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  • Writer's pictureStephanie Cantrell

Boos, Booze and Belly Laughs: Unveiling the Halloween Party Must Haves of ‍2023

Spooky Skull Halloween Party

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Introduction to Halloween 2023

Ah, Halloween. That magical time of year when the veil between our world and the spirit realm becomes just a bit thinner, and we get to eat way too much candy without guilt. I'm comfortable enough in who I am to be totally ok if you choose to remain in denial...As we approach the spooky season of 2023, it's time to start thinking about how to celebrate! What better way to do so than with a Halloween party that is sure to be a hit with all your ghostly guests?

Now, I know what you might be thinking. "A Halloween party? Isn't that a bit...childish?" Well, dear reader, let me assure you that Halloween parties can be just as much for adults as they are for children. In fact, they can be even more fun, as we can add a touch of sophistication and, yes, even a bit of terror to the mix without worrying about traumatizing our littles.

This blog post will guide you through every step of planning your Halloween party, from the importance of Halloween parties to the essential elements, themes, decorations, costumes, drinks, games, and most importantly, the best scary elements to add to your party.

The Significance of Halloween Parties

Halloween parties aren't just an excuse to dress up and eat candy (though that is a pretty good reason, if you ask me). They're a chance to celebrate the spirit of Halloween, to honor the dead, and to have a bit of fun with the macabre.

Whether you believe in the supernatural or not, there's something undeniably exciting about the idea of spirits walking among us, of the veil between life and death growing thin. Halloween parties allow us to play with that idea, to step outside of our everyday lives and into a world of fantasy and fear.

And let's not forget the most important part: Halloween parties are fun. They're a chance to let loose, to be someone (or something) else for a night, and to throw a party that your friends, neighbors or family will be talking about for years to come.

Wanna learn more? Here's an awesome and creepy list of books on how Halloween came to be!

Essential Elements of a Halloween Party

Every successful Halloween party has a few key elements: a theme, decorations, costumes, drinks, games, and of course, a few good scares. Now, yes, all of these main topics could still be followed for a more "family friendly" themed event too...seriously, why is everything about them? You'd think they can't live without us...

The theme sets the tone for your party. It guides your decorations, your costumes, and even your food and drink choices. Your theme could be as simple as "traditional Halloween," or as specific as "zombie apocalypse." The important thing is that it's something you and your guests will enjoy. Don't go "clown themed" if clowns are a "no-go" for you any other day...maybe that's just me. My point is, you want to enjoy the party yourself too.

Decorations are what transform your home into a haunted house, a vampire's castle, pirate ship or whatever else your theme dictates. They set the mood and make your party feel like a true Halloween celebration as they keep your guests "in-character".

Costumes are a Halloween party must-have. They allow everyone to get into the spirit of the holiday and add a layer of fun and excitement to the party. Plus, they make for some great photos. I really love to throw out a theme and maybe ONE IDEA on the invitation or announcement and then sit back and let my guests run with it. So fun to see what they each come up with. I remind them, costume's don't have to cost a fortune, just have fun with it and you're good to go!

Drinks (or "Booze", "Gigi Juice", "Mommy's Sippy Cup", I've got 1,000 names for it) keep the party going. Whether you're serving alcohol or not, having a variety of Halloween-themed drinks can add a fun and festive touch to your party. Seriously, if you don't do alcohol or it's simply that time of night when you need to start passing out black coffee...know what I'm sayin'...plan out some fun or spooky drinks to stay in the mood.

Games keep your guests entertained and can help break the ice. They can be as simple or as complex as you like, and can even tie into your theme. I've been known to make DIY trophies to give out to costume and/or game "winners" but, if that's not your thing or you're wanting to cut down on prep-time, check out these Halloween Trophies!

Skeleton Award

And last but certainly not least, a few good scares are what make a Halloween party a Halloween party. This can be anything from a surprise jump scare to a creepy story told in the dark. Again, how much energy do you want to put in? How scary do you like it or are your guests likely to appreciate. If you've got a group of scardy cats, go for something more mild!

Halloween Party Themes for 2023

2023 is set to be a big year for Halloween parties, with a variety of new and exciting themes emerging. Whether sophisticated, sexy or scary is your style, here are a few that are sure to be hits:

  • Post-Apocalyptic Party: With the popularity of shows like The Walking Dead and movies like Mad Max, a post-apocalyptic theme is sure to be a hit. Think desolate landscapes, makeshift weapons, and plenty of zombies.

  • Classic Horror Movie Marathon: This theme is perfect for film buffs. Set up a projector in your living room and screen classic horror films all night. Guests can come dressed as their favorite horror movie characters.

  • Haunted Carnival: Think creepy clowns, haunted houses, and eerie carnival games. This theme is perfect for those who want to go all out with their decorations.

  • Witch's Coven: This theme is perfect for a more sophisticated, adult Halloween party. Think black candles, crystal balls, and guests dressed as witches and warlocks.

  • Speakeasy or Murder Mystery: Think vintage and Great Gatsby for this one. Have a secret knock or password to get in. Costumes in the 1920's. This is one of my personal favorite themes no matter what time of year it is!

  • Pirate Palace: Everybody loves a pirate themed party! You're gonna have 10 people showing up in their version of Johnny Depp, lol. I'm here for it too, send me photos! Rum's a good start to the drink menu.

  • Superhero/Villain: You could do one, either or BOTH! You get to decide too if you want to go vintage on this "POW", "WACK"; or if you want something in this decade. Totally up to you and both would be totally fun!

