Thursday, October 8, 2009

It's finally October!

Ernst and Gilpin is throwing our 2nd annual halloween bash... scaled back from last year by quite a bit.  I pulled out all the halloween decor I own last week and was looking through it. I already had a few skulls and little bits out, but I felt that since October finally came, it was time to go all out and enjoy the decor for as long as possible.

Last year's party was a "Twisted Disney Mad Hatter" theme.  This year, it's just going to be creepy.  REALLY creepy.

Spooky Halloween Party Planning
If you're planning on throwing your own Spooky
 Halloween Party, the first thing you want to decide on is FOOD... yes, Food.  Why food first?  The food should take up around HALF of your budget!  Also, depending on the amount of Alcohol you want, it could be 3/4 of your budget.  Take careful consideration when planning the time of your party.  If you plan on opening your door before 7pm, plan on feeding people more than just cupcakes.

Decide First whether you're going to serve a buffet, appetizers, potluck, or a full course meal. That decision will factor into the INVITATIONS, especially if you're asking guests to bring food or drinks.

If you like a lighter fare, like appetizers and finger food, pick 3 items to make, but make enough to feed your crew. An easy way to creep up appetizers: add black, orange or red food coloring to dips, spreads and some of your water-based veggies, like celery will take on the color of choice if soaked in a shallow dish of cold water and food coloring for a few hours (it also keeps them crisp).

If you think coloring your food will ward off guests from sampling them, add non-edible decor to the serving platters, and use aged or festive bowls and plates.  Scour thrift stores for some fun finds like old silver platters.

Once you have an idea of what the menu will consist of, make invitations, and send them out at least 3 or 4 weeks ahead, especially if you'll be asking guest to wear costumes.  Consider all things about the party when making invitations, and what you expect your guests to bring... or n
ot to bring.  Alcohol, children, costumes, food, wine, and games are all things to bring or leave at home.

There are some fantastic and easy ways to make your own invitations, and set the mood long before the party begins.  You could choose from a myriad of clip art, or go to your local craft store and get cardstock cutouts, stamps and decorative paper. Or buy a can of granite-look spray paint and paint tombstone-shaped cutouts, then write the info on them once they’re dry.  Make sure to include your address, the time of the party (and an end time if you like) and the name of the hosts.

If you have all the guests' e-mail addresses, you can skip the stamps and paper and use an e-invitation website to reach your guests.  Sites like have pre-designed templates for every occasion and style and are easy to fill in an
d hit send!

Creepy or Cutesy?
Decide on a theme for your decor, and stick to it throughout your 
party-scape.  If you'll be utilizing your entire house, divide the areas into "scare zones" for an even creepier effect.  

For instance, you can purchase "bloody handprints" that cling onto shower doors and plastic curtains for a "PSYCHO" look in the bathroom.  The entryway (inside or out) could be filled with flying bats made from black construction paper.  The kitchen might be transformed into a dirty meat market, with body parts in the sink and sticking out of the oven.  Jello Brain Molds are easy to find and inexpensive at your local party store.

For more Halloween Decor ideas: Martha Stewart and many others offer DIY instructions for creating your own spooky decor, from super easy to advanced craftsman.  Take a gander...