Ahh, fall. For some, the changing leaves, the crisp air, and the smell of pumpkin everywhere is all that they need to feel happy. For others, fall is merely a backdrop to the main event: spooky season! It's the time of year where Halloween lovers finally get to do all the things they love, from the cute and fun to the blood-curdling. Make the most of your fall months by creating a Halloween bucket list, so you can do everything you want to do and more!
Halloween Bucket List
So many Halloween activities, so little time. Whether they're yearly traditions or new things you're dying to try, a Halloween bucket list is just the ticket to map out the next few months and fill your creepy little cup 'til it runneth over. Ghoulish gatherings, tricks and treats, ghost hunting — add all these and more to your to-boo list!
Make a Creepy Cocktail or Mortifying Mocktail
Nothing like a batch of potion to knock your striped socks off, am I right? Seriously, I'm excited to make some spooky Halloween cocktails this year. With so many cool recipes, I might have to try a different drink (including mocktails) every few days!
Transform Your Home Into a Haunted Haven
Take your home from splendid summer to a ghostly oasis to really get into the spirit. This is usually #1 on my list each year. Might as well have as much time with my Halloween decor as possible, you know? It also doesn't have to be expensive — dollar stores carry lots of eerie and affordable accents for your abode.
Watch a Scary Movie
Rewatch a favorite classic of yours, or dare to try something different and unusual. I like a good balance of both, and once October hits, I don't go a day without watching something spooky or Halloweeny!
Make a DIY Halloween Candle
Halloween candles are a must, and there are some cool DIY-options so you can add creepy luminaries to your collection!
Go to a Haunted Forest
Haunted forests are the best. You know, the kind where the college kids dress up as monsters and release all of their semester stress by scaring the bejeezus out of you? If there's a good one within a few hours, make it a full-day fall outing with cider mills and pumpkin patches. It's worth the drive!
Learn Your Town or State's Haunted History
It can be really interesting to dive into your area's dark past and find out about any local hauntings. Supposedly, there are ghosts in the new neighborhood I just moved into. Perfect!
Go Halloween Camping
Some campgrounds and state parks do yearly Halloween celebrations where people bring their camp set ups and then put up Halloween decorations for a big outdoor Halloween party. Look up "Halloween camping" in your state to find out if you can get in on the fun!
Buy a New Halloween Sweater
Add to your seasonal style collection with a new Halloween sweater. There are so many to choose from now that fit whatever your vibe is, from cute to creepy.
Go for a Cemetery Walk
There's nothing like strolling through a cemetery on a chilly autumn day to help you feel closer to the spirit world (and I mean that in the most respectful way).
Do a Halloween Gingerbread House
You've probably seen the spooky Halloween gingerbread house kits in your grocery store popping up in late summer. This is an easy way to have some Halloween fun this fall!
Send a Boo Gift
Start or participate in a "Boo gift" exchange amongst friends and neighbors. You anonymously deliver a gift basket to a friend with a note explaining to them how to pass on the fun, and hope the gift chain keeps on going! Imagine Secret Santa, but with an added touch of spooky.
Stay the Night in a Scarebnb
Did you know you can stay in purposefully creepy vacation rentals? Some people have figured out that there's a market of folks like us who would intentionally like to spend their relaxation time surrounded by scary things.
Host a Halloween Cookie Exchange
Cookie exchanges aren't just for December holidays! Start a new tradition with your family and friends by hosting an annual Halloween cookie exchange. There are so many creative and terrifying treat ideas, you could even make it into a contest.
Get a Pumpkin Spice Latte
If being basic is wrong, I don't want to be right. PSL's are delicious every year, and now they come in options like cold brews with pumpkin spice foam — so there's something for everybody!
Try the Thrift Store Ghost Painting Trend
There's a new TikTok trend of buying a scenic painting for cheap from the thrift store and adding your own ghostly touch, and I'm totally here for it. I'm keeping my eye out for a good one next time I go to the thrift store.
