Planning a Halloween Party...Grown Up Style

• 10 October 2008

Last year I hosted a Halloween Party, just for adults, and I must say I enjoyed it more than almost any other party I've ever thrown. It was so unexpected to turn a holiday, typically targeted towards children, into something for us grown ups to enjoy as well. I want to share with you a few ideas right now (versus on Halloween or the Eve of), just in case you decide to host your own get-together. It's not too late to start planning!

Invitations...a great way to set the tone for the party:

I found some letter pressed invitations at Tabula Rasa that I loved. Nice and over sized and weighty. I didn't see the same ones there this year but they had some nice selections still. If you're not local, this is a good place to start.

Food...something buffet friendly:

I made two sheets of lasagna, a large salad, and provided a few different kids of artisan breads to eat alongside. It's funny though, I have no recollection of what I served for dessert! However, if I were doing it again this year, I'd offer a plate of these dressed up Petit Ecolier cookies (in dark chocolate) per Matthew Mead. They are too cute.

Another idea is to serve two pots of soup...maybe a Lentil Sausage Vegetable Soup and a Corn Chowder...accompanied by a nice salad & bread. You can make the two batches of soup the day before (soup tastes better the next day anyway), thus making your party prep that much simpler.


I hit a wholesale decor store called Tai Pan Trading Company and picked up a few ghoulish candle holders and tea lights for a great price. I also found some velvet black candlesticks at a little store in Gardener Village that were pretty classy too. Last, I used a glass terrarium as a vase, some branches, and polished river rocks to make a homemade centerpiece. I hung scalloped tags stamped with insect graphics from the branches. It was super easy.

There are a myriad of ideas out there for Halloween centerpieces...the hard part is choosing! Something like this, or this might be fun too. I know Snippet & Ink is technically a "wedding blog" but I find that some of the ideas featured carry over into everyday entertaining as well. This post is a must-see.

Music...I downloaded a grouping of "spooky tunes" on Itunes to accompany our party the whole evening through. These are some of the songs I found, but I know there are other great ones out there too. If you have any additional suggestions, feel free to share!

I decided to make each couple a copy of the playlist as part of their favor. There are so many cute ways to present a customized cd but if I were doing it again this year, I'd use some of Muji's kraft brown cd envelopes. Then, I'd find a cute sticker from Paper Source, or something from Etsy (in case you can't tell, I {heart} Etsy bigtime). These and these are my favorites. Oh, the power of a cute label.

Anyway, on to the playlist:

Superstitious, Stevie wonder
Abracadabra, Steve Miller Band
Trick or Treat, Otis Redding (favorite!)
Black Magic Woman, Santana
Ding-Dong! The Witch is Dead, Ella Fitzgerald
Thriller, Michael Jackson
Spooky, Atlanta Rhythm Section
Witchy Woman, the Eagles
Moondance, Van Morrison
Ghost, Indigo Girls
Harvest Moon, Neil Young
Witchcraft, Frank Sinatra
Moon over Bourbon Street
Monster Mash, Robert Walsh

Pumpkin Carving:

I've always wanted to make those elaborate pumpkins adorning the cover of MS Living every October it seems. But, with kids I don't ever feel like an hour {plus} long carving party is feasible. Enter adult Halloween Party activity :)

I purchased the pumpkins about 3 days before the party and hired some teenagers in the neighborhood to carve them for me ahead of time. That way, guests could participate in the best part of pumpkin carving...the carving itself. This saved a lot of time and mess and allowed everyone to get their creative juices flowing. We provided carving tools and sample pictures for inspiration. I was so happy we did this...hopefully they were too :)

Favors...a little memoire for your guests to take home:

Besides the Halloween CD I made these "broomsticks" per Martha. I loved this project...very easy and very cute. Plus, they look pretty all lined up and almost act as a part of the overall Halloween decor. I made a few modications to the directions that you can read about here.

Marta offered some fabulous Halloween tags last year, which I attached to complete the look. She did a magnificent job. Lucky for me, I have a few leftover to use this year...

If you are keen on a few more ideas, see Chelsea's suggestions here.

One last thing, if you have children, don't forget to book your babysitter in advance!

Happy Halloween...a few weeks early :)


Diana Hulme said...

What an excellent Halloween party resource! Thanks. :)

jerin said...

Yeah, I can attest that it was one of the best parties I have ever been to. Thanks Steph!

Jules said...

We do a Halloween party, too. This year the calendar was already full on Halloween and the Saturdays prior, so we will probably just have some friends over on a Sunday for a low-key Monster Bash. If you look on my flog I list our menu under the "Entertaining" section. I usually change it up a bit every year, but Roast Beast, Fingers and Brains are always on the menu.

We also love doing a donut eating contest on a string with the couples. It is so much fun.

Yours looks a little classier than ours :).

Georgia said...

Sounds like great fun! Wish I had time to do something like that!

Georgia said...

Sounds like great fun! Wish I had time to do something like that!

Rebecca said...

Gosh girl, you sure know how to throw a party ... I think I may use this little tutorial and spice things up here in Chapel Hill.

Quick question ... did you have folks dress up? Not sure if I'd go that route or not. Given that I can never think of the perfect costume, I'd probably opt out. Thoughts?

Vanessa said...

I am going to have to try that Sausage Lentil Soup, I made it this week but was picking between that recipe and another and went with the other one. It did not have leeks but I love love leeks so yes we will have to try that recipe. Great post!

Kristin said...

Reading this totally makes me want to throw a Halloween party. I probably won't, but thanks for passing along the great ideas. By the way, I have some great recipes for punch and other treats.

Brooke Rane said...

thanks for such a great post--i was just talking to a a friend about how fun it would be to have an adult party, so this was great timing!

Jen said...

we had a halloween party for adults last night! So fun!

Check out my new blog I'd love your input.

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Heather said...

Your Halloween ideas are so cute! Can I ask you what the little tags say on your broom favors! They are so cute! Thanks!

John Decker said...

I am so glad I came across this article. Planning a Halloween party can be hard because you want something that everyone can enjoy. I like ideas where everyone can dress up in customs but also play games. My friend told me to hire the murder mystery company because they travel to you and perform skits. They also have games for adults and children, a long with food services. I think this type of party would fit into a Halloween theme perfectly. I can not wait to try it. However, I really like the decoration ideas in this article for planning your own party. I know the kids would love the pumpkin carving idea, and the adults would like it as well. I can not wait for Halloween this year to try out of these party ideas!

Andrew Burgon said...

Thanks for your ideas.

Two other songs great for Halloween parties are from the Nightmare Before Christmas movie. What's This? and Oogie Boogie's song.

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