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5 Tips on How to Throw a Successful Halloween Party

John is a fervent writer, gamer, and guitar lover. He is a former automatic-transmission repairer, welder, and hobbyist game developer.

There's a difference between a good party and a great party...especially during Halloween.

There's a difference between a good party and a great party...especially during Halloween.

Throwing a Halloween Party? Use These 5 Tips to Maximize the Fun!

Halloween is more popular than it’s ever been, and not just in America, where the holiday (as we think of it) originated. More and more people are getting excited about trick-or-treating, scary movies, and Halloween parties. For most of you Halloween partygoers, you’ll be attending a party organised by someone else, and you’ll only have your costume to worry about.

But what if you’re the one organising the party?

There are many things to consider when throwing a Halloween party (or any party, for that matter), such as music, food, drinks, and even games. Most of this, however, will (or should) be influenced by the theme of the party.

What? You weren’t going to have a theme?

It's always important to make party choices that are appropriate to the age of your guests.

It's always important to make party choices that are appropriate to the age of your guests.

Don't just throw any old Halloween decoration at the wall. You could just throw some whimsical skulls on the wall and some eyeball ice cubes in the punch and call it a day. That may well be enough for a good party. But if you really want your party to be a great Halloween party, you need to go that extra mile. Halloween is all about dressing up and going over the top. If your party isn't draped in fake spiderwebs and ghosts, what makes it a Halloween party?

5 Tips to Make Your Halloween Party a Spooky Success

If you use these five tips when planning your party, your shindig is bound to be a success:

  1. Choose a theme.
  2. Stick to your theme.
  3. Find the right decorations.
  4. Don't be afraid to be subtle.
  5. Provide entertainment.

1. Choose a Theme

The first thing to consider is your audience. Are you throwing a party for adults? Children? Teenagers? This can greatly affect your decisions with regards to decoration, entertainment, and certainly food and drink. If you’re throwing a Halloween party for your six-year-old and their school friends, you should probably shy away from gruesome decorations and fruit punch with strong vodka content.

Similarly, if your party-goers are likely to be in their teenage years, cartoon skulls and cute black cats probably won’t cut it. And you certainly don’t want to be breaking out a game of Pass the Parcel with a 15-year-old.

Counterintuitively, adults are probably the easiest to plan a party for. Get the food, drink, and music right, and the rest is incidental. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try!

2. Stick to Your Theme

Once you’ve picked a theme, stick with it. If you’re decorating your party with zombie parts and other somewhat gruesome items, the aforementioned cartoon skulls will seem out of place. Likewise, if your theme is cartoon in nature, and you’ve got friendly-looking skeletons and cute vampire bats hanging all over the place, a grisly zombie hand protruding from underneath the sofa doesn’t really fit.

Also, don’t feel that your theme is limited to decoration. There are many tutorials for making painfully realistic-looking eyeball ice cubes, and anybody with an internet connection can learn how to make cute bat and cat cookies…but you probably shouldn’t use them together.

3. Find the Right Decorations

My favourite part! Once you’ve decided on your theme, it’s time to go crazy. The first thing to do is properly consider your party venue. For most of the people reading this, the venue is probably going to be your home, and I'm going to work on that assumption. Look at the areas that the party will be taking place in.

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Do you have rooms you want off-limits? Perhaps your bedroom or a closet? With grown-ups, you generally don’t have to worry about them snooping around your sock drawer, but children will swarm all over that house in minutes. Depending on the layout of your house, one way to prevent this is to shove some furniture in the way. You can also drape something over the entrance (such as a spooky, spider-ridden cloth), and this is my favourite method. Incorporating off-limit areas into your decoration just adds to the fun.

For example, we once threw a Halloween party and, at the time, the front door to our house was out of commission. We wrapped the door in “Police. Do not Cross” tape, as you’d find at the house of a murder scene.

