I’ve seen many ads this month for celebrating Christmas in July. My mother used to play Christmas songs in July, so this isn’t new to me. But it gave me a thought. Since I like Halloween so much better, why not get some chills on during our hottest month?

 Let’s do Halloween in July!

I asked some like-minded friends for ideas and was able to compile the following list. Do one or all, as you please. And send me some more ideas if you like.

1. Do a cemetery crawl. Taphophiles already know the joys of hanging out in cemeteries, looking for specific monuments. Lots of cemeteries offer tours. Some are closed at night. But not all. Go look for a famous person’s grave or for an unusual carving or epitaph. Or just go walk around and absorb the aura. You might find something delightfully unexpected. I once saw a gathering for a birthday party for a cemetery in Atlanta. It ran all day and had cake!

2. Go to the Paranormal Enthusiasts Gathering at Gettysburg, sponsored by Ghostbreakers. (It’s an annual event). I haven’t been before, but I’ll be there this year. In fact, it’s tomorrow, July 26! I hope I see a ghost.

3. Which brings me to the next one: read a scary story. There will be plenty of books at this event, including a new one by Mark Nesbitt and myself, Haunted Crime Scenes. We’ll be talking about such things as the ghost head that rolls down a Santa Fe street or the strange doings at the Lizzie Borden house. 

4. Take a ghost tour. Lots of places run ghost tours all year, including the Gettysburg Ghost Tours. No matter where you are, you can find one. As long as it’s dark out, who cares what temperature it is? You’re looking for a chill to cool you down, right?

5. Have a glass of “special label” wine. I must admit, I’ll be sipping some Headless Red. There used to only be Vampire Wine, but now there’s Zombie Zin, PoiZin, The Dead Hand, River of Skulls, Predator, Witches’ Brew, Seven Deadly Zins, Ripper’s Zin, Dracula’s Pinot, Black Cat, Lunatic, Bone Dry, Ghostly White, Spellbound, Skeleton, Dead Bolt, Ghost, BOOze, and Evil. And that’s just from my wine rack. You can even make your own label and give others a bit of a shock

6. Create a Halloween wall on Pinterest. Once you start looking for pictures to post, you’ll get right in the mood. You can see a wall like that here. (Thanks, Stacy.)

7. Make a Halloween cake or cupcakes. Again, you can find ideas and images on Pinterest, but you can also design your own, like Dana's zombie fingers above.

8. Book dinner at a local haunted restaurant and ask the staff about the ghost stories. In fact, wait until the other customers leave and cozy up to the bartender. They usually have the best stories! (I’ve heard.)

9. Book a room at a haunted hotel. Yes, do it! Nothing says Halloween like the sheets ripped off you at 3:00 AM or the image of a transparent man looking over your shoulder in the mirror. Hotel Bethlehem, Room 932.

10. Make a Halloween themed tree. Paula Uruburu has a lovely zombie tree with a sign, “Eat Locals.” You might consider a hanging tree, a ghost tree, a skeleton tree, a witches’ tree, or any other scary theme.

11. Host a fright-night movie fest and have participants bring their scariest movies.

12. Better yet, orchestrate a game where people have to act out their favorite scary scenes or monsters for others to guess. Bwa ha ha!

13. Start making your official Halloween costume – try it on a few times and meet the UPS guy at the door so you can see its effect.

And that’s it. For obvious reasons, I must stop at 13. Happy Halloween.

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