Columns > Published on October 24th, 2018

Halloween Vibes: Build Your Perfect Night at Home

In a way, I’ve grown to love it when Halloween is on a weekday. The parties are usually the weekend before, so I get the weeknight of the actual holiday all to myself while I wait for trick-or-treaters. (So basically, a second private Halloween.) Whether your personal Halloween is alone, with someone special, or at home with the whole family, here are some pre-picked ideas on how to get the vibes you’re going for this Wednesday night.


Listen to: “Thriller” by Michael Jackson. Bonus points for learning the moves and dancing along.

Eat: A grotesque, cute, funny, or weird party tray of your size and choosing. (Party trays ain’t just for parties, I say.) I like this simple, elegant but fun charcuterie board, but then I’m a sucker for a good charcuterie board.

Drink: Shrunken Heads Cider

Watch: Halloween. (Duh.)

Read: “The Raven” by Edgar Allan Poe (or any of these spooky poems). Definitely worth reading out loud—even if you’re alone.

Do: Carve pumpkins! You can even roast the pumpkin seeds and add them to your party board.


Listen to: “Monster Mash” is silly good fun.

Eat: You really can’t go wrong with Mummy Wrapped Hot Dogs but there are also all of the body part sides, like grape eyeballs, gummy worm guts, popcorn-filled glove hands, etc. Depending on the age of your kids, generally the grosser the better.

Drink: Goosebumps Halloween Punch

Watch: The Nightmare Before Christmas

Read: My short story “Jack and the Bad Man” (listen or read with illustrations). Safe for most kids, but if you have a lil’ scaredy cat you might want to pre-read to be sure.

Do: Bake Gooey Monster Cookies together—maybe while you listen to “Jack and the Bad Man” and the “Monster Mash.”


Listen to: “I Put a Spell on You.” There are about fifty covers of this, so sample several and pick your poison.

Eat: Strawberry Ghosts. Like chocolate covered strawberries for Valentine’s, but spooky.

Drink: The Witch’s Heart cocktail. Presentation is everything.

Watch: Jennifer’s Body

Read: Interview with the Vampire (or your sexy monster of choice)

Do: Spin the bottle? Play dress up? Whatever it is, it should probably involve lots of candles and maybe a fireplace. (Fire, she says. There should be fire.)


Listen to: “Haunted House” by Gene Simmons. There are a whole bunch of kitschy-cute rockabilly Halloween covers from the 50’s and 60’s, but this is one of my favorites. It’s so pure.

Eat: Stuffed Jack O’ Peppers

Drink: Candy Corn Jell-O Cocktails

Watch: Young Frankenstein. A perennial favorite comedy, but especially fun on Halloween. The scene with the hand, the candleschticks, the infinite quotability: you can't go wrong!

Read: “The Monkey’s Paw” by W. W. Jacobs. It’s a fine line between relish and kitsch, isn’t it? This one walks it in a good way, I think. A fun classic.

Do: Build a blanket fort. String it with orange twinkle lights and fill it with your favorite creepy-cute décor. This goes especially well with watching Young Frankenstein (or any movie, really).

Lazy (Easy)

Listen to: Whichever Halloween station pops up first on Pandora. Or one of these cool horror podcasts.

Eat: Order pizza. (Do it early or have a snack while you wait; it’ll be a slow, busy night for deliveries.) Put a note in the “requests” field to have your toppings in the shape of a jack-o-lantern face. Finish it off with whatever Halloween candy you bought for trick-or-treaters.

Drink: Pumpkin ale!

Watch: Whatever’s on Netflix.

Read: Any of these free dark stories right on your phone.

Do: Nothing. Snuggle up under a blanket. Give out candy to trick-or-treaters (or leave a bucket by the door). Stay up late, go to bed early, whatever; you do you, baby. So long as it’s fun.

And of course, all of these choices can be adjusted to suit your tastes and the specific vibe you’re going for this Halloween. If you think Jennifer’s Body is too disturbing to be sexy, switch to Rocky Horror or whatever flips your switch. If you’re bored with the original Halloween, make a date to go see the new one in theaters. If you’re all about food but don’t drink, skip the booze and mix up some culinary masterpieces instead. My thinking is that anything you do should be fun or what's the point? As long as you do something a little bit special to mark the holiday, it’ll be a good one.

Whatever you do and however you do it, I hope you very much enjoy your night. What will you be doing to celebrate this Halloween?

About the author

Annie Neugebauer likes to make things as challenging as possible for herself by writing horror, poetry, literary, and speculative fiction—often blended together in ways ye olde publishing gods have strictly forbidden. She’s a two-time Bram Stoker Award-nominated author with work appearing and forthcoming in more than a hundred publications, including magazines such as Cemetery Dance, Apex, and Black Static, as well as anthologies such as Year’s Best Hardcore Horror Volumes 3 & 4 and #1 Amazon bestsellers Killing It Softly and Fire. She’s an active member of the Horror Writers Association, and in addition to LitReactor, a columnist for Writer Unboxed. She’s represented by Alec Shane of Writers House. She needs to make new friends because her current ones are tired of hearing about House of Leaves. You can visit her at for news, poems, organizational tools for writers, and more.

Reedsy Marketplace UI

1 million authors trust the professionals on Reedsy. Come meet them.

Enter your email or get started with a social account: