October is here, with all of its simple pleasures.
Happiness is in the little things, and each month, each season, and each holiday comes with its own simple pleasures. I’m always going on and on about laughing more, playing more, and having more fun. So that’s what this post is all about: it’s about enjoying the month of October.
Most people associate October with Halloween, and that’s the focus of this list. It’s a Halloween Bucket List, but you can use it as a list of ideas to countdown to the 31st of October. The first step, then, is to get yourself a a Halloween countdown calendar. Here are two options:
- Make your own.
- Download a printable a crafty person has made and is sharing with others. This is the option I went with (here’s the one I downloaded).
Then, count down to the 31st with the ideas below.
31 Ideas For Your Halloween Bucket List
1. Choose your Halloween Costume.
When choosing a Halloween costume one option is to choose something that’s relevant to the current year. For example, you could go dressed as a character in a trendy movie or a book that’s in vogue. Another option is to wear a costume that’s related to a news story everyone’s talking about.
You may want to dress up in a costume that complements the costume your partner is wearing. Some ideas include the following:
- Sonny and Cher.
- Adam and Eve.
- Fred and Wilma Flintstone.
- A bull and a bullfighter.
- You can also try funny costumes like bacon and eggs, or peanut butter and jam.
It’s also fun to have your entire family dress up in outfits that complement each other. Here are some examples:
- Dress up as The Incredibles—a family of superheroes created by Pixar.
- Dress up in Star Wars costumes.
- Dress up as S’mores. Mom and dad can be graham crackers, one child can be chocolate, and another child can be a marshmallow.
If all else fails, just go for the tried-and-true: witch, ghost, devil, or vampire.
The key here is to have fun: enjoy the process of picking out the costume; savor the anticipation of wearing it; and then take pleasure in putting it on and watching other people’s reactions to it.
2. Get One New Halloween Decoration.
One of my Christmas traditions is to get one new ornament for the tree each year. A few years back I decided to extend this tradition to Halloween by getting one new Halloween decoration each year.
It doesn’t have to be anything fancy. In fact, this year I think I’m going to get a small candy dish shaped like Frankenstein’s head which I saw at the drugstore. Get something that will make you smile every time you look at it.
3. Visit a Pumpkin Patch.
Go to a pumpkin patch and pick out the pumpkins you’ll be decorating and eating throughout the month of October. In addition to the traditional pumpkins, many pumpkin patches also grow white pumpkins and other gourds, such as squash.
4. Make a Pumpkin Treat.
Now that you’ve been to the pumpkin patch and you’ve returned with your bounty, it’s time to put those pumpkins to good use. You can make pumpkin pie, pumpkin bread, pumpkin cupcakes, pumpkin cheesecake, and so on. You can even make pumpkin dog treats!
5. Decorate the House for Halloween.
Decorating for Halloween is just as much fun as decorating for Christmas. Of course, your Christmas decor should be jolly and full of cheer, while your Halloween decor should be creepy and maybe a little ghastly.
Decorate your fireplace mantle for Halloween with spooky signage, bats, rats, skulls, and white candles. You can even go all out and create a cemetery or graveyard on your front lawn for Halloween.
Put up a Halloween Tree and hang up ornaments shaped like Frankenstein, Dracula, skulls, and orange and black glass balls. You can also add some orange Halloween light stringers.
You can even create a Halloween Village filled with creepy, scary Halloween themed houses, figurines and accessories.
6. Create Your Halloween Soundtrack.
You need a Halloween soundtrack to listen to throughout the month of October. Include favorites such as the following:
And, of course, J.S. Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D Minor:
7. Have a Hot Halloween Beverage.
Get every member of your household a Halloween themed mug. Then, fill the mugs with hot cocoa and Peeps Marshmallow Ghosts; hot apple cider; pumpkin spice tea or coffee; or a witches’ brew (just make something warm and delicious and call it witches’ brew).
8. Put Together a Halloween Puzzle.
Get a puzzle with the classic Halloween theme of a spooky run-down mansion at night, complete with a full moon, a rickety fence, and strange creatures lurking behind the trees. Spend an evening putting the puzzle together as you listen to a soundtrack of Halloween sound effects: screeches, doors creaking, chains rattling, and so on.
9. BOO! Your Neighbors
Start a Halloween Boo game in your neighborhood. Neighbors leave one another anonymous goody bags in celebration of the holiday with a note like the following:
“Just a friendly little Boo … from ‘bet you never guess who’. I have just one thing to say to you on Halloween…BOO!”.
The receivers then secretly Boo other neighbors. When a house gets booed they hang a ghost from the front door.
10. Make Caramel Apples.
Making delicious caramel apples is very easy. You just need apples (take off the stem and wash all the wax off the surface); Popsicle sticks; a bag of Kraft Caramels; wax paper; a stick of butter; water; and toppings such as Oreo cookies or peanuts.
Then, just follow along with this video.
11. Read a Classic Halloween Story.
Choose a classic Halloween short story and read it out loud. Here are three to choose from:
- Edgar Allan Poe’s The Tell Tale Heart
- William Faulkner’s A Rose for Emily
- Washington Irving’s The Legend of Sleepy Hollow
12. Watch a Halloween Movie.
I deeply dislike movies like Friday the 13th and A Nightmare on Elm Street, but some people enjoy watching these movies during the days leading up to Halloween. I prefer movies like “Young Frankenstein”, “The Addams Family”, and “Ghostbusters”.
13. Make Halloween Cookies.
To make Halloween cookies, just do the following:
- Find a good, simple sugar cookie recipe.
- Get cookie cutters in Halloween shapes.
- Find a sugar cookie frosting/icing recipe.
- Follow along with a good tutorial for decorating your Halloween cookies.
