How to Celebrate Halloween like a Grown-up
By Sara Dobie Bauer


As an author of paranormal romance, I’m a big fan of ghosts and goblins. When I’m having a bad day, in fact, I watch slasher flicks, because no matter how bad my life is, at least I’m not being chased by Michael Myers. Some people (the cheerful ones) wait all year for Christmas; I wait all year for Halloween, and I do it up right. How do you celebrate Halloween like a grown-up? Well, act like a kid obviously.

Set the scene.

Christmas tree blah blah … how about a Halloween tree? As a writer, I’m good with atmosphere. My entire basement is stocked with Halloween decorations. I have creepy, battery-operated noisemakers. I have purple twinkle lights. I have a huge spider I hang from the ceiling and a sign for my front door: “Trick-or-Treat, Smell my Feet.” And don’t forget candles! My favorite October scent is Autumn Leaves by Yankee Candle. Reminds me of smoking clove cigarettes around a bonfire.

Watch scary movies.

Yes, I use horror flicks as therapy; no, don’t judge me. Scary movies may be my cup of tea all year round, but they’re especially important during Halloween time. When I lived in Phoenix, the only thing that kept me from going mad was immersing myself in Halloween movies. It might have been 100 degrees outside, but at least I could pretend I was walking through a rainy, Midwestern forest. Some of my faves: Trick-or-Treat, Halloween, Rocky Horror Picture Show, and Sleepy Hollow.

Go to a haunted house (real or not).

I went to college in Athens, Ohio. Above town, there was an abandoned “lunatic asylum.” That’s literally what they called it, and it was literally haunted. Every October, a bunch of us crazy kids would walk up there and scare ourselves half to death. I suggest finding a similar haunt in your hometown. If you’re not into the real thing, check out a haunted attraction instead. I dare you to walk first into that haunted cornfield, and don’t forget to scream.

Walk the cemetery.

Again, this—like the lunatic asylum—isn’t for the faint of heart. Now that I live back in the Midwest, cemeteries, old and new, surround me. I prefer the old ones with the tombstones you can’t even read. When I was in high school, my friends and I used to haunt the graveyards in my hometown with our stolen booze and cigarettes. As an adult, I like to find the darkest, most off-the-beaten-path cemetery and try to navigate in the dead of night. Give it a try. Think you saw something creeping in the shadows? You probably did.

Read some history books.

I’m fascinated by the history of Halloween … or Samhain or All Hallows’ Eve or Day of the Dead. I like looking back at the holiday’s Celtic roots up through modern Wicca and also (having lived in Phoenix) its Mexican equivalent. It’s all about remembering the dead—or avoiding them—and celebrating the harvest. The whole devil worship thing has nothing to do with Halloween. It’s a party, people, and there are so many fun traditions to learn about and adhere to. Check some history books out of your local library and read all about it. I promise it makes the holiday all the more exciting.

Carve a pumpkin and keep it outside.

One of the things I learned while reading Halloween’s history is the tradition behind Jack-o-Lanterns. People used to carve gourds, put candles in them, and set them outside to ward off evil spirits on Halloween night. I do the same thing. Go to your local pumpkin patch and pick out a winner. Then, get your hands dirty. You don’t have to be an artist; just carve what comes to you—and make sure you set it outside on All Hallows’ Eve or you could be in big trouble.

About Sara Dobie Bauer


Sara Dobie Bauer is a bestselling author, model, and mental health advocate with a creative writing degree from Ohio University. Her short story, “Don’t Ball the Boss,” inspired by her shameless crush on Benedict Cumberbatch, was nominated for the Pushcart Prize. She lives with her hottie husband and two precious pups in Northeast Ohio, although she’d really like to live in a Tim Burton film. She is author of the paranormal rom-com Bite Somebody, and NineStar Press will release her Escape trilogy in 2018. For more about Sara, visit

Books by Sara Dobie Bauer

Escaping Exile (Coming June 2018)