How to best prepare for spooky season

Halloween tips for a festive ambience

Courtesy+of+Olivia+Patt

Courtesy of Olivia Patt

By Olivia Patt, Collegian Correspondent

Since it is almost halfway through October and the ghosts and the ghouls are just itching to come out, here are the must haves to prepare for this year’s spooky season.

In order to feel fully encompassed by the spirit of October, a trip to Target is essential to stock up on décor for your dorm room, off campus house or apartment. Target sells several $10 throw blankets with Halloween designs on them: Jack-o-lanterns, bats, spider webs and black cats. I personally have stocked up on these blankets for every season and they are the perfect size to fully cover dorm room beds.

Another low-cost investment that will help transform your space into a spooky oasis are pumpkins. I got mine from Walmart for only $5, and I have seen them outside Trader Joes and Target as well. Pumpkins are an October must have: for décor, to carve or even to bake.

Aside from the visual appearance of a space, the scents of fall are equally important to get in the autumn mood. I got my apple crisp scented candle from Marshalls for only $7. Walking into a room that smells like warm cider and cinnamon, pumpkin spice or maple pecan pie is the epitome of fall.

Since we’re on the topic of delicious fall scents, let’s move on to must-have fall food items. Apple cider donuts from your favorite farm are crucial, along with pumpkin pie and apple crisp.

Another fall must is a visit to Trader Joes. Their abundance of fall-themed food items will be sure to transform your pantry into a fall frenzy. Their pumpkin rolls are an exceptional treat to bake in the morning and their Autumn Harvest Creamy Pasta Sauce is perfect for a quick college pasta meal. Their Pumpkin Spice Joe-Joe cookies and the Pumpkin Ginger mini-ice cream cones are always top of the list for sweets. Of course, no Halloween season is fully complete without baking the artificial yet delicious iconic Pillsbury sugar cookies with the pumpkin on them.

Moving onto drinks, Starbucks pumpkin cream cold brew takes the win for the best sip of fall. However, if you are not a pumpkin fan, Starbucks also offers an apple crisp oat milk macchiato and a cinnamon dolce latte. The high sugar content of both is sure to get you amped up for the season. Naturally, apple cider is the epitome of a fall beverage and can be used to make many delicious cocktails as well.

Any fall day can be enhanced by participating in spooky activities with your family and friends. Even though the prime time for apple picking is dwindling down, there are still many fun things to do in the area. Mike’s Corn Maze in Sunderland is a great option, along with hiking Mount Norwottuck to view the fall foliage. If you are over 21, the 7th annual Oktoberfest is happening  on Oct. 22 in Hadley, featuring lots of beer and the artist KYLE performing live.

Besides going out and enjoying the crisp fall air, staying in and watching Halloween flicks is just as important to get in the spooky spirit. If you want a wave of nostalgia, I’d recommend watching “Hocus Pocus,” “Halloweentown” or “It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown.” If you are looking for a thriller, “Halloween,”“Poltergeist” or “The Shining” will be sure to leave you with the heebie-jeebies. If you are more in the mood for some lighthearted television, rewatching the Halloween episodes of favorite Disney shows or putting on the Food Network Channel to tune into the “Halloween Baking Championship” or “Outrageous Pumpkins” are great options.

Fall is arguably the most eventful season. With the start of the school year, the leaves changing colors and the crisp air encompassing campus, it is vital to celebrate this beautiful time of year. Whether you enjoy fall for the cozy candles, flavorful food or dressing up for Halloween, I challenge you to participate in one of these fall festivities to make the most of the spooky season.

Olivia Patt can be reached at [email protected].