In defense of the superior spooky season


Hailey Stessman

A photo of orange leaves against a blue sky
Beautiful scenery is one of the many reasons to love the Halloween season. Photo by Hailey Stessman/the Gateway

Everyone has a favorite holiday, whether it’s the cheer of Christmas, the excitement of the New Year or the cookouts on the Fourth of July. But for me, one days tops them all: Halloween. There’s something about bats, witches, and scary skeletons that lift my spirits. Yes, I enjoy the festivities of Christmas and the food at Thanksgiving, but nothing beats the mysterious and chilling atmosphere of Halloween. Thus, I present to you the top five reasons why Halloween is the best time of the year.

First, let’s discuss candy before we get into the nitty gritty of savory autumnal meals. While candy is sold year-round, there is something special, a sort of sacred value, behind filling your cart with the hefty Halloween assorted bags of candy bars. There’s a heightened excitement when pouring Snickers, Sweet Tarts and Milky Way’s into a bowl for trick-or-treaters. But the true glory of Halloween candy is eating until you fall into a deep sugar sleep. Ripping apart a Kit-Kat bar on Halloween night feels more significant than simply reaching for one as a late-night snack.

Take the spooky season as motivation to make some scrumptious home cooked meals that will get you in the autumnal spirit. The leaves are changing. The temperatures are cooling off. The wind is softly howling. It’s soup season, baby. Turn on the stove-top, grab a pot and ladle and get ready to make some soup. The opportunities are endless! There’s classic chicken noodle and broccoli cheddar cheese. Take a step out of your soup comfort zone and try a roasted garlic pumpkin soup or roasted red pepper soup. And for all you vegans out there, don’t get me started on all the delicious vegan fall recipes on Pinterest. For those who want to include some plant-based meals in their diet, there is an irresistible creamy red lentil butternut squash soup. Oh, did someone say chili? That’s right, not only is October soup season, it’s chili season. Enjoy a bowl of your classic chili or opt for a lighter white bean chili. Pile on the cheddar cheese and crackers—no one’s looking. You’ve made it this far into the year. You deserve it.

It wouldn’t be Halloween without the movies we have all grown to love. I’m talking about classic horror, sci-fi, fantasy, psychological thriller and wholesome family films, just to name a few. There’s a Halloween movie for every mood and for any time of day. Give yourself nightmares with “The Exorcist” or “Silence of the Lambs.” Are you not into watching movies that make you feel as if you’re always being watched? Opt for “tamer” choices like “Hocus Pocus” or “Casper.” And who could forget, the epitome of fall cinematic films, the one and only “Halloweentown.” Set the autumnal mood by lighting a fall scented candle, heating up your preferred drink and watching from the comfort of your own home, or test your bravery by watching a horror movie on the big screen—but, please make sure you have a tight grip on your popcorn during the jump scares. Place a projector in front of your garage, if available, start a bonfire, grab more blankets than you can carry and enjoy the cool night while your favorite Halloween movie plays. But, be prepared. Who knows what will sneak up from behind you?

When pumpkins start to appear outside of grocery stores, Starbucks begins to advertise their famous drink and the word “Vala’s” can be heard whispered in the wind, you know Halloween is here. While Halloween can be marked by the annual pilgrimage to Vala’s Pumpkin Patch, there are many other festivities that often don’t get enough credit. Spooky attractions like Haunted Hallow, Scary Acres and Mystery Manor will get your heart pumping and your palms sweaty. Nothing says Halloween better than being chased by a fake chainsaw! The fake scares not good enough? October is the prime time to get in touch with your paranormal side. Be part of a ghost investigation at The Museum of Shadows or tag along on a ghost tour to the historic areas of Omaha. Listen to a podcast like “And That’s Why We Drink” or “My Favorite Murder” for some comic relief while hearing about serious true crime and paranormal stories, binge a Buzzfeed Unsolved series with your favorite duo Shane and Ryan or watch episodes of “Ghost Adventures” or “Ghost Hunters.” (I’ll let you decide which one is better.) So, go forth and dive head-first into the wonderful activities of the Halloween season.

What makes the Halloween season so sweet is the cool crisp weather. The temperature is chilly enough to wrap a jacket around you and not feel as though you’re about to break into a sweat. Yes, the plants are dying. Yes, the days seem shorter. But there is something comforting in the way the sky turns darker earlier and earlier. Darker brisk nights mean reading “Frankenstein” past midnight and curling into a blanket while having a horror movie marathon. It means wrapping your hands around a warm mug of apple cider or nibbling on a pumpkin cookie before heading to bed. Although the wintry weather may be quickly approaching, allow yourself to be immersed in the enchanting allure that is Halloween.