Treating You to a Few Tricks
It’s time for the annual Halloween bash and your family is ghosting. The tone of the night needs to be fun and not too frightening; you don’t want to scare the boo out of your little guests. So how do you pull off a party where adults and children are all entertained? Never fear—Shindigz is here! Keep these tips handy and just remember to keep calm and scare on!
Choose a date, time and place
Don’t feel obligated to host on Halloween weekend if that doesn’t work best for your family; you have the whole month of October to celebrate. Pick a time after dinner to make things easier; finger foods are more fun anyway. And the place? Guests don’t have to haunt your house! Host in the back yard or garage if it’s warm where you live. Consider the possibility of a larger venue, too, like a country club, neighborhood clubhouse or park facility.
Make a ghost list
Halloween is a great time to celebrate with old friends and make new ones. Ask your kids whom they’d like to invite; consider classmates, neighbors and teammates. Invite their parents, too, as well as your co-workers, family and friends. Who knows? They may even ask you to ghost again next year!
Pick a theme
It’s important to keep in mind children aren’t crazy about the scary side of Halloween, so avoid blood, zombies, reapers, etc. Here are some theme ideas:
- Creepy Funhouse – Go light on the creepy, and heavy on the funhouse. The whole family will enjoy playing carnival games amid funhouse-style décor.
- Dying to Party – This theme consists of mildly frightening ghosts, pumpkins and bats. Use the standees for family photo ops.
- Spooktacular – Make eating and drinking more the focus of this party. The little pumpkins can enjoy personalized chocolate treats and the adults can sip bubbling beverages.
Not into themes? No worries! Make colors your theme:
- Orange, white and purple
- Red, black and white
- Black and orange
- Purple and neon green
Determine a budget
We know this one can be tricky. Here are some suggestions:
- Think of items that are functional and can be used as party favors, such as themed plastic drinking cups.
- Purchase reusable decorations, such as artificial pumpkins rather than live ones, or fabric tablecloths that can be washed.
- Fill extra space with affordable balloons, poly vinyl and gossamer.
- Buy in bulk. A lot of candy, tableware and favors can be purchased in kits or sets.
- Send your invites over email/social media, or print simple invitations on your computer.
- Say yes if guests ask if they can bring a side!
Number one rule with your budget? Stick to it!
This should be done a month before the party. Go electronic or make traditional paper invites, but whatever you do, make them boo-tiful! This is your opportunity to get everyone excited for a terrorific time! We make it simple with a vast array of pre-made, themed invitations; just fill in the name, date and time, and you’re all set! It’s also a good idea to include an RSVP date so you can plan ahead.
You’ll go batty if you try to plan a spooktacular party on your own. Get other parents together to help, or make it a family affair! Each person can help with set-up or prepare a dish to share. Is there a craft queen in the crowd? Have her prepare a little something for the kiddos to do. This will alleviate so much stress!
A busy family like yours will need quick clean-up. We recommend using disposable paper cups, napkins, and plates, as well as plastic eating utensils. A tablecloth can make the adult tables more festive. For kiddos, though, we recommend disposable plastic table covers. If you’re serving adult beverages, you can liven up the grown-up table with Halloween goblets.
This one depends on your theme and budget, but we’re here to offer affordable suggestions. You can keep it simple, or go all out. And never underestimate the traditional decorations like balloons, hanging decorations, lanterns, garlands and streamers. Consider which of these spaces you’d like to spruce up:
- Front porch
- Front door
- Inside entryway
- Pumpkin standee – Use this cutout to get everyone excited about pumpkin carving.
- Shaking ghost – This guy emits ghostly sounds without being too scary.
- Happy Halloween standee – A simple way to say hello on this hallowed night.
- Cauldron candy bowl – Start the night with a few sweet treats!
- Balloons – These are an affordable way to add the classic orange and black color scheme.
- Dinner table
- Bathroom (Yes, we’re dead serious.)
- Halloween backdrop – This scene-setter easily applies to walls to transform your space quickly.
- Ghost garland – Drape over a fireplace mantel or shelf, or place at the top of walls as a border around the room.
- Haunted mansion standee – This 9-ft. standee is easily assembled and pops against any wall.
- Gossamer – This fabric is easy to use and lightweight. Drape it from the ceiling for added color.
- Orange and black tissue fans – These hanging decorations are simple and budget-friendly.
