We’re halfway through this Twilight Zone episode known as the year 2020. I think all of us could use a little holiday spirit to lighten the mood. Many people like to celebrate “Christmas in July,” but some of us prefer Halloween. After all, why celebrate such a great holiday only once a year? Here are five ways to (safely) celebrate Halloween this month:

  1. Go for A Cemetery Scavenger Hunt

This is fun alone or in a small group. Cemeteries might be associated with ghosts, but they also house some fascinating history and quirky epitaphs. Do a quick search to find out about notable cemetery residents in your town and then go on a scavenger hunt. You could include things like “grave of a famous person,” “a name that starts with x,” “a gravestone with a strange symbol on it,” “a military headstone,” etc. You might be able to find all these at one big cemetery or drive around to a few. 

Give everyone involved a paper with the things they should find and set a time limit at each cemetery. Whoever checks off the most items first wins. You might have to agree on some rules like no reusing the headstone that you just saw your friend at. 

In some places, you might be able to get specific with your “famous people” category. Utah is the final resting place of inventors, actors, artists, war heroes, and Wild West outlaws. Consider making a category for all the types of famous people that are buried in your nearby cemeteries. This can be a fun way to learn about your town’s history. 

2.Bake Some Halloween Treats

If you are still under quarantine, then the chances are that you have plenty of time on your hands and an urge to stress eat. What better way to satisfy that urge than with some Halloween goodies. If you are baking by yourself, then you can look at this as a practice run for Halloween in October when hopefully, fingers crossed, you’ll be able to bake for your friends. 

Cook up some of your favorites from previous years or try something new. If you’re really bored, you could create an artistic masterpiece. For those of you who are serious about making intricate, detailed desserts check out Deceptive Desserts: A Lady’s Guide to Baking Bad by Christine McConnel. You may be familiar with her from her Netflix show, The Curious Creations of Christine McConnell (now sadly canceled). If you are, then you know that everything she makes is technically challenging but also amazing. You could impress all your Facebook friends with a picture of your haunted house cake or scare your family with caramel nut brown recluse spiders. 

For quick and easy recipes check out Good Housekeeping’s website. Pinterest is also a great resource, but you already knew that.

3.Get a Headstart on Halloween Crafts

Maybe this is the year that you finally learn how to make a corset or master that decoration you saw Martha Stewart make once. July is the perfect time to start making your costumes and decorations for Halloween. Worst-case scenario, if Halloween 2020 doesn’t pan out, there’s always next year, and you could have the most elaborate costume of them all. Halloween is more fun if you don’t feel rushed to get things ready, and sometimes it’s nice to spread out the spending as well. 

Start by taking stock of what you already have on hand. You might be able to dismantle some old costumes and use the materials for new ones. Then buy whatever you still need and get to sewing. Don’t forget to make a Pinterest board of makeup looks go with your costume and start practicing the techniques. 

If you have kids, it can be fun to see what sorts of ideas they can come up with for costumes using materials you have around the house. Think cardboard, egg cartons, milk cartons, newspapers, etc. 

For home decor type crafts, you can also utilize many materials you already have. Check out this great article from Sweety High for a list of easy-to-make decorations, including hanging witch legs made with striped stockings, an umbrella, and high heels. 

4.Start on your Halloween “To-Read” List

There are too many great horror novels out there to read in October alone. Get a start on your reading list now, and you’ll probably have time to explore some new titles and reread some old favorites. You could theme your reading by picking up books that take place in the summer and then ones that take place in the fall as Halloween nears. Or you could read all classics or all-new books by your favorite authors. Just do whatever is fun for you. Here are some of our favorite horror stories that take place during the summer:

The Girls by Emma Cline

This New York Time’s bestseller is a fictional take on the cult of the Manson Family and the brutal real-life events of the summer of 1969.

The Summer That Melted Everything by Tiffany McDaniel

In the midst of a heatwave during the summer of 1984, a little boy claiming to be the devil comes to a small town in Ohio.

Jaws by Peter Benchley

The book that inspired the famous film, but the shark in the book is way more terrifying than the mechanical one in the movie. 

5.Try an Escape Room

It’s hard to find places to go right now, and most spots that require group involvement are closed. Here in Utah, some escape room venues like Castle of Chaos and Alcatraz Escape Games are offering private escape room experiences. They sanitize between groups, so grab your healthy friends and family and go out and have some creepy fun. 

Escape rooms are the perfect escape right now because you won’t be able to stress about anything other than finding the clues to win the game. Especially with most theatres still closed, this is a great way to beat the heat and get out of the house this month.