So you’ve found yourself in “pumpkin spice Binghamton.” It’s one of the best times of the year. Or maybe you’re at home, dreaming about the picturesque Nature Preserve and elevated surfaces. No matter where you are, you’ve most likely heard the news: it’s spooky season.

With spooky season comes along one of the greatest party weekends for college students — Halloweekend. Just like all the other fall festivities, Halloweekend is a vital part of the Binghamton University experience, and rightfully so. It’s that time of year when you get to dress up and do all of the things you normally do, only this time justified by a holiday. But this year, Halloweekend is not happening. If you’re feeling down this spooky season, you’re not alone. However, with the true meaning of spooky season kept in our honor, we can still enjoy this beloved holiday while warding off the phantom of COVID-19.

Whether you’re at home alone, with family, with roommates or at a small socially distant event, Halloweekend can be well spent with some simple activities, most of which do not require money or leaving your house.

Play spooky games

Nothing says Halloween like your classic murder mystery game that pits the dearest of friends against each other. Mafia requires around five people but gets more interesting as the group size increases. Depending on the different characters you choose to play with, you can carry out your own rendition of the game, but my personal recommendation is that you include at least one narrator, one to two killers, a nurse, a detective and a minimum of one “common” person. Bring your best poker face! Narrate creative stories and take turns accusing each other of being the “killer” or “mafia.” If you’re playing virtually, you can go to or opt for the app Among Us, which offers a similar murder mystery concept. Either game can help bring some Halloween spirit. The more involved you get in the spooky storytelling, the better.

Embrace your inner child

There’s a reason Halloween is loved by so many age groups — we shouldn’t have to grow out of certain things. One of the eternal themes of Halloween is candy. No matter how old you are, you most likely could go for a little sugar high. So with this, step one is to buy some candy. You can have a ball at Party City, buy an unreasonable bulk at Walmart or Sam’s Club or keep fit and show how un-fun you are with a fun-size candy bar. You can stop after step one and devour your candy however you would like, or you could step it up a notch. If you are living with a group of people, you could each hide your candies around your house and play it out like an Easter egg hunt for the best candy finds. You’d be surprised how fun and competitive it gets when college students fight over potentially free food. If you’re going for a boozy Halloween, or you just want to spice up your preexisting plans, incorporate some candy into a drinking game. You’d be surprised how quick those treats turn into a trick when you’re begging to not to ride the Sour Patch Kids bus. Pro tip: choose smaller candies like nerds if you don’t want to experience a living nightmare.

Another way to celebrate those youthful wonders is through games like manhunt and hide-and-seek. While these games might not be your typical option for people old enough to live alone, it only gets funnier with age when you can watch your 6-foot-tall friend attempt to squeeze into a cabinet. Make it spooky by sneaking up on your opponent in the process or playing in the dark with flashlights or glow sticks.

Get foody

If you, like many others, enjoy eating and drinking, why not include and spook-ify your favorite treats for Halloween? Across social media sites — Pinterest in particular — you can find tons of Halloween-inspired desserts, cocktails and snacks. This is your time to show off those DIY skills and whip up some delicious and aesthetically pleasing treats. If you’re less into the decorative aspect of food and are there more for the taste, you can keep it simple with some fall favorites. You could try making apple pie, pumpkin pie, apple cinnamon muffins or really anything with pumpkin spice. If you aren’t into baking but want to utilize the overflow of apples you collected from apple-picking, you can try something easy by warming up your apples with cinnamon or dipping apples in peanut butter.

A common and easy drink trend, as seen on TikTok, has been apple cider mimosas. If cider mimosas don’t appeal to you, plain apple cider will do just as well. No matter what you choose to make, it doesn’t matter as long as everyone has access to food and drinks.

Dress up and decorate

No matter where you are or how old you think you are, there is always a reason to dress up on Halloween. Even the more basic costumes count! Stores like Dollar Tree, Walmart and Target usually have sections with reasonable Halloween costumes or accessories. If you are someone who likes to DIY their costumes or decorate your home, these stores work too. If you’re last-minute or if you enjoy a challenge, have a makeshift Halloween night costume competition where everyone who participates must construct their costume from items they can find in the house. This friendly competition works for socially distanced events or virtual parties.

Listen to a Halloween playlist

It may not be your typical or preferred music genre, but it’s sure to be entertaining and maybe even make you laugh. If anything, listen to “Witch Doctor” on repeat.

Get crafty

You don’t have to be an artist to take part in crafty Halloween activities like pumpkin carving. This most notorious Halloween activity can even be simplified (and child-proofed for the boozier occasions) by painting and decorating your pumpkin instead. You can find fairly inexpensive paint and brushes at Michaels or Walmart. Pumpkin decorating can be fun in itself, or spruced up by making it into a contest or instilling rules such as what each person can use. Put on your terrifying playlist and sip some apple cider to enhance your crafting experience.

Watch the classics

If you haven’t already watched “Hocus Pocus,” “Halloween” or “The Nightmare Before Christmas,” this is your time to catch up on spooky season traditions. For higher-level creeps, some of my top Netflix picks would be “Silence of the Lambs,” “Eli,” “Hush” and “The Boy.” Unfortunately, Netflix excludes two classics, “The Conjuring” and “Halloween” (1978 or 2018 version preferably), but these films, along with other Halloween favorites, can be streamed from alternate sites. If you’re looking for lighthearted Halloween movies, Disney+ has classic Disney originals like “Hocus Pocus,” “Halloweentown” and “The Haunted Mansion.” If you enjoy nostalgic Disney channel shows, you can also check out the Halloween collection for quick access to its Halloween specials. Whether you’re watching from Netflix, Hulu, a “free site” or cable, there are plenty of streaming options that showcase these Halloween hits.

Stay connected

The obvious downside to this Halloween is the disconnect that we don’t usually feel on our favorite occasions. However, if you aren’t able to physically be with friends and family and still want to celebrate together, get