Halloween is just around the corner and is the perfect holiday to exert your creativity to its fullest! With all the costumes, decorations, and treats on the market, planning the perfect Halloween party can be a difficult and time-consuming process. Let us break Halloween party planning down for you into five, simple to follow steps that will help get your creative juices flowing, and prepare you for any ghoulish party you may host:
Step 1: Setting the Date.
In 2010, Halloween falls on a Sunday, which can cut a party short for those attendees who work and children who have school the following morning. If you are planning a party for children, I would recommend the Saturday afternoon before Halloween from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. This timing allows children to attend without cutting into their trick or treating or bed time. This also allows you to tweak a few decorations to prepare for a Saturday evening party for your adult friends.
If you are not careful, the cost of a simple house party can wind up breaking your bank. Once you decide to celebrate the holiday at home with friends, decide how much you are willing to spend on the event. Most people won’t spend $1,000 on a Halloween party, so choose a price tag you can afford and don’t go over that number. It’s amazing how much you can get done for under $100!
Step 3: Decide how you are going to allocate your Party Funds.
The budget of my last Halloween party was $75. I know that sounds like an extremely low budget, but I got creative and wound up saving hundreds of dollars on out of pocket expenses. I took advantage of items I already had at home, and used stores like Five Below, Target, and Home Depot to fill my lighting and decorating needs for $35. Below is how I chose to break down my budget:
Typically, you can use household items you already own such as cotton balls for spider webs and white garbage bags for ghosts. If you have the right mood lighting and music, the effect can be haunting. Additionally, purchase low cost snacks such as veggies with ranch dressing, ingredients for homemade Halloween cupcakes, and ingredients for a pasta salad (all which you may already have at home). The remaining food and refreshments you can leave up to your guests. Ask attendees to bring something to eat or drink that everyone can enjoy. Potlucks are a great way to make guests feel like part of the action and to lessen costs.
If you are throwing a party for children you most likely have the construction paper, crayons, safety scissors, and glue at home. A fun Halloween activity for children is a decoration contest. Have the prize for the best decoration be a large goody bag filled with candy you already purchased for the party.
Music is a key component to a party’s success. If you have an iPod dock or a computer with speakers, allow your friends to play DJ for the evening. This will not only engage your guests in the festivities, but also will take the task of keeping the music flowing off your hands. If you do not have either of these items, I suggest using one of the music stations available on cable TV. A Halloween station is usually available during the season, but if not you can put on any one of the theme channels available on your TV.
Step 4: Shopping!
This is my favorite part of the process. Use stores like Five Below for your decorations. You can purchase black table clothes, window clings, and glittery skulls for $1-$3 each. Additionally, the most important part of any party is the mood lighting. You can get florescent colored bulbs from Home Dept for $4.99. I recommend the Feit Electric 13 Watt Red Twist, 60 Watt Equivalent. Not only do these bulbs burn bright, but they are good for the environment. Put a few of these red bulbs in your normal lighting fixtures and watch your home transform.
For an adult Halloween party, I also recommend purchasing a few red tapered candles for effect. These can be purchased at Kmart for 60 cents per piece.
Kmart is also great for the food and drink portion of your event. Purchase candy in bulk and have simple party snacks as well as candy for trick or treaters the following day. Non name brand soda saves money, and most people cannot tell a difference in taste.
If you are party planning on a budget you most likely have limited supplies. Examine your space and decide what decorations would be the most effective and where. Additionally require your guests come in costume. Your guests are, after all, the most important decorating tool.
Once the party actually starts, relax and enjoy. It can be an exhausting process to throw a party; you deserve to have as much fun as your guests. Enjoying the celebration is not always possible when throwing a party for children; however you will most likely have other parents on site to take turns. When guests offer their help, LET THEM!
Lastly, save the cleanup for the following morning. You worked hard on your event so enjoy the party, and a well deserved night’s sleep.
Have a safe and Happy Halloween!
Jenna Nicole Levine is an event consultant specializing in imaginative party planning on a budget. She has been featured on Washington D.C.’s lifestyle show Let’s Talk live. You can find Jenna Nicole at www.JennaNicoleProductions.com