For this year’s Halloween Giveaway, I requested that all entries submit a personal Halloween tradition. From movie marathons and candy to pumpkin patches and old-school memories, reading through these gave me instant holiday warm and fuzzies. THANK YOU.
From where I stand, Halloween has always been an essential holiday—as it has for most of you. Whether it was costume-making or parties, it’s often been part of significant moments in my life. (Case in point: Johnny, the other half of Bloody Popcorn, and I first became friends at a Halloween party.)
So, every year, we exchange goodie bags—think Christmas stockings, but spookier. And now that we have kids, we give them the same. On Halloween night, we eat pizza and take the little ones trick-or-treating. After the sugar high wear off, and the kids drift off to dream of pumpkins and candy corn, Johnny and I settle in for our annual viewing of Trick ‘r Treat.
I know as our boys get older, our traditions will evolve—for better or worse—but it’s a living, breathing thing. And that’s actually a very comforting thing. Halloween is alive.
With that, enjoy these traditions from our readers—and be sure to visit their website(s) and follow them on Twitter!
Congrats to Our Contest Winner:
“I attend the Exhumed Films 24 Hour Horrorthon in late October. It is half birthday present to myself and half celebration of Halloween. We eat monster cereal in the morning during the show, enjoy food truck food and guess the movies from a series of hints. I’ve made the best of friends there and consider the Exhumed Films folks to be the four horseman of Halloween.” – James, Doc Terror, @DOCTERROR_COM
What to Watch:
“Every Halloween I watch all the Universal Studios Monster Movie Classics that includes Frankenstein, Dracula, The Wolfman, The Mummy, The Creature from the Black Lagoon, and others!” – Ronald, @Haunted_Lair
“Watching Charlie Brown and Garfield on Halloween night. EVERY. YEAR.” – Chad, @Horrormoviebbq
The Garfield Halloween special was a VERY popular call-out! Thanks for keeping the nostalgia alive, friends!
“Watch Trick R Treat on a projector, worship my black cat Pablo, and eat candy until I puke!!! (Or maybe that was the Jameson shots)” – Weston
“Watching the Roseanne Halloween DVD while handing out candy to trick-or-treaters. Then after that’s finished, turning off the lights and eating candy while watching It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown by jack-o-lantern light.” – Brandon, @brandmed
“It’s a more recent Halloween tradition for me but I like to pick out a few foreign horror films I’ve never watched before and marathon them. I usually follow it up with a few of my favorite foreign horror films.” – Paul, @scoochslam
“One of my favorite traditions is having a retro horror movie marathon. I sync up old school TV Halloween episodes from such shows like Night Gallery, Friday the 13th the series, The Twilight Zone, Monsters, Tales from the Darkside, Freddy’s Nightmares, etc. Then I pop in some old school VHS tapes (The Nest, The Kindred, Ghoulies II) Before finishing off with The Midnight Hour (1985) one of the best horror/Halloween movies made!!!” – Stacy, @Staystillreviews
“Me and the missus watch Halloween 2 while painting up, then move onto The Office Halloween specials while filling up trick or treat bags with all of our favorite candy. Then relaxing watching the Halloween Tree followed by Trick r treat. At 10.30pm we realize no trick or treater’s have been, We break open the trick or treat bags in bed and binge watch Are you afraid of the Dark till sleep.” – John, @john_nicholson_
“I treat October like it’s a Horror Movie Celebration Month. I watch Horror films every day and encourage people to do the same. Horror films are treated like the unpopular kid at school all year round. Then, in October, it becomes cool to watch Horror films and spooky decorations pop up in people’s yards and stores everywhere. I wish it was always like this, but I guess we can’t live in a Tim Burton film. On the holiday itself, I have attended parties but like the geeky nerd that I am, I usually stay home and overdose on Horror films. Here’s my fake tradition (Maybe one day a real one): I spend the day pretending I’m in an actual Horror film. This year, I will pretend I’m in The Blob. I’m stocking up on a lot of Grape Jelly.” – Isaac, @Isaac’s Haunted Beard
When you do pretend you’re in The Blob, I expect pictures.