Throw a Super-Scary Halloween Party
I feel like I never have a good adult Halloween party to go to, so it might be up to me this year to make it happen. Time to put all those scary decorations to good use with a fright fest and all my favorite people who are as into Halloween as I am!
Make Your Own Mulled Wine
What's cozier on a crisp autumn eve than a warm glass of mulled wine? This beverage is simple to make and warms you up from the inside out.
Go on a Ghost Tour
Whenever I travel somewhere new and they have a ghost tour, I'm doing it. How else will I get to know the local haunts? Walking tours will help you get your steps in, but some larger cities offer bus tours to help you see it all.
Make Caramel Apples at Home
Caramel apples are so simple to make, and they taste just like childhood. If you're up for it, go for more extravagant designs using sprinkles or nuts. Kids will love to get in on this messy activity!
Check Out the Neighbors' Decorations
Part of the fun of putting up outdoor Halloween decorations is the unspoken competition of who did it best. Walk around your neighborhood or drive around town to see who has the most impressive and scariest yard setup.
Play a Harmless Halloween Prank
Visit a Haunted Place
America's got some seriously haunted locations, and many Halloween lovers like to add these to their travel itineraries, even if it's just a quick drive-by and photo op.
Learn About Halloween Myths & Superstitions
Are you a true Halloween stan if you don't know all the superstitions and myths? I'm not saying you have to dive into all the urban legends — but I am saying it's a lot of fun and a good way to spend your lunch break.
Discover the History of Halloween
Along with Halloween superstitions and legends, spend some time learning about why we celebrate Halloween and its history. This will help you appreciate it even more, and will give you new fun facts to share.
Hold a Séance
For those of you who want to get closer to the spirit world, consider holding a séance with a few trusted friends. This isn't an activity for everybody, but if you're interested, it can be worth trying out during the time of year when the spirit world is more accessible.
Learn About Witchcraft
Again, this one's probably not for everybody, but if you're intrigued by the world of witchcraft, why not learn what it's really about? You might be surprised that it's not exactly what you imagined!
Get a Costume for Your Pet
Pet costumes are so creative now, it's easy to find something that suits your pet's personality (and tolerance for wearing things).
Attend a Halloween Festival
There are some infamous Halloween and horror fests in the U.S. that are what nightmares are made of! Some amusement parks like Cedar Point and Disney World totally transform into spooky Halloween parks.
Go to a Cider Mill
If you're looking for something lighter than séances and witchcraft, a pleasant trip to the cider mill should be on your Halloween bucket list. I know I start craving cinnamon sugar donuts as soon as September hits.
Make Pumpkin Soup
You know all those pumpkin guts you get from carving a pumpkin? You can process that into a pumpkin puree and turn it into a soup! Or, just buy canned puree. Either way, pumpkin soup is one of the top autumn meals.
Write a Scary Story
Let your creative creepiness fly free this Halloween by writing your own scary stories. You can write these just for yourself or to share with others and give them the heeby jeebies. Just make sure you light a candle and write in a dimly lit room on a stormy night.
Attend a Murder Mystery Dinner
Murder mystery dinners are fun, interactive events in which you solve a mystery while also enjoying a delicious meal. They aren't exclusive to Halloween, but if there's any time of year to do one, it's fall!
Have a Halloween Potluck
And if you don't feel like throwing a super scary party, make it a more casual get-together where everyone brings a Halloween dish to pass, potluck-style. This is a great excuse to get together and play some hauntingly fun Halloween games.
Try a Bewitching Makeup Look
Decorate Your Porch
There are so many adorable ways to decorate your porch for Halloween, from the truly terrifying to a sweeter, less scary approach.
Create Your Dream Spooky Playlist
While you're working on those spooky stories, you might want to create a playlist with all of your favorite October tunes. Horror movie soundtracks (like Tubular Bells from The Exorcist or the Halloween theme) are a great place to start!
