It’s that time of the year again where I’m planning my Halloween party and costume like crazy. I love throwing Halloween parties, because costume parties are just a lot of fun, and I love to see how creative people get with their costumes. I’ve been doing this since about 2012, and no matter who shows up and what the setting is, it’s always been a blast!
So how does one organize a killer Halloween party?
First I’d like to put a little disclaimer out there. I’m definitely no Halloween party expert. But I mean, if that is an existing job, sign me up?? Anyway, like everything in life, I usually just sort of wing it while I’m going. But that doesn’t mean I don’t put a lot of effort into the organization, so here are some casual tips for y’all to enjoy!
1: Start your planning on time
Most Halloween parties just take a little more effort than your regular get togethers. Yes, you need people, food, and drinks for both, but if you really want to throw an awesome Halloween party, you make sure that even the food and drink is Halloween-themed. You also want to give your invitees time to gather materials for their costumes. I usually send out invites a couple of weeks in advance. That way, people know what’s coming and have ample time to create their most creative costumes!
2: Plan what you want to serve your guests
I love baking my own cookies and cakes for my Halloween parties, because it gives me the opportunity to be really creative and stick to the theme. A couple of years ago, my friend and I decorated hundreds of little sugar cookies that we had baked ourselves. It took forever, but it was definitely worth it! If you want to make your own Halloween snacks, you will need time, so start planning!
For the drinks, I usually just get basic stuff, but it is a lot of fun to exchange the labels on your bottles of wine for fake Halloween labels you can get at Party City. And Pinterest is chock-full of spooky punch recipes!
3: Plan your costume
I mean, duh. If you like making your own costumes, and you need to order stuff, you better make sure it’s at your doorstep before your party. I usually try to dress up as something different every year, and so far I’ve switched between original costumes, and store-bought costumes. I’ve been a ghost, I’ve done a sugar skull themed costume, I’ve dressed up as Beetlejuice, and last year, I made my own mummy costume, to name a few! The prep that goes into costumes and make up is always a lot of fun, but it’s definitely important that you start on time!
4: Set the stage
On the day off your party (or the day before), it’s time to deck the halls with boughs of gory! My family and I have accumulated quite some Halloween decor throughout the years, and it’s usually already out in early October. But, during my parties I go a little further and decorate even more! We have spooky garlands in the shape of ghosts and pumpkins, bat decals on everything, and cauldrons used for snacks. Last year, my mom put vinyl stickers that said “look behind you”underneath the toiler cover, so when people looked, they would see more spooky stuff behind them.
One of my best decor pieces, however, was definitely a coffin. Not a real one, just one a theater group had used. It was dumped at my old work, a thrift shop, and I asked if I could borrow it. I put it up vertically against the wall and had everyone take their picture in it!
5. Protect the stage
Some people love using tons of fake blood and gory parts for their costumes (it’s me), and it’s not a good time when you accidentally smear a bloody handprint on your pristine couch. If you have anything in your house that absolutely cannot become dirty, cover it up! Last year, I didn’t really want people sitting on the couch, because I wanted to keep the party limited to our sun room and deck. To achieve this without having to tell every single person, I got yellow caution tape from Party City and set off all access points fo the living room. It’s decor and a safety feature in one!
6: Choose your music
I have to admit, I hardly ever use just Halloween music at my parties. I like nearly all genres of music, and I will play whatever I want. But it’s definitely fun to include some classic spooky music! The most obvious example would be Thriller by Michael Jackson, and Spotify has tons of playlists available purely dedicated to Halloween tunes.
I think that this year I will actually put some ambient spooky noise in our hallway, so people can get creeped out first. I also love using Halloween doorbells, that come with a myriad of scary sounds!
7: Be a good host!
Now it’s time for the fun to begin! You’ve set up everything for your Halloween party, and your guests are about to stream in. From here on, it’s just a regular party with spooky costumes! Maybe host a costume contest? Best costume gets a prize! And definitely don’t forget to take tons of pictures!