It’s hard to believe the season of pumpkin spiced lattes, ghosts and jack-o-lanterns are already upon us. And before we begin our hibernation for the winter, there is one occasion that always brings everyone together in a light-hearted fashion. Of course, I’m talking about Halloween. If you are getting into the spirit and throwing a shindig for your friends and family this year, here are some tips to throw a howlin’ Halloween party.
When setting the mood for a themed party, décor will go a long way. There are so many directions your decorating thumb can steer you. Whether you’re going for a scary motif,
vintage vibe or simply classic Halloween, there are no rules when it comes to dressing up your home, except for maybe one, less is more need not apply. Festive touches should be present in any room your guests may congregate. Start from the outside and work your way inside. Your curb appeal will be the first impression for your guests and will set the tone for the evening. Pumpkins are an obvious choice and will undoubtedly be incorporated but try to use them in a not so obvious fashion. Think carved mini pumpkins with glowing light creates a pathway to your door, you can even carve letters and leave a message for your invitees. If the budget allows, hire a spooky doorman to take your guests jackets, after a frightful welcome of course. This leads us to the entrance way, which should scream Halloween spirit. Even if it’s a small mudroom, a few minor details will go a long way. For instance, change the lightbulbs in your foyer to red or orange, have your guests walk through faux spider webs, or keep it classy with an elaborate candelabra. Lighting will have a significant effect and immediately create an atmosphere worthy of the occasion. A backdrop behind the snack table will add drama, and that is where many of your guests will be lingering, so don’t let this area go unadorned. If you have a fireplace mantel, this is another spot that should be upstaged. Moral of this story is, whatever you do, unapologetically commit.
Photo Op Operation
Halloween is probably the most photo-worthy holiday of the year, especially if your guests put their A-Game into their costumes. A photo wall is a perfect place for your guests to strike a pose. Make sure the backdrop is in line with your party theme, the lighting should be selfie worthy and have a Polaroid on hand. Hang a string with clothes pegs nearby and encourage your guests to hang their photos and document the night. It’s also the ideal occasion to hire a professional photographer for a few hours and capture everyone in their costumes.
Food Fit For a Monster Mash
Once you have the stage set for the perfect ambiance, it’s time to start thinking about the food. To tie everything together the snacks will be an extension of your décor, so don’t be afraid to get into it. Pinterest is a breeding ground for fun DIY spooky snacks, and if crafting bites isn’t your forte talk to a caterer that is willing to put a little Halloween spice into their canapés. This treat-filled holiday is guaranteed to spike anyone’s insulin levels, so consider having some healthy snacks available as well. In addition to the food, don’t be afraid to get creative with beverages. Shooters served in plastic syringes laid out on a stainless-steel platter are always a hit, not only do they check the Halloween spook boxes, but they are a lot of fun. Create ‘poison’ labels for decanters with different liqueurs or mixers. A delicious punch is fundamental and simple, with so many different concoctions, we’ve narrowed it down to 10 mouth-watering punches to try this year!
A Ghouls Game
Not everyone is keen on games at a house party, but for your Halloween soiree, there are a few that you can easily facilitate without making anyone feel obligated to participate. A costume contest will offer an incentive for those who don’t usually put a lot of effort into their costume. Announce the categories in the invitation and of course, provide an appealing prize! Halloween movie and tv trivia can be a lot of fun depending on the crowd, and questions can be found online. If you are a hardcore gamester, Halloween is the perfect time to host a murder mystery. You will not only be setting the stage for a night full of entertainment, but the decorations and atmosphere will add to the storyline of your murder.
Don’t forget to plan your music ahead of time. This is not something you want to leave for the last minute, especially if you decide to host sans a DJ. As convenient as the streaming music services are, there are so many instances you put on a playlist only to find that it’s not remotely close to what you had in mind. You can source playlists from YouTube, Spotify, Apple Music, but I urge you to listen to these lists ahead of time and make sure it’s party appropriate. Better yet, curate your own list, and throw in some party classics even if they aren’t specific to Halloween. If you want a haunted house vibe, find a playlist with sound effects featuring ghosts, creaking floors or the wind howling. Playing classic scary movies with subtitles on your tv can also set the tone, think black and white.
When throwing a house party, it’s a safe bet to plan for all ages, however, if you don’t think your party is child-friendly, don’t sweat. Why not hire a nanny or babysitter to host a small kids Halloween party in the basement? Cupcake decorating, bobbing for apples and a Halloween movie will keep the young ones occupied so the adults can have a few hours off. It’s also completely acceptable to state in the invite that this party isn’t appropriate for children.
As much as we’d like to believe everyone is into dressing up for Halloween, it’s not realistic to expect all your guests to be enthusiastic about putting something together. Have a bin with a few extra costumes for those who show up without. A cape, bunny ears, a witch hat. It doesn’t need to be elaborate, but nobody should get off the hook without a costume at your party!
It’s so easy to get caught up in the stresses that can sometimes ail us when we are planning a party but remember it should be fun. It’s even possible to throw a last minute get together with ease. Don’t be afraid to ask your guests to bring a little something for the snack table, or to contribute to the bar. And remember, your guest won’t notice the minor details that didn’t come together as planned. If your friends can’t stop cackling about this party for days after, you can pat yourself on the back and start planning for next years wicked Halloween party.