Best Home Halloween Party Ideas

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There’s nothing quite like a fun Halloween party. With a focus on candy and wearing fun costumes, you really can’t go wrong. How can you make your Halloween party memorable? These tips will provide an unforgettable experience for you and your guests.

Make your house the spookiest on the block. Nothing says “The party’s here” quite like lit jack-o-lanterns lining your sidewalk or a scarecrow keeping watch over your front door. Whether you’re going for grotesque or fun, decorate your home’s exterior with pumpkins, spooky inflatables or ghosts lurking in the hedges.

Have a costume contest. After your guests have arrived, turn your front room into a runway and let everyone show off their costumes for a contest. Afterwards, hand out awards that celebrate creativity. Step away from awarding “best costume” and go for categories like “most topical,” “best group costume,” “top impersonation of a professional athlete” or “best incarnation of a dead celebrity.” Award small prizes like bars of chocolate or go all out and give away gift cards.

Make a virtual photo album. Want to take pictures of your guests in all their costumed glory? Take pictures of your friends as they arrive. Then upload them to photo-sharing sites like Flickr or Photobucket, or put them on Facebook. Tell your friends where they can find your pictures and encourage them to share their own photos from your party.

Create a spooktacular playlist. What’s a Halloween party without classic songs like “The Monster Mash,” “The Time Warp” or “Thriller?” Load up your MP3 player with songs that are sure to set the mood for your party. If you need help finding music, iTunes has a list of songs available for purchase.

Decorate mini pumpkins. Using miniature pumpkins like “Iron Man,” “Jack-be-Little” or “New England pie,” set up a table complete with markers, stickers and fun craft accessories like pipe cleaners or rhinestones. Don’t forget to keep butcher paper or newspaper on the table to make clean-up a snap. Guests will enjoy decorating their own pumpkins, which can also double as party favors.

Plan to play games. To keep the party momentum going, or just to break the ice, your Halloween party will need some games. Instead of bobbing for apples, which can get costumes wet and also gross out guests, hang apples from strings and challenge guests to take a bite with their hands behind their back. For another fun Halloween party game, divide your guests into teams of four. With one person as the “mummy,” the other three team members must wrap the mummy in crepe paper. The first team to completely wrap their mummy wins the game.

Eat dirt. Make a dirt cake to strike that right note between “sweet” and “gross.” Bake a sheet cake, then cover with chocolate frosting once cooled. Next, add a generous layer of crushed chocolate sandwich cookies and sprinkle gummy worms on top. For a creepy touch, make your own tombstones by gluing small rectangles of construction paper to toothpicks and writing inscriptions like “RIP,” “C.U. Soon” or “Emma Gone.”

Give your food gross or spooky names. This year, give your party menu a Halloween makeover by renaming what you serve. Chicken wings can be called bat wings, cocktail meatballs can be called zombie eyes, pinwheel sandwiches can be renamed as rolled intestines and cut vegetable sticks can be witch fingers. Write the new names on Halloween-themed notepads in front of the respective dishes so guests know what they’re getting into. (If you’re too creative in renaming your menu, you might have quite a bit of leftovers.)

Break out the frosting. Before your party, use Halloween-themed cookie cutters like bats or pumpkins and bake cut-out cookies. During your party, have a table set up with jars of frosting and fun cookie decorations, like sprinkles and small Halloween candy. Let guests get creative and decorate their own cookies for a delightful treat. Don’t forget the plates so guests can take home their creations. As a rule of thumb, plan on baking about four cookies per guest.

Show a movie. As the party winds down, plan to show a Halloween-themed film to your guests. Select an age-appropriate film, such as “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” for younger kids, “Scream” for teens and classics like “The Birds” or “Halloween” for adults.

Megan Horst-Hatch is a mother, runner, baker, gardener, knitter, and other words that end in “-er.” She loves nothing more than a great cupcake, and writes at I’m a Trader Joe’s Fan. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.

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