By Cheryl Levey
Oh, Halloween! The night of ghosts and ghouls! Whether you're
having a party for the kids or for the grown-ups - or for both! - here's the
place for some excellent ideas. There are so many different ways to do a
Halloween party that I couldn't possibly cover it all in one article, so I would
encourage you to search the web for more ideas after reading this article.
In particular, I encourage you to look around sites that sell
party supplies to get ideas. The reason I suggest this is because they have
photos of their supplies and show you kits and other decorating and costume
ideas that are easier seen than written about!
Of course, anything with a scary design! Traditional Halloween
colors are orange and black. If you want to make your own, you can create a
flyer or invitation with basically anything "Halloweeny" on it - cats, bats,
ghosts, witches, monsters, pumpkins, tombstones, etc. If you are having a
specific theme for your party, you can use it on the invitation.
I love to dress up. I've been lots of things over the years,
including Peg Bundy (complete with spandex pants and big hair wig!), a go-go
chick, a leopard, and a vampire, to name just a few. And I have seen some
amazingly creative costumes too! You don't have to spend a lot of money for a
great costume (although you can if you want to). Here are just a few costume
ideas, gleaned from my own memories of parties I've gone to:
A bag of trash - this one had me laughing so hard! A guy I know
cut leg holes in the bottom of a big lawn bag and then after stepping into the
bag, filled it out with wadded up newspaper. He tied it closed around his chest
(with some hanging out of course) and put a sign on front that said "Bag 'o
Static - a woman dressed up in black leotards and pinned things
like stray socks and underwear (the racier the funnier! - men's thongs anyone?)
and even hair sprayed their hair sticking out at different angles.
Moving box - you guessed it, it's a person inside a big box!
It's funny how something so simple can seem creative. Just cut out arm holes and
a head hole. Leave the flaps open at the bottom so you can walk :)
Grapes - this is a popular one, I've seen it a few times.
Wearing brown, purple or even green sweats or leotard, pin purple balloons all
Personally, I would never have a Halloween party without
basically requiring that people wear costumes, but since my husband isn't one to
do much dressing up, one last simple costume idea is: Buy a big orange t-shirt
and paint a black pumpkin face. I got lucky and found a pumpkin face t-shirt by
chance and bought it for him. Even the most reluctant can do just a little to
The perfect favor for a grown-up's Halloween party is a candle.
For a kid's party, a small trick or treat bag of candy is great! Other ideas are
glow in the dark things, small flashlights, keychains, etc. Basically anything
that glows in the dark is great!
Depending on whether you are having a specific theme or not,
you'll decorate according to theme. But if you just want to get the house in a
Halloween kinda mood, here are some general ideas:
Colors are typically orange and black, but red (blood) and white
(ghosts, bones) work too. Dark colors are also good - purple, brown, green.
Using lots of candles in strategic (safe) places and very low
lighting is excellent for creating an eerie ambiance. Note though, that not
having any lights at all is no fun. I tried that one year and used just candles
and in the end people were just turning the regular bright lights on, which
destroys the mood. Use black lights, strobe/ disco lights and other dim-lighting
in addition to candles and other decorative glowing things.
With low lighting, one year I had a hard time finding a place to
put my glow-in-the-dark skeleton. In the end, I put him on the bathroom door,
which was down a hall in an area of the house that we weren't having the party
in. Whenever anyone needed to go, we told them to ask the skeleton! Another idea
I'm going to try this year is to put him in our back yard so people will see him
from inside and hopefully be scared!
Of course, streamers and balloons (in black and orange) are
always fun. Be sure to put cobwebbing in the corners of the party room. We also
have a couple of funny things like an burning cauldron (a light and fan inside
blow and glow fabric above to give the effect) and a candy dish with a hand that
grabs you when you try to take some candy. The kids get a big kick out of that
Generally, typical party fare works really well with a Halloween
party, since they tend to be at night, probably after dinner time, and people
can come and go as their schedules allow (or as their kids come crashing down
after the sugar high!). You can make things with a Halloween flair, though. For
example, you can turn cupcakes into pumpkin faces. You can make cookies in all
different Halloween shapes. You can serve fish sticks and call them fingers, and
you can serve "eyeball" meatballs in your crock pot. You can serve witches mix
(trail mix). You get the idea.
Don't forget drinks! Make sure you have juices and soda on hand.
If it's a grown-up party, you can also serve wine, beer, and mixed drinks. Keep
in the Halloween theme, though, with drinks like Bloody Marys and Witches Brew
(punch), and don't forget to freeze eyeballs and plastic spiders in your ice
Something like a pumpkin spiced cake would be great for a
Halloween party. Or you can do a sheet cake and decorate it with a Halloween
For Halloween parties, I always think in terms of things like
bobbing for apples, pumpkin carving (or painting), pin the tail on the cat or
stem on the pumpkin, and telling scary stories. A lot of times, with adults,
dancing and socializing is what everyone wants to do. It depends on how planned
out you want the party to be and on what your guests are like.
Of course, a CD of eerie sounds can be played as people arrive,
but you'll want to switch to something more fun (and danceable) later. Most
music stores, this time of year, have some great Halloween compilation CDs.
Cheryl Levey offers a proliferation of information on her website about
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