In part 1, we honed in on a theme for your Halloween soiree, and now let’s take it to the drawing board.

Spooky invitations

In addition to covering the Five W’s, invitations are your guests’ introduction to your party concept. If your graphic design skills are not top-notch and you want to DIY, never fear! A photograph of a famous villain, creepy spider, or pumpkin can double as a postcard. Some postal guidelines may apply, so check with your postal service to be sure your invitations get there. You can also cut or punch a teethy bite or two fang wounds with scissors or a single holepunch, and then it is just a matter of choosing the right paper and printing your invitations.

For email invitations, check with companies like Evite or Mail Chimp to see if they have premade templates, or send a YouTube video accompanyimg your invite. If you are talented in Flash, you have probably completed half of an original animated email invitation while reading this paragraph, so all I can say is test in different browsers!

Scary decor

There may not be such a thing as too much decor for a Halloween party. That can be a spooky blessing or a horrific nightmare, depending on how you start. Form a loose plan around your theme, attractions, and budget before hanging the first polyester spiderweb. Going for an upscale look? Run screaming from the werewolf window clings. If you are planning to screen horror movies, you probably don’t need Thriller in nine languages on compact disc.

Now that you have your starting point, the sky is the limit. It is acceptable to decorate every inch of your venue. One of my favorite cheap (though labor intensive) tricks is to put aluminum foil on the ceiling and black cloth or plasstic along the walls. It’s a trick that works in many settings and can be the bulk of your decor. Also, don’t forget to use what you have; curtains, leaves, and tools can quickly become a part of your decorations.

Halloween treats

Food and drink are on everyone’s minds this time of year. It’s a season filled with simple, delicious treats. Taking these from the table to your party buffet with a Halloween twist is simple: bean soup becomes magic potion, spaghetti becomes worms, clubs can be cut into finger sandwiches. A fantastic and simple crowd pleaser is caramel apples. Caramel can be bought premade in sheets and draped over the apples, making a tray of these classic treats in under ten minutes. Mulling spices also bring a great Autumn flavor to bottled cider. For the adult twist, take your favorite cocktail and give it a spooky new name or serve it in creepy glassware. For a mad scientist theme, bright and colorful drinks can be served in labeled jars, petri dishes, and test tubes.

Costume design

Perhaps the most important part of your decor is your own costume, so don’t forget to leave lots of time and money for it! You can be anything you would like, but like a stake through a heart, a theme-related outfit will certainly help drive the point home.

The trick (and treat) to fleshing out your scary soiree is to recreate every aspect of the event in a Halloween-related way. Don’t be afraid to go full throttle!

In the third and final part of this series, we will talk about how to entertain your guests for an unforgettable experience.


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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