This isn't really a guide to how to throw
a Halloween party. I have a list like that on this page.
I think you really just make it up as you go along and get a little
better at it every year you try. Instead, this is a bunch of
do that I think work really well.
Throw the party early. We
always do it two weekends before Halloween night. The weekend
Halloween falls on is usually taken up with other activities (e.g.,
haunted houses, other parties, Pug-o-ween, Oak Lawn, etc.), so this
frees up that date. It also makes the Halloween season last a bit
longer, which is nice for all involved. I also think Fridays are
good because people often schedule things on Saturdays. For more
elaboration, see here.
Don't start before 8pm.
We said 7pm one year on account of a few friends with kids, and that
was just too early. Most folks want to come and stay until
bedtime. Almost no one arrived until 8 anyway, so all it did was
make us rush to get everything ready earlier than we needed to.
candy from guests.
I got this idea from my friend Liz. She throws the party,
provides food, music, a fire, etc. Guests are expected to bring a
bag or two of candy. Since the party is always sometime before
Halloween night, now it's ready to be given out to the Trick or
Treaters. (You can always buy marked-down candy for yourself
after Halloween on October 32nd.)
all the candy our guests brought across the pool table for
them to snack on during the party.
all the areas.
Hosts sometimes forget to decorate some areas (e.g., laundry room,
bathroom, etc.). I think it's a better party if guests experience
a total immersion in Halloween. See here for examples. We even
do the backyard.
theme in mind.
Maybe for the whole party, but maybe just for each room. For
example, all the spider decorations go in one room (like our kitchen), then
ghosts in another (like our living room).
on. It makes things less chaotic if you have a vague
"rule" to help organize your props around.
I found that most people are there to drink and socialize. You
are probably good with, say, some punch with a frozen hand in it, funny
cup cakes, chips and dip, and maybe a few other things. It's a
costume party, not a formal dinner. You don't need a full
meal. Some examples of funny food can be found here.
decorating the week before.
If you wait until the day or two before the party, you're going to be
rushing around like mad. However, if you're finished several days
before the party, then you have an opportunity to refine areas that
don't work. If you're me, you might end up using the extra time
to make additional last-minute decorations as ideas occur to you.
I'm not advising that; it's just what happens to me every year.
checklist of things to do just
before the party. There are always props to be turned on,
candles to light, etc. I always forget things like that. I
pretty much stop thinking about decorating once guests start
arriving. I incorporated mine into this page.
everyone to bring a camera.
You can't be everywhere at once. It's nice if you can collect
pictures afterward to supplement your good memories of the night.
Additionally, I always send out my shots within a few days of the
party, then another round of pics from everyone else a couples days
good invitation. I
always have a picture of the house all decorated and everything.
I also include a link to Google Maps or Yahoo or whatever for anyone
who hasn't been to the house before. Lots more detail than anyone
wants to read. Some examples of what to put on your invitation
can be found here.
right mix of guests.
I'm lucky in that I have a diverse enough group of friends that I can
draw from a colorful crowd. Inviting an eclectic mix of people
means there are more interesting interactions than a homogeneous group
who all know one another from, say, work or whatever. However, I
also limit who I invite so that I will avoid conflicts or anyone who
will make an unpleasant scene.