I HATE last-minute party panic! (But I LOVE parties! Check out some of my favorites here)
There's no jumpscare quite as terrifying as the realisation that your party is in two days... and all you've done to prepare is finish off your Halloween candy!
And that's not even mentioning the stress involved in planning a party that everyone will actually enjoy. Your goblinoid little nephews want movies and an ungodly amount of sugar, but your ghastly uncle Frank only enjoys 'parties with class'. Snob. Someone is going to go home unhappy. And it'll probably be you!
So with Halloween creeping up on us like a particularly determined zombie, we've cracked open our magical spellbook and poured out its mystical wisdom to help you out.
These 9 Halloween hacks will ensure that all of your guests (both young, old, and immortal) have a spookily good time, but leave you with enough downtime to haunt your couch for a much-needed breather!
The world’s best magicians move your focus to the wrong spot, forcing you to completely miss the trick of how they make their assistant in the box disappear, or even more impressively, find a parking spot near the store entrance! You need to do the same thing with your guests. Put on your best pointy hat (the wizard hat, not the dunce cap) and figure out what will hold their attention.
A good centerpiece will make the room come alive, without you needing to decorate your entire space.
Pick one or two spots to focus on. Turn a table into Dracula’s coffin and make the lid a haunted buffet. Hang plastic spiders and rubber snakes from the ceiling near the table or the drinks bar (or over the loo for extra fun). After deciding on your theme, make these two spots scream louder than Chucky’s next victim.
Now you just need to drop a couple of token directions around the rest of the room to keep up the theme. Your guests will rave about the centerpieces until next year, not realizing that the rest of the house was barely decorated!
Parties can get awkward. If you're not careful, your guests will just end up staring around the room like a vampire watching the rising sun.
The best way we've found to combat this is with music and games. A couple of simple party games can help people get to know each other, and get them in the 'party' mindset.
Any simple party game can do if you're willing to laugh off how 'immature' it is. Alternatively, you could try a printable escape room game. They are designed as the perfect 'main event' for your party, and always get the laughs rolling real quick!
By the end of the night, all of your guests will be old friends.
No, we don’t mean that you get off scot-free in the cooking department. However, delegate some of the food prep to the party guests by making the party a potluck! If you have friends who know their way around a kitchen, have them create dishes that tie into the party’s theme. If your other friends’ idea of gourmet cooking is a microwave pizza, have them bring chips and dip or drinks.
Cooking takes longer than decorating, especially if your party is more than a few people. By spreading the work, you can try exciting new dishes and not spend the entire day of the party toiling over a hot cauldron.
Best of all, they bring their dishes home at the end of the night! Cleaning up after your Halloween party will be as easy as snapping your fingers!
Let’s face it, even with a new book of spells, the perfect magic wand, and training from Merlin himself, it would take forever to DIY all of your decorations.
So instead, go hit up your local dollar store. These places are a treasure-trove for Halloween, and they're not even guarded by a fearsome dragon!
You can often pick up candles, plastic spiders, fake cobwebs, and nifty craft materials that'll save you hours of decorating. (Bethany decked out her whole party using dollar-store props. Check out her party here)
So before you start decking the halls Halloween-style, go check out how much time a few dollars can buy you.
Hoodies have more versatility than a newt gumbo.
If you stuff them and stick them in a dark corner - boom! You've got a creepy scarecrow that will plague everyone's peripheral vision all night! Or, why not sit one on a table in the middle of your centerpiece to make it seem as if it is rising from nowhere?
They also make a great costume 'base', as they are often styled in solid colors. Add ears? You're an animal! Add white tape? You're a skeleton!
People remember novelty. So forget the party staples. No red solo cups. No paper plates. Give them an experience they will never forget.
Make them drink from syringes or potion vials. Decorate punch ladles to make it look like the drinks are rolling out of hands (bonus points if you use a red drink). Dress up candy and chip bowls with teeth to make people feel like they are reaching into a monster’s mouth to score their snacks.
Bend your accessories to your theme. You have endless Halloween ideas. And no, blue solo cups don’t count!
It can’t be a dark and stormy night if it’s not dark. So darken your windows. Guests approaching the house will be greeted by an eerie glow just like in a horror flick... only your guests won't meet a grisly end, right?
Use black lawn bags on your windows to block out the light. After the party, carefully remove them from your windows so that your teenager still has someplace to put the leaves.
Halloween parties are all about atmosphere. Here, your biggest weapons are lighting and music.
Keep the lighting low. Candles, string lights, and covered lamps are classics. For a cheap but fun lighting effect, you can cut spooky shapes into tin cans or jars, and then place a candle or torch inside. Line your walkways with these eerie lights to make the atmosphere a little more unsettling.
Play iconic scary movies on your tv (with the volume low or off) to keep that low-key tension building throughout the night. (Need some family-friendly movie ideas? Give these movies a look)
Play music that compliments your theme. Instead of dedicating one of your goblin workers to the role of DJ, just use a playlist from Youtube or Google and forget about it the rest of the night. Enjoy your time with your guests and watch the music carry them even further into the lair of evil you have created.
Make sure to have a blast! After all, if you're super stressed-out, then what's the point?
Keep these Halloween tips in mind when planning your event, and your Halloween party is basically guaranteed to be a success - all without breaking the bank, or your last thread of sanity.
You can design your Halloween party as elaborately or as simply as you wish. Just remember, all wands, swords, and chainsaws must be checked at the door!