Make Your Own Costume
When's the last time you made a Halloween costume from scratch? Give it a try this year, even if you're repurposing items from your closet or the thrift store. You'll feel so accomplished once your costume is complete, and you can have full bragging rights while you're wearing it.
Visit Salem, MA
This one should be on every Halloween enthusiast's bucket list. I went with my husband on Halloween for our honeymoon, and it was a pretty magical experience. From the history of the town to the natural beauty of the surrounding areas, and of course, being surrounded by a bunch of people just like me, this is a trip I can't wait to do again some day.
Bob for Apples
Whether you're throwing your own party or attending one, if you have the chance to bob for apples, go for it! You'll feel just like a kid again. Just try not to think about how many people's mouths might have touched the same apples... Now that's truly terrifying.
Read a Scary Book
Growing up, one of my favorite fall activities was getting home from school, making a cup of tea, and curling up in my chair with a good Stephen King book. It's harder to find the time to build such a perfectly cozy moment in my adult life, which is why reading a scary book is going on my Halloween bucket list this year.
Do a Halloween Craft
Crafting always puts me in a super festive mood, no matter what holiday it's for. And it's so fun to make a Halloween decoration you can have for years that'll always remind you of the fun you had with your family or friends .
Explore a Scary Corn Maze
Tall stalks of corn you can potentially get lost in or run into an axe-wielding murderer? Sign me up.
Go to the Pumpkin Patch
Fall isn't complete without a trip to your favorite pumpkin patch. Stock up on different colors and sizes to make a beautiful display, before and after carving!
Do a Halloween Manicure
Get you a frighteningly fresh set this fall. You can get your nails done professionally or try out different colors and designs at home. I'm totally up for this challenge.
Pumpkin Carving Contest
Pumpkin carving is an obvious choice for your Halloween bucket list, but kick it up a notch and turn it into a contest. You can go big with this and invite lots of people to join in, with prizes to the winners for different categories (most creative, scariest, most beautiful, etc).
Roast Pumpkin Seeds
Once you've carved up those pumpkins, roast the leftover pumpkin seeds in the oven for a delicious and healthy autumn snack.
Make an Autumn Blanket
You can knit, crochet, or use a different method to make a cozy fall or Halloween-themed blanket. The changing weather makes it the perfect time to add some more coziness to your life.
Host an Outdoor Scary Movie Night
Pick a night to invite your friends over for an outdoor scary move night. Set up the projector for lawn viewing or just bring a TV onto your back porch to keep it simple. I like picking movies with outdoorsy themes (like Friday the 13th) to amp up the scares.
Tell Ghost Stories Around a Fire
Nothing says "spooky season" like sitting around a bonfire reading scary ghost stories to frighten your friends.
Make a Bone-Chilling Charcuterie Board
Charcuterie is already made up of the perfect meaty ingredients to create something that looks truly terrifying and hits all the savory, salty, and sweet snacks. Get creative and wow (or horrify) your guests.
Spend the Night in a Haunted Hotel
For you brave souls, plan a weekend to stay the night in a haunted hotel. While it would be absolutely terrifying to actually witness some paranormal activity, just knowing the ghosts could be watching you will make for a super creepy stay (in a good way).
Host a Halloween Baking Party
Learn to Play or Sing Your Favorite Halloween Songs
For any musicians out there, you'll love getting to sing or play your favorite Halloween tunes, whether it's a famous horror movie score or a sing-along jam like "Monster Mash."
Go Ghost Hunting
This is not for the faint of heart, but if you're really looking to get scared this October, do some ghost hunting of your own. You'll need permission to explore whatever haunted spaces you're interested in, or you could even hire a professional paranormal investigator to guide you.
A Boo-tastic Bucket List
September and October go by fast, so it's crucial for us die-hard Halloweeners to get our fix of all things spooky before time's up. Figure out which items belong on your Halloween bucket list, and get started living your best life!