Halloween parties are gonna look veryyy different for a lot of people this year. Maybe you’re hosting your first social-distanced IRL bash and you have absolutely no idea where to start. Or you’re having a Zoom Halloween hang (in which case, you should definitely check out #7 for a nice backdrop). Or maybe you’re planning a ‘lil celebration for yourself and yourself only which, for the record, I totally stan.
Whatever your plan, throwing a Halloween soirée that’s actually fun and not super cliché can be tough. And that’s without even considering the whole ongoing pandemic sitch. So, yeah, you’re probably gonna need a little assistance with your party planning this year.
That’s where I come in! I’ve spent an embarrassing amount of time scrolling through Instagram, Pinterest, and TikTok to find some truly killer Halloween party ideas. Like, ideas so good you’re gonna wish you could take credit for them. And guess what? You can. Go ahead, convince your friends you dreamed up a new candy corn cocktail recipe all on your own. I won’t tell.
Whether in the mood for a horror movie marathon or more of a chill wine night with your favorite witches, I’ve got some genius ways to amp up your party and make sure it’s one to remember. From expertly brewed cocktails to fun games, here are 30 ways to have the best ghoulish celebration this year. Oh, and if you are planning on having people over, be sure to adhere to the social distancing guidelines in your area, k?
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Give Your Guests a Warm Welcome
You’re an adult now and adults always seem to have doormats. “Wipe your feet off and come in,” is something I remember my mother saying a LOT. And nothing says “I’m turning into my mother” like a cute, themed doormat! Your guests may not know if this is going to be a scary halloween party or one with just cute decorations, but you don’t want to give too much away upfront anyway.
Set the Spooky Scene
Pick your favorite scary movie to put on in the background to really set the mood for your party. Best options include: Psycho, Halloween, and The Shining. Because, really, there’s no better way to say “scary Halloween party” than with someone casually being slashed on TV while you rage.
Get In Touch With the Spirit World
Classic Ouija Board
The Ouija Board is perfect for a smaller get-together where you’re trying to keep the freaky factor at an all-time high. Gather round the board and wait for people to start getting spooked as their hands unwillingly move to spell out answers to the group’s questions.
Mix Together Your Ice and Critters
Plastic Mini Spiders
Halloween party and chill…literally. Take these mini spiders and freeze them in any ice cube tray for a creepy crawly addition to any drink. Keep beverages cold while also keeping the creepy theme on point.
Leave a Scary Message
Always On Cream to Matte Lipstick
Lipstick on the bathroom mirror is a classic halloween scare tactic that will have your guests wishing they wouldn’t have broken the seal. Plus you now have an excuse to use that red lipstick you haven’t worn since February.
Make a Slimy Cocktail
Green Apple Vodka
This Smirnoff cocktail kinda looks like Nickelodeon slime, but trust, it’s delicious. Pour 3 oz. grape juice over ice in a glass rimmed with purple sanding sugar and mix in 5 oz. green apple vodka.
Give Your Guests the Best Insta Backdrop Ever
Spider Web Backdrop
Did anyone even show up to your party if they don’t have the photos to prove it? I don’t think so! This 5 x 7 foot spider web poster will be the perfect backdrop for everyone’s Instagrams. Just tape it to your living room wall and you’re good to go.
Add Some ~Festive~ Lighting
Pumpkin LED Lights
Yeah, you probably told your roommate that she had to take down the string lights in your living room because you guys are adults now, but…those rules don’t apply when you’re throwing a party. Hang some of these cute ‘lil jack-o’-lantern lights for a truly spooky vibe.
Make Some Mini Witch’s Brooms to Snack On
Mini Pretzel Sticks
Two ingredients and five easy steps? Sounds like our kind of recipe. Follow the instructions below to cut your fruit roll-ups and wrap them around the mini pretzel rods. In like 2 minutes, you’ll have a whole row of snacks that are the perfect combo of salty and sweet.
Recipe from Creations by Kara
Play With Potions
Wheel of Potions Drinking Game
This Wheel of Potions shot game isn’t strictly for Halloween. Technically, you can play it whenever you’re feeling witchy. The rules are very simple: All you have to do is spin the wheel and see whether it’s your turn to down a potion or get your BFF to.
Serve Your Candy in a Cauldron
Witch Better Have My Candy Bowl
Even if you’re just planning on serving fun-size Twix bars, you can elevate your snack game by putting them in an aesthetically pleasing bowl. This one’s perfectly on-theme without being too cheesy.
Send a Costume and Cocktail Party Invitation
Your Halloween party deserves better than a lame Facebook event invite. Ask your guests to attend using real invitations…that go in the actual mail! Just download, print, and send these bad boys out.
Host a Pumpkin Carving Contest
Halloween Pumpkin Carving Kit
Looking for an activity you can easily do outside? Organize a pumpkin carving contest. Whoever executes the scariest (or funniest) jack-o’-lantern wins bragging rights and a bottle of alc (if you’re feeling generous).
