Treating You to a Few Tricks
It’s almost October and you want to host a Halloween party for your friends. The tone of the night needs to be fun and frightening; you want to scare the boo out of ‘em. So how do you give them the creepy crawlies? Never fear—Shindigz is here! Keep these tips handy and just remember to keep calm and scare on!
Pick a date, time and place!
You’ve all got busy jobs and family lives, so ask your friends what days work for them. Don’t feel obligated to host on Halloween weekend; you have the whole month of October to celebrate. When the bewitching hour is approaching, it’s time to party, so make it an evening affair. Pick a time after dinner to make things easier; finger foods are more fun anyway. And the place? If possible, your friends will probably enjoy chilling at your house, whether it be in the garage, back yard or living room. Otherwise, consider ghosting at a larger venue like a park facility, country club or neighborhood clubhouse.
Make a ghost list
A Halloween party is a great opportunity to celebrate old friends and make new ones. Consider friends from work and school, neighbors, teammates and family members. The more the scarier.
Select a theme
Make them turn ghostly white with a bone-chilling party theme! Here are some ideas for you:
- Haunted Hotel– Our decorating kits and standees make it easy to convert your space into a place where everyone checks in and no one can check out…muhahahaha!
- Bloody Good Time– This one’s a bloodbath with a bloody body bag, bloody barbed-wire hand and even a bloody shower curtain. Your guests are in for a red good time.
- Boo & Bling– If scary’s not your thing, go with some bling. This purple and black, diamond-studded theme is clever and classy.
- Haunted House – Haunted houses don’t have to be far from home. Transform your place with decorations to die for. Let the screams begin.
Not into themes? Use colors instead:
- Purple and neon green
- Silver, purple and black
- Orange, white and purple
- Red, black and white
- Black and orange
Determine a budget
We know this one can be tricky. Here are some suggestions:
- Think of items that can be used at the party but that also work as favors, such as personalized drinking glasses.
- Purchase reusable decorations, such as artificial pumpkins rather than live ones, or fabric tablecloths that can be washed.
- Fill extra space with affordable halloween balloons, poly vinyl and gossamer.
- Buy kits or sets. A lot of candy, tableware and favors can be purchased in bulk to save money.
- Send your invites over email/social media, or print simple invitations on your computer.
- Say yes if a guest volunteers to bring a dish!
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. This is your opportunity to get everyone excited! 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! If you’d like, you can even add a picture of last year’s party on the invite. 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 this party on your own. Ask friends to bring snacks and drinks to share, or ask them to help with set-up. You know those friends who love to cook and those who are last-minute and will probably just bring a bag of chips or bottle of wine. Maybe have a list handy if people ask how they can assist you. This will alleviate so much stress and provide a fun time catching up.
Start with a tablecloth to bring some personality to the table. Spook it up with a spider net overlay or a bloody table runner. If your Halloween party is a yearly event, create a table top-it with pictures from last year’s event. We recommend using disposable paper napkins, plates and plastic eating utensils for easy clean-up. Finally, serve those bubbly beverages in Halloween goblets.
Your theme and budget may help you decide on décor; however, we’re here to help. You can keep it simple, or go all out. And never underestimate the traditional decorations like balloons, hanging decorations, lanterns, garlands, and streamers. Here are some ideas for you:
- Front porch
- Banner– Greet guests in a big way, and reuse year after year.
- Personalized window boards– Make your house look haunted from the outside in!
- Skeleton– This staple is one of the bare bones of Halloween décor.
- Corner spider web– Never can have too many of these.
- Skeleton dog and doghouse– Even dead dogs can still bark and bite.
- Animated body bag– This hanging bloody body has some killer moves.
- Front door
- Fabric skull archway – Place in the doorway for a dramatic and daunting entrance.
- Skull wreath– Floral wreaths are no good for Halloween. You need this.
- Door banner– Let the ghouls know to enter at their own risk.
- Giant spider– This one’s not only scary—he’s hairy!
- Color spotlight– Create just the right ambience with multiple color options.
- Inside entryway
- Zombie standees– These greeters are great for photo ops as well!
- Scary crow– Exposed skull and rib bones make this reminiscent of an Alfred Hitchcock movie.
- Blinded woman– She’s life-like and dead-like with her bloody bandages and red eyes.
- Monster hand candy bowl– Give ‘em a hand with picking out candy.
- Dinner table
- Artificial flaming torch– Animated and perfect for a hot party.
- Skeleton bottle holder– This dead man will hold your favorite spirits.
- Black candelabra – Set the mood with this centerpiece.
- Crystal ball eye– This animated eye will follow your guests around the room.
- Creepy pumpkin – His eyes light up and his mouth is sewn shut.
