Halloween parties are one of the most fun to throw.  You get free license to get a little cheesy, a little loud, and have a lot of fun.  To make sure your October 31 shindig is a ghoulish good time, here’s some food for thought on choosing and implementing the perfect theme.

Take stock

Determining the right theme for your party is easy if you take the basic factors into account:  party elements, age of guests, and budget.  Does your event have to center around the kids trick-or-treating, a fundraising goal, or a certain group interest? Is there a neighborhood, movie screen, or rambling garden available to incorporate?  As always, it is best to take stock of what you have and build from there.   For example, if you have a pickup truck and know of several parties happening at once, you can build a house hopping hayride very quickly.  If you let your party build the theme, rather than the other way around, you will likely encounter a lot less resistance.

Halloween party theme ideas

Classic themes are always great because everyone has a take on them, and it is easy to purchase decorations for them.  Creepy creatures such as Frankenstein, zombies, ghosts, bats and werewolves have a host of lore that you can build around.  You can take the activity-based route by going with a haunted house or a twisted carnival, or take inspiration from literature or horror flicks.   A fantastic idea by Eventjuice creator Michael Chidzey (that will definitely show up in my next event plan) is the Mad Hatter’s tea party!

Modern, creative ideas are also popular because they can be group-specific.  If you’ve got a weekly True Blood watching group, build your party around the show. Where The Wild Things Are, Twilight, or Harry Potter can all become modern and fun Halloween events.  Or, go completely stylized and trade in the orange crepe paper and garish creatures for a vintage voodoo masquerade ball with soft lighting and dry ice.  Lastly, consider a murder mystery theme, and give your guests the chance to do a little improvisation!

Whether to keep it simple?

Of course, Halloween parties tend to become their own animal (bloodsucking optional), so you can skip the theme if you want!  Guests in costume plus lowered lights and sweet treats equals the simplest of spooky gatherings, and simplicity is never to be discounted.

One thing to keep in mind is whether your theme is helping or hindering your overall event.  If you need to get the kids to bed, the coffers full, or mingle with the new neighbors, make sure your party plans help you accomplish tasks while balancing your duties as host.

Next up, we talk about your guests’ experience of your party with tips on decor, costumes, and food!


Sarah Harbin has been planning and promoting non-profit fundraisers, art and cultural events for over ten years, and recently began planning personal events.
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