10 Ways to Celebrate Halloween Outdoors

What are those shuffling and moaning sounds coming from outside the door?

Oh, it’s just the spookiest night of the year, creeping up on you like a zombie looking for a midnight snack. Don’t let it catch you unprepared! Summon your circle of friends and give your Halloween festivities an outdoor twist with the help of the following list.

1. Go for a Night Hike

Choose a familiar trail and go for a hike after the sun has set and the moon washes the world with an eerie glow. Let your eyes adjust and then discover a new perspective on the trail. Make sure to bring flashlights, headlamps and extra batteries, just in case.

2. Try a Haunted Hike

Halloween Outdoors

Test your fortitude and sanity by hiking in a location known for its paranormal activity. For example, many hikers have reported hearing a whimpering ghost boy at Grouse Lake in Yosemite National Park. And according to Cherokee legend, a child-eating witch named Spearfinger wanders the Norton Creek Trail in North Carolina. Try googling “haunted hikes” to see if you can find a terrifying destination near you. Bonus points for taking a haunted hike at night. Boo!

3. Create a Costume with Your Gear

Save time and money by making a costume with the outdoor gear already in your closet. Ski mask and black clothes? Presto! You’re a ninja. Fedora and binoculars? Sweet. Now you’re a Sasquatch hunter. Possibilities abound. Unleash your creativity upon the unsuspecting world. Bwa-ha-ha-ha!

4. Do a Costumed Climb or Hike

Halloween Outdoors

After you’ve made a homemade costume, head out and do something active outdoors while wearing it. Bouldering in a ninja outfit? That’s Instagram gold, right there. Hiking in a zombie lumberjack costume? Perfect. Bring along your friends and enjoy hours of costumed hijinks in the great outdoors.

5. Decorate Your Campsite with Jack-O’-Lanterns

These classic Halloween decorations aren’t just for the creepily appointed home any more. Carve up a few jack-o’-lanterns while camping and place them around your tent to create a spooky and fun ambiance. Make sure to save your pumpkin seeds (see #6 below).

6. Make Campfire-Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Halloween Outdoors

Roasted pumpkin seeds make a tasty, healthy camping treat. Here’s how to make ‘em: 1) Extract seeds from your jack-o’-lantern’s guts and give them a rinse. 2) Line a Dutch oven with aluminum foil. 3) Spread your pumpkin seeds in a single layer on the foil. 4) Place the oven over your campfire and roast the seeds for 30 minutes to dry them out. 5) Toss the seeds with olive oil, salt and your choice of spices. 6) Roast for another 20 minutes until crispy. 7) Yum!

7. Tell Ghost Stories

Give your camping companions a serious case of the heebie-jeebies with an artfully told ghost story or two. As night falls, gather your group ‘round the flickering flames of the campfire and spin hair-raising yarns of axe murderers, vengeful ghosts and deals with the devil. Creating creepy effects with your flashlight is optional. Bonus points if someone screams at the end of your tale.

8. Take a Zombie Preparedness Class at REI

This time of year, many people begin fretting over the details of how to survive a zombie apocalypse. If you suffer from this common holiday anxiety, put your mind at ease by attending a Zombie Preparedness class at your local REI. You’ll learn valuable survival techniques that could save your life should the cannibalistic undead begin walking the Earth. As a side benefit, these same techniques could help in the event of any natural disaster in an urban environment.

9. Watch a Horror Movie Outdoors

If you have the A/V skills of a mad scientist, set up an outdoor movie theater in your backyard and host a screening of a classic horror flick for your friends. Pop some popcorn (or roast some pumpkin seeds) and play Night of the Living Dead, Friday the 13th, The Blair Witch Project or another scary movie of your choice. Your DIY outdoor venue, surrounded by shrubs, shadows and beady-eyed squirrels is bound to boost the fear factor by at least 50%. True story.

10. Make Halloween Trail Mix

Halloween Outdoors

After planning a spooky Halloween hike, why settle for the same old trail mix you munch the rest of the year? Give your favorite trail snack a Halloween makeover. Mix in some gummy worms and candy corn along with the standard ingredients to make it disgustingly delicious.

Have outdoor Halloween traditions? Share them in the comments below.

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