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No Kids on Halloween? It's Not as Scary as You Think

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I ordered my 16-year-old daughter a wig today to complete her Halloween costume. Besides bringing home some pumpkin bread from Starbucks, that was my only contribution to anything having to do with Halloween this year.

My girls are teens now and Halloween has changed — they make their own costumes, there are no school parties to volunteer for and it’s been years since I accompanied them trick-or-treating. While I miss these traditions from their childhood, I’m not going to lie. I’m kind of relieved my days of sewing wings on a leotard or making bat-shaped PB&Js at 3 a.m. are behind me.

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But even with the kids on their own, there’s no reason to sit at home waiting for the doorbell to ring. Here are some things to do on October 31st that don’t involve handing out candy or following the kids around the neighborhood with a flashlight.

1. Go out to dinner

For the past few years my husband and I have made a tradition of going out to dinner on Halloween night. The restaurants are empty, and it’s a great way to escape the chaos out on the streets. We time it perfectly so that just as we’re finishing our pumpkin ravioli (because every restaurant feels it needs a Halloween-themed menu) we get the call to pick the girls up at their respective parties. We’re looking forward to the day when they can drive themselves so that we’ll have time to order the ice cream cauldron for dessert.

2. Take in a movie

Like the restaurants, movie theaters are ghost towns (see what I did there?) With the exception of some horror movies, you should have no problem getting a ticket and the best seats in the house. Bonus: You can stuff your pockets with Halloween candy before you leave home.

3. Have a cocktail party

The kids are out of the house having fun on their own, so let’s raise a glass to that milestone — a tiny glass, that is. (Candy Corn Jell-O shots, anyone?) Invite a few similarly un-tethered friends over and have an adult evening – cocktails, grown-up food, costumes optional and no one ends up crying because they didn’t get the full-sized box of Nerds.

4. Treat yourself to a show or movie

What could be more perfect than seeing "Wicked" on Broadway on Halloween night? Here on the West Coast I’ll be seeing Danny Elfman perform music from "The Nightmare Before Christmas" and other Tim Burton films while everyone else is out trick-or-treating. Many venues schedule shows on October 31, knowing that there’ll be lots of adults looking for something to do; Fleetwood Mac, The Black Keys and Queens of the Stone Age are just a few acts scheduled to perform on Halloween night. Instead of a lighter, steal your kid’s "Frozen" snow wand to wave around once the lights go down in the arena.

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5. Take a hike

Disclaimer: I’m about as far as you can get from the outdoorsy type, so I won’t be trying this anytime soon. But I do know people that take to their favorite mountainous paths on the 31st — a local hiking club leads an annual Haunted Halloween Hike to search for the ghosts of a couple that died mysteriously in the park almost four decades ago. Check with your local parks and rec department to see what guided hikes they offer, and don’t forget to take a candied apple with you in case you run into a witch in the woods.

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