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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Illinois State chapter.

If you’re anything like me, you’re a homebody. Plus, who doesn’t like a cozy night in during the cool fall weather?! You can light a candle for ambiance, snuggle under some soft, warm blankets, maybe read a book, or watch an episode of Gilmore Girls… sounds like the perfect night to me.

While many enjoy the Halloween season for its festive parties and ability to dress up in outlandish costumes, there are many perks to staying in, too. Below, I’ve listed a few of my ideas for a perfect ‘spooky night in,’ great alone, or with your ‘spooktacular’ friends.

One of my favorite things about autumn is its aesthetic. Between the vibrant hues of red, orange, and yellow on trees’ leaves, and the glow of pumpkins lit up by sun and moonlight, the fall brings such a warm, welcoming feeling despite its cool, crisp air. 

Not only is the outside gorgeous to look at during this autumn weather, but you can bring the beauty inside by decorating your apartment or dorm room. Buy mini pumpkins and gourds from local vendors, cheap decor from dollar stores, or, my personal favorite, make your own! 

One simple craft is to create your own little, light-up ghost. Take a small, empty jar, such as one for baby food, coat the outside in glue, and wrap the jar in medical gauze. Once dry, finish it off by adding a pair of googly eyes to the gauze, and drop in a battery-operated tea-light candle to watch your ghost flicker and glow. It is the perfect size for a small apartment, and won’t bring a fire hazard to the dorms. 

Another fun idea to stay cozy and warm is to make your own spooky-themed, no-sew blanket. Find two kinds of Halloween-related, soft fabric at any craft store, and cut strips along the edges of both fabric pieces. Once done cutting, tie the edges from one piece of fabric to the other. Not only is it cute and easy, but also practical!

If you’re not a crafty person, perhaps baking is more your style. One simple baking idea, perfect for a ‘spooky night in,’ is using the premade Halloween-themed cookie dough by Pillsbury. The sugar cookies come pre-decorated with pumpkins and ghosts, and are ready to bake, so you can simply throw them in the oven, sit back, and relax. Once cooled, you can enjoy them while watching your favorite Halloween movies. Be careful, though, it’s easy to eat an entire package in one sitting!

A final fun fall idea is to carve pumpkins and roast the seeds! Although better suited for apartment living, this activity is great for any age. Creatively carve a pumpkin to become anything you wish, and light it up with a tea light candle. Once finished carving, roast the seeds with flavorful spices in the oven, and they’ll come out nice and crispy. Not only does the jack-o-lantern become a great decor piece for your doorstep, but you can also use the seeds for a study snack.  

While the list of Halloween activities goes on and on, these are just a few of my favorite ideas for a “spooky night in” while in college. Hopefully, you too can enjoy the cozy season under the warmth of your newly-made blanket, munching on pumpkin seeds and cookies lit by your homemade spooky ghost decor.

Paige Stolp

Illinois State '25

Hi, I'm Paige! I am a junior Middle Level Education major here at Illinois State with endorsements in science and English Language Arts. I enjoy being my own barista, cooking, watching sunrises and sunsets, and all things Taylor Swift!