April 20th is indisputably the highest holiday in the stoner calendar. Thanksgiving has its place as a stoner bonzanzo too, providing a shameless excuse to eat until you physically have to stop. Less appreciated in the annual cannabis cycle, though, is Halloween: it’s primetime for feeling creeped out and disoriented.
It may be heavily commercialized now, but the pagan roots of October 31st are still there if you look for them — it’s a ritualistic observance of that weird point between the bounty of fall and the impending emptiness of winter, and a way to honor the ubiquity of death. Here’s a roundup of some of the best ways to celebrate the macabre holiday with weed. Get baked, leave a stash of candy out for the trick or treaters to help themselves, and pick a few of these Halloween agendas tailor-made for stoners.
While we wouldn’t exactly advise getting high and chaperoning or tagging along with younger trick-or-treaters, there are plenty of ways to update the roving Halloween night tradition for an older crowd. A bar crawl is one easy option, but if you can rally some critical mass, have friends host different stops along a “trick-or-toke” route: each house can dole out different cannabis treats for the guests. If you’re feeling a little more creative, you could also devise a stoned Halloween scavenger hunt with a checklist of targets like topical costumes, toilet-papered houses, and one of those ubiquitous roving clowns.
Haunted Walking Tours
If you’re partial to the intense analytical thinking that can come with a sativa high, you may want to blaze and check out a haunted historical tour. Many urban areas offer such tours, led by hardcore history buffs who are passionate about some of the more disturbing aspects of their city’s past.
You may even want to lead an amateur tour yourself for some friends, using the Weird U.S. series as a resource for creepy local stories.
Local lore like Kentucky’s Pope Lick Monster or Pennsylvania’s abandoned coal-mining town of Centralia are bound to induce conversations along the lines of: “Dude… this really happened here.”
Halloween provides a great excuse for some creative decorating. A heavily cerebral strain like Cinderella 99 can stoke your imagination and inspire some seasonal crafts. Pumpkin carving is a go-to, and can provide a great canvas for creepy and/or weed-themed faces and designs — but don’t underestimate how much elbow grease goes into scooping out all the seeds before you start carving. Alternatively, make a trip to your local hardware store for supplies to create a lifesize horror icon like The Babadook or Pinhead. If all else fails, just pick up some cheap, creepy baby dolls and fake blood and go wild.
For many of us, scary movies have had a dark and morbid appeal since childhood. Halloween is the perfect time to recapture this experience and enhance it with a little psychoactive intensity.
Most cable channels curate a lineup of horror classics in the days leading up to Halloween; small theaters will also often host Halloween retrospectives of master horror directors like Alfred Hitchcock and John Carpenter.
For a truly current experience though, get baked at home and park yourself in front of your streaming service of choice to become mesmerized by the particularly modern horror of mumblecore directors like Ti West or Adam Wingard. Combining uncannily realistic dialogue with horrific and tense situations, movies like You’re Next and Creep will leave you transfixed and wondering why the hell you thought getting stoned and freaking yourself out was such a good idea.
The especially brave may want to take their standard cannabis dissociation a step further by ramping up the adrenaline. Haunted houses have progressed way beyond the ramshackle amateur operations of the past — now there are plenty of intense immersive experiences, some of which even make you sign a waiver if you have a pre-existing heart condition. If you’re not especially prone to paranoia and you’re game for being subjected to a simulated kidnapping or some full-on, unsimulated waterboarding, get high and head to one of the many haunted houses in your area. Or for a more lo-fi, comedic version, just stay home and giggle at videos of some poor suckers reacting to jump scares in a haunted house.
If you’re in the mood for a heavier high with less active participation, smoke some Blue Dream and throw on a little creepy, moody music. Ambient music is highly underrated for its ability to create a sense of dread, especially in combination with a suggestible mind. With the lights off, eerie soundscapes like Mike Oldfield’s Tubular Bells (popularized in the soundtrack to The Exorcist) or Salem’s Frost will put you in a decidedly weird headspace. More structured music can be scary, too — Pink Floyd’s album Animals is legendarily spooky, as is most of Kate Bush’s The Sensual World.
If you have a short attention span, Halloween is a great time to put it to work. Rather than browsing endless internet nonsense at work, get stoned and intentionally freak yourself out with a trip down one of the dark back alleys of Wikipedia. The user-generated free encyclopedia has some priceless starting points, one of which is sure to catch your interest and lead to weirder and weirder things — some suggestions include this list of torture methods, this roundup of serial killers ranked by number of victims, or this article on an unexplained noise emanating from the ocean floor. Alternatively, take a trip to the weird part of YouTube. There are plenty of mini horror movies, and tons of terrifying, inexplicable clips.
Read the News
For the ultimate Halloween scare, just take a look at the abject horror of the real world around us. From terrorism and civilian deaths in Syria and Iraq to a psychopathic presidential nominee to unprecedented rates of climate change, there are plenty of reasons to be scared of things exactly as they are. Ponder that for a little bit. If it gets to be too much, there’s always this picture of a teacup pig wearing boots. Happy Halloween!