Yesterday, August 29th, it happened: The Spirit Halloween opened up in my neighborhood in an old Rite Aid. (Have you ever noticed that Spirit Halloweens always set up shop in the spookiest abandoned establishments? I bet there’s Spirit Halloweens in actual haunted houses somewhere in Massachusetts.) Now, some of us aren’t as young as we used to be, which means some of us need to stretch before we do basically anything, including standing up off the floor. Below I have provided you with a helpful list of things you can do to warm-up for Halloween so you don’t pull a muscle celebrating the holiday of our people.
1. Begin researching your gay costume
Autostraddle Managing Editor Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya recently wondered: If you don’t have your Halloween costume chosen by the end of August, are you even gay? It’s a good question because there’s so many factors to consider! Couples costume or solo costume? Buy it or DIY it? Something classically queer or current pop culturally relevant? To help get your mind percolating, look for inspiration in Kayla’s DIY costumes for Yellowjackets and A League of Their Own (RIP).
2. Begin purchasing costumes (plural) for your pets
When it comes to humans, you only get one or two chances to wear a Halloween costume per year — but your pet can model dozens of different costumes on your various socials or just out on neighborhood walks. One of my cats, Beth March, has a Halloween sweater that is her absolute favorite out of all her clothes (she loves clothes) and she starts wearing it as soon as there’s a nip in the air. Get started with Dacry’s and Riese’s lists of gay Halloween costumes for your dog!
3. Refamiliarize yourself with the Fright Dyke curriculum
Kayla’s Halloween altar ego is Fright Dyke, and with good reason! Last year, she ran a whole series called Horror Is So Gay. If you missed it, now’s your chance to get the scoop on queer spooks! If you already read it, I bet you one full-size Snickers bar that you’ll find something to love all over again when you revisit it.
4. Buy your decorations so you don’t have to get into a fist fight at Target
Even the nicest people I know seem to turn into actual monsters when they’re shopping for Halloween decorations. Probably all the vampire pheromones hanging around in that section of the store. So, shop early this year and save yourself from ending up on TikTok screaming at some woman named Ethel who took the last four paper-mache jack-o-lanterns. Also, some costumes will need accessories from a variety of departments, so the sooner you can start shopping, the better!
5. Send out a Doodle for your party
You are absolutely not the only gay having a Halloween party, so go ahead and get yours on the calendar so your friends can plan around it. And while you’re at it, start planning your menu and your playlists so your party isn’t just first, but also: best!
6. Make your scary movie/TV marathon list
Lucky for you, we have SO MANY scary movie/TV lists already curated for you!
7. Dust off your Ouija board
I’ve never used a Ouija board, but based on TV and movies I know that they are always found in dusty, cobwebbed attics and crawl-spaces. They’re never stored in a nice box in a closet. So it’s probably best if you go ahead and start digging around for the one that’s inevitably hidden in your house, so you can get it cleaned up in time for The Big Day. If you don’t have a Ouija board, that’s okay — there’s an app for that.
8. Adopt a black cat
Black cats are always in need of adoption because, to this day, people consider them unlucky, when actually, they’re the absolute best. Some shelters also don’t adopt out black cats near Halloween because people are terrible. So go ahead and make your life about a billion times better by adopting a black cat today! I’ve got two and they are my perfect baby angel sweetie cinnamon roll darlings. You can also start thinking about the coming cold weather and how you can help the feral cats in your neighborhood!
9. Prepare your “well, actually” Halloween facts
For example, did you know our current idea about what witches look like is informed by the ale wives the church tried to destroy before the Witch Trials even started? It’s true! There’s so many feminist facts about Halloween lore and there’s nothing quite like haunting a man for the rest of his life by “well, actually-ing” him in front of his friends while he’s dressed up like Tom Cruise in Top Gun.
10. Test the best candy
How else are you going to know if it’s the best? You don’t want to end up giving out Reese’s with the wrong peanut butter-to-chocolate ratio like the goddam Easter Bunny, do you?