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7 Tips for Throwing a Spooktacular Halloween Party

It’s the little things that make a Halloween party great! Here are seven tips for throwing a Spooktacular Halloween party that will scare the costumes off your guests.

Before the tips, a quip:

“A house is never still in darkness to those who listen intently; there is a whispering in distant chambers, an unearthly hand presses the snib of the window, the latch rises. Ghosts were created when the first man awoke in the night.” – J.M. Barrie.

To create your own ghosts who whisper in distant chambers, check out these spine-chilling tips and ideas for a great Halloween party! And don’t forget the Halloween decorations: the Grim Reaper Holding a Candle Lantern pictured will scare and excite your guests.

7 Tips for Throwing a Spooktacular Halloween Party

This article has been updated – read Extreme Halloween Decorations and Tips for Halloween Parties.

1. Spine-chilling invitations. Send an invitation that gets your guests excited about your Halloween party, such as a boxed invitation that includes a black rabbit’s foot, a locket of hair, a skeleton key, and a glass eye (use a large marble).  Create a rhyme or poem that gives the details of the party and lets them know what’s boiling in the cauldron.

2. Eerie entryways. Create an entryway that makes a dramatic statement when your guests enter the party.  Decorate your front door in a way that matches your theme.  Spider webs, old rustic furniture, flickering lamps (purchase a flick kit at Target), and spooky music all set the tone for your party.

Here’s a lawn decoration that makes a good Halloween party great: Halloween Bag of Skeleton Bones — it’s perfect for a graveyard or Haunted House.

3. Ghoul-y greetings. Another idea for a great Halloween party is to greet your guests at the door with a potion that is sure to please.  Create a batch of spooky shots and pour into a science beaker.  Serve individual shots out of test tubes.  Another drink idea is to create a glowing green punch and freeze plastic spiders in the ice.  As it melts the insects will float to the top.  Have extra ones that people and drop in their glass as they prepare their drink.

4. Spooky statements. Turn ordinary household items into spooky creations.  Take old fruit jars and fill them with colored water then purchase plastic insects and plastic body parts to place inside the jars and up the fear factor.  Line the jars on a shelf to make a spooky statement.

5. Bloody bathtubs. To make a statement when guests enter the powder room, fill your bathtub with water and add red food coloring.  Float a plastic skeleton or plastic eyeballs in the water.  These items can be purchased at a party supply store — which will have more ideas for great Halloween parties!

6. “Boo”-tiful buffets. Create buffet décor that will wow your guests by using black and white serving pieces with accents of orange.  Place black candles in candelabras, use old newspapers to create a table runner or placemats, hang white and black ornaments from orange ribbons from a chandelier. A midnight lace fabric tablecloth is both spooktacular and gorgeous – a fabulous Halloween decoration.

7. Ghostly shadows. Change the lighting in your party pad without investing in all new light bulbs by covering each can light with tissue paper.  Measure the circumference of the can light and then draw out a circle that will fit over the opening.  Affix the tissue paper to the base of the light with double sided tape to cast a new glow.  Deep colors work best so try burnt orange, black, navy blue, or deep red.

What are your dressing up as for your Halloween party? Read 18 Easy Homemade Halloween Costumes for Women – Beyond Lady Gaga.

Items for Great Halloween parties:

  • Plastic insects such as spiders and ants
  • Several plastic skeletons
  • Science beakers and test tubes
  • Black candles in all shapes (votives, pillars, and tapers)
  • Stuffed blackbirds and old wire bird cages
  • Serving pieces in black, white or orange including plates, napkins, and cups
  • Old newspapers, white sheets, spider webs, and cheese cloth
  • Weathered furniture, smoke machines, sound machines, and flickering kits

Read Halloween Decorating Tips for more decorating ideas.

Do you have any tips for spooktacular Halloween parties? Spill your guts below! 

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5 thoughts on “7 Tips for Throwing a Spooktacular Halloween Party”

  1. Wow — thanks for these ideas for great Halloween parties!

    Stephanie, I turned your comment into a post, crediting you of course and linking to your website. It’s called “Halloween theme parties.”

    Brent, I want to go to your Halloween party! It sounds so fun 🙂


  2. Here are 5 Halloween Theme party ideas with tips on how to make them unique, to make sure your event stands out above the rest! I’m a professional Event Planner with Starfish Creative Events in Los Angeles….

    Monster Mash Bash – Guests come dressed as their all-time favorite monster to this ghoulishly fabulous affair. Ideas include Frankenstein, Dracula, Witches, Godzilla, Bigfoot, etc. Play spooky music (including the theme song at least once an hour), and turn the venue into a real “haunted” space – with spider webs, creaky doors, dark lighting and scary surprises throughout the night. It will be a graveyard smash!

