Halloween is not just a kids’ holiday. As a college student (far beyond the magic of elementary Halloween carnivals and plastic-packaged Party City costumes), I crave the opportunity to dress up as my favorite characters, and I personally refuse to believe I am too old to do so. That said, trick-or-treating isn’t exactly an option, and frat parties certainly aren’t for everyone.
Here are seven adult-friendly alternative ways to celebrate Halloween:
- movie night
Though perhaps the most obvious item on the list, this go-to has certainly earned its first-place position. Whether you’re into classic horror, are a Tim Burton fan or love quintessential witchy flicks like Hocus Pocus (and now Hocus Pocus 2!) and Practical Magic, movies are the perfect way to get in the spooky mood. Intermingle with a sleepover, take-out, pillow forts or fights and some Halloween treats, and you’re set for the evening.
The stomach is the quickest way to the heart (or something like that), so it’s no surprise that baking makes this list. Frosting ghost-shaped cookies, crafting the perfect pumpkin loaf or making rice krisipie treats with black and orange sprinkles are just a few ideas. Plus, making the treats is just as much fun (if not more) than eating them.
The club is ideal if you’re looking for the perfect opportunity to flaunt your costume (or, rather, yourself in your costume) but you’re not into frat or house parties. With themed Halloween nights (from Tim Burton to the 2000s), the club is ideal for college students who don’t want to spend the night in. Plus, there are countless great 18+ clubs in LA for all of us under-21s.
- CRAFTING SESH
This was originally going to be pumpkin carving, but why limit ourselves? Spooky DIY options are endless for all the creatives out there. To name a few beyond the obvious: scrapbooking, photoshoots, makeovers, making Halloween-themed terrariums and decorating your house (with Pinterest’s assistance, of course).
- THEMED DINNER OR COSTUME PARTY
So you want to dress up but don’t feel like shoving your way through crowds of sweaty people? Try a themed dinner or costume party! Harry Potter-themed dinners are a classic, and you can find plenty of inspiration on Pinterest or TikTok if you’re not sure where to start. Murder mysteries are also a great option and perfect for incorporating games or activities.
- SPOOKY OUTINGS OR AMUSEMENT PARKS
Local haunted houses, hayrides, corn mazes and the like are timeless for a reason. They’re perfect for Halloween date nights or group outings. And, if you’re not into locally-run events, amusement parks like Disneyland and Knott’s Berry Farm have awesome Halloween-themed activities.
Classic, casual and very Californian (reporting to you from UCLA) bonfires are so cozy and suit the fall aesthetic seamlessly. Pull out your favorite flannel, pack some snacks and head to the beach or a local park for some autumn festivities. If you’re feeling extra spooky, you can bring the classic Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark and a flashlight to freak out your friends.
Hopefully, I successfully convinced you that Halloween is not solely for children, so there are no excuses for not celebrating this spooky season. I know I’ll certainly be in costume. Happy haunting!