Here’s how to get the most out of Animal Crossing’s Halloween event

Halloween has arrived in “Animal Crossing: New Horizons," the mega hit from Nintendo that lets you build and refine an idyllic island to your heart’s desire. For the entirety of October, Animal Crossing players can collect seasonal furniture, grow pumpkins, collect candy and eventually trick-or-treat on their respective islands for a virtual spooky experience. It’s also a great alternative to actual trick-or-treating, which won’t be possible for many as the pandemic continues to pose restrictions across the country.

Stocking up on spooky decorations
There are a number of ways to obtain Halloween-themed items in Animal Crossing this season. For DIY recipes (crafting recipes for making furniture), visit villagers’ homes and they may gift you a recipe. You can also pop balloons with your slingshot to open gift boxes. Your local Nook’s Cranny should be your next stop. Here, you can purchase one limited-time spooky item per day, such as an eerie lantern set or a gorgeous arch with twisting branches.

Snagging candy for Halloween night
As of Sept. 30 (when the update went live), you should have received mail from Jack, the host of Halloween in Animal Crossing, urging you to collect as much candy as you can before his visit. You should heed his advice, especially if you’re hoping to collect as many seasonal items as possible. Every day, you can purchase candy from Nook’s Cranny for 120 bells each, though you’re limited to one purchase daily. Luckily, you can get around this constraint by visiting a friend’s island and buying candy there too. It’s best to stock up early so you can reap all the rewards once Halloween arrives. By Halloween night, you can gain candy for free by trick-or-treating at your villagers’ homes. You have to wear a costume (these are purchasable at Able Sisters all month) and enter their house to speak to them. If you run out of candy, don’t worry: After a short time, you can trick-or-treat again. Alternatively, you can scare villagers into giving you two pieces of candy each if you dress like Jack, who wears a dark robe and a giant pumpkin for a head. (He’ll give you his costume in exchange for two candy.) Halloween night begins at 5 p.m., in whatever time zone you’re in, and ends by midnight. It starts with the arrival of Jack, who can be found roaming around Residential Services at the center of your island. You’ll be able to trade your assortment of candy for special items like spooky wallpapers and rugs.

Growing a pumpkin patch
Halloween would be lacking without a pumpkin patch, right? In “Animal Crossing: New Horizons,” you can take advantage of this seasonal event to grow your own pumpkins, either for show or for a more practical use. You can purchase pumpkin starts at Nook’s Cranny for 280 bells, or for cheaper from Leif (a plant seller that visits randomly) for 140 bells each. Leif also sells pumpkin starts in bulk at 700 bells. These seeds can be planted on your island and will take four days to grow the first time, and two days for future regrowing. Once grown, you can harvest your pumpkins (these appear in random colors including green, yellow, white and orange). Only orange pumpkins can be used for DIY recipes to make spooky furniture. Make sure you water your pumpkins periodically for the best results — the more you tend to them, the more you can harvest at once.

New reactions
Reactions (i.e. emotes) are one of the prime methods of interaction with friends in Animal Crossing, and there’s a new batch of them this Halloween. You’ll have to wait until October 31, however, but upon that date, you can approach your villagers to receive the new haunt and scare reactions.

Costumes galore
Every day this month, Able Sisters will have a rotating selection of costumes for zombies, vampires, sorceresses and more that you can buy, so be sure to take advantage, especially as you decide what style you’d like to sport on Halloween night. At Residential Services, you can use the ATM to redeem your Nook Miles (a form of currency in the game) for new skin tones and eye colors perfect for spooky season.

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