Halloween Parties: 8 Tips for Last-Minute Hosts


{pictured above: Midnight Madness Halloween Party}

Halloween is on a Saturday this year, and you know what that means… even more of an excuse to party! If the date crept up on you (pun
) and you’re not exactly ready for the costume-clad guests to arrive yet,
not to worry. You’d be surprised how quickly you can whip up a cool Halloween
bash, even if all you have to work with is Friday night and Saturday during the
day… seriously!

Below are some planning tips to help guide you through it. Pick and choose which ones work best for you, even if it's just 1 or 2.


{pictured above: Spooky Chic Dinner Party}

1. Scrap it.
Search for Halloween themed scrapbook papers in a a few different patterns that you can
mix and match. Use these to create quick DIY placemats, napkin rings, drink
tags, and party signs, and to decorate things like vases, pillar candles, and party

Most paper collections also come with coordinating
embellishments such as chipboard cut outs, ribbon, stickers and more, which you
can use to dress up place settings & party décor as well!


2. Try a Ghoulish-Glam Halloween Theme.
This is actually a surprisingly easy (& stylish!) party theme to recreate for Halloween – just pick up some  feather
boas, glittery foam skulls & skeletons, and candlestick holders from your
local craft or costume store. Or use spray paint & craft glitter in black and
metallic silver to create your own glittery skulls and skeletons. (Shake the
craft glitter on while the paint is still wet).


{above images from Hostess with the Mostess & Fantasy Celebrations}

Have a life-size skeleton at your house? Dress her up with a
feather boa and and flapper headband! You can also use the feather boas to dress
up centerpieces and table/counter surfaces on the bar, buffet, etc.

3. Go discount shopping.
You might not have time on your side – but one thing you DO have going is the SALES! And
big ones at that… since retailers are already trying to clear out their Halloween inventory to make
room for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Your best bet is to hit up already-affordable places like Target,
Michaels, Marshalls, and HomeGoods.

4. Spray-paint it.
When shopping at discount stores especially, don’t forget the power of a can of
spray paint. If you find something that looks like it would be perfect for your party – aside from the fact that it's the completely wrong color… just paint it! (Be sure to always choose a
well-ventilated area when spray-painting.)


5. Frame it.
Old-fashioned frames make for fabulous Halloween party décor. Use them to display
drink menus, food menus, creepy images, and spooky phrases written in medieval
fonts that you've created on your home computer.

 6. “Shortcut” the menu.
Attempting an elaborate menu is not a good idea when you’re already pressed for
time, so take shortcuts wherever you can. Want to serve a fun signature drink like a Pina
? Instead of making the drink from scratch, use a frozen mixer so that all you have to do is add in the spirit and turn on the blender. Less shopping that way too! Or try a ready-made orange or mixer cocktail mixer & just add vodka. Orange rimming sugar is a quick way to dress up glasses. Just wet the edges with a lemon or lime & dip the rim into the sugar.

Go the “semi-homeade” route with the food too. For example,
serve Spooky Spider Eggs made with store-bought deviled eggs so that all you have to
do is slice up some black olives for the "spider" topper. Or use instant pudding
mix to create Tombstone Cookie parfaits. Just add crushed Oreos as the "dirt topper" + a Milano cookie with “RIP” scrawled across the top in decorator icing. Not
everything has to be done from scratch…you get the idea!


{above images from Sunset.com}

7. Focus on one showstopper.
Instead of getting overwhelmed by all the different elements that can go into a party,
focus on just one “showstopper” that’s sure to be the talk of the evening –
whether it’s a really cool centerpiece, a candy bar/buffet, or the dinner
table.  Then keep things easy
everywhere else with mood lighting & a just little bit of coordinating décor
to help tie the space together.


{pictured above: Halloween Dessert Buffet by Amy Atlas}


8. Ambiance.
String lights & candles are one of the easiest and most inexpensive ways to
create a cool party ambiance. Turn out the lights and light up table surfaces, stair
banisters, and large plants (both in and outdoors) with white or orange string
lights. String lights also look great intertwined with black feather boa.

small votives and tea lights to light up surfaces like tabletops and fireplace
mantles, and to put a “spotlight” on decorative skulls and spiders. Battery-operated LED lights are always a good, safe alternative to traditional candles too.

Another fun idea: stretch black nylons and fishnets over glass cylinder vases and use them to showcase pillar candles (see image #3, above). Read more about this idea here.


Have quick Halloween party ideas  of your own to share? Please post them in the comments section here!