This is always the toughest part of the year for all us here at I Love Halloween: the day after Halloween. The costumes are going back into the closet, the decorations are going back into their boxes and, creeping into the stores like kudzu, the chilling specter of Christmas begins stalking the world.
But take heart! While Halloween is just a day in the calendar, the spirit of Halloween lives all year 'round and you can keep the jack o' lantern candle lit with a few of these fun suggestions.
1) Raid the Halloween Stores
Most of your neighborhood pop-up Halloween stores do not want to haul all their extra stock back to the warehouse, and they often offer deep discounts on their unsold stock. While many stores look like tornados hit them after Halloween, you can often find great discounts on otherwise pricey decorations and animated props!
2) Start Building Props For Your Haunted House!
Homemade haunted houses - known colloquially as "haunts" - are becoming one of the biggest craft hobbies out there. A lot of people build elaborate mazes for the neighborhood guests to explore and craft elaborate displays in their front yards for people to enjoy!
Some of these projects can look large and intimidating, but there's nothing to it but to do it. There are dozens of how-to videos online that can walk you through the process step by step and you can become quite handy making your own decorations. Next year, you can be ready for the season with decorations you can be proud of.
3) Start a "12 Months Until Halloween" Scary Book Club
The horror genre has a rich literary tradition and spellbinding new books are released every year. Why not explore it while making new friends at your very own horror book club! Contact your friends and family to find others with interest in the macabre, ask them to invite their friends, and pick a series of books to read. The classics like Frankenstein and Dracula are always good choices, the back catalogue of Stephen King has tons of fantastic material, and you can get great suggestions from winners of the Horror Writer's Associations Stoker Award winners. Serve some gruesome treats at the party and enjoy the scares!
4) Get Inspiration By Checking Out Halloween Around The World
The joy of Halloween is universal and it has begun spreading to countries around the world. It can be really fun to see how other cultures celebrate the event. From the Halloween parties of France and Japan to similar events like Dia De Los Muertos in Mexico, there are many ways to enjoy the macabre.
5) Eat All The Candy You Can (Or Donate The Excess)
For a lot of people, especially kids, Halloween is a chance to live in a permanent sugar rush by consuming as much candy as possible! It can be a lot of fun to indulge your sweet tooth, however most of us have our limits. So why not let that excess candy go to good use and donate the rest? There are a lot of sick kids out there who couldn't go Trick or Treating and there are a lot of deployed soldiers who would LOVE a care package. So pack up the rest of your candy, put a copy of "Scary Stories to Tell In The Dark" on top, and send it off!
6) Study The History of Your Local Cemetery
For the more morbidly inclined among us, a great historical project is to find out the interesting stories behind your local cemetery. Every grave tells a story, and local heroes, celebrities, notorious villains, and heads of state often lay side by side at your neighborhood graveyard and there is often a historical society who would love to share those stories with you. So look into local tours and see what you can dig up (heh heh heh).
7) Organize A Ghost Hunt
Halloween is one day, but haunted places are year 'round!
Whether you're a believer or a skeptic, it's nice to go to places with a haunted history, hear the tales behind what happened to these accursed places, and share a few shivers together. Contact your local historical society or ghost hunting group for safe, legal places you can explore, pack some cameras and warm clothes, and enjoy living your very own scary movie!
8) Have A Good Long Cry
There's no way around it, the day after Halloween sucks. We have to wait a long time before the world comes back around to our point of view. Grieve for awhile, but then remember that it's up to us to keep the world scary and magical for another year.