Read these 47 Halloween & Costume Parties Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Party tips and hundreds of other topics.
What is a Halloween party without some great Halloween party games? And what's Halloween without pumpkins? Combine the two and there are several really fun games that can liven up your Halloween party. The experts suggest giving out penny candy as prizes so that there can be a lot of prizes and you can reward your guests without breaking the bank.
The following are Halloween party game ideas that involve pumpkins:
Pumpkin Golf: Bring some miniature golf fun to your Halloween party. Carve out a pumpkin, making the mouth extra large. Build a cardboard ramp that is 1 or 2 feet from the ground that leads into the pumpkin's mouth. Tape the ramp to the floor to keep it stable. Mark a place across the room for both adults and kids to start from. Take turns hitting a golf ball into the pumpkin's mouth. Each time it goes in, the putter wins a piece of candy.
Penny Pitch: Carve out a pumpkin - or two or three - and line the insides with aluminum foil. Or use plastic pumpkins. Stand a couple of feet away. Give each player 10 or 20 pennies and have them take turns pitching them into the opening at the top of the pumpkins. Every time a penny goes into a pumpkin, the player wins candy.
Pumpkin Bocce: Buy a large pumpkin and several miniature or round sugar pumpkins. Place the large pumpkin in the center of the room or yard. Have players take turns rolling (not tossing or throwing) the sugar pumpkins toward the large pumpkin. Whoever gets closet to the large pumpkin wins candy.
If you'd like to play a game that doesn't involve pumpkins, try The Name Game: Write the name of a spooky character or person in magic marker on an index card and pin one to each guest's back as he or she arrives. When the game begins, the guest must guess which person or character he or she is by receiving clues from other guests. You are allowed to ask one question per person in the room about the name on your back and it must be answered with a simple yes or no. The first person to guess who they are wins the game.
Look around the room at this year's Halloween costume party. What do everyone's costumes say about them? Psychologists say your Halloween costume actually says a lot about your personality. Experts say our costume choices aren't random, even if we think they are. Halloween, they say, is an occasion for people to either dress up as someone they love or would emulate or someone they hate and therefore want to mock. According to a report by the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, psychologists offer the following explanations for the costumes you choose.
Sexy costumes: French maids, hot nurses or prostitutes can represent one's own repressed sexuality. They also can be healthy expressions of someone who is not very repressed. The increasingly popular "pimp and ho" characters may represent inner struggles between being pure or letting loose.
Celebrities: people may simply wish to display a knowledge of current events or share their interests. Or they may use them to express personality traits or social issues that are associated with the celebrity's image (sensuality, intelligence, power, corruption, rebellion, etc.).
Scary characters: zombies, vampires, skeletons and other monsters show our fascination with the macabre, the grotesque.
Innocents: fairies or princesses represent one's lost innocence or beauty, or a return to a safer and simpler time.
Animals: generally, animals represent strength, basic instincts, with other specific traits for specific creatures. For instance, cats are sensual, purring, soft creatures.
Comic/cartoon figures: clowns and the like represent whimsy, playfulness and youth. People want to leave their serious natures behind on this holiday.
Evil characters: evil costumes allow people to safely -- and even creatively -- express their dark side without guilt. Some people may use evil or aggressive costumes as a way (consciously or unconsciously) to alienate others, which indicate anxiety about intimacy and being vulnerable.
Powerful characters: Can express underlying feelings of helplessness and insecurity.
Dracula's Eyes recipes for Halloween
These are really good and easy to make.
1/2 cup peanut butter
3 tbsp butter, softened
4 cups sifted powdered sugar
5 ounces vanilla-flavored candy coating
6 candy-coated milk chocolate pieces
Red decorator gel icing
1. In a mixing bowl, stir together peanut butter and butter.
2. Gradually add powdered sugar, stirring until combined.
3. Shape into 1-inch balls, place on waxed paper.
4. Let stand about 20 minutes or until dry.
5. In a small saucepan, melt candy coating over low heat.
6. Dip balls, one at a time, into coating. Let excess coating drip off peanut butter balls. Place on waxed paper.
7. Immediately press and candy-coated chocolate piece into the center of each peanut butter ball.
8. Let stand until coating is firm. Drizzle red gel onto balls for bloodshot eyes.
Makes about 20 eyeballs.
