Tips for Planning a Perfect Halloween Party

Halloween party ideas bobbing for apples

Halloween is a great opportunity to throw a party that all your friends, relatives and neighbors will want to attend. But don’t let the stress of hosting a large gathering get to you.

Take a deep breath and follow these five simple tips:

  1. Send invitations early to increase your chances of having the best turnout. Note on the invitations if there’s a theme, whether guests should wear costumes (duh!) and if there is a contest for the best Halloween costume.
  2. Halloween decorations set the mood but don’t worry about not having enough. Most guests focus on the costumes. Crepe paper streamers and balloons are fine, but a full-fledged house of horrors is better. If you have youngsters attending your party, try making a spooky Halloween-themed pinata. If time and budget are an issue, skimp on grandiose sets and focus on the food.
  3. Provide finger foods and a simple meal. Cheese and crackers, veggies and dip, chips and dip, pretzels, peanuts, cocktail wieners, meatballs, finger sandwiches and festive cake pops are solid choices. Pizza or cold cut sandwiches and a few side dishes make for a tasty meal that’s easy to eat in full costume. Buy Halloween-themed plates, plastic tableware and napkins for easier cleanup.
  4. Plan one or two games or activities, but leave plenty of free time. A scavenger hunt is fun, but you’ll risk having inebriated guests ringing your neighbors’ doorbells. A costume contest is what everyone expects at a Halloween party anyway.
  5. For drinks, a cauldron of witch’s brew (a.k.a. your favorite punch recipe) is always a hit. Opt for keg beer over cans or bottles, which make a hefty load on recycling day. Soft drinks and wine are a good complement to the suds.

For a kids’ party, the same basics apply — just change the food, drinks and activities. Increase the games and activities for kids, who enjoy more structured entertainment than adults. Depending on the age group, try pumpkin decorating (carving or painting), bobbing for apples (or the cleaner option: apples hanging from string), pumpkin relay races, musical chairs (to the tune of Monster Mash) and, of course, scavenger hunts.

What are your favorite Halloween party games? Food? Decorations? Tell us your favorites in the Comments section below!


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