It’s officially October! Which, in our house, means that we start digging out the Halloween decorations (yes, decorations – and there will be more on that shortly!) and planning our annual spooky shindig. The eagle-eyed amongst you might remember this post from last year’s spooky season! I loved writing it, and so many of you got in touch to say that you enjoyed it or found it helpful, so I wanted to repost it in time for this year’s party planning. This post also kick-starts a Halloween-themed month at Miss West End Girl, so be sure to keep in touch for more ghoulish goodies each week…
I love Halloween. Maybe it’s a teen goth hangover that refuses to go away, or maybe its down to my insatiable appetite for junk food. Maybe it’s because I can’t resist an excuse to dress up. I’d say it’s due to all of the above (and more!), so today I’d like to share some of my Halloween essentials with you guys. If you’re planning a party, or even just planning on attending a few, this one’s for you! I’m going to lay out how to throw a wicked Halloween party in ten easy steps, so grab your pumpkin and let’s dive in!
1. Decide what kind of party it is!
Sounds like a no-brainer, right? But once you have this step sorted, the rest falls into place a lot easier, trust me! Also, it means your guests will know what to expect. Do you want a devilish dinner soiree? Or maybe a haunted house party? In our casa, we host an all-night horror movie session with plenty of snacks. As huge horror film fans, Gary and I were sad to see the demise of the all-night horror marathons previously put on at the Odeon cinema (RIP) so have continued the tradition at home with some of our friends. It’s hands-down one of my favourite nights of the year.
So you’ve decided what kind of party it is and you’re super excited. Depending on what you’ve decided on, you will probably have a good idea of how many guests. If it’s a house party, you’ll probably have more guests than if you’re serving a meal or expecting people to sit and watch movies into the wee hours of the night! Make sure your guests know about your get-together by sending out some cool invites (or e-vites). You can get cute cards at most party supply or department stores or better yet, make your own!
3. Plan your films!
This one obviously only really applies if you’re hosting a movie party, or if you’re going to have some films playing in the background of a larger event (TIP: if you have access to a projector, play a vintage horror film on mute on a blank wall while your playlist jams play). If you’re planning a movie marathon are you going to have a theme? For example, zombie apocalyptic nightmare? All of the Scream or Nightmare on Elm Street films back-to-back? Or maybe a mixture of old and new horror films (TIP: if you don’t know where to start when picking out films, Trouble with Film has an eye for horror movies). Personally, I like a mixture and think it’s always nice to invite your guests to have input into the scheduled programming too!
4. Dressing up!
Ahh, a personal favourite. Again, you might want to plan a theme for costumes (for example,your favourite celebrity ghost) or just let your guests go wild! EIther way, you’ll love seeing what everyone comes up with. Over the years I’ve been Bride of Frankenstein, the Queen of Hearts and more recently, a Sailor. Is there going to be a dress code at your party? Is it OK if people don’t want to dress up? Remember some people aren’t into it and are happy enough just turning up in a skeleton tee. Consider who you have invited and their comfort zones. You want everyone to enjoy themselves, right? I love to dress up, but I appreciate that it isn’t for everyone. Aside from costumes, dressing in general Halloween-theme is also fun. You can pick up fun accessories from most places close to Halloween – Claire’s and Accessorize both do great ranges. Also you can do some killer nail-art (how about spiders and fangs on your fingertips?!). You can also get away with experimenting with more creative make-up looks on Halloween, so if you’ve been dying to try out that green lipstick or those crazy false lashes, now’s the time!
Traditional (and occasionally, completely made-up) Halloween activities are a great way to break the ice and I always enjoy throwing a few into the evening. Carving pumpkins is an oldie, but a goodie (TIP: scoop out your pumpkins during the day so they are ready for carving in time for the party). What you decide to do will depend on the type of party, for example a massive dance party would not be complete without a Thriller dance-off! You can always plan some activities and see how the night is going to see if you want to use them. If people are having fun, you don’t want to be the MONICA GELLER that turns the music off and makes everyone participate in a game they aren’t into!
6. Food and Drink!
Again, this has a special place in my heart (and belly). I go bananas for a theme, and Halloween gives me the chance to theme everything out to the max! Food and drinks are no exception! As well as making delicious treats from scratch (TIP: Lili Vanilli‘s book is one of my favourites for horror-themed desserts), there are amazing goodies to be had at the supermarket too! It’s close competition, but I’d say Marks & Spencer just about beat the others with their range of snacks. If you’re serving dinner, let your imagination run wild and come up with a fiendish menu for your
victims guests! Have fun with it!
7. Gifts/ Prizes
A little something to say “thanks for coming” goes a long way, and there are lots of inexpensive Halloween goodies out there (TIP: these Hotel Chocolat themed chocolates are really cute). If you’re having something bigger where individual gifts/ goodie bags aren’t really do-able, you could set up prizes. For example: best costume, best quote or best Instagram photo might all deserve a reward! I love Lush’s Autumn range (and so will your ghoulfriends), and who could resist these horror film themed pencils?!
8. Come up with a fun #HASHTAG!
Let your guests spread the word that they are having a great time at your party by assigning an official hashtag to the night! For example #FREDDYFEST if you’re having a Nightmare on Elm Street film night, or #GRAVERAVE13 for something a little wilder! The possibilities are endless! It also groups any social media posts together so you can look at them collectively (everyone will want to see the photos the next day…) and remember what a kick-ass night you had.
9. Make an epic playlist!
This is a make-or break one, but I’m sure you don’t need me to tell you that! You will know what kind of playlist suits your party best and it sets the tone of the whole night. So take your time and start planning it NOW! I won’t say much more on this other than if Monster Mash, Devil in Disguise, Thriller or I Put a Spell on You aren’t featured, you are officially failing at Halloween. Nuff said!
10. Decorate your pad!
Right, so you’ve managed to organise a party so good it’ll wake the dead. Hi-five! All that’s left to do now is decorate and get your house (or wherever you’re holding the event) ready to make your guests’ eyes pop! Supermarkets now have so much Halloween decor, many of them dedicate whole aisles to them at this time of year! Department stores are also great for this, I especially like TK Maxx and John Lewis‘ selections. Halloween bunting, skeletons, spiderwebs and gravestones are all favourites of mine. Every year I tell myself that I really don’t need to buy more (my Halloween decorations seriously rival my Christmas ones…and that’s saying something!), but there will always be something that I can’t resist. Making your own decorations is also great fun (TIP: Martha Stewart is pretty much the queen of this. She’s got you covered) and lets you come up with something truly unique!
If you follow all ten steps, I guarantee you will have a graveyard smash of a party on your hands! I hope you guys have fun this Halloween and that this list inspires you to come up with something new and exciting, whatever you get up to!
The midnight hour is close at hand,
Miss West End Girl x