Don't let your pocketbook keep you from looking spectacular at this year's Halloween costume party. If you want to save money this Halloween by making your own face paint for your party costume, there are plenty of recipes for homemade face makeup on the Web. Here are a few, courtesy of FamilyCorner.com:
Everyone has played pin the tail on the donkey. Well, why don't you pin the hat on the witch or pin the head on the skeleton?
Old Dead Joe's Cave
Set up a darkened room ahead of time and place "Old Dead Joe's body parts" in bowls around the room. Here's how to make the body parts:
Guts - Fill a large bowl with wet, slimy noodles
Eyes - Put two large grapes in a small shallow bowl of water.
Teeth - Fill a metal pot or bowl with small rocks or candy corn
Hair - Set a wig on a wig stand
Tongue - Place a piece of raw liver in a bowl of warm water
Bones - Use old steak bones or any kind of bones
Ears - Use two large leaves of an artichoke with the sharp tips cut off
Nose - Use a raw potatoes carved into the shape of a nose
Blood - Fill a crock pot with warm tomato juice
1. Blindfold the children who are brave enough to enter the "cave". Holding a flashlight, lead them one at a time from bowl to bowl, telling them which body part is there and asking them to dip their hands into it.
2. The rest of the children sit quietly and listen intently to the screams and squeals of the children being led through the cave.
3. Have a towel ready to wrap around each child's hands after he or she has dipped them into the fake blood. As you exit, keep up the act, saying, "Hurry, Steven, let's wash the blood off in the sink," or "Don't let the blood drip on the floor," etc.
This is a really easy treat.
What you'll need:
24 chocolate wafer cookies
24 Hershey kisses
1 tube of orange decorating icing
1. Unwrap the Hershey kisses.
2. With the orange frosting, squeeze a dime size portion in the center of each cookie.
3. Place a Hershey Kiss on the icing.
4. Complete the hats by piping some frosting around the base of each kiss to resemble a small square buckle.
If you are planning an elaborate costume party this Halloween and don't know where to begin, there are websites designed to help you. For example, online invitation sites promote experts that offer budget calculators so you'll know how much money the party will cost you. Plan on having to pay for food, drinks, entertainment and decorations. Many sites also have party check lists to keep you on point.
Want to gross out your guests? Then try these!
What you'll need:
Ice cube tray
1 cup orange juice
Assorted gummy worms or bugs
1. Fill the ice cube tray with orange juice
2. Add a worm or a bug to each cube
3. Place tray into the freezer until the cubes are solid
4. Add one or more Creepy Ice Cubes to your guests drink glass
Host a costume party at your next Halloween party and make the theme a superhero one. Who doesn't love to fight crime and save the day? Whack! Pow! Zonk! Your muscle-rippling heroes will unleash enough power and bravado to make your costume party a hit. Any costume you can think of, whether it is Batman, Spiderman, Wonderwoman, Catwoman...can be found in a costume shop or by ordering online. Have fun picking out your alter ego!
Put the Batman and Superman theme music on the sound system or pop the movies in as background noise. Serve good food and drink, plan some activities and you'll be off to save the day. Put together a trivia quiz, hero-themed Pictionary, and, quite naturally, a costume contest. Award medallions to the mightiest of the mighty. It could be The Incredible Hulk, a Power Ranger, one of the X-Men or Superman (phone booth not required). Ask each superhero to do a routine for extra laughs.
The sky is the limit when it comes to laughter and fun when you and your best friends are parading around in tights and capes at this year's Halloween costume party!
A BAG OF GROCERIES
What You'll need:
Large, heavy duty paper bag (leaf bags work good)
Hot glue gun
Brown spray paint
Bag from local grocery store
Wide brimmed straw sun hat
Empty food boxes and containers such as soda pop bottles, cereal boxes, jello boxes, candy bags, candy wrappers....
