How to Make Halloween Introvert-Friendly

An introvert celebrates Halloween

There are plenty of introvert-friendly ways to enjoy Halloween without feeling like you have to go to a big party. 

Holiday celebrations don’t have a great reputation for being introvert-friendly. From large family gatherings to parties, the overstimulation can be draining for introverts. Halloween is no exception. Between trick-or-treating on a busy street as a kid (or as an adult with your own kids), or going to parties as an adult, Halloween can sometimes seem like an introvert’s worst nightmare.

And yet, Halloween is my favorite holiday. So much so that since elementary school, I’ve had my own personal rule to stop doing any kind of work as of late afternoon on the day, no matter what kind of project was hanging over my head. (Bonus if it’s a weekend, of course.) I’ve always tried to make the day (and fall season) special by watching Halloween movies, reading, or listening to scary stories, dressing up, and making sure I take the time to relax and enjoy some candy.

There are plenty of ways for Halloween-loving introverts to enjoy the holiday without feeling like they have to go to the big party or out to a bar to participate in the festivities. Thinking back, I’ve only gone to a couple of large Halloween parties, and I’ve only gone out on the town with friends once or twice. While those evenings were fun, I was always glad to get home and have time to myself. 

Here are seven introvert-friendly ways to enjoy Halloween. Each ensures that you’ll either have time to yourself or a nice time with a coveted small group of friends to appreciate this spooky season — all while avoiding overstimulation and the dreaded introvert hangover that can come with it. I’ve done many of the things on this list, and highly recommend all of them. 

7 Ways to Make Halloween Introvert-Friendly 

1. Have a scary(ish) movie night with a friend or solo.

Some of my favorite Halloween memories involve watching scary (or not-so-scary, but still Halloween-themed) movies with a family member or friend. Whether it’s watching Hocus Pocus or Young Frankenstein with one of my siblings, or Psycho with a college roommate, I’ve enjoyed many Halloween nights in with a good seasonal movie. Spending time laughing (or getting scared silly) with someone you’re close to is a fun and low-key way to get into the Halloween spirit.

And if I’m taking a quiet solo Halloween night in, I tend to watch a show or movie on the less-scary side, like a mystery or suspense one. Or, for a bit of nostalgia, I’ll watch a kids’ movie or TV show that’s set around Halloween that I enjoyed when I was younger. And if you want to take your nostalgia to the next level, find your favorite candy from when you were a kid and make yourself one of your childhood comfort foods for dinner.

2. Host a themed game night with a small group.

If you’d like to spend time with family or friends and don’t want to go out, invite a small group over for games. To get into the Halloween spirit, choose a favorite movie, book series, or other spooky theme for decorations, costumes, and snacks. For example, several years ago, a friend and I co-hosted a Tim Burton-themed get-together, complete with swirly black-and-white décor, extravagant eye makeup, and minimal small talk

If you already live with others, you can make game night even more introvert-friendly: confine it to the people who already live with you if you don’t feel like having guests over. (And if you are an introvert reading this, I am pretty sure you frequently don’t feel like having guests over.)

3. Go on a ghost or haunted history tour.

If you want to get out of the house either on or close to Halloween, a ghost or haunted history tour can be a great fit for introverts.  

Some ghost tours are more interactive than others, however, so be sure to read the reviews if you want to just kick back, listen, and take in the creepy stories without a ton of group participation. (Also, introvert bonus: Ghost tours tend to take place at night, so no one will be looking at you!)

If you aren’t in the mood for a guided tour, or if you would prefer to do your ghostbusting during the daytime, look up a few supposedly-haunted sites within day trip distance from you. Take a friend (or go solo!) for a self-guided tour. I’ve strolled through towns like Salem, Massachusetts and Sleepy Hollow, New York (popular destinations around Halloween!), but there are cities everywhere with old buildings, cemeteries, or historic sites that offer possibilities for a great walk. Check your local library or historical society for inspiration.

4. Tell scary stories around the campfire with close friends or family.

The classic stories-around-the-campfire setup can be an introvert-friendly activity — yes, even if you’re one of the people telling a story! Just make sure it’s a group you’re comfortable speaking up around and trading scary stories with if you’d like to spin a yarn yourself. For instance, I might not be comfortable telling ghost stories around friends of friends and acquaintances, but can definitely enjoy it when I’m with my family or good friends. 

