It is officially Spooky Season: October. Throughout my childhood, this was by far my favorite time of the year. The candy! The costumes! The Monster Mash! What’s not to like?
Now that I’m older, while I do still love the Halloween season, I must admit I’ve lost some of that whimsy.
For example, in the past several weeks I’ve been babysitting for my cousin. Her son is three years old (and very adorable). I love hanging out with the little dude. BUT every time he comes over, he insists that we play “the spooky sing along song” on repeat on YouTube. No, it’s not even one of the classics! It’s a British man dancing with an ongoing series of cartoon skeletons, zombies, and werewolves, singing the same simple tune for five and a half minutes.
It brings my little cousin a lot of joy. But to my ear, I find this song to be quite grating after three hours of hitting the “replay” button on YouTube. And this got me thinking about the different ways kids and adults interpret this time of year.
For my little cousin, this song represents the spooky, whimsical fun of the fall season. For me, the repetitive nature of this video fills me with dread. That’s the really scary thing about adult life, especially as the cold closes in on us: monotony.
So! After that cheerful introduction, here are the tips I have to keep October exciting and only-the-fun-kind-of-scary so you can recapture some of that pure joy we used to feel around this time of year.
Adapt your schedule for shorter days and colder nights.
If you’ve been following my advice throughout the Spring and Summer, you’ll have incorporated outdoor activities into your day-to-day routine where you can. The sun and fresh air really revitalize you, especially during these “unprecedented times.”
But as the winter creeps upon us, the air is colder and the sun sets increasingly earlier, and it makes it difficult to enjoy those brisk evening walks. That’s not to say you can’t still get your outdoor hours in! You just have to adapt.
Take a walk midday instead of after dinner, when the sun is still out and the breeze is not so biting.
Get a space heater or, better yet, have a bonfire when you can!
Step out in the morning and let the chilly air wake you up.
Or, if you don’t want to change up your routine - you can always just add layers!
Imitate your optimal hours with indoor lighting.
If you’re like me and get absolutely wrecked by the sun rising later and setting earlier, you might feel like you’re at the mercy of that cruel star in the sky. The good news is that you can take steps to make sure you don’t sleep away the majority of your day just because the world outside your window is shrouded in shadows.
Get a timed light that you can set to your rising hour. That way, you can simulate the feeling of waking up with the sun! If you don’t want to spring for a fancy new lamp, just be strict with yourself and make sure when your alarm goes off in the morning, you switch on the light in your room. This signals to your brain that it is time to start your day, so you will be more productive and more alert than if you kept the lights dimmed in the morning.
Change things up.
I know, I’ve been going on and on about routine all this time, so now it seems like I’m pulling the rug out from under you by saying you should mix it all up. But you can still keep a good routine while adding some variation to your day! This keeps you from burning out on your days.
Continue to wake up at the same time if you can, and keep your work day moving along as usual (as long as it’s working for you!) Be sure to get up from your workspace every now and then, even if it’s just to walk to another room for a few minutes, to break the day up.
But when you log off for the day, you don’t have to be stuck watching The Office reruns, eating pizza, and going to be at 8 PM
every single night (unless you want to; honestly, that can be a very fun night every once in a while). You can still switch it up! Order from that new restaurant down the street you’ve never tried before. Watch that new documentary everyone is talking about - and then write a blog about it! Make a FaceTime date with a friend you haven’t seen in awhile and catch up! On the weekend, go to a pumpkin patch or apple orchard; visit a brewery that has outdoor seating before it truly gets too cold for it; go for a hike and watch the leaves change.
Most importantly, don’t plan too much. Be spontaneous and surprise yourself! This is a time for a change and new possibilities.
It’s the monotony of my day that makes me personally dread this time of year; it feels like, now that I’m really trapped inside, I’m stuck doing the same thing day after day because there are no other options to how I spend my time. But that’s not true! There’s plenty to do during the fall months, inside and outside, and each day is a new day.
Candy, costumes, and the Monster Mash.
To really tie it back in with the spooky season, there are ways to transform these three perks of Halloween and apply them to adult life (besides the obvious, dressing up and eating candy on Halloween no matter what your age is).
Candy: The great thing about this time of year is that you get to make all those cozy meals that just don’t sit right during the summer. Soup, chili, pot roast… the list goes on! And that’s not even mentioning the holiday staples like turkey and ham during Thanksgiving. These things just taste even better when its a bit chilly and gloomy outside.
Costumes: One of the fun things about the change of the seasons is that you get to cycle out your wardrobe (or, if you’re like me, you just add sweaters and leggings to your summer wardrobe). Even if it is just symbolic, the change in your “costume” or “armor” signals a moving forward in your life. Plus, you finally get to wear those hoodies you’ve been hoarding!
The Monster Mash: The obvious thing here would be to say that with each new season, new music is released I guess. But I think if you really look at the message of the Monster Mash… it’s about spending time with the monsters you love. And that’s what these colder seasons are all about. Even though the holiday season will certainly look a little different this year, technology allows us to connect with our family and friends so we can continue to make memories together. And that’s what the Spooky Season is all about.
So, in honor of that last note, I’m going to go pick up my little cousin and queue up his favorite Halloween song for him. It won’t be long before he’s like the rest of us grumpy adults; I want to help him have as much fun as he can in the time being.