Matthew Jelalian 01

Matthew Jelalian poses for a portrait in the Daily Herald studio on Friday, March 6, 2015. SAMMY JO HESTER, Daily Herald

We’re into October, which means we’re entering spooky season.

It’s a time for ghost stories, pumpkins, cider and doughnuts. I myself have already listened to Stephen King’s “Carrie” and “Pet Sematary” to get into the holiday season. I wanted to listen to Mary Shelly’s “Frankenstein,” but the wait for that audiobook at the library was just too long.

Since it’s spooky season, I just wanted to give you some suggestions on how to make the most of it.

First, decorate for the season.

You don’t need to bedazzle your home like it’s goth Christmas. But there’s no reason why you can’t have a pumpkin somewhere on your porch or in your home. Even a tiny bit of spooky decorating can get everyone in the mood.

Just recently, my wife bought some lawn flamingos that are skeletons. Those, coupled with our decorative pumpkins, are more than enough to invite a festive Halloween spirit to our corner of the neighborhood.

Second, get outside.

It’s finally getting cold which means the leaves are changing colors and it’s starting to look like fall.

We live in one of the most naturally beautiful states in the country and fall is the perfect time to go outside and bask in it.

I hate it when people say, “If you don’t like X then leave,” but if you don’t go outside very often, you need to try and change that. I’m not saying we all have to become hikers, but there’s something to be said about going to a park up the canyon and just enjoying nature.

Nothing will get you more in the mood for autumn than that.

Third, read news comments that you’ve edited in your head.

Go to any Utah news site or social media account, every time you read “Donald Trump” replace it with “Hillary Clinton” and whenever you read the word “Republican” replace it with “Democrat” and visa versa.

If you’re wanting to see the scary hellscape “the other side” is living in, this is an easy way to do it. In fact, I’d love to see the United Utah Party make a web extension that does this automatically. It’d be a great way of showing the absurdity of the two, main parties while being a half-decent marketing effort on their part.

Talk about seeing monsters during spooky season.

Fourth, if seeing political monsters is too much for you, go check out imaginary ones. Now is the season to watch a scary movie or read a horror book. There are tons of classics worth seeing that have a timeless feel to them.

If you’re not into scary movies, I’ll give you two suggestions for determining whether a movie or book is worth your time.

First, there’s a difference between a scary story and a gory story. There’s usually a degree of gore or violence in good horror, but the latter doesn’t make the former. Make sure that as you’re looking at your options, that you pick something scary, not just gory.

Second, the less screentime the “monster” has, the better the story.

Your brain is going to conjure up scarier images than the TV screen ever will. The minute you see the monster, no matter what that monster is, the sooner the horror is kind of removed from the story.

There are exceptions to both of these suggestions, but there are good rules to stand by if you’re going into the horror section of your Netflix account blind.

Fifth, start talking to your neighbors about Halloween.

Some of my favorite childhood memories are of me and my friends traipsing around the neighborhood in our costumes raking in pillowcases of candy.

As the years go by, America sees fewer and fewer trick-or-treaters every year.

I don’t want to be the old man reminiscing about the “good ole days,” but I think a lot of kids are missing out by not getting outside for Halloween. And let’s be honest, Trunk-or-treating is not a sufficient replacement.

The great thing about Halloween is how it’s such a community-centered event.

It requires you and your neighbors to do your part, walking around with the kids and passing out candy.

I think Halloween is a great time to practice some place-making in our neighborhoods and transform them from places where we park our cars and store our stuff to places where we live and enjoy one another’s company.

So talk with your neighbors, ask them if they’ll be participating this year, and ask them if they’ll have a teal pumpkin for kids with food allergies.

Spooky season is fun. It’s not overly commercialized like other smaller holidays like Valentine’s Day and it’s not in your face for months and months like Christmas.

It’s just a fun time to celebrate the spooky and the weird while eating sugar.

With a little bit of extra effort, we can make the few weeks leading up to Halloween fun for kids and adults alike.

I’m afraid that if we don’t, the entire holiday will slowly fade away.

And that would be scary.