Mix Up Some Candy Corn Martinis
Ditch your standard bowl of candy corn for this boozy (and therefore, way better) version of the treat. FYI: The following recipe makes two martinis, so be sure to double or triple it if you’re planning on having more guests. Start by filling a martini shaker 1/4 of the way up with ice. Pour in 4 oz. whipped cream vodka and 1 cup pineapple juice. Then put the lid on and shake. Pour the mixture through the strainer into each glass, filling them 3/4 of the way up. Add 1 tbsp of grenadine to each drink. Garnish ’em all with whipped cream et voilà!
Recipe from The Short Order Cook
Make a Toast to Your Best Witches
Give your bar cart or drink table a festive backdrop in literally two seconds by putting up this Halloween banner.
Make a Candy Charcuterie Board
Bulk Halloween Candy Variety Mix
The only thing better than a fancy charcuterie board of assorted meats and cheeses? One that’s entirely made of candy, duh. According to food blogger FoodieCrush, the key to making a killer candy charcuterie board is picking treats in a variety of different sizes, textures, and colors. Experiment with cutting candy bars in half, grouping by color, and putting smaller items in bowls on top til you get the ‘gram-worthy look you’re going for.
Have a Virtual Movie Marathon
Having a Zoom party? Use Teleparty (previously known as Netflix Party) to host a virtual movie marathon with up to 50 friends. The platform lets you stream Netflix, Hulu, HBO, and Disney Plus together and chat about what you’re watching in real time.
Make Literally Any Drink Look Supernatural
Ok, these drink stirrers are the COOLEST. THING. EVER. They use dry ice to give literally any drink a smoky, mysterious haze. Just pour a spiked seltzer into a glass, dunk one of these stirrers in, and you’re practically a mixologist.
Burn a Creepy Candle
At first glance, this looks like a cute geometric kitten decoration. It’s actually a candle that reveals a skeleton as it burns and casts a scary face on your wall. It’s the perfect, subtly scary Halloween decor.
Serve Syringe Jello Shots
Jello Shot Syringes
You know what’s a true horror story? Trying to get your party guests to carefully dispose of 50 little plastic cups speckled with leftover gelatin. Putting your jello shots in a syringe is creepy and also more environmentally friendly, because they’re reusable. So uh, how do you make one? Just mix jello powder, water, and vodka like you normally would to make jello shots, then load the mixture into your syringes and let ’em cool. When in doubt, follow the recipe below.
Recipe from Food.com
Fear Pong: Internet Famous
Based on Cut‘s popular YouTube series by the same name, Fear Pong is a twist on the classic game of beer pong. Put a dare card under each cup. When you get a ball in one of your opponent’s cups they can either do one of the two dares on the card or drink the cup. The branding is pretty on-theme for Halloween, and some of the dares are straight-up scary.
Decorate With Some Cute Balloons
Halloween Balloon Garland Kit
Cute balloons and great Instagram photos go together like spiders and webs. This script-font BOO is practically begging for a group to pose in front of it and reel in the likes.
Award the Best Costumes
Costume Contest Wine Labels
Add a competitive edge to your party by passing out prizes for the scariest, funniest, and most original costumes. All you have to do is stick these labels on the wine bottles of your choice to create the perfect trophy.
Set an Ominous Atmosphere
Smoke machines are a MOOD. You could basically throw a party where everyone just sits around and plays Monopoly, and as long as you had a smoke machine running the whole time, it would still be peak Halloween.
Sing Some Scary-oke.
Portable Karaoke Machine Bluetooth Speaker
Yup, the punny name is a shameless excuse to break out your karaoke machine. Make a Spotify playlist with some October 31st classics like “Thriller,” “Disturbia,” and, “Somebody’s Watching Me” and take turns belting them out in front of all your frands.
Bedazzle Some Candy Apples
Candy Apple Sticks
Dunking candy apples in a tub of glitter and then eating them is an absolute mess, but a delicious one—and a great addition to the glam Halloween aesthetic you’re aiming for. You can find the edible glitter here, and follow this tutorial on Cosmo Bites for an easy how-to.
Play Some Mysterious Music
The Nightmare Before Christmas Soundtrack
One of the best ways to get your party off to a scary start is to play Halloween-inspired music. Throw some vinyl on your turntable; in the right setting, even a record scratch can be creepy. Plus, the soundtrack to The Nightmare Before Christmas is kind of perfect, because you can reuse it at your Christmas party.
Bake Some Haunted Cupcakes
Disposable Pastry Bags
Wanna impress your friends despite minimal baking skills? You can whip up these ghost cupcakes in less than 30 minutes without causing any major disasters. Basically all you have to do is bake chocolate cupcakes (the boxed version totally works), swirl on some marshmallow frosting, and ice a little ghost face on top.
Get the full recipe at What Should I Make For…
Cover Your Place in Spiders
Realistic Plastic Spiders
These plastic spiders look scary-realistic, so they’re bound to make some guests jump. Scatter them in unexpected places like the bathroom counter, the arm of the couch, and the inside of your fridge and you’ll definitely pull off a scare or two.
Show Up With a Bottle of Literally Anything
Sequin Wine Bag
Showing up to a party instead of hosting your own? This festive, shiny wine bag is sure to impress—even if it’s housing an $8 bottle of Trader Joe’s wine.
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