perfect Halloween costumes. (Yes, plural—Halloweekends are the new Halloween, and they occur every weekend of October)
So, what can recent grads do for spooky season and on Halloween night? These first few post-grad Halloweens may feel a bit strange since we aren’t surrounded by hordes of our school friends and can’t necessarily just slide into college parties anymore. However, there are still so many ways to celebrate as an adult this autumn.
Dress up, decorate, and eat something sweet!
First thing first: you’re simply never too old to dress up. I’m sure we all know this deep down, but it’s clearly stated here in case anyone needs a friendly reminder. Even if you’re just planning on getting together with a few friends at home, be sure to throw on some cute costumes for pictures. You’ll be thankful for the fun photo memories to look back on later.
Decorations and desserts are a must too. TikTok and Pinterest are swarming with spooky suggestions for both, so start scrolling! Even if you have no plans to do anything extravagant for Halloween, decorating your place and baking up some fall favorites (insert pumpkin bread and toasted pumpkin seeds here) will help set the cozy vibes needed for the rest of the fall and winter seasons.
Throw your own party.
Obviously, this party should require costumes. You don’t have to go college-level crazy with the guest list, but getting the group chat back together and hosting a little kickback with some Halloween-themed desserts, drinks, and decorations will provide the perfect amount of spookified serotonin. Plus, if you live in a kid-friendly neighborhood or apartment complex, you and your friends can dress up and pass out candy to the local trick-or-treaters. We could all use some help reconnecting with and nourishing our inner child, after all.
Have a chill (but spooky) movie night in.
Another occasion to break out the candy, apple cider, and other sweet treats…Halloween movie night! From childhood classics like Halloweentown and Hocus Pocus to scarier flicks like Scream and Beetlejuice, you really can’t go wrong with any for a fun night in. Go pop some popcorn and pop on your favorite spooky movie. Personally, a Harry Potter marathon is calling my name…it just always feels right in October.
Find local Halloween happenings in your area.
Going out for Halloween is always an option too! Maybe not to college parties anymore, but lots of restaurants, bars, and clubs throw amazing Halloween events and parties. Any of these are great excuses to dress up in costume and round up your friends for a night of themed fun. Just remember to party responsibly, besties.
Depending on where you’re living post-grad, there may be some other fun fall festivities. If you live near an amusement park, it definitely needs to become one of your bucket list items. No one does a theme better than a theme park, so, if you’re willing and able, it’s definitely a good idea to check out Knott’s Scary Farm, Fright Fest at Six Flags, Halloween Time at Disneyland, and/or Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios.
Not amused by amusement parks? No worries. An apple-picking day plus a walk through a homemade haunted house may be just what Doctor Frankenstein ordered.
Don’t forget the pumpkin carving.
Last, but certainly not least, none of us should go through all of spooky season without stepping foot into a pumpkin patch — and without carving at least one pumpkin. This definitely isn’t something that has to be done on Halloween night, but it’s a fun tradition to take part in as Oct. 31 draws closer. Whether you carve pumpkins with your family, friends, or make it into a fun date night with your significant other, don’t be afraid to go all out. Searching for design ideas after you’ve gutted the jack-o’-lantern and can smell the pumpkin seeds cooking in the oven… there’s just nothing better.
Halloween may look a little different post-college, but that doesn’t mean you’ve grown out of it or that it needs to be downplayed. If anything, let this be your reminder to show the entire month of October some love and celebration. Spooky season and sweater weather, here we come!