Whether it’s spring and Easter, summer and 4th of July, autumn and Halloween and Thanksgiving or winter and Christmas, one of the best ways to get into a seasonal or holiday spirit is to decorate your surroundings.
While seniors don’t want to clutter the walkways and other areas of their assisted living apartment, as that can increase the risks of falls and generally make your apartment layout less enjoyable, there are some ways to add a festive touch that can make Halloween more enjoyable. Some ideas include:
• Hanging a wreath on your door
• Changing out the covers on your throw pillows
• Updating small functional elements of your decor, such as swapping out your shower curtain or hand towels
• Putting a small centerpiece on a table
• Bringing out a seasonal mug or bowl for the month
Check the activity calendar to see if the staff has scheduled any fun Halloween-themed activities. And even if they haven’t scheduled any specifically for the season, show up to social times and gaming sessions in your favorite jack-o-lantern sweater and bring your own seasonal spirit to the mix.
For kids, the appeal of Halloween is often the candy and other treats. Adults can enjoy goodies too, though it’s a good idea to ensure you’re doing so in moderation. Here are some tips for integrating sweet treats into your snacking sessions during October:
• Think about your favorite Halloween candy — or just candy in general. Buy a small bag at the store or order it online. If you can find fun-size options, which have a bite or two of candy in each package, opt for those. Treat yourself to one small serving, such as a fun-size candy bar, every day or two.
• If you’re not into candy, consider talking to the Bethesda Gardens staff about baking Halloween treats. The Terre Haute community has a country kitchen for resident use and cooking classes, and you and others might be able to schedule time for making seasonal cookies and cupcakes to share with others.
• For seasonal flavor with less sugar and calories, invest in some pumpkin-flavored tea or coffee options. Not into pumpkin? Consider flavors with other autumnal flavors, such as cinnamon.
Tune in to streaming services or cable replays of seasonal movies. You can do so on your own or with a friend in your assisted living apartment or with a group in the common area.
If you love the horror genre, you can enjoy old classics that chill and thrill. You can also check out something newer, such as the mini-series The Haunting of Hill House on Netflix.
But you don’t have to scream to enjoy Halloween movies. Hallmark and Disney both offer milder content that’s fun for the season without being scary enough to invade your nightmares. Opt for a favorite such as Hocus Pocus or an old-school animated classic like It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.
An alternative way to scare yourself silly this Halloween is to dive into a great horror book. Most of Stephen King’s backlist makes for good October reading, for example, and other popular horror novelists include Dean Koontz and Clive Barker. Or, go with classics from authors such as H.P. Lovecraft, Bram Stoker, Shirley Jackson or Ray Bradbury. Seniors of faith might want to opt for a thriller from Frank Peretti or Ted Dekker.
Sometimes the fun of Halloween is in sharing it with others. One of the easiest ways to do this is to put goody bags together for grandchildren. Buy or make small bags and fill them with candy, cookies or small toys. Make sure they’re items that will ship well and consider asking parents about what you can send to ensure you don’t include anything that might cause issues with allergies.
You can also share the Halloween fun with other adults. Hand out candies to your friends, bake and decorate seasonal cookies together or gift Halloween crafts you’ve made to your neighbors.
If someone in the community doesn’t schedule a fun Halloween social, consider hosting your own for a few friends. You can invite a couple of neighbors over to your assisted living apartment to watch scary movies or get together in a common area to swap favorite treats and stories of past Halloweens.