Back in the day, you know ages ago when I was in high school (5ish years ago), I used to have pretty awesome Halloween parties every year. Might I add that I wasn't cool or rebellious so these were non-alcoholic parties. I didn't host those kind of parties, I hosted themed parties, two a year for Halloween and again for my birthday in the summer. I love planning and hosting events, though I never get to do so anymore since my friends are fewer in number and rather spread out. I long for the day when I get to host ridiculous costume parties once more!
So, seeing as I can't host my own Halloween bash this year, I thought I would pass some of my best Halloween party ideas onto all of you! Here are my top 5 ideas for taking your Halloween shindig to the next level...
1- Lighting, Lighting, Lighting!
Anyone can buy one strobe light at the party store, but not everyone buys several! Strobe lights can actually be pretty cheap, pick up a few each year when they go on sale to use for next years set up. But strobe lights are not your best weapon for Halloween lighting, that honor falls to the blacklight in my opinion. Some of us (*cough*) may have an old stand alone blacklight in the back of the closet gathering dust. Again, one blacklight is not enough! I would buy blacklight light bulbs in bulk and switch out every bulb in the party room/space. I would also recommended mixing in a few green or red light bulbs into this mix as well. The more dramatic and different you can make the lighting in the space, the more transporting it will be!
Invest in a fog machine, they create instant atmosphere and the haze they create makes the space all the more ethereal! Classic dry ice is also a good option, though a more fleeting one. I recommend using both for optimum awesome potential. Fill some cheap tall glass cylinder vases with different colored water (food coloring) and drop in pieces of dry ice for a bubbling mad scientist feel.
I always found that a good custom mix is the best way to go, start with some Halloween soundscape tracks like those found on cheesy haunted house cds at the party store, then start mixing in more music as the night really begins and people have all arrived. When people first get to a costume party everyone wants to chat and show off their costume when they arrive so quieter spooky sounds are a good mellow opener. As for the actual music portion of the party I usually go for great 80's songs like Dead Mans Party and Tainted Love but it depends on the nature of your event and personal tastes really.
Having the party room well and truly decorated is good. Having the powder room, patio/yard, or any room open to guests also decorated is even better! Don't stop spreading your faux spider webs at the door, keep going! It is really easy to buy inexpensive scary window clings at the the party store for the powder room mirror, giving it the look of broken glass or bloodstains. For the yard, it can get expensive buying fake foam tombstones for your graveyard, so its best to supplement those with some you can make. Making extra headstones is easy, just buy some thick foamcore board at the craft store, cut out the shapes with a box cutter and then paint them the desired shade of grey. Use paint pens or a steady hand to write R.I.P or more in depth sentiments on the foam headstone. Place these thinner gravestones farther away, flood with fog from the smoke machine and presto! a haunted graveyard for your guests to wander by.
5- Doesn't have to be expensive
If you are thinking buying a bunch of ligh bulbs and a fog machine sounds expensive, I don't blame you! I never minded investing in my Halloween party box of tricks, but there are some decorations you can do on a very small budget. Any large local craft or school supply store should have super wide colored craft paper on a roll for purchase for pennies a foot. Schools usually have paper like this too, for covering bulletin boards etc., so if you have a connection at a school asking them for paper never hurts. What are you doing with this paper? Buy it in black and first cut out rectangles of equal shape to all of the framed photos or artwork in the party space. Use double sided tape to cover each and every photo or art piece with black paper. Your family photos from the cruise eight years ago are not very Halloween after all! You can also be extra industrious and paint/stencil/trace spooky imagery onto the frame inserts as well for extra Halloween flair.
The other great use for black paper on a roll like this is to create large silhouettes to tape up onto your walls. Create looming trees, headstones, a gothic iron fence, or hunched over zombies in silhouette with the black craft paper. Instantly create more Halloween atmosphere for much less cash than shelling out for the specially printed decorations that the store. The key to a really great Halloween party space is time not money!
So I hope I may have given you a few new ideas for your future Halloween parties, of course I dream of just renting out a historic ballroom and throwing the most goth masquerade ball of all time, a girl can dream right?