    Famous Couples Party – for this event, pairs dress up as famous duos – real or fictional. Some examples are Marilyn Monroe & Fred Astaire, Brad & Angelina, Bonnie & Clyde, Al & Peggy Bundy, and more. Make the party lively and fun, and have guests make others guess who they are throughout the night. Hold an anonymous vote for the best-dressed couple and award them with a prize at the end of the night, so attendees have something to fight for!

    Era Ball – Pick a highly-celebrated era or decade, such as the 1920’s, the 50’s or the 80’s, and theme your gala after it. Have guests arrive costumed in appropriate attire for the era, and play a fun soundtrack from the time period. Decorate accordingly and even adopt the language of the time (in the 1950’s, you might have called your party a “Sock Hop” or this bash would be “totally radical” in the 80’s). You can even have themed entertainment, like organizing a choreographed Flapper dance or playing an old silent film for your guests.

    Film Fiesta – At this party, attendees get to dress as their favorite movie character. You can go further and make it a horror film, action heroes or comedy superstar theme (my personal favorite). Costume ideas for this include Bernie from Weekend at Bernie’s, Frank the Tank from Old School, Barf from Spaceballs or any character from Super Troopers. As décor, hang movie posters on the walls, or make it interactive by holding a movie quote or trivia game.

    Carnivale Festival – This one is great if kids will be attending, or if your guests are simply kids at heart. Hold an afternoon event with lots of different games and activities. Think bobbing for apples, bean bag tosses, pumpkin carving, a moonbounce and anything else you can imagine. Have face painters, clowns and even a magician come and perform for guests. Serve hot apple cider, pumpkin pie, chicken corn chowder and other comfort foods. This is also a great idea for a block party if the whole neighborhood wants to get involved!

  3. Here are some fun & easy Halloween party ideas:


    Buy foam pumpkins, and paint faces on them. These can be decorations for years; much less expensive than buying lots of pumpkins every year.

    That said, there’s nothing quite like a carved pumpkin. When carving multiple pumpkins, try to relate them. One year, my Dad carved one large pumpkin scowling at a nearby smaller pumpkin, which was looking scared at the other one. Looked great.

    Consider a Halloween Tree: Buy some stout twine, and hang a bunch of carved pumpkins from the limbs of the tree. I use two loops of twine, forming a cross, that’s looped around and taped at the bottom of the pumpkin. None of them have fallen down. Make sure the faces are all pointing in the direction where they’ll be seen the best, and use tea lights inside (so if they do fall, the flame will be immediately extinguished).


    I have a big Halloween party every year, and some of the favorites

    Jack-o-Lantern pizza – regular pizza, with slices of orange bell
    pepper for the lines in a pumpkin, and slices of red bell pepper for the eyes, nose, and mouth of a Jack-o-Lantern.
    Halloween Punch – orange juice with pulp, grape juice, Mountain Dew, and some floating peeled apples for that elegant autumn touch
    Apple cider, both cold and hot (I keep it in a crock pot) Mashed sweet potatoes.

    I also add an iced hand to the punch – just take a rubber glove
    (powder-free!), fill it with water, and freeze it.


    I take orange balloons, blow them up, then draw a Jack-o-Lantern face on them with a Sharpie. I then deflate them, wait for them to dry, and pop small invitation slips inside. I then mail the balloons, with a note saying “Blow me up and pop me.”

  4. Betsy from Angie's List

    If you’re hosting a Halloween party, check out Angie’s Halloween tips for homeowners:

    Clear the yard – Look out for things such as ladders, hoses, dog leashes and flower pots that can trip trick-or-treaters. Also, check for low tree limbs, support wires and hard-to-see fences between yards.

    Be careful with candles – Opt for a plug-in or battery-powered jack-o-lantern instead of using a live candle. If you insist on a live flame, be sure it is away from any possible exposure to trick-or-treaters’ costumes, or where they will be walking or standing.

    Secure your pets – Be sure your pets are secured, or arrange for them to stay somewhere else. Some pets become frightened; others may become territorial or even aggressive towards trick-or-treaters.

    Light the path – Check that the path and stairs to your front door are well illuminated and clear of obstacles. While it’s tempting to create a dark and spooky home theme, poor lighting can be a major safety hazard.

    And, speaking of treats – Consider some healthier options like low-fat crackers, single-serve boxes of cereal, packaged fruit rolls or raisins; or non-food treats such as (unsharpened) pencils, stickers or coins.

  5. Here are 2 easy Halloween party ideas, which I’ve used with some festive success.

    1. Graveyard Pudding – it’s very basic, just chocolate pudding with broken up oreos substituting dirt and gummy worms mixed in. Some more on top for garnish, along with creatively piped tombstone shaped sugar cookies as headstones in the chocolaty graveyard.

    2. More general tip – add dry ice to punch in a cauldron. Bubbling,safe, and festive.