Halloween is one of the most popular holidays in the U.S. and the perfect time to throw a party. The seven steps to plan a Halloween party include picking a theme, making a guest list, creating invitations, decorating, picking food and drinks, finding the right music and offering your guests games and prizes.
An optional eighth step is to select a series of great Halloween movies to show while your party happens. The right kind of a movie can set the mood you want at your Halloween party.
The following are more details on each of the seven steps.
Plan A Halloween Party Theme
There’s just one Santa Claus and a turkey is pretty much a turkey, but Halloween offers options. You can go with a monster theme. Or haunted house. Or fairy tales and folktales. You can go with a horror movie decor. Or you can make your entire house into a massive ghostly graveyard. Don’t forget magic, either, another Halloween theme that can play into everything from Harry Potter to ancient Arthurian legends.
Whatever you choose will dictate your choices in the other steps, so take the time to choose what you really want.
Make a Guest List
To Plan a Halloween party guest list you should ask yourself if this is a party for young adults or older couples? Is it more of an office party, with co-workers invited? Or do you intend to invite parents and their kids? If it’s the latter, it’s probably best to go with a theme that is not so super scary. Whatever you decide, write down a guest list of people who will enjoy your party theme and – very important! – a small enough number to fit comfortably into your house.
Make sure to send out invitations two to three weeks before the party. And be clear about what to bring and what to wear – no one wants to be the person who shows up at the costume party dressed for work or in casual clothes. You can send out invitations over the internet for convenience or take the time to create mailed out invites that mirror the theme of your party.
Buy early. And look for deals online. This can help reduce the costs of decorating for a Halloween party. There are plenty of retailers online who sell Halloween themed decorations (skulls, pumpkins, ghost lights, etc). Try to get everything a month or two – or at least several weeks – before you have the party. Great decorations to consider are glowing statues in the windows, lighted skulls decorating your sidewalk, and hanging cobwebs inside the house.
Food and Drink
This is where you can get creative when you plan a Halloween party. Of course, you can find cupcakes with Halloween-themed icing. But how about making witches fingers by putting almond slices on finger-shaped cookies wedges? Or you can serve brains by taking a lump of cheese, putting some rounded pieces of mozzarella on it with green olives for eyeballs. It’s also simple to mix up a big batch of punch in a cauldron, which you can buy at most Halloween stores.
Depending on the theme of your party (and how easily your guests gross-out), you can also apply red icing to almost anything to make it look a little bloody.
“Werewolves of London?” “The Monster Mash?” A soundtrack of eerie noises and haunting synthesizers? It’s all available out there on the internet, where you can download any kind of song you like. Some songs that are pretty much timeless for Halloween parties include:
- “Thriller,” Michael Jackson
- “Somebody’s Watching Me,” Rockwell
- “Ghostbusters,” Ray Parker Jr.
- “The Addams Family” theme song
- “This is Halloween” from “The Nightmare Before Christmas”
- “Time Warp” from “The Rocky Horror Picture Show”
- “Spooky” by Dusty Springfield
If you really want to freak them out a little, throw on Rob Zombie’s “Dragula’ – especially if you can show the video. Or, for laughs, play this clip from the “Dracula Musical” in the movie “Forgetting Sarah Marshall.”
For bonus fun, you can throw on a loop of movies. Consider a thematic grouping, such as classic monster movies like the original “King Kong,” “Godzilla,” “Dracula” with Bela Lugosi, “Frankenstein” with Boris Karloff and “The Wolf Man” with Lon Chaney Jr.
Prizes and games
One sure way to keep people entertained is to have games for them to play where they can win prizes. There are plenty of games on this site to choose from, and prizes, of course, should be of the Halloween variety. Consider a cool Halloween-themed decoration as a prize.
These are seven steps that can help you create the perfect Halloween party. Just remember to relax and enjoy yourself, too. It should be a scary good time for everyone.