“The only tradition I have is to watch Poltergeist and Jaws on Halloween Day. They were my first ‘Scary’ movies I saw as a kid with my Dad. Because they were his favorites I have watched them every year since he passed 4 years ago.” – Chabe, @chabe_latortuga
“My dad used to portray the Halloween Ghost, and like the Easter Bunny, would hide gifts in the yard. The difference being, I had to search for them at night.” – Phillip,@philmfaisstival
Well, this is just delightful.
“I don’t have many traditions now really other than decorating but when I was younger one of the best things was having a party at my grandparents’ house. My grandpap would always put up his own scarecrow with a really creepy mask that we all got a kick out of. We’d spray colored stuff in our hair, paint our faces, eat candy and just have a blast. This time of year always makes me think of those amazing times my brother, cousins and I had as kids. Halloween is my favorite holiday and I know my love for it came about early on because of those parties.” – Mindy, @brightmanite
Friends & Family:
“This is a new tradition for me. I met my wife around 6 years ago. When that happened I suddenly had a daughter to spend time with at my favorite time of year. We really bonded over Hocus Pocus and Halloweentown. Even though she has moved out now. Watching these with my wife still reminds me of those times.” – Jordan, @EuckerJordan
“It’s the newest one, but my favorite tradition is decorating the house with my girlfriend. It’s our first place together and I love having someone to celebrate with” – Jeremy, @JBonezy
“For the past five years I Skype with my daughter who lives across the country and I go Trick or Treat with her. I do everything via live stream. Heck, I even go costume shopping with her online!” – Christopher, @TheIrishonFire
“Inviting all my friends over to watch scary movies, drink spooky drinks and eat… PIZZA! The scariest food of all.” – Jimmy, @jimmychampane
“At my house we treat Halloween like Christmas. We decorate a tree and exchange presents. We cook a huge meal and watch horror movies together with the entire family.Halloween is my favorite time of the year and I enjoy celebrating it with family and friends.” – Donny, @donny_broussard
“Favorite Tradition: Nothing beats the intense candy negotiations that take place after my cousins have gone house to house scoring their loot. It always gives me a sense of how Carter must have felt during the Camp David Accords.” – Elizabeth, @lizzyerwin
“We as a family black out all our street facing windows so we dont get bothered by trick or treaters. We the settle down with snacks and pizza and watch as many scary/horror movie as we possibly can.” – Bill, @bnchile4444
Sam would not be pleased, Bill. You can’t ignore the trick-or-treaters!
It’s for the kids (kind of):
“It’s going to sound dull, but my favorite tradition is to stay home and hand out candy. I always had a blast visiting cool houses as a kid, so now I get most excited to decorate the balcony/yard and help neighborhood kids have a good holiday!” – Alexandra
Not dull at all!
“Corpses and gravestones litter the yard, along with a fog machine, strobe lights, and a boombox blasting the soundtrack to the film Halloween. All the kiddies must make their way past these things to receive their ‘treats.’” – Joseph, @BubbaZombieTrkr
“Well, the actual day of Halloween the hubs and I dress up and hand out candy then we spend the rest of the night watching a bunch of horror movies and then falling asleep, because you know, we’re old.” – Nicole
I appreciate the honesty.
“Honestly, my Halloween tradition is buying candy for trick or treaters, and eating it all myself before Halloween. I never really plan it that way, but it always ends up happening. I can only blame myself; I am weak.” – Jess, @kidneyboy79
Again, I appreciate the honesty.
