Get out your violins, freebs, a sad story is coming.
Since our house is still for sale, we are having to skip our annual Halloween party this year…and pretty much any form of fun Halloween decorating. Sigh. I feel like I'm cheating on Halloween with beige.
The only perks in this dreary situation is 1) my life just got a whole lot easier this month, and 2) it gives me every excuse in the world to make NEXT year's party bigger, better, and more epic than ever. Muahahaaaaaaaa.
In the meantime I thought I'd show you exactly how we threw one of my favorite Halloween parties of all times…using just a few bucks and things I had lying around!
Here's a complete rundown of our 3rd Annual Page Halloween Party from a few years back:
First off, I made the invite through evite.com. It's free, they have tons of cute designs, it's easy for people to RSVP (which is a MUST!!!!), easy for you to see the guest list, and easy for you to message your guests.
I made a sign for the front door to let people know they could just walk on in. Of course, I always have to add a little flair to it 🙂 I will teach you how to make these paper pinwheels sometime this week, they look so cool in person!
I made a haunted staircase for people to walk down to get to the party.
- I had a 2ft black light on the floor at the top of the stairs (left pic), and put black light bulbs in the other overhead light fixtures. You can buy the bulbs anywhere, I got mine at Kmart. They aren't cheap, they were $3-$4 each. I recommend buying them after Halloween on clearance and stocking up for next year!
- I made ghosts using cheap white tulle, and white balloons with permanent marker faces on the balloons. I recommend drawing on the BALLOON and not the TULLE, so you can use the tulle for other things! I held the balloon inside the tulle with a simple rubber band.
- The inflated skull at the bottom of the stairs we bought for $4 on clearance years ago. (The skull is similar to THIS ONE which really makes me appreciate the $4 steal I got it for!)
- The caution tape we've also had for years, I can't remember where I got it! But it's a sturdy vinyl/plastic-y material so we reuse the same tape year after year, even if it's been cut.
- I used packing tape to hold everything to my wall. Packing tape can be risky, but painter's tape wasn't strong enough and so far no paint was pulled off my wall along with the tape.
- The battery-powered tea light candle votives lining the stairs were 2 for $1 at the Dollar Store.
- At the bottom of the stairs I hung two cheap black garbage bags that I shredded into strips to keep the stairwell dark. People had to walk through the strips to get to the party, completing the creepy “cave” feel.
At the bottom of the stairs, once you walked through the garbage bags, I had a photo booth set up.
- To make the photo booth I bought a Halloween vinyl table cloth from the dollar store and taped it to my wall. *Note: In the future I will do TWO table cloths side-by-side because I hate that my wall showed on the sides of the pictures!
- The bride of frankenstein was borrowed from my amazing neighbor Rebecca…who MADE HER! She's so talented.
- The Halloween disco ball was on clearance after Halloween from years ago.
The photo booth was a fun way to capture the creative costumes of our guests, and I always make an online photo album for people to come and grab the photos of themselves. It's a fun “take-home” gift for people.
This year we were supposed to be an 80's rock band. But…my son (the guitarist) and my daughter (the drummer) went to bed before the party, and we never ended up dressing my dog up in his outfit (yes, even the dog participates!) so we were really a disbanded 80's band by the end of the night 🙂
- My husband's black mullet wig we got from Walmart for $5
- My pink shirt I had from college
- My sparkly shirt and zebra skirt I got from Charlotte Russe on clearance for $2.99 each.
- The leggings I got on clearance at DSW shoes months ago for less than $1.
- My husband's red pants are red pants he actually wears (they are so hot! I love them!) that he got from Uptown Cheapskate in Satl Lake.
- Everything else we had lying around in our closets and costume box.
I decorated our “Party Lair” with simple decorations.
- I bought the streamers from the dollar store, because they are 2 for $1 which is better than most places. I only ended up using one package of two streamers, I had a ton leftover that I will save for next year. And yes, I roll up and save my streamers for other parties and crafts!
- The little lanterns were from the dollar store and the bigger ones were from Target ($2.50, showcased HERE). We hung them from the ceiling with fishing line and packing tape.
- The black fringe was made from cheap black garbage bags.
Unlike our Party Lair, in our kitchen I went ALL OUT.
- I made a candy bar for guests to make a bag to take home, or fill a cup to enjoy during the party.
- The vinyl table cloth was from the dollar store.
- The spooky tree was made from a 1/2 a roll of packing paper from Staples ($5ish for the roll). I ripped off a section of paper, rolled and scrunched it up, and taped it to the wall with packing tape. I had grand plans to hang bats from the limbs, but I tend to get burned out toward the end of decorating…so that element was nixed from the list 🙂
- The candy bar sign I made in word, printed on simple orange paper, and put in a black frame I had lying in my garage.
