Throwing a Halloween party looks so easy – just send out a few invites, throw a bowl of chips on the table and call it a night. Unfortunately, a lot of work can go into a successful party. If you’re stuck for ideas or just need some help getting started, we can help. Keep reading for tips on how to choose a theme, work within that theme to make your life easier, and, of course, survive the actual event.
Choosing The Theme
Starting with a theme will bring a focus to your party planning. Once you have that central idea, everything else like decorations and invitations should fall into place.
You can pick something as broad and basic as just a general Halloween party and from there you’ll know that you need Halloween-related invitations, scary decorations, spooky music and plans for a costume contest. By having that theme as your focal point, all the little decisions will be infinitely easier. But, what are some other theme ideas for a fun Halloween or costume party?
The Poker Den: Hosting a poker night is a fun way to cash in on the appeal of a popular trend. Have your guests dress up as flappers, gangsters, popular poker stars, saloon girls, and Texas Hold’em pros from the Wild West. Rent or purchase poker table supplies and start dealing. If you don’t think your guests are up for playing with real money, offer up a few prizes instead.
American Idol: A karaoke costume party with a twist. Pick three fun friends to be your judges and offer prizes for everything from best costume to worst singing. Again, you can easily rent or purchase a karaoke machine and a large number of retailers sell the discs.
When I Grow Up: Invite your guests to come dressed up as what they wanted to be when they were five year’s old. Decorate your invitations with firefighters, astronauts, flight attendants, movie stars, and princesses and ask guests to bring a picture of themselves at age five to pin on the wall. Offer a prize to the guest who can match the most party-goers to their childhood photograph.
Sock Hop: Throwing a sock hop party, or any era-specific party, is a quick and easy way to bring focus to your party. For a sock-hop, go with fifties-themed diner decor and leave the shoes at the door. Have guests dress in their favorite greaser costumes, fill your MP3 player with AM radio hits from the good ol’ days, and get dancing.
The Masquerade Ball: For a costume party with a touch of class, throw a masquerade ball and only admit those who are masked. Give it an opera theme or turn-of-the-century decor to add to the look of the event. With your invitations, include links or locations for mask makers or costume vendors.
Working With Your Theme
A theme helps give you, the party planner, some direction. So, use it. Try to incorporate your party’s theme into every aspect of the event – from food to music to favors. For example, if you’re throwing a sock-hop then serve milkshakes and french fries alongside Elvis hits. Or, if you’re hosting that American Idol karaoke party, spray paint cheap toy microphones gold to make your “awards” and use American Idol-themed party decorations. It’s all about utilizing your theme as much as possible.
How To Survive The Actual Party
Throwing a party can be hectic, but there are two crucial keys to any hosts’ survival – planning and delegation. The first step is planning. By sending out invites early and following up with RSVP’s, you’ll have a clear idea of how many guests to expect. This will help you plan your food, drinks, and space.
For a stand-up cocktail party, try to allow for at least 4 square feet of space for each guest and plan for each guest drinking about 2 drinks per hour (though that can depend on your friends). Move bulky furniture out of the way and try to create a designated area for refreshments. Remember, where the food and drinks are is where the majority of people will naturally congregate, so if you’re expecting a lot of people try spreading the refreshments throughout the house.
The next key to party survival is delegation. If you can afford to hire help, go for it. Otherwise, enlist your friends. Put your musically-inclined friend in charge of the stereo, another in control of the ice bucket, and someone else on coat duty. By delegating small tasks you’ll give yourself some breathing room as host but also stay free to deal with unexpected upsets (spills anyone?)
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, just remember planning and delegation and you’ll be fine. Don’t forget to have fun too!
Written by Christine