1. Spray paint the entire surface of the paper bag brown.
2. Cut the front of a local grocery store bag (with logo) and hot glue to the front of your bag.
3. Hot glue empty boxes and other food containers to the top of the bag (where shoulders will be).
4. Glue smaller containers to a wide brimmed straw sun hat.
5. Wear a neutral colored shirt with this costume.
So you're throwing a Halloween party and you want everything to be homegrown -- from the costumes, to the food to the sound effects. A great (and economical) Halloween party idea is to use regular household items to create creepy sound effects. Here are some tips, courtesy of www.familymanagement.com, for creating your own spooky Halloween party soundtrack.
Halloween is not Halloween until you convert the front yard into a cemetery. Tombstones can be made out of stiff cardboard a thick black marker. Funny sayings about friends and family always get a laugh. "Here lies Fred – He's finally dead." Or, "Here lies Matt – bit by a rat."
If you are planning a Halloween costume party for kids, there are some do's and don'ts you should keep in mind, according to experts at wwwfamilyfun.go.com.
Does the start of the football season excite you most about fall? Or does the changing leaves on the trees? Are apples the quintessential fall symbol for you? Or is it pumpkins? No matter what you love most about fall, it is likely available to adorn invitations for a fall-themed party. There is no end to the creativity. Order invitations that resemble a game day ticket or create homemade tickets lined with pumpkins, leaves or apples. The choices are endless and there are many craft stores and stationery stores that can help you with materials and inspiration.
Fake cobwebs (or the real ones if you have a cooperative spider) really set the eerie mood. Plastic spiders (again, the real ones are ideal if you can get them) along with bats, small plastic pumpkins add a nice touch to your decorating.
Vampire Blood Smoothies
1 large package frozen strawberries
1/2 gallon strawberry ice cream
1 2-liter bottle strawberry soda
1. Thaw strawberries
2. Pour 1/2 of the strawberries into a blender
3. Add three scoops of ice cream to the strawberries
4. Pour strawberry soda over the ice cream until blender is 2/3 full
5. Blend on high until smooth
6. Add additional ice cream or soda pop until it is the consistency you desire.
7. Frost the rims of the glasses with red sugar. Dip the rims in water then into the sugar.
8. Pour the smoothies into glasses. Add sugar to top. Serve.
The old party classic of "guess what's in the box" is always fun to play. Just replace all the dry objects with wet slimy things like peeled grapes, melon balls and other "wet fruits." If it feels like guts, you have the right stuff.
If you'd like to host a Halloween costume party with a theme, you first need to start with some brainstorming. Sit with some friends and make a list of different themes you might be interested in. List the costumes, food and decorations that would go with that theme.
For example, if you want to do an Arabian Nights Halloween party, costumes might include Cleopatra, Lawrence of Arabia and snake charmers. Decorations could include colorful rugs and pillows on the floor, place rubber snakes in baskets, drape white fabric everywhere so it looks like the inside of a tent in the Sahara, spray inexpensive pitchers with gold paint and sprinkle sand and gold glitter on tables. For food, perhaps order Middle Eastern fare. Or make falafel, hummus and serve with big bowls of pita and find recipes for other Middle Eastern foods you can make at home. Hire some belly dancers for entertainment and find some Middle Eastern music to play.
Other themes you might consider include western, island, Hollywood, mythological, Disney, etc... The choices are endless.
You should decide whether you want guests to come up with their own costumes within the theme or if you want to order costumes in bulk in your theme and have them available at the door for guests to step into.
What better place to put your Halloween treats that in a Halloween pumpkin shaped treat cup? Keep them for the guests or hand them out at the door.
What you'll need:
1 can (46 oz.) red fruit punch
1 can (6 oz) frozen lemonade concentrate
1 can (6 o) orange juice concentrate
1 can (6 oz) grape juice concentrate
3-1/2 cups lemon lemon lime soda
6 cups cold water
1 jar maraschino cherries
5 small oranges
1. Wash and cut the oranges into think slices. These will be used as garnish.
2. Thaw the frozen juice...about 1 hour before the party.
3. In a large punch bowl, combine the punch and the thawed juices.
4. Just before serving, add the soda and ice. Some orange slices may be added.
5. Pour into cups and garnish with an orange and a cherry.
You can make ghostly treats by decorating a sucker. Small pieces of a discarded white bed sheet can be placed over the sucker and held with string or a rubber band. Get out the colored markers and get creative.
