With Halloween right around the corner, stores have already begun bringing their skeletons out of the closet, decking the halls with cobwebs and filling the candy aisle with Halloween themed treats. All the ingredients for Halloween are readily available at your local grocery or party store. Here are 5 steps you can take to throw a terrifyingly awesome Halloween party this year.
Step 1: Halloween Party Logistics
The first step to planning any party is to decide who you’re going to invite. Will this be a family affair or a college party? Your target audience will ultimately set the tone and style of your Halloween party. If children are going to be around, you need to ensure your props, decorations, beverages and guest attire are kid friendly. Next you need to decide on a date—depending on the holiday, logistics may force you to hold the event on the weekend, when it’s more convenient for your guests. Fortunately this Halloween falls on a Saturday, which is hands down the best night of the week to hold a party. Keep in mind that your party won’t necessarily be the only event going on around Halloween, and plan your time accordingly. If you’re aiming to be the central source of entertainment that evening, be sure to send invites out early so that you don’t run into conflicts with prior commitments.
Step 2: Pick a Theme
Now that you know who’s going to attend it’s time to settle on a theme for your party. Will you go the traditional route? Or will you capitalize on the latest pop culture sensation? This Fall saw the debut of AMC’s The Walking Dead spinoff, Fear the Walking Dead which broke records with its simultaneous worldwide premiere in September—it’s a surefire bet that zombie themed parties will be major hit this Halloween. If you’re throwing a party for the kids, Disney’s Frozen is still going strong with the success of its recent short film Frozen Fever clearly designed to keep the coals of the Frozen franchise hot for an eventual sequel.
Step 3: Halloween Decorations
Whether you choose to opt for a traditional Halloween with ghosts, witches and goblins, or decide to cater to the latest pop sensation craze, the theme for your party will help you decide how to decorate for your Halloween party. First are the basics—traditional Halloween parties must have black and orange themed banners, streamers, tablecloths, cups, plates and napkins. These can be picked up from your local Halloween party shop, they’re usually seasonal, and major towns usually have one. To embody the true Halloween spirit you need to have a few Jack-o-lanterns to welcome visitors. Skeletons, zombies, tombstones, ghosts and other props are classics, and a nice fog machine or dried ice can be employed for terrifying effect. You may even want to go the extra mile with a CD of Halloween shrieks, screams and spooky noises or a Halloween soundtrack to set the atmosphere. If you opted for a pop culture reference, you may have to get a little more creative, but a great place to find props and merchandise for franchises like Game of Thrones or The Walking Dead are comic book stores like Newbury Comics or online markets like eBay.
Step 4: Fun Halloween Activities and Entertainment
What epic Halloween party would be complete without a costume contest? It’s the one time out of the year that people from all walks of life can come together and dress up in crazy costumes. Select a panel of judges and come up with some decent Halloween themed prizes—candy of course is usually the safest bet. Or why not hold a pumpkin carving contest, see who can come up with scariest pumpkin them all. Whether its Halloween classics like bobbing for apples or an inventive game you came up with on your own, Halloween is the one time of the year where people of all ages can be a kid again.
Step 5: Candy
Halloween is the one time of the year you’re allowed to splurge and indulge in your sweet tooth. Now is not the time to hold out on your Halloween party guests—think back to your formative years when it was just you, your favorite sibling and a large burlap bag against the competitive world of Trick-or-Treating, what did the best houses serve? That’s what you want to bring to your table. Classic chocolates like M&Ms, Snickers, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and Twix. Think caramel apples, cupcakes and other confectionery delights and avoid classic Halloween pitfalls like candy corn, toothbrushes and Smarties. Your guests and any potential trick-or-treaters will thank you for being a discerning candy connoisseur.