Talking tech since 2003

Happy Spooktober! The leaves are changing, the air is crisp, and local markets are filled with apple cider and pumpkins galore. Autumn is by far my favorite time of year. But not just in real life – it's my favorite in Animal Crossing: New Horizons as well. With plenty of additions to daily tasks, new ways to decorate your island, and a special guest visitor on Halloween, there's so much to do and lots to look forward to.

So, you want your island to be spooktacular, right? First, let's talk about the additions to the island. Isabelle lets you know in the very beginning of the month that there are some new little treasures to be spotted around the island: Pumpkins. But what's the best way to acquire these little jack-o-lanterns to be? Stop at Nook's Cranny and check out the cabinet! You'll see pumpkin starts, and you can buy as many as you'd like. Upon receiving these little plants, you'll be eager to plant and water them to see what the future holds.

But wait! Don't. Not yet, at least.

Tip No. 1: Designate a space on your island for a pumpkin patch.

Put on your construction hat and start working on your island floor for a more realistic approach. I opted for a dark brown soil and, as you'll see, took the liberty of creating an entire additional level of my island for the pumpkin patch, but you can do whatever you see fit.

Then, plant as many pumpkin starts as you would like. The more you plant, the more variety you'll have. Oh, that's another thing – pumpkins don't have to be just orange! There's green, yellow, and white as well. And trust me, you'll want all of these. Watering your pumpkins will heighten the likelihood of growing two per starter instead of one. You'll be able to later use these for customization on DIY items, so stock up while you can! Another great perk is that once planted, the pumpkins will continue to grow even after harvesting them. Just don't forget to water them!

Tip No. 2: Visit your villagers at home every single day.

You won't find the October DIY recipes along the beach. You'll find them by visiting your villager's homes and talking to whoever is using their work bench. Every day, you'll receive a seasonal DIY recipe, all of which the only seasonal item you'll need is: you guessed it, pumpkins. You can see why I told you to create your own pumpkin patch so you have enough space to stock up on pumpkins. All of the decorations you'll see in the photos of my island have been created from DIY recipes, including my favorite: spooky fencing!

Tip No. 3: Stop by Nook's Cranny daily to buy candy and seasonal items.

Candy. Is. Gold. Seriously. It might not seem like it does anything yet, but it will. We'll get to that later. You can only purchase one candy per day from Nook's Cranny so be sure to hop onto the game daily in order to gather as many as possible. You'll also notice that in the very front of the store, there is always one seasonal item on display. Buy them all if you can! If you can't, don't sweat it. You'll be able to create them all yourself once you've gathered each of the DIY recipes from your villagers.

Tip No. 4: Trade in your Nook Miles for spooky skin and eye colors.

Stop by the Town Hall and go to redeem your Nook Miles. You'll see new expansion packs available: one for skin and one for eyes. Once downloaded, you can go change up your look at any vanity. Behold! Green skin, blue skin, purple skin. Yellow eyes, pink eyes, ghostly grey eyes, and more! This provides you with endless opportunities of what to dress up as for the Halloween season. Check them out and have fun!

Now that you've got the basics down, let's do a bit of preparing for the special day we've all been waiting for: Halloween! I'm going to give you the inside scoop on how to get the most out of the Halloween event and have the most chilling fun.

Halloween Event Tip No. 1: Have your candy on deck when talking to Jack.

Jack is the new visitor roaming and haunting the island. He's easy to spot – just look for the giant pumpkin-headed fellow. When you first talk to him, he'll ask for candy. Make sure to comply! If you don't, he'll pull a "trick" on you by messing with your clothes, skin color, and face paint. By giving Jack candy and satisfying his sweet tooth, Jack will reward you with new items and DIYs for the holiday, some of which you can't get from your villagers. So be ready to give him as much candy as his little pumpkin heart desires.

Halloween Event Tip No. 2: Dress up as Jack and spook your villagers for extra candy!

At some point in your candy trading with Jack, he'll give you a Jack's Head item and a Jack's Robe item. Surely you'll be excited to put them on. Go for it! But this is the thing that no one will tell you: Talk to all of your villagers while you're dressed as him. At first, they'll be convinced that you're Jack and in the midst of their fear they'll give you candy – as opposed to asking you for it. Don't feel too bad, they soon figure out that it's just you behind the pumpkin mask. That's 10 extra candies that you can trade with the real Jack for more goodies!

Halloween Event Tip No. 3: Don't forget to visit your villagers who stayed home!

Obviously most people want to go out for Halloween – including your villagers. But some of them choose to stay home in order to hand out candy to visitors, just like in real life! Now, obviously if you came knocking on your neighbor's door every five minutes to ask for more candy they'd probably slam the door in your face at one point and tell you to stop at the local grocery store for your own. But the villagers in Animal Crossing: New Horizons are way too nice to do that! They'll happily give you more candy each time you visit them, so long as you wait a few minutes in between.

Showing off my costume to Papi and possibly giving him nightmares. (Just kidding, he said I looked great and gave me a candy post-photo!)

Halloween Event Tip No. 4: Lollipops are the new and improved candy.

Jack will eventually get tired of candy and begin to crave something harder to come by: lollipops. I know what you're thinking: "How in the world am I supposed to get lollipops? I haven't seen them this whole time!" Not to worry! Simply make sure you've changed out of your Jack costume and into your regular Halloween attire. Talk to all of your villagers and participate in the usual "trick or treat" exchange. This time, instead of giving you candy they'll be asking you for it. Trust me, you'll want to give it to them. Your villagers will reward you with spooky items, teaching spooky reactions, and even sometimes lollipops as a grand gesture. It's more rare to come by, but if you continue to follow the tips listed above, you'll see: the more candy you have, the better. And it's worth it, because giving Jack lollipops will yield better results in what you receive from him.

You can continue to do all of these things until the Halloween Event ends at midnight. And in doing so, you'll be able to bring your island vision to fruition. Now you can see why pumpkins and candy are so important in the days leading up to Halloween. The most important thing in all of this is that you have as much fun as possible. Do whatever it is you see fit to enjoy your time during the holiday! Happy Haunting!

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