Looking to throw a hauntingly perfect Halloween party? Jen with Classycozmetics has 5 great tips that will have your guests saying “BOO!” in no time!
Hey Freebs! Jen here with Classycozmetics. In my mind, there are five things that truly make a great party. A party where, when you leave, you can't stop talking about it and can't wait for the next one. These five things are what work for me and all the bashes I throw and I'm going to share them with YOU! Because you deserve to throw a great party if you wanna. Since it is the beautifully haunting season, I'm going to share with you how I go about throwing my annual witches night Halloween party.
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I have always been a huge Halloween person. It started at a very early age where I can remember picking out the most perfect poofy princess gown to wear to my elementary school carnival. I still remember Trick-or-Treating with my brothers and the excitement of going door to door and getting goodies galore poured into our pillowcase sacks. As a family, we went to Disneyland almost every year and the Haunted Mansion was one of my favorites. I LOVED it and vowed my house would look the same as that house at Halloween time.
I. Love. Halloween!!! Are you ready to take your Halloween party game to the next level and leave your guests with a sense of wonder and magic?
THE HALLOWEEN PARTY LOOK
Begin by inviting your guests with an invite that will set the tone. I typically have a food sign up sheet to go along with what I will be providing. When people have a food assignment of their choosing (of course it is voluntary), they are more prone to come and stay. I googled spooky invites, bought the one I liked, and now use the same graphic every year and just change the date and time as needed.
PICK A THEME
Wherever the location of your party is, transform the look of it to match the theme. Halloween wreaths can be so expensive, so I take pictures of different ones I like for ideas and then just make my own.
I look over every inch of my home to see how I can transform it into a haunted mansion. This will look different for everyone! You may be into more whimsical Halloween decor, gore, scary, cutesy, etc. Whatever it is, keep your guests in mind for what they will be comfortable with that evening, then go for it. I love to add draperies to nooks and alcoves and put sheets over the furniture to make it seem as if it's been “turned down” for the season. I add pictures all over of faces that change as you walk by them. We even did a family photoshoot in Victorian clothing in a graveyard and blew it up at Costco.
This is what got me started on doing a theme every year for our family photos (you can see more of those here). Throughout the year I look for pieces that look like they could be added to the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland. So many things can be found year-round because I'm not necessarily looking for things that say “Happy Halloween”. I'm looking for everyday items that can be hauntified, or add to the scenes in the house. Candelabras, pewter serving dishes, old lamps, ornate frames, vintage telephones, clocks, etc. Even though it wouldn't be found in a Victorian home, I still can't resist turning my French Country hutch into an apothecary filled to the brim with spell books and potion bottles.
ADD EASY DECORATIONS
One of the biggest tips I can give when decorating your home for Halloween is to layer. Layer, layer, then layer again! This time, I used the cheesecloth as a table runner. I used twin size flat sheets to cover the dinner tables, layered the cheesecloth, then added black and sheer rose petals, porcelain bones, rubber insects, spooky birds, and dried moss sprinkled over top. Then I added the chargers (in a deep hue of purple to match my drapes), white paper dinner plates (think of the dishes not having to be done!), black salad plate, then a bit more of the cut-up white gauze and a spider ring as a spooky napkin.
I add bats flying over the grandmother clock and surrounding walls. Adding cut pieces of white gauze can separate sections/rooms in your home and can look eerily like cobwebs hanging down. Cheesecloth can look fantastic hanging from chandeliers and other light fixtures in your home. Never underestimate the power of those cheap bags of cobwebs. Really stretch and string them out and put them everywhere! Do you have an office with doors? Make it into a haunted elevator! Wallcoverings are cheap and just staple on. We made doors with butcher paper, cardboard, tissue paper, and paint.
MAKE IT A THEMED COSTUME PARTY
Asking your guests to dress in costume really adds to the look of your Halloween party. They become some of the ambiance of the night. The night will be one your guests don't want to forget. Make a designated place to take photos so they won't! Mine is always in my makeup studio (behind the elevator doors). It's out of the way and big enough for people to take group shots. I set up a phone tripod so they can set a timer and not have to wait for someone to snap a pic. I transform the back wall and then they have a great backdrop.
This last year I stapled black dollar store tablecloths to an entire wall then layered framed and spooky Halloween portraits. I LOVED it!!!!
I think I'll add a frame or two every year to keep layering on top.