14. Do Something Zombie-Related.
Zombie-related activities include the following:
- Dance to Michael Jackson’s Thriller (there are lots of tutorials on YouTube).
- You can go on a Zombie walk.
- Watch a Zombie movie.
Of course, if you’re really into zombies that can be your Halloween costume.
15. Go On a Halloween Scavenger Hunt.
Just as you go out during Christmas time to look at your neighbors’ Christmas decorations, do the same for Halloween. You can even turn it into a Scavenger Hunt. Before you set out, decide what you’re going to be specifically looking for. Here are some ideas:
- Witch On a Broomstick
- A Mummy
- A Cauldron
- A Headstone with RIP Written on It
- A Skeleton
- A Cobweb
- An Owl
- A Monster
- A “Happy Halloween” Sign
- A Toad
Instead of driving around, you could also just grab a flashlight and do the Scavenger Hunt at night, on foot (to make it eerie, of course).
16. Play a Halloween-Themed Board-game.
I love board-games. They’re educational, fun, and a great way to bond with friends and loved ones. Here are four Halloween-themed board-games you can choose from:
17. Make a Halloween Craft.
Head to the dollar store and stock up on supplies to make Halloween crafts. You can make Lolly Pop Ghosts, Mini-Halloween Piñatas, or Mason Jar Luminaries (here are some more ideas for Mason Jar Luminaries).
If you’re ambitious, you can even make a scarecrow.
18. Have Dinner In Your Costumes.
It’s a shame to only wear your Halloween costume once. Designate a night–such as the 18th of October–and have a wear-your-costume dinner. Make it a spooky night with Halloween-themed food and drinks. You can even eat by candlelight and have everyone eat with their hands.
Another option is to make Paprika Hendl, a recipe taken from Bram Stoker’s Dracula (which I’m in the process of reading).
19. Make a Halloween Gingerbread House.
Gingerbread houses aren’t just for Christmas anymore. Here are some ideas for your Halloween Gingerbread House:
- Use graham crackers.
- Make a Halloween walkway with Kit Kat® bars.
- Get some purple frosting and black sprinkles.
- Add some Reese’s Halloween Peanut Butter Pumpkins
20. Visit a Haunted House.
Haunted houses pop up all over the place at this time of year. Find the scariest one near you and go for a visit. If you want to do something a little bit different, go on a haunted hayride.
21. Give Someone a Friendly Fright.
Pranks aren’t just for April Fools’. Play a funny Halloween prank on someone. However, keep in mind that the idea is to have some fun, not to shame or embarrass other people. You want to give people what is known as “a pleasurable fright”.
22. Read a Halloween Poem.
Every October I read “The Raven” by Edgar Allen Poe. And I still get a little bit scared each time I read it. The man was a genius. And what could be better than Poe’s creepy poem read by James Earl Jones? Here it is:
24. Tell Ghost Stories.
Gather around a bonfire and tell ghost stories. Be sure to use a scary flashlight face for greater effect. M.R. James is one of the greatest ghost story authors of the past 200 years– look for one of his stories.
25. Write Your Own Ghost Story.
Here are some tips for writing your own ghost story:
- Set your story in the present and in a location that your audience is familiar with (make them think it could happen to them).
- Make the characters seem real–a normal person just going about their business. In fact, you could say this was something that happened to you.
- Hint at the terror, instead of filling your story with gratuitous bloodshed. You’re trying to guide your audience’s imagination down a certain path.
- Don’t be afraid to leave some questions unanswered. This will create doubt in your audience’s mind and will ensure that they’ll continue thinking about your story well after you’ve told it.
23. Watch An Alfred Hitchcock Movie.
Alfred Hitchcock was known as “The Master of Suspense”, and he pioneered many elements of the psychological thriller. You can watch one of his movies–such as “The Birds” or “Psycho”–or watch and episode of his TV series, “Alfred Hitchcock Presents”.
26. Get Ready for Trick-or Treaters.
Are you one of those people who turns out all the lights on the 31st and pretends not to be home? That’s not fun! Plus, it could get you egged. Do the following:
- Decide what you’re going to hand-out to the trick-or-treaters. It could be traditional Halloween candy, stickers, or even cans of fun-sized Play-Doh or small boxes of crayons.
- Once you’ve decided on your treats, go out and buy them.
- Your door should be decorated so the kids know it’s a Halloween-friendly house. You could also put up a sign in the window that says “Trick-or-Treaters Welcome!”
27. Carve a Jack-o’-lantern.
Carve Jack o’ lanterns, or just decorate pumpkins. You can get a pumpkin carving kit, make glitter pumpkins (apply glue and cover the pumpkin with glitter in autumn colors), get a jar of black buttons and use them to write “BOO” on the pumpkin, or glue rhinestones on a pumpkin to create a faux spider web.
28. Have an Orange-and-Black Day.
Orange and black are the traditional Halloween colors, so wear those colors for a day in October. Add some Halloween jewelry, a Halloween-themed tie, or some other accessory.
Another option is to just wear a Halloween sweater.
29. Watch a Halloween Cartoon or Animation.
There are so many Halloween cartoons and animations to choose from. Here are my favorites:
- The Corpse Bride
- It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown
- The Nightmare Before Chrismtas
- Hotel Transylvania
- Hotel Transylvania 2
30. Tell Halloween Jokes and Riddles.
Look for Halloween jokes and riddles online. Here’s one I like:
Q: What do you do when 50 zombies surround your house?
A: Hope it’s Halloween!!
31. Go Trick-or-Treating.
This is it! The big day has arrived. Dress up, have a photo shoot with everyone in their costumes, and then head out with your trick-or-treat bags.
There you have it: everything you need to have a fun-filled October. Live your best life by filling your October with simple pleasures.