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10 Steps to an Actually Fun Halloween

You’ve barely had time to retire your bikini, but Halloween costumes are already overflowing on store shelves. All of the hype surrounding the start of the holiday season may make celebrating seem more stressful than fun. But if you follow these ten steps, you’ll get in the mood for a frighteningly good time this Halloween.
1. Don’t wait until the last minute to buy your costume.
I know this sounds like common sense, but many of us wait until the night of October 30th to try and buy a suitable costume. DO NOT DO THIS. There is nothing more stressful than battling every other last-minute shopper at the only place still open the night before Halloween. You don’t want to be stuck with the last not-so-sexy (and two sizes too big) witch costume you could find. Do yourself a favor, and the next morning you find yourself with some free time, scope out the local costume shop for ideas or peruse online.  If you’re DIY-ing your costume this year, make sure you have everything you need in advance! You can’t pull off the classic rodeo costume when you’re missing your left cowboy boot and can’t find the jean shorts you could have sworn were in your bureau just last week. Having something to wear a couple weeks in advance will keep your stress level low and your desire to party high!
2. Use Halloween as an excuse to try something new.
Have you been toying with the idea of going blonde? Want to flaunt some metallic eye shadow, but too afraid you’ll look ridiculous? Well, collegiettes™, this holiday is the perfect excuse to switch up your look! Experiment with different hairstyles and colors by visiting your local wig shop. Test out some new hues at the makeup counter and pick something you wouldn’t buy on a normal day. Who knows, you may end up liking these little tweaks enough to make a permanent change! Not feeling bold enough to rock some brilliant shades or unique hair? Try purchasing some extensions or a bright red gloss for your lips for a subtle change.

3. Get in touch with your dark side.
Go get a mani/pedi and choose a dark hue for your digits. Not into basic black? Try a two-texture effect over a darker shade (I recommend the Shatter line by OPI.) And when’s a better time but Halloween to swipe on Essie’s classic vampy polish, “Wicked”?
4. Don’t be mistaken as the Grinch this Halloween; catch the holiday spirit!
Psych yourself up in the weeks leading up to Halloween by indulging in some fall favorites. Instead of ordering your regular cup of coffee, opt for a pumpkin or gingerbread flavor instead (this applies to beer, too!).  Go apple picking with some friends or have a pumpkin-carving contest.  The night before your big Halloween plans, pop in a few goose-bump-inducing classics like The Shining or Halloweento scare you into a celebratory mood.

5. Go on a haunted house tour.
Almost all major cities, and lots of college towns, have a “haunted” house operating during the Halloween season. Go online and check out what’s going on around you, and invite a large group of friends to come along. Whether it’s completely corny or actually spooks you a little bit, it’s fun to do something different with your friends.
6. Visit an old cemetery.
Find an old, spooky graveyard close to you and walk around at night (use the buddy system for this one!). Guaranteed to give you the chills, and your Halloween party later will seem like a welcome way to relax!
7. Create a spooky playlist.
Create a new Pandora station that will put you in the Halloween spirit. Type in Michael Jackon’s “Thriller” and voila—an instant Halloween soundtrack! If you’ve heard that classic one too many times, opt for some haunting vocals instead (anything by Adele or Evanescence comes to mind).

8. Get a sugar rush.
Any six-year-old can tell you that the best part of Halloween is indulging your sweet tooth. Pick up some sugary staples like candy corn and a bag of your favorite candy bars, throw them in some bowls and lay them out in your kitchen or bedroom to nibble on. Take it one step further and bake some Halloween-inspired cupcakes for you and your friends to enjoy.
9. Host a costume party!
Beat the bar crawl blues and overcrowded frat houses this Halloween by throwing your own costume soirée! Set up a caramel apple buffet station in the kitchen and lay out some tasty toppings for your guests to make their own treats. Set out a giant bowl of candy and try your hand at making some of these Halloween-inspired cocktails. Dim the lights in your place and light some black candles to create an eerie atmosphere.
10. Relive your childhood!
Spend the day after Halloween with a bag of popcorn and all of your childhood Halloween movie favorites (Hocus Pocus, anyone?) and sort out your favorite candy from the variety pack you have lying around your place.
Have fun and happy celebrating, collegiettes™!

Lauryn is a senior at Northeastern University majoring in journalism. She has written for Boston.com as well as the HC branch at Northeastern. Lauryn is also a teaching assistant for International Affairs students at Northeastern. In May and June of 2011, she embarked on a reporting trip to the Middle East, where she mastered the art of "man on the street" reporting and gained a new appreciation for falafel. In her spare time, Lauryn enjoys writing, walking around Boston aimlessly, traveling and a unhealthy obsession with her Kindle. She loves eating, French bulldogs and Anderson Cooper. After graduation, she hopes to pursue a career in foreign correspondence or magazine journalism. You can follow her on Twitter @laurynpaiva.