Unless you cannot party on a work night or school night, or you can’t find an available babysitter, you should schedule your party for October 31. If you cannot have the party on Halloween, aim for the Saturday night previous to October 31.
A fanciful idea for invitations includes fake “obituary” notices with the party details listed as if describing the “deceased”. Another idea is to shape the invitations like coffins, tombstones, or jack-o-lanterns, using heavyweight construction paper.
Make sure to ask your guests to come in their most inventive costumes!
Send the invitations out at least two weeks ahead of time, and ask for RSVPs. Make sure adults are aware that children are not included in the invitation!
Decorate the Party Scene
“Create last wills and testaments on your computer using wacky facts and outlandish trivia about fictional characters. (You might google Hitchcock or Agatha Cristie murder mysteries for ideas) and place them on the mantel for your guests to find and read out loud. Tarot cards, a Ouija Board and votive candles can also be positioned on the mantel along with fake cobwebs and a plastic skeleton hand or skull.” From Spooky Halloween Decorating Ideas
Using fake spider webbing across the entrance doorway is an effective and spooky welcome for your guests. Drape it just enough so that the bottom edges brush the faces of your guests – don’t make it too overpowering as a body moving through a thick layer of webbing will pull it down. Add plastic spiders, skeletons, black cats or jack-o-lanterns in the webbing and around the door frame. Flickering electric candles in the windows (available from any Christmas decoration retailer) add to the haunted theme.
Centerpieces and Table Décor
Of course pumpkins are the easiest and most evocative of Halloween symbols. Larger ones can be hollowed out, and filled with ice to make an ice bucket. Or, insert a plastic bowl or toy bucket and fill with popcorn, candy corn, malted milk balls or chocolate kisses. Use black markers to paint a face on the pumpkin, rather than cutting it out.
Smaller pumpkins make clever little votive candle holders for tea lights. Slice off the top, scoop out the inside pulp and seeds, and either use a glass votive candle holder and real candles, or the little battery-operated tea lights that simulate candlelight. Place them around the room, with a few creepy additions like “severed hands”, fake handcuffs or rubber daggers, to add mystery.
Sometimes all you have to do is spell out the obvious with a few props from the dollar store.
One of the oldest and creepiest effects for spooky Halloween drinks, is to freeze plastic bugs or worms in ice cubes. Add a few drops of food coloring – blue, green or purple ice cubes are particularly icky when melting in a drink!
Hot cider, spiced with cinnamon sticks (“bones”) or cardamom, makes a delicious non-alcoholic beverage. Serve iced tea in a punch bowl with some of those spooky ice cubes and some sliced citrus fruit for a cooler refreshment.
“Finger-foods” can include sandwiches with the fixings spread out for guests to assemble themselves. Dishes of Spanish olives, deviled eggs, cornichons, baby carrots, and crisp breadsticks can be given little labels indicating which parts of the “body” they represent: eyeballs, knuckles, femurs, fingers.
Cookie cutters used for dog biscuits are often shaped like bones – make a batch of sugar cookies with these, and frost with dark chocolate icing, or white icing with dark chocolate sprinkles. You may find orange and black icing and cake decorations that are appropriate as well. Cupcakes, brownies and individual Italian ices are easy desserts, too.
Bleeding Heart Martini
• 2 ounces dry vermouth
• 8 ounces gin
• Ice cubes
• 4 Pickled Baby Beets, each placed on a cocktail skewer
Chill 4 martini glasses in the freezer or fill with ice water and let sit until frosty, about 5 minutes (pour out water). Add the vermouth, dividing evenly; swirl to coat the glasses, then pour out. Add gin to a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake vigorously until chilled; divide among chilled glasses. Garnish each with a skewered pickled baby beet, and serve immediately.
Background Sounds and Games
Various websites will provide scary sound effects like howls, cackling laughter, screams, etc. Some party shops sell CDs of Halloween “music” that will work even better. Try playing such games as Charades using thriller movie titles, or make up your own Trivial Pursuit-style questions and answers. Even better, turn out all the lights and tell your scariest stories by the light of the candles!
Have a great, scary grownup Halloween!