6 Sober Ways To Celebrate Halloween Now That You're Out Of College

by Jacquelyn Brooks

For college students, celebrating Halloween usually means dressing in revealing costumes, observing the holiday for an entire week and drinking loads of alcohol.

Those days, however, are over as soon as you enter the real world and start your first adult job.

For those of you who will still choose to go out partying this Halloween, I envy your enthusiasm and energy levels. But for those of you who would rather be a little more low-key and sober this year, I've compiled a list of Halloween alternatives that are just as fun and won't leave you with a scary hangover.

Throw A "Harry Potter"-Themed Party

Something about Halloween screams witches and wizards, so pay homage to your childhood favorites with a "Harry Potter"-themed fiesta.

Your guests could dress up as their favorite characters or you could provide Hogwarts House scarves and play a Sorting Hat game. (Draw house names from a hat and wear the appropriate scarf all night.) You could also play little games to gain House Points throughout the evening.

And, of course, a wizard has got to eat. Set up an array of themed items like Butter Beer, shots of liquid luck or Golden Snitch cake pops.

And you'll obviously have the films playing in the background.

Celebrate With A "Clue"-Themed Party

I like themed parties, OK?

Begin by sending out old-fashioned invites to six people. Each will represent the characters of "Clue": Professor Plum, Miss Scarlet, Mrs. Peacock, Mrs. White, Mr. Green and Colonel Mustard. Instruct each party-goer to dress and act like their assigned character throughout the evening. Then, play the board game. With everyone in character, it will most likely be much more intense and fun.

And, as with any good party, themed food is a must. You could also dim the lights or light candles for extra ambiance.

Have A GNO Movie Night

Invite your best girlfriends over for an old-school movie night.

Dress code: PJs.

Menu: popcorn, pizza, candy, sodas.

Itinerary: Watch the scariest movies you can find, jump and hide behind your hands.

It's simple, inexpensive, and always a good time

Host A Pumpkin Carving Party

Invite a few friends over and have a quaint evening carving pumpkins, roasting pumpkin seeds and enjoying each other's company.

You could spice things up (Pumpkin spice… get it?), by creating a small competition to see who can carve the coolest pumpkin. But don't forget to save the seeds to season, roast and enjoy.

Sprinkle cinnamon, cloves, chili powder, nutmeg and your favorite spices onto the seeds after rinsing and drying. Bake them at about 300 degrees for about 45 minutes or until golden.

Take Trips To Spooky Places

Some people take summer vacations, but you could easily opt for a Halloween-themed vacation to somewhere spooky. There are plenty of places on the map with creepy histories behind them, you can get in the Halloween spirit and learn a little something along the way.

Last year, my family opted for Salem, Massachusetts to learn about the witch trials and experience the culture in the little town. This year, we're headed to the battlefield at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania for ghost tours.

Also on the radar: New Orleans, Louisiana, the old penitentiary in Moundsville, West Virginia and the Winchester House in San Jose, California. Scope out some of your favorite haunted places and make a weekend out of it.

Trick-or-Treat: Adult Style

There are loads of things you could do for Halloween as a college graduate, and some of them are so simple you may forget about them. Remember trick-or-treating as a kid? As an adult, you get to bring the joy to the children's eyes. You can sit on your porch and hand out candy like the kick-ass adult you are (just make sure you get the good kinds).