Halloween parties are right around the corner. Year after year, I’m disappointed in the lack of true Halloween spirit at parties, with people throwing a costume together, putting a pumpkin out, and calling it a day. With Halloweekend being this week, it only feels appropriate to list out the most crucial elements to hosting any spooky party thrown for this scarily fun holiday. I’m sharing specific examples from my sister’sHalloween party last year at her apartment, but this guide is accessible for no matter how big or small your place is and will surely have people talking about how great it was for weeks, or even years, to come. Bad Halloween parties are a thing of the past; follow this guide for a foolproof handbook even the most brainless zombies can follow.
- Plan ahead
Giving yourself time to get your place in order is crucial and requires a lot more time than you might think. Make sure you can budget at least 2-3 days of solid time (maybe like two hours a day) for any sort of prep, such as buying decorations, hanging up decor, getting food or snacks, cleaning your place, and coming up with anything creative you might want to do. Make sure before you have people over you have time to put away anything you don’t want to get damaged and have everything else put away. We’ve all scrambled at the last minute before people come over — don’t be that person.
- Spooky Everything
Since you are throwing a Halloween party, try to make your decor really on theme. Depending on if you like a more wholesome spooky Halloween or opt for a straight up scare factor, make sure you actually commit to the vibe. There’s no such thing as too much for Halloween, so don’t be afraid to add something really cool. Commonly undecorated spots like bathrooms can become spooky easily by just adding some fake blood splatter stickers or moody red lights that leave your entire place as haunting as possible. Lighting is so crucial and imperative to establishing a vibe, so definitely make sure you have some sort of lightning other than overhead lights (LED lights, string light, fairy lights, etc.). Don’t forget the eerie details, too (like eyeballs in the punch bowl!). Too often I’ve seen Halloween parties that look like Thanksgiving with all the fall decorations rather than Halloween. Wherever your Halloween preferences lie on that spectrum, choose one and run with it.
- Chef it up
Parties in general provide ample opportunity to add your own creative cooking spin on whatever dish you want. I find it always more fun and festive to try to make at least one item on the menu yourself, whether that means baking some spooky sugar cookies or making some mummified jalapeno poppers.
- Ghoulish Guest List
In a case like this party, you might want this get-together to be more of a smaller social gathering than a fullon rager. Obviously, both or neither options are completely up to you and what you’re comfortable with, but for the time it takes to truly decorate your place for Halloweekend, you might not want it to be destroyed instantaneously by any rowdy or unwanted guests.
- Costume ballot box
What’s a Halloween party without a costume contest? It’s so simple, but just putting out a cardboard box for people to cast their votes for the best costume is always so much fun. Definitely make sure you have a prize for the winner; whether that be the ever infuriating “bragging rights” or a little bottle of “poison.”
- A Haunting Playlist
Decorations and food aren’t the only parts to truly setting the mood. Playing a fun, spooky, goofy and spine-chilling playlist is essential. While a quick search on Spotify will surely present a ton of options, here’s the one we used last year for inspiration. Make sure your speaker is charged!
With all these elements, your next Halloween party is sure to be a smashing hit. Happy Halloween and stay safe.