- The witch legs hanging out from under the table was made by my neighbor Rebecca. She fount the tutorial on Pinterest and said it was really easy! She said you just stuff leggings with batting, tape shoes on with black electrical tape, and stick rebar or sticks in the legs to keep them straight.
- The “It's all bout the candy” sign was a freebie from THIS outing.
- The candy in the Candy Bar I bought from the bulk section at Winco. It was SO MUCH CHEAPER THERE!!!! The candy selection included:
- Red hots
- Carmel and peanut butter-filled monster eye balls
- Cinnamon bears
- Red cinnamon dot things
- Black and orange gumdrops
- Black and red licorice
- Gummy worms
- Candy corns
- Reeces Pieces
- Orange slices (“pumpkin” slices)
- And anything else black/red/Halloween-ish.
- I also had a jar of glow sticks that the kids went CRAZY over. I got tubes of 15 glow bracelets for $1 each at the dollar store.
- I put the candy in apothecary and mason jars that I had lying around my house, many of them from Tai Pan Trading from my wedding.
- I just put normal spoons in the candy dishes for people to scoop the candy out with.
- I bought little treat bags from the dollar store and little plastic dixie bathroom-sized cups for people to hold their candy in. (picture of the treat bags are below)
For the food table…
- Table cloth from the dollar store.
- The banner I made with scrapbook paper and dollar store ribbon, tutorial to come soon!
- The small candles were from the dollar store, the large ones in the big votive containers were from around my house. Better pictures below.
- The food was mostly brought by my guests! I asked them in the evite to bring either a creative caramel apple topping, or a spooky treat to share. We had SO MUCH FOOD!
- Most of the food trays were from the dollar store, same style as HERE, and that's how I made the cupcake stand.
And, of course, we had a caramel apple bar.
- The orange vinyl table cloth and the black fabric runner were from the dollar store.
- I bought tiny apples from Walmart for people to dip, to have individual, mini caramel apples! They were so cute, the picture doesn't do them justice!
- The caramel was homemade. It's SO EASY to make and SO MUCH CHEAPER than buying bags or bricks of caramel.
- I kept the caramel warm in an electric fondue pot kept on the lowest setting, you could also use a small crockpot.
- I used normal kabob skewers for the apples, and just had them laid out so people could skewer their own so the apples didn't turn brown.
- I laid out bowls from our kitchen for the toppings. My guests brought many of the toppings. The toppings included:
- Nerds candy
- Mini M&M's
- Mini marshmallows
- Crushed Oreos
- I had a cutting board on the counter at the end of the table (out of kids' reach) so people could slice their apple if they wanted to.
- I had mini plastic condiment cups on the table for those who preferred to fill a cup with caramel and daintily dip their apples. Not many people went that route 🙂
And, of course, somehow I managed to not even take a SINGLE picture of the drink table! But it was a small table with a vinyl table cloth on it and two huge glass drink dispensers (one was mine from Costco, one I borrowed from a neighbor). I made my party punch in one, and had ice water in the other. And of course…there was lots of dry ice involved in both 🙂
*Note: I learned the hard way that when you add dry ice to plain water, it makes it carbonated, like Perrier water. YUCK! So either just keep the dry ice in the already carbonated punch, or have it in a container the floats on top of the water so it doesn't carbonate it.
And, of course, extra touches throughout the party….
- The small candles and candle sticks/votives were from the dollar store. I made the “bloody candle” by lighting a red dollar store candle, and dripping it down the white one. Super easy, cool effect! The large candles and votives were from around my house.
- Now you can see the treat bags in the bottom right photo. Perfect size for a candy bar, and it was only $1 for the pack from the dollar store!
- The spider web in the small bottom picture was $3 from Kmart.
- The witch hat was $2.50 in the dollar bins at Target.
- The black candle stick and pumpkin were from around my house. The candle stick was bought years ago at Down East Home, the pumpkin was after-season clearance at Tai Pain Trading.
- The BOO words were made HERE.
To make it darker in my kitchen, I made a garbage bag spider to cover the light.
- I used cheap garbage bags and filled them with balloons ($1 per pack from Walmart).
- I used packing tape to get it to stick to my ceiling.
- I used streamers for the legs, $1 for 2 rolls at the dollar store.
And, of course, you have to have activities at your party!
- Since we had so many people, I figured it would be hard to organize games. So we just set up Rock Band in the theater room and let people come and go. It turned out to be a huge hit!
- In the guest room I brought down a ton of toys from our play room and made a Little Monsters Play Area for the kids. It was GREAT because it gave them somewhere to play. Unfortunately I only took this picture after most of the toys had been cleaned up, but we had our lego table, cars, balls, and other toys down there.
- We also had foosball set up for people to play.
- The signs were made in Word, printed to white paper, and taped to paper place mats that I got on clearance the other day from Joann Fabrics. It was $5 or so for a booklet of them (like oversized scrapbook paper packs).
It was a wild, fun night, with TONS of people!