The things that make Halloween Halloween aren’t just the parties – what about the music, films and novels that made the holiday a cultural staple to begin with?
I absolutely LOVE Halloween. It may be because I love autumn, costumes, any excuse to throw a themed party, or just because I can’t quite leave my emo phase in high school, but I have always found Halloween to be somewhat magical. So, it’s a bit heart-breaking to keep hearing that this Halloween is cancelled (and on a Saturday as well). In my opinion, though, you really can’t cancel Halloween. Sure, parties or club nights may be out of the question, but there are so many ways to enjoy Halloween that Covid-19 can’t steal from us.
I’ve been pulling out the skulls and black roses since mid-September, and decorating with my flatmate has reminded me of all the things that make Halloween special other than trick or treating and parties. Firstly, we both have costumes set up (her’s is a plague doctor, which is both morbid and hilarious), which is great fun even if all you can do is pose for some flat pics and Zoom with your pals.
While on Zoom, why not whip out a good ol’ Halloween playlist? Personally, I’ve been annoying my friends by playing The Monster Mash on repeat on Discord, but some other favourites have been This is Halloween, I Put a Spell on You and Thriller (of course). Me and my flatmate, being a teeny bit pretentious, have also been enjoying the Danse Macabre and Mozart’s Lacrimosa. There’s a million Halloween playlists out there, and some great spooky movie soundtracks to be enjoyed. These songs all remind me of Halloween discos in school, which I didn’t expect to feel nostalgic about at the ripe old age of 19.
They also bring to mind some of the best Halloween films, which are, in my opinion, a fantastic way to get into “spooky season”.
Movies might be the perfect solution for doing something for Halloween without leaving your home. Get some popcorn, or some scary-themed snacks, and sit around the TV with your family or flatmates for a guaranteed fun Halloween. As a big Horror fan, I’m confident in saying that you can’t go wrong with Trick ‘r Treat, Halloween, or Scream. These films will definitely get you in the Halloween spirit. In fact, almost any Horror film works for Halloween film night – or even better, a few. You can choose campy, classic or cultured, and no matter what you’ll be in for a good time with your mates. If horror isn’t your thing, you could try The Craft or Beetlejuice (or anything Tim Burton) for some calmer spooky vibes, or What We Do in the Shadows for a good laugh. In my opinion, nothing makes Halloween complete quite like Hocus Pocus, which will take you back to the excitement of being a kid and going guising at night.
After a few spooky cocktails and a film night, why not get some Halloween themed reading in? I know, readings may be scaring us all right now, but sitting with a pumpkin candle and a nice hot chocolate and paging through anything from Frankenstein to Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban might help you enjoy Halloween. Dracula, The Tell-Tale Heart or Angela Carter’s Book of Fairy Tales should do nicely, or the classic Tam O’ Shanter. Anything Edgar Allen Poe is my go-to for late night Halloween reading, or Kafka and Lovecraft for some more classic horror. For some nostalgia, why not whip out your old Goosebumps books, or watch some episodes on TV? I would also highly recommend Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Supernatural (I know, I know) for some fun TV watching if you don’t quite have the time (or attention span) for novels right now.
So, whether it’s decorating to the Nightmare before Christmas soundtrack, or reading with a pumpkin-spiced snack, be confident in the fact that you cannot cancel Halloween. It’s not about parties and trick or treating alone – there’s so many ways to enjoy it. You can go for a nostalgia trip with some family favourites such as Halloweentown, explore some terrifying new films and books, visit Glasgow’s Necropolis or even just take a walk through Kelvingrove and admire the autumnal colours (as long as you’re sticking to social distancing!). Halloween holds such a special place in our hearts, so my advice would be to endeavour to enjoy it however you can.