A new update is upon us in Animal Crossing: New Horizons. It's another month-long one, like June's Wedding Season event. It's ringing in my favorite time of the year: Halloween. I'm a sucker for ghastly decor, fake skeletons, and an excuse to eat too much candy. Now Animal Crossing: New Horizons is enabling it further.
The new fall update introduces a host of new ghoulish goods. After buying cards from the Nook Miles Shop, you can customize your villager's skin to something more creepy, to white, green, blue, or purple. Another customization addition is more eye colors—I've gone with a bright yellow for now. It's fun for the season, on top of new clothing options that have already popped up at Able Sisters, like a pair of cat ears. I hope the creepy skin and eye colors can stay forever.
The biggest new addition for the Halloween event is that now players can grow pumpkins. Pumpkins aren't guaranteed to all be orange or green and so on, and instead just sprout however they sprout. It's similar to the game's approach to flower crossbreeding, in which it's very randomized in terms of the likelihood that you'll successfully grow, say, an orange rose after placing yellow and red roses nearby one another.
In preparation for the event, I carved out a pumpkin patch in my yard. This morning, I planted a whole field of pumpkins. Similar to flowers, pumpkins take a few days to sprout. Water them every day, and the higher your pumpkin yield on day four. (That is, in counting the day you plant them initially as well.) Pumpkins can sprout up to three by their final stage. Compared to the luck-based nature of crossbreeding flowers, I appreciate how straightforward the pumpkin gardening seems to be, even if the color the pumpkin is remains randomized.
I'm not a time traveler by any measure, so I'll be growing pumpkins the patient and old-fashioned way. You can see my little pumpkin patch above, which I've cultivated in front of my new haunted house.
Heading into the event, I was worried that Animal Crossing would be veering into more farming sim territory—something the likes of Stardew Valley, Story of Seasons/Harvest Moon, and Ooblets occupy proudly right now. Luckily, the Halloween update is still very easy going, and doesn't require too much obsession like actual farming-focused games.
The Halloween event doesn't end at harvestable pumpkins. On Halloween night, Jack the Czar of Halloween will be stopping by everyone's Animal Crossing islands for a special celebration. The general store is even selling candy to prepare for the probable Trick or Treating, though you can only buy one piece of candy per day for the whole month of October. In addition to the new Halloween-themed recipes, there's a host of autumnal recipes too that require shaking trees for pinecones and acorns—which very rarely drop, making it rather tedious to be honest.
As someone who took a long break from Animal Crossing: New Horizons for most of this summer, it's been pleasant sinking back into it. It's consumed so much of my gametime already that I've neglected poor Hades, which is also a Game of the Year contender. Thanks to this Halloween update, I've been pulled back in, as if the cutesy life sim were a crime family or something. If you've been anything like me and burned out a little on Animal Crossing: New Horizons earlier this year, this new update proves that it's never been a better time to jump back in and get reacquainted with your neighbors. After all, they've missed you. And frankly, I missed them. (Except Jacques. That bird has got to go.)