Since introverts don’t like being put on the spot, tell a story that you’re comfortable with (but only if you want to!), like a classic you know well or something that actually happened to you. That way, you don’t feel pressure to make something up or to remember something that you heard about once. Sharing scary stories can even lead to some deeper introvert-friendly conversations about our thoughts, opinions, fears, and experiences. You may even find out that you and a friend have a common interest you can nerd out about, like horror movies, true crime, or paranormal stories.

Depending on weather (and who has access to a fire pit or fireplace), you can enjoy your story night indoors or outdoors. Roast marshmallows, make s’mores, drink hot cider, eat Halloween candy, and sit back and listen to creepy tales.

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5. Have a quiet night in with a scary book or podcast.

How about spending Halloween — or a night around Halloween — at home with a blanket, cup of tea, Halloween candy, and some scary stories? Yes, please. (Also, there’s no rule against dressing up when you’re spending a night in. Just throwing that out there.)

If you’d like to read in shorter bursts, find a collection of stories. For example, I love collections from Stephen King, Shirley Jackson, and Edgar Allan Poe. Plus, there’s always the classic series of Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark that kept me awake at night in elementary school. 

If you want to settle in for a while rather than read shorter stories, pick up a horror, thriller, or mystery novel. And if you don’t feel like reading, audiobooks and podcasts are also great choices.

Words of warning: If it’s Halloween night, try not to jump every time there’s a knock on the door or the doorbell rings for trick-or-treaters! 

6. Set limits around answering the door.

On that note: For those introverts answering the door for trick-or-treaters in a busy neighborhood (or dreading it), there are options to make this bearable and even enjoyable. You can definitely be that person who doesn’t answer the door and keeps the lights off all night (no judgment here — fellow introverts, raise your hand if you’ve done that before!). 

But if you are going to answer the door for trick-or-treaters (which can definitely be fun!), make the most of it by buying candy and dressing up. If you live with someone else, take shifts answering the door. Then give yourself a time limit and commit to shutting the porch light off at a specific hour.

Another option if you don’t want to be the person with the lights off (and whose house gets covered in toilet paper)? Leave a basket of candy at your door and go to a friend’s house, maybe for one of the introvert-friendly activities listed above!

7. Do introvert-friendly trick-or-treating with kids.

If you’re an introvert with kids, or you will be spending Halloween with a friend or family member and their kids, you may end up on trick-or-treating duty, taking kids around the neighborhood to go door-to-door. While it can be fun — and kids’ excitement can be contagious — making the trick-or-treating rounds can be tiring for introverts. There are, however, ways to make it more manageable and, dare I say, fun.

As a kid, I went trick-or-treating with my siblings and close family friends. It was introvert-friendly because I was with a small group I knew well and was 100 percent comfortable with. Plus, even though I lived in a neighborhood that was a busy trick-or-treating hub, we’d always go back to the house to eat candy and watch something fun on TV. You can do the grownup version of this, too: 

  • Keep your trick-or-treating group small. Go with just your own kids or with your friend/family member and their kids.
  • Take shifts with a friend or partner. You stay in while they’re taking the kids trick-or-treating, and vice-versa, so that you can have some quiet time during the course of the evening.
  • If you live in a busier neighborhood that will be crowded with trick-or-treaters, go to a quieter neighborhood if you can. For instance, go where a family member or friend lives.

In addition to loving Halloween and the entire fall season, part of the reason Halloween remains one of my favorite holidays is because I’ve been able to tailor it to my introverted nature. Whether it’s spending time alone or with a small group, I’ve enjoyed the abundance of movies, books, and podcasts that are perfect for Halloween, taken in some scary and fascinating sights, and made memories with family and friends that help ensure that I continue to enjoy it. 

Fellow introverts who also love Halloween, what are some ways you’ve made the most of the holiday? I’d love to hear in the comments below!

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Written By

I earned my M.A. and PhD in History from Stony Brook University, and a B.A. in History and German Studies from Colby College. Since embracing my introversion and figuring out I’m an INFJ, I’ve turned back toward my artistic side to focus on fiction and creative nonfiction writing — which is really what I should have been doing all along. I live in the Blue Ridge Mountains and write over on SuziSwartz.com. Find me on Instagram @suzi.swartz and Twitter @suzi_swartz.