- Bathroom (Yes, we're dead serious)
Your friends may just be there for the boos, but you might think about having a few games planned:
- Cards -- These magical cards are great for any card game.
- Frisbee -- Add a fun twist to this game by playing at night with this glow-in-the-dark saucer.
- Costume contest – This is a classic; don’t forget to give the winner a trophy!
- Pumpkin carving– This has all the tools you need, including stencils for a professional look!
- Cornhole– Customize a set in orange, white and gray.
Want to try some fun and easy DIY games? We’ve carved out some ideas for you:
- Tell scary stories. Seriously. If you don’t know one, make one up!
- Host a monster mash dance-off! Gather monster-inspired songs for a party playlist, then have each guest bust a move! Make sure you have your cell phone out to record!
- Ready for some movie mayhem? Watch a scary movie and every time someone screams, take a drink.
- Play Beer Pong with ping pong balls painted to look like eyeballs.
- Play a game of "Mystery Murderer". Create slips of paper that say "Not the murderer" and one slip that says "Murderer"; have everyone draw one and keep it a secret. Guests walk around shaking hands while the murderer discreetly scratches the person’s hand while shaking; the scratched players drop dead after counting to five seconds. Players still alive are to observe and determine the murderer. Whoever guesses correctly wins.
- Have a Halloween scavenger hunt around the city, looking for things like gravestones, carved pumpkins, brooms, etc. Divide into teams and haunt the town, taking pictures along the way. Choose a DD or two ahead of time, if necessary.
Determine a flow
Your friends will enjoy fellowship together no matter what, but if you’d like some more ideas, here’s a suggested timetable for your monster mash:
- First 15 minutes: Guests fly in. Make sure you greet everyone as soon as they park their broomsticks, and introduce your ghosts to one another. Hand them a drink and a name tag. As people arrive, have them join in a game of "Forbidden Words" as an icebreaker. Give each person a bag of personalized mini candy bars as well as a short list of words they cannot say as they’re catching up with others. Every time they say a forbidden word, they must relinquish a candy to whomever caught them. The person with the most candy left at the end of the game wins. Here are some suggestions for forbidden words:
- Next hour: Game time! Just let everyone know what options are available and they can decide what to do. The important thing is that they are havin’ a howlin’ good time.
- Next 30 minutes: Photo booth fun! Everyone will enjoy this one, and they’re already dressed up! Add a fun hashtag like #DyingToParty to one of our photo backgrounds:
- Next 30 minutes: Take a break to eat, drink & be scary!
- Final 15 minutes: Say fang you to guests and pass out favors.
Create a menu
Pinterest is great, but if there’s no time to stir the cauldron, no one has to know your treats came from the store! Here are some items 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:
- Add Halloween-colored straws to drinks
- Make personalized drink labels
- Decorate cupcakes with customized, themed wrappers
- Serve on a treat tray
Ok, so maybe you’re not afraid of a #PinterestFail in the kitchen. Then work your magic, Betty Crocker! Here are some wicked good ideas for you:
- Make a bone-chilling cracker and cheeseball platter. Form the giant cheeseball into the shape of a skull. Indent the eye cavities and add green olives, red centers showing as pupils. Carve out the nostrils with a spoon/fork, and create the teeth with sliced almonds stuck to the cheese.
- Create bloody finger hotdogs. Shave a little meat off the top end of each dog to look like a finger nail. Form small slits where the finger would bend. Finally, place in a bun and smear ketchup for blood.
- Make a cheesecake, then drizzle the top with a blood-red fruit syrup. Insert a butcher knife straight down in the cake and leave it for a deadly dessert.
- Make green swamp water using green punch, pineapple juice and ginger ale. Add a plastic mouse or two to the punch bowl.
- Serve up Jack O’ Lantern floats made with orange soda and vanilla ice cream. Embellish the straw with a plastic spider.
- Mix milk, yogurt and bananas for ghostly white shakes. Add googly eyes and a creepy mouth to the glass.
- 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.
When your ghosts are leaving, say thank you for coming with a party favor. Here are some options:
- Picture frame
- Halloween bottle openers
- Halloween bottle stoppers
- Customized travel mugs
- Personalized chocolates
Want to give away more than one goody? Add the treats to a customizable Halloween favor box.
Shop for supplies, food and drinks
Grab your broomstick and fly to the store! Here are some shopping tips:
- Write a list. Keep it on your phone where it’s mobile and you won’t lose it.
- Shop online so you can lounge around the house in your sweatpants. Take a look at Shindigz.com, where you can get just about anything.
- Avoid peak hours at the grocery store; this saves time and helps you dodge the crowds.
Decorate and set up activities
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 to help get everything done. Delegate a station or area to each person.
- Begin the decorating process the night before your soiree. 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. 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.