Although some absolutely love scaring themselves to almost death by watching the scariest horror films available and subjecting themselves to a tour of the most shocking haunted houses, for some, that's a bit *much.* For me, I like a good scary movie and I enjoy an element of mystery this time of year, but you're not going to catch me sitting down to a Saw marathon while eating cookies made to look like human fingers. No thanks.

If you count yourself among the group of folks who like things to feel a bit spooky but not terrifying, or if you have kids and don't want to traumatize them, there are still many ways you can enjoy the season in a bit more subdued way. Here's a few ideas:

Have a movie night with spooky, but not horrific, movies. Yes, there are some out there. Some of my favorites to watch this time of year are Practical Magic, Casper, Ghostbusters, the Harry Potter movies, or even "scary movies" from decades past. Somehow watching a black and white film about a ghost is more charming than frightening to our de-sensitized modern eyes. ;)

Make fun snacks with your friends and family that don't resemble human body parts. Hey we decorate cookies at Christmas time, so why not during Halloween? Instead of gilding your sugar cookies into snowmen and Santas, why not create your own little cookie monsters. I also love popping popcorn and doing different fun flavors. Create a "topping bar" and let everyone fix up their own bowl before sitting down to watch aforementioned spooky, but not scary movie.

Set the musical mood. I adore listening to Danny Elfman's music this time of year. He's the guy who wrote the music for movies like Edward Scissorhands and Nightmare Before Christmas. (Also great movies to add to the movie list.) Something about his style evokes feelings of whimsical spookiness that are so much fun.

Teach your kids a "magic trick." This could be as simple as a card trick or you could go all out and buy one of those how-to books and see what you can come up with together.

Take a nature hike. This is a delightful time of year to tromp about outside. If it's been awhile, go to a pumpkin patch and pick out a few. If you'd rather not carve a foreboding glare into the face of your pumpkin, make it happier. Or if you'd rather not involve knives at all, you can also paint them.

Any other ideas you could add to the list? Let us know in the comments below!


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