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Bewitching Halloween Party Ideas

Christmas, you say? Never heard of it. There is but one holiday marked on my calendar: Halloween. It’s by far the best party holiday of the year, and I’ve got more than a few ideas to share. I wasn’t always so enthused about dressing up and going to the effort of decorating the house. But since the kids came along, all that stuff has taken on a new element of fun. Here are some of the things I’ve tried, or will be trying for this year’s party.

halloween party ideas

Choose Your Colors

I’ve done the traditional flood of orange, green and purple decorations in the past, but going heavier on the greys and blacks sets a much creepier atmosphere, I think. A drabber background also lets you highlight with color more interesting aspects of the party, like the costumes! Some decorative elements are easier to set up and require minimal cleanup.

  • Balloons: These kid-friendly decorations clean themselves up when you send little vampires and mad scientists home with them. Plus, balloons are just fun!
  • Cobwebs: A couple bags of cobwebs can make any doorway, chandelier or fireplace seem haunted. It’s also relatively easy to gather up and use the next year, provided you don’t arrange it on too sticky a surface.
  • Pumpkin Ice Box: Pack some medium to large-sized pumpkins with ice for cans and bottles. They’re very festive and water-tight, too.
  • Light bulbs: Swapping out a few of your regular white bulbs for some mood-lighting in your chosen colors (or a black-light) will transform any room for the evening.

Halloween Party Foods

Unless you’re having a small dinner party, finger foods are the best on Halloween. You can really get creative with the treats, but it’s always good to have some reliable standbys (think chips and dip) that everyone will love, especially if some little picky eaters will be running loose. Try a few of these:

  • Cheese Ball Goblin: We got this from Paula Deen. I find that a good cheese ball is usually gone within the first hour of a party, which means it was a hit. This one is super cute, and you can decorate it with pretty much any cheese-friendly item you want.
  • Witch’s Brew Punch: The “brew” can really be any simple punch. Dry ice adds spooky fog. (Dry ice tip: Put the dry ice in one or two little cauldrons on the table. Pour in hot water for more fog. You’ll need to keep replenishing the hot water and add new chunks of ice to maintain the effect.)
  • Spooky Sugar Cookies: The themed cookie-cutters at our house see a lot of use. Two or three dozen cookies, a couple of colors of frosting and some sprinkles are all you need. Kids love frosting and decorating their own cookies, so it doubles as a game.

Party Games

Aside from your sparkling presence, the party will rise and fall with the games you choose, especially with a house full of costumed kids who are amped up on the biggest sugar-high of the year. Feel free to steal one of these:

  • Spook Alley: This takes a lot of preparation, but it’s worth it if a whole neighborhood or group of friends gets involved. The parents can each set up their own spooky scene, possibly with a game involved. Then the kids get to run through each scene. Some of them can get pretty elaborate and hilarious.
  • Murder Mystery: Games like How to Host a Murder were made for Halloween, and the one year we tried it for our adult party, it was a hit. This works best if you have a number of adult guests who are good sports and love to get in on the game. The subject matter can be iffy if you have kids at the party, though.
  • Pinata: The wanton destruction of a witch in effigy is possibly not healthy, but bashing a swinging object until candy comes out is appealing to me even now. Kids love pinatas. Period. If it’s an adults-only party, pack it with snacks and mini bottles of vodka and rum (just be sure to break it over the lawn, not concrete).

These are just some starter ideas, but I hope they’re enough to get you started. What’s been a hit at your Halloween parties in the past?

image by Martha Stewart

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