The trees are looking eerie, the evenings are getting darker and large round, orange squash have started popping up in supermarkets - this can only mean one thing: Halloween is coming!
Summer might be over, and Christmas still unbearably far away, but Halloween is just around the corner. We're embracing everything even slightly spooky - especially if it's of the edible variety - and what's spookier than a Halloween Party?
Today we're showing you how to throw the ULTIMATE Halloween Party, including what theme to choose, how to decorate, what costumes to go for, what delectables to provide and even some games to play to guarantee your guests a good time.
No Halloween is complete without a party, and with our fail-safe guide, you can rest assured this year's will be the best ever.
1. Halloween party theme ideas
First thing's first - in order to give your Halloween party some cohesion (and make it easier for guests to dress up) it may be a good idea to choose a theme.
Themes can be specific or broad, common or unusual - the choice is yours.
Here are just a few ideas to get you started:
- Witches - spells, potions, frogs, curses and other Witchery.
- Scary movies - the horror side of Hollywood.
- Celebrities - what it says on the tin: red carpets and lots of spooky glamour. Oh, and a house filled with celebs, obviously!
- Childhood characters - think storybooks and jam sandwiches.
- Mashup - A mumble-jumble theme, where anything goes.
- Fantasy - fairies, vampires, werewolves - this one's all about going down the fiction route!
- Living dead - zombies, mummies, skeletons - think beyond the grave!
2. Halloween party decoration ideas
Once you've decided on a theme, you'll need to get decorations to match.
Generic Halloween decorations that always go down a treat include:
Other things to consider:
Colours - The most popular spooky colours are black, grey, white and orange, but if your theme is more on the disgusting or gruesome side, feel free to mix in some neon greens or blood reds too.
Budget - Your budget will be the biggest factor to consider when buying decorations - it's so easy to spend a fortune if you don't keep track of things. That's why we'd recommend using stuff you have to begin with. Old sheets, spare black, white and orange balloons, candles and even twigs from outdoors can really help give the place a spooky vibe, especially when the lights are dimmed down low.
Audience-appropriate - For a kid-friendly theme, focus on more cartoonist elements and brighter colours. Steer well away from blood and any decor that's genuinely frightening or too realistic. For adults, you can really kick the decor up a notch - don't be afraid to leave the party in almost complete darkness with white, spooky things hidden in random nooks and crannies.
TOP TIP: For budget Halloween decor that looks anything but, we'd recommend Flying Tiger. They have an amazing selection of products for all ages, themes and levels of spookiness!
3. Halloween party food (& drink) ideas
When it comes to throwing a party, what food and drink to put on is almost always the main source of stress and concern.
Remember: You don't have to go all out! Your guests would much rather have a relaxed, fun host(ess) than a three-course meal.
Consider the time you have available, your budget, and also the guest list before deciding what you're capable or willing to provide.
Food options include:
- A proper spooky, sit-down meal - this is ideal for a small group of adults, where the idea is more dinner party than crazy all-nighter. Think Shephard's Pie, Pumpkin soup and squash tagine.
- Buffet - buffets are always a safe bet. You can easily cater them to your audience and budget, and with a few paper plates, this self-serve option is relatively low stress and mess too. Jam sandwiches, cocktail sausages, Halloween cupcakes and crisps and dips are more than enough to satisfy.
- Sweet treats - perhaps the easiest option is to only provide snacky bits. This is particularly practical if your party is starting later on, to keep rumbling bellies satisfied and stomach's lined. Think sweets, chocolatey treats and crisps.
NOTE: If you want to avoid mess, stay away from anything sticky or sloppy! Paper plates and cups are notoriously flimsy, especially in young hands.
Drink options include:
- Alcohol-free punch - want to treat the little ones to something special? An alcohol-free punch bowl is the way to go! This is perfect for slightly older kids who can hold a cup without sending their parents into a frenzy. Cherryade or limeade work great as a base, with some eerie jelly sweets thrown in for good measure.
- Cartons - keep mess to a minimum with juice cartons. Perhaps not the most sophisticated of choices, but they'll be no spills in sight!
- Punch - treat the adults to the real deal. A big bowl of punch is easy, relatively low budget and looks the part too.
- BYOB - don't be ashamed to ask friends to pitch in. Bring your own booze is always a good compromise - no cost for you and if the drinks run out, you're not responsible.
4. Halloween party games
What's a party without a few games to bring everyone together? For kids' parties, games are a must, but even adults can benefit from them too.
Here are some ideas guaranteed to get everyone in the mood.
Kids' Halloween party game ideas:
- Marshmallow Toss - similar to beer pong, but with squishy squashy marshmallows. Less mess, and alcohol-free.
- Pumpkin Pop - for older kids unlikely to be scared by the sounds of popping balloons, create a 'pumpkin patch' and see which team can pop all the balloons the fastest.
- Tic Tac Toe - make a giant, noughts and crosses board out of removable tape, and use painted pumpkins as the pieces.
- Toilet Roll Bowling - pick up some cheap toilet roll and draw ghostly faces onto the front. Stack them up and use small, but weighty balls to bash them down.
Halloween party games for adults:
- Punch Pong - like beer pong but with a punch.
- Trick or Treat Shots - the adult version of Trick or Treat - some shots are nice, others are nasty. A roll of the dice will decide your fate!
- Make-a-mummy - similar to the bridal gown game often played on Hen Dos, provide toilet roll and set a timer to challenge teams to create the best mummy costume.
- Pass The Apple - lots of laughs and basically free. Provide an apple to each team and see who can pass it round the circle the fastest. The twist? The apple must be held between the chin and chest and passed without using hands!
5. Halloween costume ideas
Let's face it, if you go to a Halloween party every year, coming up with a new costume can be hard. Picking a theme is a great way of making costume choices less competition, and more convivial for your guests. Even if you choose not to have an overall theme, you can still decide on a specific costume theme.
The best costume theme will depend on your audience. Here are some of our favourite ideas:
Couples: couples only party? Why not request everyone comes as famous couples, be that celebrities, film-based or perhaps even historical figures!
Girls only: girls, girls, girls. Get everyone to come as their favourite female role model. It could be a popster, actress, politician - the choices are endless.
Themed: as mentioned in our first step to planning the ULTIMATE Halloween Party, a theme such as fantasy, the living dead or scary movies will narrow everyone's options down and make it much easier to choose.
Mix n Match: no need for a dress code - let everyone come looking as wacky as they want!
Lucky Dip: if you want to make things as easy as possible for guests, and you also have a bit of budget to play with, why not provide your guests with costumes? This doesn't have to be anything too fancy - some witches hats, ears, capes, vampire teeth and wigs in a 'lucky dip' bucket is all you need to get the party started.
Now throwing the ULTIMATE Halloween Party is easier than ever. What theme are you going to go for this year?