Haunted houses, kids in costumes, intricately carved pumpkins, and candy – ah, Halloween! It’s the night that kicks off the holiday season and a great excuse to dress in crazy clothing – in other words, it’s the perfect excuse for a great party! Transform your apartment into a spooky lair and start planning!
First, decorate your apartment. This can be done subtly, with just a few hints of the season — a collection of small pumpkins or gourds in a glass container on the dining room table, fall-colored throw pillows, and perhaps an eerie print above the fireplace. You can go sophisticated with spray-painted silver pumpkins on your fireplace mantle, a white and silver buffet table, and a selection of wine and cheese, or you can go all-out traditional: string up cobwebs in the corners, stuff some old clothing with newspaper and prop your “scarecrow” on a chair in the corner (holding his pumpkin “head” in his lap), replace light bulbs with flickering fake candle lights or black lights, place an antique candelabra on your dining room table, set up a fog machine, and freeze fake insects in ice cubes. Or, fill a plastic glove with water, tie the end shut, and freeze. Remove the glove and float the icy “hand” in a punch bowl.
Next, decide what types of food you will serve. Make some creepy, themed appetizers and snacks, or go all-out and make it a dinner party. Have some fun with your menu – don’t serve spaghetti and meatballs, serve worms and monster’s eyeballs. Either way, don’t forget the drinks!
If you are concerned about noise in your apartment, there are several ways to work around this. Consider inviting your neighbors – if they are at your party, they can’t call and complain about noise. Better yet, see about renting the clubhouse (if your apartment community has one) and host your party there. Since most clubhouses are near the office, you’ll be far enough away from the actual apartments that the noise won’t be an issue, there will be plenty of guest parking, and if the clubhouse is also near the pool area, guests can spill out into the outdoor area, further cutting back the noise.
Another idea – host the party at another venue. If you are lucky enough to live near a candy factory that offers tours, for example, take the tour as a group. Then take the party to a nearby club, restaurant, or park. A great place to consider is Hershey, Pennsylvania. Hersheypark is a fun-filled amusement park, and this time of the year guests can enjoy the annual Hersheypark in the Dark – ride roller coasters in the dark, listen to live music, and have a great time.
One of my favorite candy factories is the Jelly Belly factory in Fairfield, California. This is a bright, happy place and the tour … okay, it isn’t spooky but it is fun and interesting. It’s a great way to get everyone in the mood for Halloween candy! At the end of the tour, you can purchase large bags of gourmet jelly beans.
If you live near Salt Lake City, Utah and prefer kosher candy, visit Sweet Candy Company. This company has been making candy since 1892 and it is still family owned and operated. Or, if you are in Kansas City, Missouri, Chip’s Chocolate Factory is the place to be. Tour the factory then pick up some Halloween candy and you’ll be all set for the ghosts and goblins that come trick-or-treating to your door.
If you prefer to stay in your apartment, then consider Halloween games. (No, they are not just for kids and they keep guests busy – in turn, keeping the noise level down.) Okay, so bobbing for apples may not be right for you and your guests, but how about a murder mystery party? Guests will each play an assigned role – in costume – and each dinner course brings about new clues, until a guest is able to solve the mystery and catch the killer. (You may want to provide prizes for this party.) If you prefer something a little less involved, dress up as a fortune teller, buy a deck of tarot cards, and tell everyone’s fortunes. Or get a Ouija board – if you dare!
Costume contests are also great – let your guests mingle, then when it begins to get a little loud or a little late (or both), bring out pads of paper and pencils for each guest. Have them write the category at the top of each sheet of paper (Scariest costume, cutest costume, best couples costumes, best homemade costume, most creative costume, etc.) and their choice for each category beneath. Count the ballots and give prizes to the winners in each category. (This should effectively “wrap up” the party since guests will wind down during the contest, so be sure to do it toward the end of the night.)
Halloween and parties go hand-in-hand, so get creative and host your own spooky celebration!