- Halloween danglies– Add a touch of glitter with this black chandelier kit.
- Black tissue poms– Hang these over the treat table.
- Bat lanterns– Darken the mood and light up the night at the same time.
You can never have too many activities planned, especially with so many families. We’ve carved out some ideas for you.
- For kids:
- For adults:
- For families to do together:
Plan a flow
The schedule for your monster mash will depend on time of day as well as the number and ages of the partygoers. The key is to be flexible. Here is a suggested timetable:
- First 15 minutes: Guests arrive. Make sure you greet everyone and introduce your ghosts to one another. It is probably a good idea to have name tags. As people arrive, have them join in a round of "Find Someone Who…" Bingo as an icebreaker. Parents and older children can help little ones. Here’s an example board. Just scramble these squares to make additional cards. Give the winner a personalized candy bar.
- Next 30 minutes: Photo booth fun! The whole family will enjoy this one! You can even create a fun hashtag for guests to post pictures from the night on social media. Here are some ways to set the scene:
- Next hour: Game time! If folks are really enjoying a certain activity, just keep playing; don’t feel like you have to get to everything on your list. The important thing is that they are havin’ a howlin’ good time.
- Next 30 minutes: Time to eat, drink and be scary!
- Final 15 minutes: Say fang you to guests and pass out favors.
Pinterest is great, but if there’s no time to stir the cauldron, no one has to know your treats are store-bought! Have other parents help bring snacks, too, or buy all orange and black items. Here are some staples to consider purchasing:
- Personalized candy bars
- Healthy snacks like apple slices, celery sticks or pretzels
- Drinks like green, red or orange punches
- Adult beverages
Here are some easy ways to dress up food and drinks:
Ok, so maybe you really want to bake like Betty. Then work some magic in the kitchen! Here are some wicked good ideas for you:
- For kids:
- Create hot dog mummies from hot dogs wrapped with thinly-sliced crescent roll dough. Bake, then add eyes with either ketchup or mustard.
- Make white chocolate boo-nana pops. Cut bananas in half, add a popsicle stick to each, dip in white chocolate, add chocolate chip eyes and freeze.
- Use a black permanent marker to draw pumpkin faces on mandarin oranges. Make sure the green stem is face-up.
- For grown-ups:
- Create scary teeth from red apple slices (lips), peanut butter (gums) and mini marshmallows (teeth).
- Make witch broom snacks out of pretzel sticks and string cheese.
- Create witch hat cupcakes with icing, a thin mint cookie and chocolate kisses.
- For kids:
- For kids:
- Mix milk, yogurt and bananas for ghostly white shakes.
- Make green potion using green punch, pineapple juice and ginger ale.
- Serve up Jack O’ Lantern floats made with orange soda and vanilla ice cream.
- For grown-ups:
- Make spiked pumpkin pie punch with cream soda, whipped vodka and pumpkin ice cream.
- Serve bloody marys, of course!
- Mix sugar, cinnamon, apple cider and champagne for apple cider mimosas.
- For kids:
When yours ghosts are leaving, it’s important to say fang you for coming. A great way to do this is to offer them a party favor. Here are some common choices:
- For kids:
- For grown-ups:
Want to give away more than one goody? Add the treats to a customizable Halloween favor box.
Shop for supplies, food and drinks
The shopping process doesn’t have to be painful. Here are some tips:
- Make a list. You may even keep this list on your phone so you have it everywhere you go and you won’t lose it.
- Shop online so you don’t have to drag the kids around town. Check out Shindigz.com, where you can buy almost everything in one place.
- Pick up your groceries during off-peak hours to save time and avoid the crowds.
Set up activities and decorate
Don’t get spooked! Here are some tricks:
- Draw a rough map or write a checklist for each area you’d like to decorate or set up an activity. The sooner you put this together, the easier it will be the day-of.
- Gather your friends and family to help get everything done. Delegate a station or area to each person.
- Begin the decorating process the night before your shindig. Leave sticky notes around the house or in the serving bowls so you and your crew know what goes where once it’s party time.
Prepare food and drinks
We recommend doing as much food prep the few days before the party as possible. For the fresh items, make sure you leave plenty of time for set-up.
This is the part where you can have fun with friends and family. Relax--the party will go off without a witch!
Congratulations! You survived this to-do list! Just for that, we’re giving you 10% off at Shindigz.com using promo code TIPZ.