Why a Halloween party theme? Because it helps you focus your decorations, food, costumes and pull everything together. Think of a theme you're comfortable with and decide how much work you want to put into your party. For my party this year I'm going to have to start decorating after Labor Day. I like to decorate the whole house...every room except the play room, basement and the two bedrooms, the foyer, the mud room, the porch and the entire front yard.
You don't have to decorate your whole hoouse as it is a lot of work. You can still have a great party by decorating only the areas where the party will take place. My whole house becomes the party zone so that's why I do it all.
Here's my theme for this year. I'll be adding other themes in the next few weeks.
Haunted Forest - Get or make spooky tree murals, add ivy and dim lighting to ceiling, add a gate to your entrance. As part of my Haunted Forest Theme I'm decorating the whole house. The kitchen will become Spider Cafe. The Living Room/Dining Room will become the Witches Coven.
Decorations I'm plannig include different items I've found on Ebay including Witches magazine, for Spider Cafe I'll be creating a menu to post on the wall. They'll be bead curtains to enter to and from the kitchen (where the food/drink/appetizers will be). I'll add hanging spiders in that area.
A hallway will be haunted forest walkway...I'll be adding murals, ivy to the ceilings, spooky moons on the wall, spooky lighting. I'm also going to put spanish moss or tissue grass mats on the floor for a nice crunch. I'm also going to make 3-D branches coming out of the ceiling and walls (using paper and cardboard) to simulate trees. Ghosts will hang in the trees.
Make a hand ice cube by filling a well washed no latex no powder exam glove (these can be purchased at any drug store). Tie the end and place flat in the freezer. When it's frozen take the glove off and add it to the punch!
Piñatas are very popular now. Kids at any age delight at smacking their favorite piñata for the treats inside. Pick a creepy piñata like a spider that you already have a lot of practice smacking. A witch or even a pumpkin piñata. Some of these piñatas are so well made, a lot of people just use theme for decoration!
There are other uses for pumpkins than just making jack o' lanterns.
One idea: hollow out small pumpkins to use as serving bowls for snacks and appetizers.
Looking to create a gruesome-looking treat to raise the fun factor at your Halloween party? There are countless recipes on the Internet for everything from "kitty litter cake" to "critter munch" to "gelatin brains." Check out websites such as www.cooksrecipes.com, www.fabulousfoods.com and www.holidays.net for inspiring recipe ideas. And then all you'll have to do is convince your guests to eat your treats!
Instead of wasting all that toilet paper on somebody's house, use it to play who can wrap the "mummy" the fastest. This is great at adult or kids Halloween parties. Pair up with one wrapping and the other being the mummy, then switch for the next game. Hint: Don't use the expensive double ply stuff.
Bake Halloween themed cookies. You can use a ready to bake cookie dough from the supermarket, make shaped with cookie cutters or if you are artistic, make your own.
Turning off the lights and lighting candles placed by the fireplace or at the dinner just before the kids go out trick-or-treating is great for setting the mood. For more mood setting, instead of the regular dinnerware, use Halloween themed paper ware.
What You'll Need:
pencils; orange, black and white construction paper;scissors and 3 flashlights
1. Draw the outlines of five small pumpkins on the orange paper, five cats on the black paper and five ghosts on the white paper. Cut out each shape.
2. One person hides each of the cut-out pictures in different parts of the house
3. Turn out the lights, and have the other players use flashlights to find the pumpkins, cats and ghosts
4. At the end of the game, count how many of each shape the players have found. Cats are worth 5 points, ghosts are worth 10 points and pumpkins are worth 25 points. The player with the highest score wins a prize and hides the objects for the next round.
A party is not a party without balloons! Mylar or latex with a Halloween theme is great to place at the food table or a centerpiece.
Play the game of "add to the story." Have a group of people one by one add to a story that you start. Make a tape recording and play it back to see how it sounds. Usually someone will end up saying "I can't believe I said that!"
There's nothing like spooky sounds on Halloween. Tapes are available with most any sounds. Better yet, make your own. Just don't be squeezing the cat for a screeching sound!
The right kind of lighting always helps set the eerie mood. Direct a light to make a shadow. If you hang a Halloween shape in front of it, the shadow will show on a wall. Be careful not to put paper close to or on a hot light bulb. Different colored light bulbs work well too.
