Brewing up a spookily safe party

By: Fran O’Donnell, Contributor

Ghosts, ghouls and everyone in between: are you feeling down this Halloween? Are you looking for a way to get into the spooky spirit (pun very much intended) while remaining physically distanced? Fear not, you’ve come to the right place! As a Halloween aficionado and professional introvert, I have been training my whole life to bring you this list of fun Halloween activities that you can use to keep your celebrations both spooktacular and safe.

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Dress it Up

Just because we’re staying indoors doesn’t mean that we can’t wear costumes. In fact, now is the perfect opportunity to wear whatever you want without having to worry about being too cold in the chilly October air. Not sure what to wear? Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered. Last year, I wrote up a guide to DIY Halloween costumes on a budget. The world is your graveyard when it comes to costumes this spooky season. 

Best of all, you can enter your costume in the Sil’s costume contest! Just snap a photo before 11:59 p.m. on Halloween night and post it to your Facebook or Instagram story for a chance to win. Wearing something fun and having the chance to win free stuff? Sign me up!

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Stream the Screams

Halloween really wouldn’t be the same without at least one movie marathon. Thankfully, you can use an extension like Teleparty (formally Netflix Party) to stream all your favourite movies with your friends. Got Disney Plus? You can watch favourites like Hocus Pocus, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Halloweentown and many more. You could also try a horror movie to really get you in the spooky spirit. Here is a handy dandy list of Halloween movies and where you can stream them.

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Scare Up Some Snacks

There may not be trick-or-treating this year, but that shouldn’t stop you from breaking out the candy. You could also brew up some sweet treats of your own, with any number of easy Halloween snacks. Candy apples, snack bars and marshmallow ghosts, oh my!

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Ghost Story Spooktacular

Speaking of the spooky spirit, why not share some ghost stories around the campfire (Zoom call)? Have each of your friends pick their favourite scary story, and then read them to each other through the video call. For an extra little kick, you can turn out all your lights and use your phone’s flashlight to light your face. Oh jeez, I’m feeling scared already.

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Get Crafty

You knew this was coming, right? It’s not Halloween unless you have a little jack-o’-lantern hanging out outside your house (if you’d like to know why, check out this article from last year on Halloween traditions!). Break out the pumpkins and get creative! If you like, here are some stencil patterns to get you started. Pumpkin carving not your thing? Here are some fun craft ideas to get you in the spirit, minus the mess. Decorate your mausoleum to your heart's content.

Remember it is still vitally important to stay indoors right now and physically distance. Please be kind this spooky season and stay at home.

The first step into a student home can lead to the onset of one of two decorating personas.

On the one hand, there is the student-turned-TLC decorator who hammers through a house making bold and trendy moves at every turn. They fear no glue gun or collection of nails because they have a team of construction workers standing behind them and a nearly budget-less vision.

But then there is also the unintentionally minimalist decorator, who often uses excuses to mask their décor flaws. Growing up, when asked why their room was so messy, they would respond, “What, it’s easier to find things when they’re all lying in front of me.” The type of person who eats KD every meal of the day may opt for this choice. There are a few half-hearted attempts to add some flare into the room, maybe a poster attached to the wall with quickly fading tape, or a coffee mug that they’ve convinced themselves is art.

But regardless of your decorating personality, the following list allows for style as intensely-TLC or as KD-minimalist as you please.

1.     Scrapbooking Silhouettes

You can make any silhouette by whipping out a huge piece of paper (or smaller ones for that matter) and designing a cut-out of your choice. Once you have your main cut-out, use a heavy weighted craft or scrapbooking paper (available at Michael’s, Curry’s, Wal-Mart, etc.) and cut organic shapes to fill your silhouette with various patterns. It doesn’t have to fit perfectly, because, hey, nature isn’t perfect either. I stayed within the lines and decided to copy the example I saw online. Once you attach them to your wall- we recommend tape- you can Mod Podge (Michaels, $8.95) over the silhouette to keep in place. You can also seal it to the wall that way, with multiple layers.

2.     Faux Flower Walls

If you’re anything like me, having flowers in a room, even if it is going solo in your drinking glass, is inevitably going to boost my mood just a little bit. But then they die, and my mood becomes increasingly lethargic. As the flower wilts, my mood wilts. So I never want that to happen to you. The solution? Faux flowers. Don’t call them fake. That makes it sound like cheating. Any local dollar store should have some fake ones, along with craft and art supply stores. For a fun feature, string them vertically across your wall.

Shout out to Elsie Marley for the super DIY.

3.     Washi Tape

The greatest invention since light itself: washi tape. In all its colourful variations, this tape can literally light up a room with joy. How I have evaded the existence of this glorious tape is beyond me, but I am so in love with it. Generally cheap to purchase (search up “washi tape” on Etsy and be amazed) and it can act as the perfect frame to any picture you’ve been itching to show off. It’s especially cool when paired with thicker, more conventional frames because those photos start to really pop out (use stickers from Home Hardware or even Titles to do so).

4. Quirky Cork

Look to your oven. Now look back at me. Oh, you’re not in the kitchen? Because what student cooks more than microwavable KD? Okay, agreed, but even the KD minimalist should take note of the simplest way to add an unexpected quirk to your room. Trivets, otherwise known as a surface to put your scalding hot pots and pans on after some *gasp* cooking, are essentially circular corkboards. Put to rest the conventional rectangular corkboards that have been up in your dorm or childhood bedroom since the beginning of time. It’s time to get funky with yo’ cork.

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