1. Horror Movie Marathon
Image Provided by Laura Aguirre
For a low-key Halloween party, forgo the typical celebrations and spend a cozy night at home watching scary movies instead. Whether you watch just one movie or try to watch every installment in a popular horror franchise, a film night with your friends can be both relaxing and entertaining. Begin the night with dinner or keep food and drinks nearby while the movie is playing so guests can get more to eat whenever they’re hungry. To make your space feel like a theater, turn the lights off during the movie and serve plenty of popcorn. Decorations are optional if the lights are off, but you can always dress your movie room with spider webs, pumpkins, and ghosts for a proper Halloween atmosphere when the lights come back on.
2. Pumpkin Carving Party
Carving jack-o’-lanterns is a timeless harvest tradition and a great way to get creative around Halloween. You can supply the pumpkins for the party yourself or ask your guests to bring their own. If you’re worried about the mess, host the party in your backyard or lay spare newspaper on your kitchen floor for guests to carve over. You will also want to have plenty of extra knives for your guests to use, and to make sure that every child at the party is assisted by a responsible adult. It can be fun to see what jack-o’-lantern designs your guests come up with, but you can also print stencils and templates for them to use. Throughout the party, you can serve pumpkin pie, roasted pumpkin seeds, and other tasty treats while your guests carve their pumpkins. After everyone is done carving, put candles in the jack-o’-lanterns and arrange them on your patio for passing trick-or-treaters.
3. Boo-zy Bash
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While the kids are out trick-or-treating, you can throw an adults-only Halloween party at home with beer and cocktails. Because it’s Halloween, you can serve tasty and unusual drinks that incorporate ingredients like pumpkin spice and candy. Search for mixing recipes online or invent your own cocktails and give them cute names, like “monster margaritas.” Of course, it’s still fun to decorate and dress up, even though kids won’t be there. To make the evening lively, use typical Halloween decorations and encourage your guests to come in their best costumes. You can also give decorations like skeletons and zombies a hilarious twist by putting empty beer bottles in their hands. To go with all the alcohol, keep plenty of rich and delicious snacks on hand for guests to munch on while they party.
4. Murder Mystery Dinner
Image Provided by Style Me Pretty and Rebecca Hansen Weddings
A Halloween classic, the murder mystery theme is perfect for groups that enjoy solving puzzles and escape rooms together. During the party, one guest plays the role of a pretend murderer, and it’s up to your other guests to figure out who it is. There are several variations of the game, and detailed instructions for each can be found online. Some people also enjoy making the murder mystery an immersive blast from the past by choosing a bygone era, such as the Victorian period, to build the party around. After choosing your theme, send out invitations and ask your guests to dress in costumes appropriate to the time period. Your decorations should match the theme as well to make the game more immersive. The last thing you’ll need is a delicious dinner to serve your guests before the mystery begins.
5. Kids’ Costume Party
Image Provided by Laura Aguirre
Halloween is fun for people of all ages, but it’s especially exciting and magical for kids. If you have children of your own, take part in the magic by throwing a costume party they can invite their friends to. Start the party early if you want to use it to get your kids ready for trick-or-treating, or let them stay up late and start the party whenever they get back from gathering candy. To keep kids entertained, include classic Halloween activities like bobbing for apples and telling ghost stories. You can also give the kids a chance to show off their getups by having a costume contest and letting them vote for the costume they like best. To complete the party, keep a bowl or plastic cauldron filled with treats nearby so the kids get an early start on their favorite Halloween tradition.
6. Trunk-or-Treat Spree
Image Provided by Natalie Mayhew at Fern & Maple
Trunk-or-treating takes the idea of classic trick-or-treating and turns it into a more communal neighborhood activity. Instead of kids wandering from house to house while parents pass out candy from doorways, families drive their cars to a community space, like a playground, and park their cars in a circle. Each car features fun and spooky decorations, and whoever drives should pick a costume to match their car. Candy is typically kept in the trunks or the backseats of cars for neighborhood kids to come gather. In the center of the circle, Halloween games and activities can be set up for the kids to do when they’re not busy filling up their bags with candy. Some parents prefer trunk-or-treating to traditional trick-or-treating because it allows them to enjoy a more social Halloween gathering.
7. Movie-Theme Party
Image Provided by Laura Aguirre
For this theme, choose a movie you enjoy, and then craft your Halloween party to look and feel like it’s inside the movie’s universe. Select decorations that make your home look like an iconic locale from the movie, whether it be a wizard’s castle, an alien spaceship, or a city protected by a superhero. Tell your friends what the theme is when you send out invitations and ask them to dress up as characters from the movie. At the party, serve food and snacks that follow the theme for a little extra fun. The night’s entertainment could be film trivia, homemade games that echo movie events, or even a viewing of the movie itself. You can also shake this theme up by building your party around a popular TV show instead.
8. Fancy Halloween Masquerade
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If you feel like throwing a party that’s a little more refined this Halloween, try an elegant masquerade. The decor should be more subtle than other party themes while still feeling upbeat. To capture this polished look, forgo plastic zombies and pumpkins and instead choose a haunting color scheme for your space. Orange, red, black, and purple are all typical Halloween colors, so tablecloths, dishware, and decorations that feature a stylish combination of these shades will make your masquerade feel both chic and festive. You can also request that your guests wear fancy evening attire and extravagant masks instead of dressing like monsters. Fancy cocktails and hors d’oeuvres served on trays are a great way to welcome friends into your home, and a delightful meal in your dining room will perfect the evening. Because most masquerades are also balls, ending the night with dancing is a fitting and elegant way to wind down the party.
9. Graveyard Smash
Ideal for Halloween parties in the backyard, this theme uses props like novelty tombstones and rubber zombies to give your festivities the spooky ambiance of a haunted graveyard. Before choosing this theme for your party, check the forecast for Halloween night to make sure the weather will permit an outdoor get-together. For food, you can serve traditional party fare like pizza and potluck snacks or have some grisly fun with the zombie theme by serving food made to resemble eyeballs, skulls, and brains. In your invitations, you can even ask your guests to dress like zombies and ghosts to match the theme. This will make your party feel like a gathering of ghouls risen from the grave for a final ghastly bash.