Halloween Party Planning Tips 

 Originally Written: October 18, 2009

By  Hanna Trafford

halloween_party_flyerHalloween parties can be a lot of fun – but if you are not sure where to start and how to go about organizing it, it can create stress nobody needs! I have put together some tips for you – check them out and decide to have the best Halloween party ever!

The Guest List

Everything you will plan for your Halloween party will depend on who you are going to invite. Send invitations out early enough to allow for R.S.V.P’s and follow up with those who fail to respond personally to confirm your guest list.

If  Halloween falls on a weekday, consider scheduling the party for the weekend before so that you have plenty of time to set up and your guests will not have to worry about getting up early the next day. I Halloween is on the weekend, keep in mind that those who have children will need to come to your party at a later hour – after trick-or-treating.

The Place:

Deciding on the place will also depend on how many guests you will have attending. If it is too many guests for your place, or you have restricted parking, consider asking a friend if they would be interesting in co-hosting the party with you.

The Invitations:

If you decide to have a theme for your party, make sure your invites go along with the theme. Some popular themes include:

Ghost Invitations – Place a white handkerchief out on a table and write the invitation information in a spiral around the edges, leaving the centre white. When finished writing, wrap the handkerchief around a lollipop (writing out), fasten with a ribbon at the neck of the lollipop, make 2 dots with black marker for eyes and send the invitation in a padded envelope.

Gravestone Invitations – Cut a gravestone shape out of grey construction paper. Write R.I.P in big letters at the top. Write your invitation information underneath. Fold your invitation in half lengthwise, sprinkle a little black and orange confetti in the middle, and mail your guests a fun surprise!

Pumpkin Invitations – Punch a hole in the corner of a card-style invitation, and tie it with black or orange string to a mini pumpkin (available at most grocery stores). Hand-deliver each guest’s invitation.

Candy Invitations – Hide card-style invitations in small jars filled with candy corn. (Pickle jars or small jelly jars work well.) Hand-deliver your invitations to each guest.

If you are mailing invitations send them out at least two weeks before the party. Hand delivery works well if you are planning last minute, or would like a quicker response on your RSVP. Follow-up with a phone call to those who have not RSVP’d you five days prior to the party. Address any concerns your friends have and try to get a commitment one way or the other. When a friend declines, politely express your disappointment AND understanding. Take note of that guest side list you made in the beginning and fill in the holes.


Party Food and Refreshments

  • Serve finger foods that come in Halloween colors, such as orange slices, Cheetos, baby carrots, cheddar cheese cubes, Ho-Hos, black licorice, and blackberries. Make fruit kabobs by alternating purple grapes and cantaloupe on wooden skewers.
  • Use your favorite Halloween cookie cutters to cut soft sandwiches, such as peanut butter & jelly or tuna fish, into spooky shapes, like ghosts, bats, and pumpkins. You can also use mini cookie cutters to cut pumpkins out of orange cheese slices and ghosts and skulls out of white cheese slices to serve with Ritz crackers.
  • Create spider treats by inserting eight pretzel sticks (four on each side) into the filling of Ritz peanut butter crackers. With a dab of peanut butter, set two raisin “eyes” on top. (To accommodate children with peanut allergies, make your own cracker sandwiches using plain or flavored cream cheese as the filling.)
  • Prepare chocolate pudding in clear plastic cups. Stick a vanilla wafer “gravestone” in each cup, with one half beneath the pudding surface and the other half sticking up, and draw an outline of the grave in green cake decorating gel.
  • Place chips and dips like salsa and guacamole in bowls on the food table. Prop small plastic spiders and rats up on the bowls.
  • Wrap one half of cocktail sausages in thin strips of a four tortilla. Place a dab of ketchup on the other end to look like a toenail. Call these “monster toes”.
  • Serve a spooky punch like Swamp Juice. Empty a 13-oz. package of Kool-Aid into a punch bowl. Add 1 cup sugar and 8 cups water, and stir until dissolved. Stir in 1 can frozen orange juice concentrate. Just before serving, add 4 cups ginger ale and 3 scoops orange sherbet. This will create a putrid green color that will look awful but taste delicious! Add small plastic spiders or raisins to serve as “bugs” for an extra creepy effect! And of course-if you are serving alcohol-add as much vodka to this as you feel safe to do!

halloween_decorating_ideas_spookyboo-homemade-halloween-decorationsangela_gothicglam_2Halloween Party Decorations:

  • Turn your home into the spookiest place ever! Here are some creative ideas for Halloween party decorations:
  • Create artificial mist! Fill buckets halfway with water, and add dry ice. There should be enough water to cover the dry ice, and the proportions should be 2 parts water to 1 part dry ice. Warmer water will create thicker smoke, but it will disappear quickly. Cooler water will create thinner smoke, but it will linger longer. Place the buckets around the party area, but make sure the children can’t get into them. Dry ice is dangerous when touched.
  • Inflate a variety of white balloons with helium. Cover each balloon with a small white sheet or square cut from an old sheet, and draw eyes and a mouth on each with a black marker. Float the ghosts around the party area. For extra eeriness, insert a glow stick in each balloon before inflating.
  • Cover the party food table with a black or orange tablecloth and a selection of scary items such as plastic bugs, rats, and skulls.
  • Hang orange and black streamers from the ceiling in the party area.
  • Cover shoeboxes with brown or black construction paper, and line the inside of each with red felt. Lay plastic or rubber skeletons inside, and set the “coffins” around the party area.
  • Make your own window coverings by cutting silhouettes of cats, bats, pumpkins and spiders out of black construction paper or felt. Tape the cutouts to your window, and then cover the entire window with white paper or a sheet. Make sure the white covering fits the window exactly. Place a light source behind the window to make the scary silhouettes visible from the street.
  • Purchase neon black lights, and place them in the party area. This will create an eerie glow and make all the white items in the room – like the mist and ‘ghosts’ – really stand out.
  • Keep it simple with crepe paper and balloons or go all out and create your own Haunted House.
  • For an easy Haunted House get some blank newsprint/butcher paper and hang from ceiling to floor in the party room, hallways and kitchen.
  • Now your walls are your canvas! Before you hang it, paint the paper in dark colors, with creepy scenes.
  • Add cobwebs in the corners that stretch across the ceiling, complete with spiders. Hang bats from the ceiling.
  • Paint a skeleton onto a wall with glow-in-the-dark paint.
  • Or cover your walls with black garbage bags and throw some fake cobwebs around – this works really well in the basement room, where there is already limited lighting.
  • Turn your kitchen into a mad scientist’s laboratory. Perhaps you’d like to have some mystery drawers guests can reach into and be surprised.
  • Don’t forget the scary music and sound effects!

Hope these tips were helpful to you and that you will have the best Halloween party ever! Send me your comments, suggestions and experiences – your input is always welcomed!


Hanna Trafford

Hanna is the mother of two grown sons Dan and Dusan Nedelko, and is also the Grandmother to Jax, Cohen and Mila. She is the lead editor of Mama Knows and is hoping to create an exchange of communications with other grandmothers, mothers and daughters - giving everyone the opportunity to learn and share about everything that is "Mama"

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