Halloween Party Decorations: Setting the Mood

Decorations are key to setting the mood at your Halloween party. You want to create an atmosphere that's spooky, but still fun and welcoming.

Here are a few ideas:

  • Pumpkins or Jack-O-Lanterns: No Halloween party would be complete without pumpkins. Carve them, paint them, or even use them as centerpieces. Buy the ceramic or plastic versions even!

  • Cobwebs & Spiders: Drape fake cobwebs around your home to give it a haunted house vibe.

  • Specific Lighting: You could go for black lights, twinkle lights, hanging lanterns, depends on if you want to give a cool, eerie glow to the room or set a specific mood.

  • Hanging Bats or Ghosts: These can be hung from the ceiling or in doorways to give your party a spooky feel.

  • Wall Art: This really depends on your theme but, to give you an idea to roll with; you could do spooky, shifting ghost/woman paintings, handing art that looks like something/someone is coming out of the art or has eyes that move. Going Harry Potter? Think about House Color Flags and/or napkins or train/train station pieces!

Halloween Costumes: The Highlight of the Party

Costumes are a big part of any Halloween party. Encourage your guests to get creative and dress up according to your theme. You could even hold a costume contest to make things more exciting.

Remember, the goal is to have fun, so don't stress too much about your costume. Whether you decide to go as a classic vampire, a character from your favorite movie, or something completely out of the box, the most important thing is that you're comfortable, you don't break the bank and are enjoying yourself.

Here are a few ideas to get you rolling:

Booze: Innovative Halloween Drinks & Cocktails

No Halloween party would be complete without some a drink to round off the theme. Here are a few ideas:

  • "Bloody" Marys: This classic cocktail is perfect for Halloween. Add some celery stalks for a creepy, crunchy touch.

  • Pumpkin Spice Martini: This autumnal drink is perfect for those who love all things pumpkin spice.

  • Black Magic Margaritas: Made with black tequila and lime juice, these margaritas are as spooky as they are delicious.

  • "Polyjuice Potion": Ok, this one's a specific theme but, always a hit. We went with the Green Machine from Naked because it hits the thick, green look right but, any green juice or smoothie of your choosing would work great!

  • Copper Cauldron: This one's a punch style drink so it's a lot of fun and super easy to prep ahead of time!

  • Witch's Garden: This is a Gin cocktail, not always my favorite liquor but, I know a lot of people who love it. So if it's your thing or you aren't sure which side of the fence you're on, give it a try.

I could go on forever on Halloween themed drinks; maybe I'll do a recipe series on it. Remember, always drink responsibly and ensure there are non-alcoholic options for those who don’t drink. I want you to have a good time but, mostly, I want you to wake up tomorrow!

Belly Laughs: Planning for Fun & Games at Your Halloween Party

Games can help break the ice and keep your guests entertained. Here are a few ideas:

  • Bobbing for Apples: This classic Halloween game is always a hit. I will admit, this one is definitely an "outside" game and not as much fun if you spent 3 hours on your make-up but, you could go adult or kiddy with this one.

  • Costume Contest: As mentioned earlier, this can be a fun way to encourage your guests to dress up. I love to do this one as a blind voting box. Each guest gets one token or voting piece per type of "winner" and throughout the night they vote anonymously. So, like one piece for a Scariest, one piece for Best in Theme, one piece for Most Creative, etc.

  • Scary Story Contest: Have your guests take turns telling scary stories. The person with the scariest story wins a prize.

  • Pin the Spider: You can do a number of variations on this game! It's pin the tail on the donkey but, go with your theme and you get to decide how "real life" your board is. For pin the spider for example, you could do a printable spider web and sticker spiders or you could do fake spider web batting with little plastic spiders!

  • Dart or Ring Toss: I really love this one for Pirate themed parties because I make everyone throw it like Jack Sparrow would!

  • Tarot Cards or Palm Reading: Alright, I know I'm gonna lose you with this last one but, in case some of you want to go a little spookier, you could setup a crystal ball table and allow your guests to "read" each other OR hire in an actual card/palm reader.

  • Music: Seriously, let's get to the important stuff...what are you playing? This too could play into your theme or into the level of spooky you're wanting to exude!

Boos: Best Scary Elements to Add to Your Halloween Party

Adding a few scares to your Halloween party can make it truly memorable. Here are a few ideas:

  • Jump Scares: Have someone dressed as a ghoul or zombie jump out at unsuspecting guests.

  • Haunted House: Turn a room or even your entire home into a haunted house.

  • Scary Movies: Screen classic horror films to keep your guests on edge.

  • Scary Stories: We talked about this one above and scary stories stay with us!

  • Munchie Madness: I love to make creepy or really specifically themed foods. I've done a "foot-loaf", "poisoned apples", pizza roll "intestines", "pumpkin pasties", even rice crispy "brains"! I've even carved skulls out of butternut squashes and pumpkins. Plan out your menu based on how long you anticipate the party being, the overall theme and level of fright!

Conclusion: Here's To Your Best Halloween Party Yet

There you have it, your complete guide to throwing the ultimate Halloween party in 2023. From the importance of Halloween parties to the essential elements, themes, decorations, costumes, drinks, games, and scares, this guide has got you covered.

Remember, the most important part of any Halloween party is to have fun. So let loose, get creative, and throw a party that you and your guests will never forget. Happy Halloween!

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