Halloween, the spookiest time of the year, is characterized by trick-or-treating, horror movies, costumes, and of course, parties! You might be surprised, but planning the perfect party is no easy feat. Being a Halloween-party-expert myself, I hope to provide some tips on how to throw the best Halloween brawl of the year.
Theme: Every perfect party has a theme. Some would argue that Halloween itself is a theme, but a theme within a theme just adds to the fun and elevates the authenticity of your get-together. A party based on a movie or franchise, like Scooby-Doo; a time period, like the 60s; or a monster, like vampires, will definitely take your party to the next level. Getting all your party guests to follow the theme will add amazing photo-ops and an absurdly entertaining number of matching costumes.
Decorations: Now that you’ve got a party theme, you’re going to need decorations to match. Decorations are essential—Halloween without decorations is like a pool party without a pool. Whether or not you’ve picked a particular theme, this is the perfect moment to test your creativity by completely transforming your venue. If you’ve got a theme, you should commit to it and only use decorations that match your theme. For general Halloween decorations, jack-o-lanterns, faux spider webs, cauldrons, and flying ghosts are standard. If you’re looking to give your guests a real fright, horror-movie monsters, zombies, vampires, fog, and black lights will help accomplish that.
Music: The atmosphere of your Halloween party plays a significant role in how your guests interact and behave. Having a good playlist is the best way to establish your ideal Halloween party ambiance. The music doesn’t necessarily have to be Monster Mash-esque (unless that’s what you want); you should go with the type of music you like, and that you know your guests will like. Whether you choose mellow tunes to encourage socialization, or upbeat songs to make everyone dance, your music should mostly stick to one vibe—not necessarily one music genre though—to keep the energy consistent throughout the night.
Food and candy: If you’re throwing a party, chances are you and your guests might have aged out of trick-or-treating, but that doesn’t mean Halloween sweets cravings have dissipated as well. A cauldron filled with assorted candy and chocolate on a snack table is the best way to let your guests trick-or-treat without the awkwardness of going door-to-door. The snack table should also have general party foods like chips and salsa, and appetizers. You can get creative by researching Halloween-themed food ideas, like monster cookies, severed-finger hotdogs, spider pizza, and other spooky treats. But keep in mind, some guests may not be too keen on eating foods that look like brains or eyeballs, so try to have a variety of Halloween-themed, and non-Halloween-themed foods for everyone to enjoy. On top of the treats, you need to make sure you place drinks of all kinds at the snack table to make sure your guests stay hydrated.
Games: Although activities and games are often regarded as being reserved for children’s parties, having fun games for your guests to play is an effective way of bringing the energy up. After all, it was the games that saved Charlie Brown’s Halloween in It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (1996) from being completely disastrous. These games can be as complex as a murder mystery, pumpkin carving contests, or a scavenger hunt, or as simple as trivia, apple bobbing, or charades. You know your guests the best, so try to plan something you know they’ll enjoy.
Movie: As the night winds down and everyone begins to leave, your closest friends might stay behind to help clean things up. An impromptu movie night with your besties is a great way to spend the last few hours of Halloween. These movies can range from horror and slasher films like Scream (1996), or fun animated films like Coraline (2009) or ParaNorman (2012).
If you’ve checked all of these boxes, your party is guaranteed to be memorable. As shown in It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, all you really need to have fun on Halloween is a good set of friends. Even if things go wrong or stray from your ideal plans, it won’t matter as long as your friends are still there to savour the day with you. Your party could be mundane or extravagant, or there could be no party at all; all you really need for the perfect Halloween are people that you truly enjoy spending time with.
Staff Writer (Volume 49) — Kuicmar is completing a Forensic Biology specialization and a Creative Writing minor. This is Kuicmar’s first year as a staff writer for The Medium. She usually writes for the Opinions and Arts and Entertainment sections. She can’t wait to share her thoughts, opinions, and poetry. When she’s not studying or writing, you can find her watching movies, shooting arrows in archery, updating her Letterboxd, watching F1 content, reading NASA articles, or listening to music. You can find Kuicmar on her Instagram and Linkedin.