Halloween party decorating ideas that ensure it's spooky and fun

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For many, Halloween, or as it was known in medieval times, All Hallows Eve, is a favorite holiday because it is one of few nights of the year that truly allow the imagination to take flight. Although Halloween may be seen in modern times as a holiday geared toward children, historically it was a time for reveling for adults who attended festivals dressed in elaborate costumes.

If you are planning a Halloween bash this year, there are a few decorating ideas that you may want to use to ensure this Halloween will be a spooky and fun night to remember.

Get creative with your Halloween decorations by using a variety of techniques that will come together cohesively. Remember to consider the size of the space you will be working with when planning your party.

One of the most creative Halloween party ideas is to build a Halloween themed maze leading up to your front door through which guests, or trick-or-treaters, have to pass.

Use cardboard or foam board to create the walls of your maze and decorate them with spider webs, cutouts of vampires, witches or Frankenstein. For less scary halloween decor, use images of Casper the friendly ghost and similar characters, since young children might be too frightened by the adult monsters.

Think about creating a haunted house by having family and friends dress up and hide in areas of your home. You can create a different theme for each room. For example, one room could be decorated like a vampire's lair, while another could be based on a theme from a movie, like the witch's castle from Wizard of Oz.

While many caterers offer Halloween themed treats including cookies and other goodies decorated with witches, goblins and other ghastly creatures, one way to cut costs is to make your own Halloween food and drinks. There are thousands of spooky recipes online that can be used to scare your guests or just fill them up.

Halloween party count down

Three Weeks Before Your Party

Make a guest list. Plan early and ask around to make sure your go-to guests can make it.
Choose a theme. The internet can be overwhelming if you simply search for Halloween decorations, recipes and games, so pick your theme early to help focus the rest of your planning. It can be as broad as a color scheme (black, orange and red) or as specific as a movie, like The Nightmare Before Christmas or one that's super popular with your kids' peer group.

Two Weeks Before Your Party

Send out invitations. Whether emailed, Evited or snail-mailed, set the tone of your party with a themed invite. Offer prizes to encourage all guests to wear costumes.
Get your costumes!
Gather decorations, games and contest prizes. Here are a few ideas:

• Have a costume contest, award prizes for silliest, most original, most colorful, scariest.

• Plan games that are easy in any type of costume: bean bag toss into a jack-o-lantern, pin the hat on the witch, body part guessing game (peeled grape “eyes,” scrambled egg “brains”).

• Float a ghost on a wire to spook the kids.

• Install black lights in one room, line the walls with white poster paper, and give the kids yellow highlighters to decorate the walls.

Find a source for dry ice if you’re using it.
Plan your menu. Coordinate the menu with your theme, or serve a simple meal with a special Halloween dessert to complement the rest of your party fare.

A Couple Days Before the Party

Decorate the house.
Shop for ingredients for your menu.
Prepare items that can be made ahead of time, like dips and party mix.
Plan the music. Set the mood with your own custom mix (Monster Mash, Thriller, Scallywag) or simply tune into Pandora or Spotify for Halloween-themed music stations.
Test out the music sound system.
Set aside dishes, cups and eating utensils.
Remind guests about the party.
Gather extra costumes or accessories so that all guests will have something festive to wear.
Set up an easy-to-make Halloween craft that can be made while guests are arriving, such as a goodie bag or mask.

Day of Party

Get extra ice and any last minute supplies.
Make food and punch.
Make sure your camera is ready to take plenty of pictures!

Halloween Party Shopping List

Invitations
Costumes
Food and drink
Dry ice
Tablecloths
Napkins, paper plates, utensils
Decorations
Contest prizes
Craft supplies

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