14 Tips On Planning Your Next Halloween Party

people dancing at a Halloween party

There are 8 weekends between Labor Day and Halloween.  If you are looking for fun things to do this fall might I suggest hosting a Halloween party.  As with most projects a little planning will go a long way toward making this the party of the year.  Are you hosting it at your house, or throwing an office party, or volunteering for your kids school party.  Here are 14 tips on planning your next Halloween party this fall.  Whatever the event I think some of the ideas below will help you make this a memorable event.

Quick List of 14 Party Planning Tips

  1. Set Date, time, and place
  2. Determine a guest list
  3. Party budget
  4. Choose a party theme
  5. Choose food, drinks, and deserts
  6. Party colors
  7. Costumes, masks, makeup to match theme
  8. Invitations
  9. Decorations
  10. Mood setting music
  11. Background movies
  12. Hashtag # your event name
  13. Post Your Party Pictures
  14. Have a Bartender

Make or Break Your Halloween Party by Picking The Right Date.
There are 8 weekends and around 60 days following Labor Day.  If you want a successful party be mindful of local events, company functions, baseball and football games, and other parties when you pick your date.  Next determine how long you want to the party to last and when it should start.  Then where you will host the party.  Most of the times you will simply pick your home.  In the interest of time let’s say our party happens at our house.

How many people do you want at your Halloween party?
Are you hosting for 10 or 100 people?  Who are the people you are inviting and what common interests might they have?

Budget:  How much do you want to spend on this party?
Money matters as with most things determines how extravagant your event will be.  Are you buying food, decorations, live music, a caterer or are you preparing and making everything your self.  Yes money matters as to the event but luckily it does not effect how much fun the party will turn out to be.

Choose your party theme.
The best parties have a theme.  Halloween alone is not enough.  Make it memorable by choosing an appropriate theme.  Here are a few theme suggestions:  ghost, glow in the dark, zombie walk, pumpkin, scavenger hunt, not so scary Halloween, Batman, Dead Rock Stars, Black & Orange Ball, Mardi Gras Halloween, sexy Halloween, kids, monster party, Halloween costume, gothic, Twilight, Harry Potter, Frankenstein, Dracula, vampire, witch, hayride, skeleton, famous Americans, dead wedding, villains, scarecrow.  Your theme will determine some of the decorations, colors, games, foods, and more.  Choose wisely and it will be fun.

Plan your party foods, deserts, and drinks.
Most of your budget should go toward food and drinks.  Are you serving a dinner, buffet, or appetizers.  The question of alcohol depends a great deal on who you are inviting.  Be sure to have lots of non alcohol choices.  If most people drink beer then there are plenty of choices.  Wines are a little more expensive.  How about both an alcoholic and non-alcoholic punch bowl?  You need to have some choices for everyone so also have some diet sodas available.  There are so many food choices I will get you some other articles covering this topic.  Try this article on Six Dressed Up Halloween Appetizers.  Here is a great article on a Halloween Dinner Party Menu.

Party colors set the mood.
I recommend choosing orange, yellow, black, white, and red as the primary colors in combination for most fall parties.  It fits well with Halloween, pumpkins, and fall colors.  You will want to have paper plates, cups, placemats, tablecloths, etc. in colors to match your color combinations.

Costumes or not for your Halloween party.
This is a tough choice for most party planners.  Many people do not like dressing up in a costume.  Some of these types of people you might not want at your fun event.  But in case you do, consider maybe makeup, face painting, or masks instead of costumes.  If you make the theme apparent on your invitations then make it know what type of costume, mask, or makeup event you are having.

Do not forget to send out invitations.
There are many types of invitations.  I recommend visiting your local party store and getting some cheap invitations.  This is critical for setting the mood, getting people to come, and your actual turnout.

Decorations for your Halloween party.
I would start setting the party theme with the front yard and have the decorations throughout the house or party area.  The front yard can have tombstones, graves, pumpkins, scarecrows, and more fall type decorations.  The front door could have some type of funny welcome sign such as Enter At Your Own Risk or Jones Grave, or Miller’s Haunted House.

Pay special attention to mood setting music.
Here are some of the most popular songs that many people use as background music for their Halloween parties.  If money is no object then hire live entertainers.  Most of us will simply use a loud speaker system which will also work very well.

  • Monster Mash – Bobby “Boris” Pickett & The CryptKeepers
  • Thriller – Michael Jackson
  • Black Magic Woman – Santana
  • Purple People Eater – Sheb Wooley
  • Witchy Woman – The Eagles
  • Love Potion #9 – The Cloves
  • Bad Moon Rising – Creedence Clearwater Revival
  • Ghostbusters – Ray Parker Jr.
  • Superstition – Stevie Wonder
  • Time Warp – The Rocky Horror Picture Show
  • I Put A Spell On You – Jay Hawkins
  • Werewolves of London – Warren Zevor
  • Devil With A Blue Dress On – Mitch Ryder

Have some classic Halloween movies playing in one room.
Depending on your theme I recommend choosing some of the classic Halloween movies to play on a TV in one of the rooms.  People will recognize the movies and watch it a little.  It is a great conversation starter.  Hopefully most people will watch a little and then join the crowd.  Here are a few movies you can get on DVD.

  • Friday The 13th
  • Halloween – John Carpenter
  • Hocus Pocus
  • Silver Bullet
  • Twilight
  • The Addams Family
  • Dracula
  • The Mummy
  • Psycho
  • Texas Chainsaw Massacre

Use social media to Hashtag # your event.
Give people a way to share the event and stay in touch.  The more people interact the more fun they will have.  Use something like #JonesHalloweenParty or #JamesZombieBash.  Be sure people know and share photos especially on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

A few more things to think about for your party.
I recommend have some type of game activity for your party.  You could rent a karaoke machine and have people sing those popular Halloween songs.  Scavenger hunts are always fun.  There are plenty of game choices to choose from.

There are many choices of foods available.  Suggestions include:  cakes, cupcakes, treats, candy, jell-o, seeds, caramel apples, popcorn snacks, monster eyes, and cookies.  If you are serving real food then try these suggestions if you are not having the food catered.

Give some thought to using dry ice for some ghoulish cocktail drinks.  If you are serving something other than beer then someone usually should act as the bartender.  A little training and they can really make the party drinking fun and entertaining.

Do not forget to use some type of door bell sound.  Remember how funny and entertaining the Addams Family door bell was?  Try to hook up the same type of thing.

If you do decide on a dead rock star theme then consider beginning your list of characters with Elvis, Jim Morrison, Johnny Cash, Janis Joplin, Jerry Garcia, Luther Vandross, Ricky Nelson, Frank Zappa, Mama Cass, Karen Carpenter, and a whole lot more.

Remember at the end of the event the goal is for everyone include you to have fun.  Always follow up especially on social media.  People will look forward to next year’s event to see what type of party you are throwing next.

A short video on planning a Halloween party:

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