Cover 10 toilet tissue tubes with white tissue paper and draw ghost eyes on each with a black marker. Secure tissue to tube with several dabs of white craft glue. Have children use a softball to knock over as many tubes as they can at one time. This is a great game to help children practice counting.
Mix this in front of the kids for a special ooh and ahh...
What you'll need:
glass of cola
1 scoop vanilla ice cream
Fill a glass about two thirds full of cola, add a scoop of ice cream and watch it bubble!
What You'll Need:
35, 9-inch round white balloons
Small safety pins, one for each balloon
White long-sleeved shirt
Bath cap, rubber ducky, scrub brush
1. Blow up balloons. You will need enough to cover the front of shirt and arms, or about 354 balloons; the exact number depends on the size of the balloons. DO NOT cover the back of the shirt with balloons, otherwise you will not be able to sit down.
2. Using small safety pins, attach the knotted ends of the ballons to the white shirt, making sure the entire surfaces of the shirt and sleeves are covered. Do not wear shirt while you are doing this; it is highly recommended that you take shirt to party, then put it on over what you are wearing, as it is easy to pop the balloons.
3. Tape a rubber ducky to a balloon in front, wear a shower cap or wrap your hair in a towel and carry a scrub brush for added effect.
BAG OF POPCORN
What you'll need:
Large heavy duty-bag (paper leaf/outdoor recycle bag is good)
Hot glue gun
White spray paint
Red acrylic paint
Blue acrylic paint
1. Cut holes for arms and head in the paper bag, then cut a neat edge on bottom of bag.
2. Spray paint the entire bag white and allow to dry thoroughly. Paint wide horizontal stripes with red acrylic paint. When the paint is dry, sketch lettering on the bag in the front to say Popcorn. Paint the sketched letters with blue acrylic paint. You can also put popcorn in a circle like the old time popcorn bags.
3. Cover a baseball hat with aluminum foil, scrunching foil around the hat to create a pleasing shape. Hot glue popcorn over the entire surface of the hat and to the top of the popcorn bag.
4. Wear a red shirt with this costume.
I did this last year for the kids and they loved it.
Have one of your guests be the ghost and cover him or her with a white sheet. Do this in a back bedroom.
Before the party, create ghost calling tubes for each young guest. Use empty paper tubes and cover with white paper. Use a piece of black crepe paper streamer to cover one end of the tube.
Turn down the lights and have the guests "call" the ghost with the calling tubes. Your "ghost" comes out, then disappears again until next time.
Instead of the same old Halloween cupcake with black and orange icing, add jelly worms to the top. Either just have them crawling on top or stick them in!
Bobbing for apples is great. For a positively yucky experience, rubber hands and fingers make the bobbing a different kind of tasty thrill!
There are themed party bowls and chip and dip bowls for every kind of party. Football, baseball, even Halloween. Place a big bowl on the table for all the candy that the kids collected (this is really so that you can see if there are any favorites you are going to steal). A chip and dip bowl keeps everything in one place so you aren't looking for the dip someone just took.
For your Halloween party make coffin shaped finger sandwiches. Start by using a paper template in the shape of a coffin to help shape your sandwiches. After one or two you will be good at it and can continue free hand. For extra creepy fun hang a couple jelly worms out the sides.
Dress all in one color and wrap yourself entirely in colored electric wires (purchase at home improvement store). Carry sparklers.
Have an adult's only costume party. If couples are coming, have them dress in a common theme. I did this once. My wife & I came as raggedy Ann and Andy. I just came across the picture when our kids used it in a slide show for our 25th wedding anniversary party. I can't believe I did that! One couple came as a nurse and crazed surgeon. Another couple came as a cowboy and cowgirl. They really were a nurse and surgeon. Both couples were able to share some trade secrets.
If you are considering a Halloween party this year, make sure to pick your date and get your invites out early. Halloween is a popular holiday for hosting parties. If you are planning to host one for your children and one for your adult friends, be sure to book the dates early. It is best to have the two parties on two seperate dates, or you will be too exhausted to enjoy the adult party when your turn to celebrate finally arrives. Once you have chosen your dates, immediately send out the invitations. This will insure that you won't go to all the work of planning a party, only to have your guests have other committments.