The next thing I’d suggest is not to skimp on areas that you don’t think are as significant. It’s easy to get carried away with the kitchen and living/dining room—where your guests will likely be most of the time—and completely forget about entrance hallways and bathrooms and any other space that your guests will almost certainly be in at some point.

Be creative with the spaces that won't be used but that your guests will probably see.

Be creative with the spaces that won't be used but that your guests will probably see.

4. Don't Be Afraid to Be Subtle

When decorating for your Halloween party, it can be tempting to want to splash as many spiders and skulls and ghosts on the walls as possible, but you don’t need to do that to achieve a good atmosphere. Here are two very subtle things I’ve found can make a bigger difference than all the light-up skulls and grasping ghouls you can buy:

Coloured Lighting

Specifically red and green coloured lighting. Coloured light bulbs are generally inexpensive, but they can immediately change a room. A red or green tint instantly makes everything a bit spookier. Experiment with coloured bulbs in movable lamps. In my experience, red bulbs work best as room lighting (i.e., in the main light on the ceiling) and green works best highlighting areas, such as a corner of a room, behind a television, etc.

There are also many cheap, battery-powered fairy light clusters that come in all-green or red. These are especially good for hiding away behind things to give off an eery glow without worrying about setting fire to anything. On that note, always be sure to make sure your lighting is safe and not likely to ignite a curtain or creepy cloth, which brings me to…

Creepy Cloth

Creepy cloth is the home Halloween party thrower’s best friend. It comes in a variety of styles but is essentially a netted sheet that is full of holes and rips. In appearance, it’s somewhere between a spiderweb and a really old, moth-eaten sheet. These can be used all over the house to simultaneously hide non-Halloweenish things while giving that area an instant Halloween feel. Got a shelf of happy pastel-coloured books? Throw a creepy cloth over them. You can also just pin this stuff up almost at random, and it looks great (in the Halloween party sense of the word).

Creepy cloth is great for making any room seem a little spookier.

Creepy cloth is great for making any room seem a little spookier.

5. Provide Entertainment

Entertainment is almost entirely influenced by your partygoer’s age range. If you’ve got a load of children, go for regular party games but put a Halloween twist on them. This can be as simple as playing Halloween music in Musical Chairs or wrapping a load of plastic spiders into each layer of the parcel in Pass the Parcel.

Also, with children, you’re probably better off having a set eating time when you serve up a table full of food and call the kids in for their meal. If you have kids, you’ll probably know that a child in a large group of other children will probably never stop to eat until they’re on the verge of passing out, so a buffet-style setup doesn’t really work.

If your age group is more teenage in nature, the best thing you can do is make sure they like the music and leave them alone. They’re not likely to be very receptive to party games, and you can’t get them drunk. If I may make one specific suggestion, however, have a room or area (if your house/venue permits it) with a horror movie playing. Obviously, you don’t want an 18/R-rated movie playing to 15-year-olds (not unless you want some angry phone calls from parents), but something with gore and jump scares.

If you’re reading this, I’m assuming you’re an adult yourself. Catering to an adult Halloween party is much simpler because a) you’re an adult, so you have direct insight into what your guests might like, and b) adults are much easier to please. Get the music and food right, and you’re golden. The main factor to consider with adults is, once again, age. If most of your guests are older (say, around middle-aged and up), they’re probably not going to be interested in loud music and an array of multicoloured shots. Similarly, adults that are barely adults (basically anyone in their twenties) don’t tend to go in for parties that involve sit-down meals and nice wine.

As mentioned, you’re probably an adult, and if you’re throwing a party for adults, they’ll probably be your friends and mostly your age. Think about what you’d like.

So that’s my guide to throwing a Halloween party, based on years of experience throwing Halloween parties! If you have questions or, more importantly, hints and tips of your own to add, please feel free to drop them in the comments below. In the meantime, check out this video by Lauren Conrad on throwing a themed Halloween party.

© 2017 John Bullock

Comments

Ray hernandez on June 24, 2019:

I like to throw party and draw evil stuff and spend time with my famliy

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