Stretch out Halloween fun all month long

Published 4:56 pm Friday, October 13, 2023

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Don’t you wish some holidays could last longer than just one day?

Sure, some of us celebrate holidays like Christmas and Thanksgiving with family for more than one day. But technically, the holiday itself is only a single day long, even if we stretch it out to the surrounding days.

While it might be annoying to some – I personally think Christmas season starts too early – I can also understand why people are inclined to make a fun holiday last longer than a simple 24 hours. Holidays are entertaining, and life can get stressful. We all deserve fun breaks for as long as we can get them.

For me, my favorite holiday has always been Halloween. I’m a big fan of the macabre. I love the aesthetics of old haunted houses. I’m always happy to sit down to listen to a good ghost story (or several). I think pumpkins make great colorful decorations. And there’s always a lot of sweet treats to enjoy as an added bonus.

While Halloween always falls on October 31 each year, plenty of people (like me) tend to get into the “spirit” of the season a lot sooner. In fact, I’ve been seeing spooky and cute Halloween art being shared on Twitter since early September!

If you, like me, want to get the most out of Halloween before the holiday actually arrives, then here are a few suggestions of things to do to have some early Halloween fun:

Start off with decorations! There’s such a wide variety available, ranging from scary to sweet. I enjoy driving around and seeing the displays – big or small – that people set up in their yards. It’s nice to have something different to look at on my commute each day. Too bad I haven’t seen any yard with a 12 ft. tall skeleton! Now that would be something exciting to drive past.

I don’t currently have a lot of decorations other than some spooky door hangers, but maybe one day I’ll add to my collection.

If you and your friends are fans of scary stuff, then now is the perfect time to swap ghost stories and make plans to visit “haunted” places. Locally, we have our own ghostly legends like the Early Station Light and the Brown Lady of Chowan University.

The Murfreesboro Historical Association offers several self-guided tours, including one that shares information about haunted and allegedly paranormal spots around the town. Other local places in the Roanoke-Chowan area offer more manufactured spookiness, but still plenty entertaining for this time of year. Historic Hope, for example, will host a “Haunted Forest” event on Oct. 28.

Another thing people associate with Halloween is the costumes. Usually that’s expected of the children who will go trick-or-treating, but there’s no rule that says adults can’t have a good time wearing a costume too! If you like shopping, then October is a great time to search for parts and pieces of whatever costume idea you have for the end of the month.

Be innovative with your ideas. If you have something weird in the back of your closet, maybe you could find a way to wear it to a costume party. I remember having plenty of fun in college coming up with easy costume ideas with just the clothes I had on hand. One year, I donned a plaid shirt, made a little axe out of paper, and called myself a lumberjack. It was easy!

If you’re not one for big celebratory events for a holiday, then a simple way to enjoy the Halloween season is to watch some movies and TV shows or read some books. Horror fans have such a wide variety of movies to choose from, ranging from bloody slashers to psychological thrillers and everything you can imagine in between.

I’ve never been a big fan of watching scary stuff, but I do enjoy reading horror sometimes. But usually I stick to the classics, like Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein” or Bram Stoker’s “Dracula” or anything by Edgar Allen Poe. (Speaking of Poe, I hear that Netflix will be streaming a mini-series adaptation of Poe’s story “The Fall of the House of Usher” soon.)

If media that’ll give you nightmares isn’t your cup of tea, there are other Halloween season shows and movies that you can watch with the whole family, like “The Nightmare before Christmas” and “Over the Garden Wall.” I recommend both!

The nice thing about Halloween is that it’s often inextricably linked with other autumn-related activities, like hayrides and eating candy apples. Pumpkins are in season, so it’s the perfect time to practice your jack-o-lantern carving skills. Plenty of local businesses have them for sale, so buying a few pumpkins (just in case you mess up the first attempt) will support local business!

Lastly – and I think this is the most fun of all – you can celebrate the holiday all month long by cooking up some Halloween-themed foods (or, of course, baking up some sweet treats). I have done this myself a few times before, like making stuffed peppers with little jack-o-lantern faces carved in the peppers and “mummified” hotdogs that are wrapped in dough.

I’ve seen plenty of other ideas online that maybe I’ll get a chance to try out one day, such as creating a ghostly-looking pizza or throwing together a charcuterie board that looks like a graveyard. There are plenty of suggestions out there if you look, and many are perfect for creating together with family and friends.

Halloween isn’t a big holiday where people travel to visit family or use it as an excuse to vacation or mark some historic occasion. But that doesn’t matter. If it’s a holiday you want to celebrate, no one’s going to stop you!

Just remember to have a bone-chilling and hair-raising time in whatever you decide to do this month!

Holly Taylor is a Staff Writer for Roanoke-Chowan Publications. Contact her at or 252-332-7206.