I absolutely love Halloween and so do my children (my daughter is counting down the days this year). It’s fun, it silly, it gets people out of their houses, being mischievous and talking to neighbours.
It’s also the one night we actively encourage our kids to go outside after dark. It gives people permission to be creative too - there’s loads of Halloween dressing up, baking, crafts, and pranks to take part in. Here are a few ideas to make your Halloween a little different this year:
Make a witches brew, potion, or your very own vampire blood
You can get as gruesome and creative as you like with this (or not!). If you’re having a party, children can make potions out of cranberry juice (blood), eyeballs (plastic ones, or peeled grapes) and even bugs (plastic ones set in ice cubes – be careful though – they could be a choking hazard for toddlers). You can get vampire teeth sweets and gummy worms to make things extra fun.
Adults can make their own cocktail potions, like a blood orange margarita (blood orange juice, tequila, and triple sec or Cointreau) or Vampire Blood (vodka, blood orange juice, pomegranate juice, sugar syrup and fresh lime).
Go on a ghost hunt
As the light is fading, take children on a spooky ghost hunt. This can be as harmless as you like – head out before them, and pop up a few ghosts made of white sheets in the woods, or simply tell spooky tales and use your imaginations when walking through dark, old streets or abbey ruins etc.
Older teenagers and adults can go on a proper ghost hunt or vigil. If you want to experience the real thing, there are events that run through the night in (supposedly) haunted venues.
Decorate your house
If you’re having people over then make it a truly spooky affair. Fill the bath and add red food colouring, which you can then splatter up the wall. You could even get different coloured light bulbs to create different effects in different rooms and add a few surprises to prank your guests (ideas in the sections below).
If you have young children, be careful not to make things too scary. There are loads of playful decorations you can get in supermarkets, like cobwebs and spiders, paper chains (which the kids can put together) and spooky lanterns etc.
There are so many different Halloween themed food and baking ideas out there. Make marshmallow eyeballs by getting some writing icing and using it to stick a smartie to the top of each marshmallow. Then use black icing to create the pupil on each one, and then red icing to make veins down the side of each marshmallow.
Turn hot dogs into severed fingers by chopping off a fingernail shape from the top of each hotdog, making little lines where the knuckles would be and then tearing off the end. Put the hot dogs in their rolls on a bed of tomato sauce to look like blood.
On Halloween Night
Do something unexpected to spook your trick or treaters this year. Last Halloween, our neighbour waited in the dark at an upstairs window dressed as a vampire. As people were passing he suddenly lit himself up and laughed maniacally - the effect was amazing!
As people approach your house, drop down large spiders on strings, or leap out in a spooky costume to surprise them. Better still, pretend you are an inanimate figure (like a scarecrow or ghoul placed out as a Halloween garden decoration) and stand stock still until someone is nearby and then chase after them. (Please bear in mind people’s ages though and don’t terrify small children!)
You could also spook the older teenagers or adults that you live with by leaving a fake severed hand clutching the milk carton in the fridge, sticking plastic bugs all over the bathroom wall, or leaving a scary message on the mirror in blood red (or with liquid soap so it shows up when the next person has a shower and the mirror mists over).
Halloween is a great time to have fun and be a bit more silly than normal. I hope you have a great time this year.
Jo Murricane is a freelance copywriter and blogger, based in Leeds. Read all about her food and lifestyle investigations on her blog, jo-blogs.co.uk.