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Floating ghost and jack-o'-lantern

Halloween

The annual suburban hunt for a king sized candy bar

Halloween is a suburban street in the Northeast United States on a crisp autumn evening just past dark. A kid wearing the latest overpriced Stormtrooper outfit from the pop-up store in the mall eagerly carries a makeshift, candy-laden bag through crowded sidewalks and across mostly car-less streets, sidestepping werewolves, Disney princesses, and a creepy clown or two. A few stray leaves scratch across the asphalt now and again as the fall wind blows, but the rest stay piled against gutters and along sidewalk edges to form crunchy reddish runways through the usually sleepy neighborhood.

The costumed youth ambles across a grassy yard studded with fake tombstones and skeletons, climbs a few steps lined with flickering jack-o’-lanterns, and crosses a porch draped in fake cobwebs towards the warm glow of a front door’s sidelights. An older sibling stands impatiently by the steps as the child rings the doorbell, waits in breathless anticipation, and then delivers the customary “trick-or-treat” password once the stranger emerges with an orange bowl full of Snickers and Milky Ways. Back down the steps they go. The house next door has the lights off, requiring a skip, but the one after that may yet hold the mother of all Halloween treasures and the trump card in any candy swaps – the King Sized candy bar.

Elements

Sight

Jack-o’-lanterns

Probably the defining feature of this holiday, even more so than costumes, is the mighty pumpkin carved into any number of designs and lit from within

Sight

Costumes

Your child is in one. Your favorite celeb is in one. Even your poor pet is in one. Whether complex or basic, bought or home-made, this tradition has stuck

Sight

Black and orange

These colors dominate the season. Every once in a while a green or a purple is thrown in, but black and orange reign supreme

Sight

Spooky (kitschy) decorations

Ghosts, skeletons, and lots of fake cobwebs. Even when a tad overdone, the kitsch does have a charm to it

Taste

Copious amounts of candy

If you’re a kid, you can’t not love candy. But even as an adult, the nostalgia evoked when seeing some old candy brands is a treat enough

Feel/Experience

Trick-or-treating

How do you get the copious amounts of candy? Why by trick-or-treating, of course

Taste

Candy corn

This distinctive candy gets its own mention because it is only allowed to rear its polarizing head during the month of October, and maybe not even then

Feel/Experience

Suburban scenes & settings

Halloween is meant for the suburbs. Walking from house to house, scoping lawn decorations, and climbing pumpkin-lined steps is part of the charm

Sight

Pumpkin walkways

The real suburban icon is a sidewalk lined by fallen leaves that leads to a pumpkin-lined porch and the promise of candy at the door

Sight

Halloween movies

Hocus Pocus or Halloweentown? Regardless of your favorite Halloween flick, everyone has one, and these are some of the best holiday flicks around

Feel/Experience

Haunted houses

Whether cheesy and kid-friendly or downright scary, the haunted house is a stable of Halloween

Feel/Experience

Pop-up costume shopping

We all know that one store in the mall or down the street that converts into an overpriced costume shop for approximately 30 days a year

Sight

Pumpkin patches

A staple of fall in general, this suburban retreat is a perfect place to grab a pumpkin that you can convert to a jack-o’-lantern

Feel/Experience

(Costume) parties

Even if not quite like the movies, these are a perfect excuse to fire up the Monster Mash and serve your best spooky (possibly spiked) punch

Taste

Decorated treats

Pumpkin is the overall fall flavor, and candy is the undisputed champion of Halloween, but all sorts of creatively decorated treats pop up in October

Feel/Experience

Black cats and superstitions

Halloween is ripe for an old witch’s tale or two, hence the prevalence of black cats, and other superstitious icons

Sight

Creepy Victorian imagery

The gabled Victorian house surrounded by a rusty metal fence is the archetypical setting for horror movies and monster lairs

Experience It

Foot icon

Go trick-or-treating in the suburban U.S.

There’s a reason why Halloween is always depicted in the suburbs in the movies – and anyone who has tried to trick-or-treat in a city can confirm that the two go hand-in-hand. Give your kids a real treat and try it out.

Foot Icon

Do a family friendly activity

Besides trick-or-treating there are a lot of wholesome things to do as a family, like carving a pumpkin, bobbing for apples, or visiting a pumpkin path. They can all get you in the spirit of the holiday.

Movie icon

Throw on a Halloween movie

Some of the best holiday flicks around are Halloween movies, because the spooky yet fun themes lend themselves well to any genre of film (although most would agree that 90s kids adventure films are the best kind).

TV icon

Watch "Stranger Things" Season 2

The second season of Stranger Things is basically synonymous with fall, featuring tons of Halloween imagery and some pretty epic Ghostbusters costumes.

Internet icon

Browse this blog

No matter the time of year, you can scroll through autumnfallyear on Tumblr and find endless Halloween imagery. You’ll want to go trick-or-treating immediately.

Movie icon

Watch the "Mean Girls" party scene

While the movie covers many seasons and events, the Halloween party scene perfectly sums up the culture of teenage Halloween parties and will make you want to join in the fun…or maybe not.

Comment? Contribution?

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5 + 11 =

Fall

Fall (Autumn)

Explore the season that Halloween falls into, at least in the Northern half of the world

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Cozy Fall Nights In

Go out on Halloween and enjoy the costumes. But on any other fall night, try a cozy one in