Out and About:
“I dress in the craziest costume I can build and go to Salem Mass every Halloween. Morning til night. I’ve been doing this for the past 10 years. I can’t imagine doing anything else on that day ever again.” – Thomas, @tommyizasicko
“Every October, I use some of my vacation time the last 2 weekends. I will get together with friends and we’ll go to different Halloween events. We always go to 2 in particular. We live near the haunted house that FX master Robert Kurtzman puts on and a farm where you can pick pumpkins, chuck pumpkins, shoot corn, eat pumpkin ice cream and drink fresh apple cider and enter a corn maze for a chance at prizes. We always also watch horror movies of course and all chip in to create goody bags since we are way too old for trick or treating.” – Amanda
“My Halloween tradition is one that began a few years ago with my girlfriend. We were tired of going to the same old popular pumpkin patch and wanted to spice it up a bit. We had found a listing for one a few more miles away but decided to take the trip anyway. When we got there it was like a scene out of a backwoods horror flick. No houses around and we had to turn down a backroad. We finally reached an old farm house with a table set up front. I had seen enough of these movies to know better but we were intrigued anyway. A little old lady, sweet as can be, came outside and told us her husband would be around with the tractor soon. Sure enough, he came around and took us to some of the best looking pumpkins I’ve seen. On the way home we came across a church camp’s fall festival that reminded me of the Jonestown Massacre, like out of the Sacrament. Everyone seemed just a little too happy or nice but we had a good time. Every year we find out when this festival is and we make a day out of it. It just goes to show that weird little trips can lead to fun and important traditions!” – Dylan, @TheDylanLyles
“Visit a spooky graveyard after dark.” – Brian, @bmsallee
“I’m disabled and unable to do a lot of the things I would love to do, so my favorite tradition has become the Dinosaur Dracula Halloween countdown, living vicariously through him, and getting as much seasonal junk food as I can.” – Teddy, @TeddyRay1
“It’s not easy to narrow it down to one, so I won’t. Like any Halloween-obsessed weirdo such as myself, I get into all the usual Halloween traditions, such as watching horrors movies and Halloween-themed TV specials/shows (especially Roseanne), carving pumpkins, decorating, and drinking and eating any and all Halloween-themed beverages and junk foods. Seriously, you can toss some spooky marshmallows skeletons into the worst cereal, and I would eat it right up. I’ve also grown very fond of Chucktober, which is an annual, month-long blog tradition over at my website Chuck Norris Ate My Baby (I swear that’s not a plug. Maybe.). During Chucktober, I dedicate the entire month to all things Halloween and horror. This is my 8th year doing it, so yeah, it’s always a huge part of my Halloween season. I also have a daughter who is about to turn 2 this month, and I’m really excited about sharing my usual Halloween traditions as well as coming up with new ones to share with her as she grows up.” – Matthew, @Mattsuzaka
“Man there are just so many that bring me joy; the Sexy Armpit Halloween specials, listening to a Halloween playlist of songs, tromping through the pumpkin patch, but to hone in on one, I’m going to have to say that one of my very favorite Halloween traditions is carving the jack o lantern. I know I know, not terribly unique, but my god, it hits just about all the senses with such intensity and pure joy for me. Just as much carving it also is sketching different ideas and choosing my favorite. It’s not just ‘here’s some triangles and I’m done’, each year I choose a new friend. Yes it’s an ephemeral friendship, but that’s also part of what makes it so special to me.” – Jace, @mogsquad
“As simple as this question might appear, it’s a bit of a challenge to nail down a single unique Halloween Tradition that isn’t already widely shared among fans of the season and us folks in the Horror Community. Things like 31 Days of Halloween, movie marathons, revisiting Halloween specials, decorating, listening to spooky/horror-themed music and genuinely embracing what the season offers immediately come to mind but also seem to go hand-in-hand with the territory of the Holiday in as much as gift-giving will forever be tied to the Christmas season.
However, one thing I always find myself doing during the month of October is passing the torch, that is my love of Halloween, on to younger folks in hopes that they might do the same one day to future generations. Seeing the trick-or-treaters decrease in my old home town over the years put me on a mission to share the joy of the Holiday with anyone who’d listen. At the time, I worked at a local elementary school where I became a favorite among the kids when it came to all-things-Halloween (and Horror). My job set me up to be the “big brother” type of role model and who better to share the joys of my favorite time of year?
A few years removed, I find myself still embracing that mission when it comes to my family and/or friend’s children. Each year, I hope that my efforts (as small or big as they may be) help keep the spirit of Halloween alive and little Sam pleased.” – Ray, @RandyFlagg
Thanks, Ray. I think preservation is one of the most important things we can do. Keep Keepin’ Halloween Alive, my friends..