I'm Convinced Any Day Can Be Halloween — Here's How I Celebrate Throughout the Year

POPSUGAR Photography | Chanel Vargas, Getty / mayakova
POPSUGAR Photography | Chanel Vargas, Getty / mayakova

I'm a firm believer that Halloween doesn't have to end after Oct. 31. In fact, I celebrate the spooky holiday twice a year. (Yes, with costumes, Halloween decorations, pumpkin-inspired snacks, scary-movie marathons, and all the other festive customs typically reserved for fall.) While some people might go all in on the whimsy of Christmas, my heart lies not with gingerbread and tinsel but with haunted houses and jack-o'-lanterns carved with so much care, you can still feel the pumpkin guts under your fingernails for days.

As a kid, I never missed an opportunity to play dress-up. Cat ears, vampire fangs, green face paint — you name it, I wore it. Even at 3 months old, I was in on the pageantry, making appearances in old family Halloween photos as a pumpkin with an orange-and-green hat with a stem. Nearly three decades later, I can't recall a Halloween when I didn't slip on some kind of costume, even if it was just a flannel and some accessories to pose as my favorite "Supernatural" character one year. Some of my favorite Halloween costumes, though, are reserved for Summerween. Allow me to explain.

In 2019, my younger sister and I began celebrating Summerween, a concept we admittedly borrowed from one of her favorite Disney Channel shows, "Gravity Falls." The idea behind the unconventional holiday tradition is simple: do everything you would normally do during Halloween but during the summer, preferably June or July. Every year since, our goal has been to capture the magic of Halloween and sit with it for a day to hold us over until autumn.

Even when the canned pumpkin was out of stock and no one had made any effort to dig the giant spider decoration out of the garage yet, we managed to create pockets in time where the leaves were changing and something witchy was in the air. As the tradition continued, we tried out Halloween recipes, surprised each other with costumes inspired by our shared taste in spooky movies, and even tested out some rising TikTok trends, like the thrifted ghost painting project.

. . . we can generate our own joy, regardless of the date on the calendar.

I should mention, there's no set date for Summerween. It's more of a vibe, and if that sounds silly to some, it's fitting, because Halloween is an inherently playful holiday. From sticky candy fingers to spray-on hair tints, Halloween is meant to be messy, mysterious, and fun. As one of the most inclusive holidays, it's a time to unleash your most creative self and be unapologetically weird. It's a time when my inner child can play freely. By celebrating Summerween, we open up the door to experience that freedom more than once.

Plus, like Christmas, it gives us the opportunity to lean into the cozy aesthetic and spend time with people we love. Though my sister and I don't get to see each other as often as we'd like, i.e. 24/7, having this holiday to look forward to gives us the space to relive our childhoods and revel in the fact that we can generate our own joy, regardless of the date on the calendar. Even on days when summer and fall feel impossibly far away, I can still fill my house with the scent of cinnamon and blast the "Monster Mash" until I'm reminded of that 20-something-year-old pumpkin Polaroid.

These days, little moments of joy hold more power. Decorating pumpkins isn't just a DIY craft to pass the time; it's catharsis in the form of paint-stained fingers and crumpled newspaper. Queuing up scary movies isn't really about the thrill of a well-planned jump scare, but about the frisson of excitement you share with your loved ones. And wearing costumes isn't a tradition reserved for children with a craving for Halloween candy; it's a reminder that our imaginations make us uniquely human.