How to host the best Halloween party

Don't make it more complex than it needs to be!

Don’t make it more complex than it needs to be!

When gingerbread-colored leaves begin to slowly flutter down from the trees, and the crisp, autumn breeze begins to swirl through the air, it’s time to start planning for the spookiest night of the year: Halloween. Even nature seems to anticipate the day when costumed children will travel from house-to-house under a glowing full moon and black blanket sky, seeking out the neighborhood’s best ghosts, goblins, and goodies. But why should fright-night fun be just for kids? This Halloween, conjure up a party that includes atmospheric accents, spooky surprises, and delightfully creepy treats for guests of all ages.

Get the party preparations started by creating an eerie entertaining space (indoors or outside) for your partygoers. First, design the lighting and set the mood by placing glowing battery-lit candles in a variety of repurposed glass jars and vases. Next, spread decorator’s moss around the bases of the candle assortment and add a few fake black crows to the arrangement. Create a striking tabletop display with extra vases by adding bundles of red or black silk roses and creepy black spiders caught in stretched cotton webs.

For a mischievous and unexpected centerpiece, incorporate a few mouse-infested orange pumpkins and glowing jack-o-lanterns. To create this rodent-inspired roundhouse, simply purchase a large pumpkin and a package of black plastic rats. Cut around the stem of the pumpkin and scrape out the interior and seeds (don’t throw them away – save them for roasting!). After the inside has been hallowed out, carve 10 to 12 small holes around the exterior of the pumpkin. Lastly, place a plastic rat in each hole, and alternate the position of each figurine so in some holes the rodent’s head looks outwards, and the tail hangs out in others.

One trick for delighting your guests is to serve creepy appetizers and delicious “poisonous” drinks. For a cheese “severed finger-food” appetizer, round out each end of a string cheese stick with a paring knife. Next, tear the string cheese in half and carve a shallow “nailbed” on each rounded side. Affix a small piece of red pepper to each nailbed using cream cheese, then make small slices along the stick to mimic knuckle indentations. If you are planning to serve adult beverages in addition to a bubbling cauldron of party punch, try making “eyeball ice cubes.” Fill an ice tray with water and insert half of a pimento-stuffed olive into each cube’s compartment before freezing. Serve the eyeball garnish with dirty martinis or any clear beverage.

No Halloween celebration is complete without treats! Be sure to send your guests home with a gratifying goodie bag filled with a variety of creepy confections. Start by arranging several large glass apothecary jars on a countertop or console, and then fill each one with candy: orange candy corn, black licorice, white yogurt-covered pretzels, and green jawbreakers. Affix a nameplate tag to each jar, and give each type of candy an eerie name. For example, yogurt-covered pretzels are “crows bones,” black licorice are “spider legs,” and green jawbreakers are “frog eggs.” For take-home candy sacks, pick up some miniature burlap drawstring bags and dress them up by stamping a black crow silhouette on each one.

When planning a party to die for, give your guests chills and thrills by taking extra care to create a spooky entertaining space and not-so-ordinary nibblers, encouraging partygoers from young to old to celebrate all things creepy.



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