Some of my favorite childhood memories consist of conspiring with my dad about how to make our front yard look like a zombie-filled graveyard. And I’m still proud of winning a costume contest by dressing up in my mom’s old Air Force uniform. As someone who loves Halloween, is in her late 20s, and doesn’t have kids, I’m always torn about how to celebrate. My go-to alternative has been to throw a Halloween party. But here’s the deal: there’s no such thing as a “low-key” Halloween party. You go big or you don’t go at all. And while I really enjoy that sometimes, it’s not necessarily something I want to do every single year. Enter the Halloween movie night.
It’s a decidedly laid-back approach but it serves up the right amount of spooky and fun. There are only a few things you need to host the perfect Halloween movie night, and they can be as simple or as complicated as you’d like. Complete with recipes and recommendations, consider this your one-stop shop for a spooktacular, cozy evening at home. Scroll on and start planning!
1. Tasty Treats
I’ve realized in my later years that I don’t actually love Halloween candy— too much and I get a stomach ache. That said, we all deserve treats on Halloween and since everyone is prepared to indulge, feel free to make one or more of these. Besides, homemade is always better for you!
“Kitchen Sink” Halloween Chocolate Bark
Halloween Charcuterie Board by The College Housewife
Poison Toffee Apples from Simply Delicious
Marshmallow Slime Popcorn from Ashlee Marie
Cheese Witch Fingers
2. Moody Lighting
The lighting for your movie night is key. After all, no one likes a bright room while watching a movie. But more importantly, dark and moody lighting = serious spookiness. It’s dark, it’s unclear, and no one knows what to expect when they turn the corner. It guarantees everyone will be a little on edge.
If you don’t do any other decorating, be sure to buy a few taper candles and candlesticks, a few candles that smell like pumpkin, and string lights. It sets the perfect stage for a fall fright.
3. Scary Movie Options
If you couldn’t tell by now, I’m borderline obsessed with all things Halloween. Except for scary movies. Turns out, I get scared really easily. Some might call me a scaredy-cat. So, even though I love the scary feeling of Halloween, I am really particular about which scary movies I will watch. And I bet you have some friends like me.
To make sure that everyone feels comfortable with the scary movie that will be playing, here is a list of movies that can be easily streamed. Varying from not scary at all to really freaking creepy, they’re sure to put everyone in the Halloween spirit!
4. Cozy Living Room Set Up
A movie night usually means that more people will be in your living room than you have seats for. What’s the solution? Pillows and blankets galore! Throw a ton of blankets in a basket and stack your couches and chairs full of pillows, so that everyone can be as comfy as possible. This also means that, if your movie is scary enough, there are plenty of options if guests need to avert their eyes or hide under a blanket.
5. Spooky Beverages
Last but not least: the bevvies. We may be adults, but who doesn’t love a fun beverage? I am biased toward a gory Halloween, so I love anything with fake body parts or faux blood. If you don’t feel like making something, keep it simple and grab a few bottles of wine and some sparkling water. Pro-tip for those wanting to make something: for groups, it’s easiest to make batch beverage. Start with our Smoking Mezcal Halloween Cocktail then try the super easy and slightly creepy batch drinks below. Enjoy!
Spooky Halloween Batch Cocktail from Paper & Stitch
Ghost Peanut Butter Hot Chocolate from People
Bloody Shirley Temples from This Grandma is Fun
Walker Blood Sangria from Cravings of a Lunatic
This post was originally published on October 28, 2020, and has since been updated.