Five Ways to Get Spooky This (Swim) Season

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Photo Courtesy: Instagram, @swimoutlet

By Grace Nordquist, Swimming World College Intern.

It’s October, and that means it’s “spooky season.” While the weather gets colder, the days and practices seem to get longer. Your class work seems to never end. Sometimes, you need to take a break from it all and have some fun with your team. Make lasting memories with with these fall team bonding ideas!

1. Carve/Paint Pumpkins 

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Photo Courtesy: @pexels

Whether you pick out pumpkins at the pumpkin patch or the store, decorating them as a team can be a blast. You can paint or carve the pumpkins. If you’re worried about some of your teammates using carving utensils/knives, stick to painting. The last thing a team needs is a swimmer out with stitches.

If you use paint, it’s recommended to have the group outside or somewhere that it won’t matter if you spill. You could even see if your school’s art department would be willing to let you paint in a studio. If you’re really lucky, you might even get to use their paint!

If you decide to carve, you can pick up kits at the store. Some of these will have stencils along with the cutting tools. Or simply pick up a couple of knives sharp enough to cut a pumpkin. Again, be careful when using the knives. If you want your pumpkin to glow, you can also pick up candles. The fake ones with the switch are the safest and most efficient option.

When it comes to designing the pumpkin, you don’t have to be creative or artsy – you can simply paint or carve your initials. For the more artsy teammates, you could try and tackle your team’s mascot. Another option is to have the team sign the pumpkin, with the team name and swim season on the front. This could make a great gift for your coaches!

2. Haunted Housing 

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Photo Courtesy: Instagram, @bayvillescreampark

Whether your town or school does haunted houses, forests, trails, theme parks or the like, this is another fun option for your team to attend (depending on how brave everyone is).

If your team can find the time to all go to a haunted house between meets or practices, look up the options in your area. Before you go, call ahead to see if they offer group rates or student discounts. Not all places do this, but it’s worth the try.

As a team, you’re used to getting together full of adrenaline and screaming, so this is right up your alley. Plus, who doesn’t want to see the tough guy on your team almost pee himself (outside of the pool)?

If your team doesn’t have the funds to all attend, try the other side of the haunted house. That’s right: you could be the haunted house. If your team is looking for a fundraiser, consider putting on a haunted house or forest. If you can get the school to approve it, you could even host the event on campus. Get some scary costumes and wigs, and ask your dads to borrow their chainsaws – you’re good to go.

You could open the event to both the campus and community, selling tickets around town. If you note that proceeds go towards your team, you’re more likely to get people in town to attend. Whether you get your scream on, or spook others, this would be a load of fun for your team.

3. Corn Maze 

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Photo Courtesy: Instagram, @yegcornmaze

Maybe this one’s only for the teams who have corn fields in their states, but if you have an alternative to this Midwest tradition, go for it. Corn mazes are typically found at the town farmer’s apple orchard or pumpkin patch. The farmers will make a trail through the corn field, which stands upwards to seven feet tall.

Often, the maze will have two entrances or identical courses made to race another group. This makes the maze fun yet competitive. Divide the team into two or more groups by grade, stroke, lane, girls, boys, or however creative you want to be. Then see who can conquer the maze first.

If the maze only has one entrance, time each group to see how long it takes. The team with the fastest time – just like swimming – wins. If you can get your coach on board, there could be prizes for the winners (yay for candy!) or worse – punishment for the losers (ouch for belly-flops).

The corn maze sounds fun and maybe even easy, but don’t be fooled. Most courses have dead ends that make them tricky.If you’re from somewhere that doesn’t have a corn maze, a mirror maze also works.

4. Scary Movie Night

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Photo Courtesy: Pexels

Maybe your team wasn’t able to go haunted housing; instead, you can make your own spooky night by watching scary movies. Go to a teammate’s house or a dorm’s living room area, make popcorn and watch scary movies. You can add candy corn to make the popcorn more festive, or pop open some fun-size candy bags as well.

If you run into some of the team not liking scary movies, you can always start with a harmless Halloween movie. Some options include Hocus Pocus, Halloween Town, Casper, The Adam’s Family and more. If you want to turn it up a notch (and you have permission depending on the movie rating), you can throw in any of the Michael Myers Halloween movies, It, The Conjuring, Paranormal Acitivity, Chuckie, etc.

This makes for a cozy yet spooky night in. If you have a meet the next day or had a meet that day and are too tired for anything else, this can be a good option.

5. Costume Party 

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Photo Courtesy: Instagram, @partycity

If you’re really feeling up to it, a teammate can host a costume party at their house or apartment. Have teammates bring their favorite fall dessert from caramel apples to fun size candy. You could also have apple cider or hot chocolate to sip. If you’ve got a baker on the team have them, check out the many Halloween-themed desserts.

Dressing up for Halloween is fun, so encourage everyone to be original. Hopefully the guys don’t all show up as Michael Phelps. To make it competitive, make it a contest and have everyone vote on the best costume.

Have everyone bring their favorite board game and set up a couple different stations of games for people to play. Large games like apples to apples, catch phrase, charades, etc. are ideal for bigger teams. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can play some festive games like apple bobbing or Halloween trivia.

There are so many fun things to do in the fall, so gather your team together and make memories. It doesn’t have to be expensive or well-planned, either. As cheesy as it sounds, you could jump in a pile of leaves or simply enjoy the beauty of nature by studying outside.

Swimming together is fun, but don’t get so focused on swim season that you forget the changing seasons going on around you. The next thing you know, the seasons will all pass and you’ll be graduated and done swimming – and that’s spooky.

All commentaries are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Swimming World Magazine nor its staff.