HALLOWEEN PARTY SOUND
This element of the Halloween party is fairly simple and straightforward. I make a playlist on something other than my phone (so I can take pictures) and play it over the speakers in the house. We usually have organ music that you might hear in the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland. I play it soft enough for people to talk, but loud enough to where it's a presence in the room and fills the nooks and crannies of dead lulls in conversation.
There are other places where sound can be heard as well. In one area I have Madame Leota from the Haunted Mansion in a crystal ball. My husband put her narrative on a loop on an old iPod and I put it right inside the crystal ball. Moving books that cackle when someone walks by, old telephones that speak to you when you pick up the receiver. All details of sound that can add to your party. Hopefully, the sound of friends conversing and laughing themselves is the cherry on top!
HALLOWEEN PARTY FOOD AND DRINKS
This is where you can get crazy creative depending on how much time you have. There are scores of ideas on Pinterest for making the yummiest and spookiest delights for your guests. To make it easier on yourself (and let others be creative and feel needed), a signup sheet is a great idea for your party.
FOOD ASSIGNMENT LIST
I typically ask for these 7 types of foods to make sure we have enough variety:
I get my four soups signed up for first and typically ask for a slow cooker-full. Then I get about four people to do any salad they want to bring, two people to bring fruit, two people for veggies, six people to bring an appetizer, five people for bread, and eight people for desserts.
If more people RSVP, then I just add one or two people to each category. More often than not, people ask what they can do or bring. I'll let them know in what area we are lacking and they can choose. Writing it all down helps to know where you might need more.
HOW TO MAKE A SPOOKY DELICIOUS DRINK
I also ask people to bring a liter of Sprite as an assignment. I love to make a special drink for my guests that make it extra spooky and fun. Sprite, orange juice, and a bit of raspberry syrup is my fave combo, but you can experiment and find what your favorite combinations are.
I take a few liters of Sprite and fill cheap goblets (I get mine from Dollar Tree) half-way. Then I grab my handy syringes ($.10 a piece at Walgreens) and fill them with raspberry syrup and gently place them in the Sprite. Drink jugs line the tables filled with orange juice. You fill the rest of the goblet with OJ, then empty your syringe. It mixes beautifully, looks so cool, and tastes amazing!!!
HALLOWEEN PARTY SMELL
Has a scent ever brought you back to the past? Like thrust you into a chair and zooooomed you straight back to where you were when you last smelled it? Your sense of smell can be that powerful! Just like sight and sound, it's a necessary element to your party, so don't discount it. This is also where you can think a little outside the box. My friends set up their front yard to be Pirates of the Caribbean every year and it is MAGNIFICENT to behold! They went a thousand steps further than just the sights and sounds and procured an oil that has the SMELL of the ride at Disneyland! They drop it into their waterfall and boom… you're there.
For me, I like to have the candles on either side of the haunted elevator lit and glowing to greet guests. The waxy smell is almost eery and dusty… I like it! A caramel apple scent is in the mudroom, which spills into the kitchen and guest bathroom area without being too strong. A cinnamon apple scent is upstairs, so the downstairs gets just a hint of it. Essential oils in a diffuser are never a bad idea, either (as long as you think of complimentary smells). The eery smoke that comes out can definitely add to the ambiance.
I have thrown a lot of gatherings in my day (seriously, like hundreds!), and I've learned a lot from all of them. I've learned how early I need to start to make sure everything gets done. How I need to start at least two months ahead of time for witches night (a little bit everyday works with my busy schedule). I've learned to write everything out and schedule it all in the calendar. I have also learned to accept help! I've learned that it breaks no child labor laws to put my kiddos to work. (ha!)
DON'T OVER-DO IT
The most important thing I've learned is that everyone wants a hostess that isn't stressed, that is present and not distracted by a million things. People feel so much more at ease when you can greet them, chat and laugh with them, can even EAT with them. And guess what? YOU will be happier too! Have you ever not eaten at your own party? I have, and being a food girl, I was devastated. Being busy and hangry is a terrible combo. Basically, be prepared. Have a few backup plans if things don't go quite right and then shrug at anything you can't control.
To thank my guests, I love having door prizes – a prize for the winner of any games we play and then the best costume prize. Everyone puts their name in a bowl for the door prize, easy peasy. There's usually a jar full of candy corn where the closest guess gets the prize. Everyone votes for the best costume. I learn from every single event I throw from my mistakes so I'm glad that I make them. It makes me that much more prepared and excited for the next one.
Alright, well now you know how to throw an awesome Halloween party! Thanks for hanging out with me today! What's your favorite element of a Halloween party? Let me know in the comments! Make sure that you come and visit me on Facebook, Instagram, and my blog.
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