Rhian Beam's character in Animal Crossing. Rhian Beam/PSU Vanguard

Trick-or-treating from the living room

Animal Crossing gets a spooky makeover

Everyone is desperate for an ounce of happiness as a treat for getting through these past six months. Thankfully, the fall update to Animal Crossing: New Horizons is here.


This time around, there aren’t many new fish and bugs to catch, but there are plenty of other ways to modify your island and villagers to make your spooky aesthetic a virtual reality.


You can also acquire many recipes for new Halloween DIY items. So far, I’ve seen the spooky arch, the spooky table—replete with spooky chairs, of course—the spooky lantern, carved pumpkins and pumpkins with hay barrels. Depending on the day, some of these items are already available for sale at Nook’s Cranny.


Probably the most anticipated feature of the update was the ability to plant and harvest pumpkins. You can buy pumpkin starters from the character Leif when he comes to your island, and you can buy them any day thereafter from Nook’s Cranny. They function similarly to flowers—you water them and they grow, and then they stay that way. They never go bad, even after you pick them.


Another less obvious aspect of this autumnal update is the addition of pine cones and acorns to trees. You can create unique DIY items from pumpkins, pine cones, and acorns.


Also, don’t miss buying candy once a day at Nook’s Cranny. You want to have enough to give to your villagers on Halloween, and some of the new DIY items require candy as building materials as well.


Included in the update are also new skin tones and eye color options, which allow you to enhance your outfits. While the skin tones aren’t really my thing, I use the lovely new orange-hazel eye color, which almost looks like my own. 


In addition to a daily visit to Able Sisters for some fall fits, I also recommend going to the creator kiosk and searching for some custom outfits and sweaters. The creator community in New Horizons constantly amazes, and the new criteria search system is intuitive. You can even favorite creators, allowing you to return to their page and see their whole collection during other seasons. 


On this in-game Halloween, festivities can be had across your island as your villagers dress up in costumes of their own and prance about in the leaves. Jack—an iconic villager with a pumpkin head, and New Horizons’ very own Halloween ambassador—will be in your town square, providing treats (and tricks). 


This year, my personal Halloween plans include a horror movie marathon with my partner, inviting friends over to my island and handing out candy to my villagers. By the standards of 2020, that constitutes a pretty good day. Fall this year might be devoid of our usual autumnal traditions, but I’m trying to do what I can to stay happy—and right now, that means dressing up an anthropomorphic baby blue goat in a maid’s outfit and giving him candy. 

Animal Crossing: New Horizons. Courtesy of NintendoLife