It has been a stressful year so far and now, more than ever, I’m counting down the days until Halloween. My current self-care method is creating short-lived Halloween celebrations in between my mundane work hours and depressing news. The following are some suggestions for what I call “Halloween self-care,” or ways to cheer yourself up with the magic of Halloween.
Watch this History Channel special on Halloween from the 90s.
Have you picked out a costume? Are you making your own? Well, get to work.
Make Halloween-shaped cookies (or your favorite Halloween dessert).
Have a Halloween movie marathon (while eating your favorite candy).
Look up all the haunted locations in your city/town and state. There might be some books on the subject at your local library. Visit if you want, but don’t trespass, break laws, or cause damage.
Watch this 1980s animation of Camille Saint-Saëns’ Danse Macabre. Did anyone else watch this during music class when they were a kid?
Read your favorite scary story from childhood. Mine was The Yellow Ribbon.
Listen to Snap Judgement’s annual Halloween special, “Spooked.” This podcast shares true spooky stories every Halloween and it never fails to give me goosebumps. I recommend starting with “Spooked IV.”
Write a journal entry about your favorite Halloween memory from childhood.
Wear last year’s Halloween costume while you do the dishes.
Every year, Jezebel asks their readers to share their true scary stories in the comments. I have links to every year on my Resources page (I recommend starting with the early years), and I have also shared a lot of my favorites in my old Weekly Yuputka series.
Follow a Halloween-themed Instagram account (like this or this).
Make your favorite fall beverage, put it in a travel mug, and visit your favorite local cemetery. You might do some research beforehand using the Find a Grave website or app. If you are into symbols, The Cemetery Club has a great guide on gravestone symbolism.
Make pumpkin bread pudding (add ice cream or homemade cinnamon whipped cream) and eat it while watching Practical Magic or Hocus Pocus. It’s like a hug.
Practice your Halloween make-up and send a selfie to all your friends without warning.
Write a journal entry about your ideal Halloween day.
Ask your parents, grandparents, or older friends about their childhood Halloween memories. Record them if possible.
Share ghost stories with friends around a bonfire. Your own Midnight Society.
Watch the Halloween episodes of your favorite TV shows.
Read some Ray Bradbury. Here’s 10 tales by Ray Bradbury to get you into the Halloween spirit.
Look up pictures of pets in Halloween costumes.
Treat yourself to spooky scented candles. I recommend supporting Burke & Hare Co and Witch City Wicks.
Make Halloween cards for your distant friends and relatives (hold off on sending them until closer to the date). Maybe you can use these creepy vintage cards for inspiration (or…not).
Invite your friends over to watch The Craft and then play Light as a Feather, Stiff as a Board.
Start a commonplace book for Halloween topics. You might start with Halloween folklore and origins. The following links might be a good start.
Watch Caitlin Doughty’s Ask a Mortician Halloween special.
Read this list of 31 Ghosts.
Learn about Halloween folklore and superstitions from #FolkloreThursday.
Make a spooky Halloween playlist for your commute. It could be literal. It could be classical. It could be Nick Cave. It could be witchy Stevie Nicks. You do you.
Look up some Halloween New Yorker cartoons.
When Halloween does come around, buy all the stickers, pencils, and other office supplies and use them all year round. I usually hit up the dollar bins or the sales the day after Halloween.
Have something I can add to the list? Tell me in the comments!