For many college students, Halloween is the holiday above all holidays. In my years as an underclassman, the thought of syringes filled with Jell-O shots, frat men in firefighter costumes, and coordinated space-cowboy costumes with my friend group rang like church bells. The “college-style” celebration of Halloween also means that the holiday lasts an entire weekend—fondly known as “Halloweekend.” For many students, this time of year brings about a pressure to not only go out, but to go hard.
However, The risk of danger is high— thousands of college students suffer the consequences of binge drinking, drug abuse, and other party-related activities prevalent during Halloweekend. And as much as it sucks to admit, FOMO is real–even though it shouldn't be. Halloween doesn’t need to be bland just because you don’t want to binge drink. In fact, there are so many alternate activities to take part in outside of the parties.
Ready to celebrate? Here are five ways that you can stay safe, avoid the FOMO, and have a more wholesome, but still fun, Halloween. you’ll still be cool, I promise:
1. Pass out Halloween Candy
If you’re fortunate to have a house off-campus (or know someone who does), a quick trip to the grocery store, a bag of candy, and a decently-sized mixing bowl can equate to hours of fun. I mean come on, kids are adorable!
Additionally, this activity can make for a wholesome, memorable time with your significant other. I did this last year with my boyfriend because (frankly) I was way too hungover from the night before, and I had so much more fun than if I did the whole puke and rally thing. Genuinely, I don’t think I’ve ever quite known a serotonin boost like receiving a high five from a four-year-old dressed as Gru.
2. Spooky-Season Progressive (Or Potluck) Dinner
All you need to throw a progressive dinner party are three houses (or dorms, or apartments, whatever floats your boat) and at least a few friends. But don’t get it twisted—this is different from your typical "family dinner". At a progressive dinner, one house cooks the appetizers, one house cooks the main course, and the last house cooks dessert. To make things extra spooky, you and your friends could consider decorating your house, dorm, apartment, etcetera, with some Halloween decor! A Halloween party times three? Sign me up.
Or, if traveling is off the table, you can settle for a good ol’ fashioned potluck dinner. There are so many unique Halloween-themed recipes that you and your friends could attempt to make, and maybe you can even compete to see who cooks the best dish. Once everyone is settled with their plates, you could play a spooky movie to match the season!
Well, not babysitting exactly, but if you have family or some younger relatives that live nearby, consider taking them out and supervising their trick-or-treating adventures. It only takes a couple of hours, if that, you can get your steps in, and maybe even enjoy a glass of wine with your loved ones before heading back to campus.
Not to mention, this is a great way to make some extra cash as a college student. Who doesn't want to get paid for hanging out with cute kids for a night?
4. Cocktail Competition
There’s a reason why my friends and I make a point to host one of these every few months or so—it’s fun! All you need are a group of friends, some cheap booze of choice (drink responsibly!), various juices and sodas, and optional garnishes like edible glitter, food coloring, fake eyeballs...whatever tickles your fancy. Then, you split up into pairs to concoct your perfect cocktail which is then assessed by the group.
Typically, the drinks earn points based on appearance, taste, and—if you're of legal drinking age—drinkability. Still, just because there is alcohol involved doesn’t mean that you have to get completely messed up: mocktails are always a welcomed treat. However, if you do end up having one too many, you’ll be in a safe environment among your closest friends instead of somewhere in a sweaty frat basement, probably covered in beer and remnants of faux spider webs.
5. Haunted House Hunting
If you’re into the more thrilling side of Halloween, consider seeking out a haunted house attraction. All it takes is a quick google search to find one, many of which accommodate walk-in customers if you decide that you don’t want to plan ahead. If you're in a larger city, you may even be able to hit a few different attractions in one night—think of it as your very own DIY horror movie.
Halloweekend is fun, and parties are great, but they aren't the end-all-be-all of a great Halloween. If you're not feeling up to a crazy night out, consider one of these alternatives to take part in during the Halloweekend. Remember: not going out doesn't make you a "loser," do what makes you feel happy. Or, for festivities' sake, spooky. Happy Halloween!