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Halloween parties

Ways to celebrate Halloween

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Halloween-themed parties

There are plenty of good reasons to hold  Halloween parties. For children it might be a timely theme for an autumn birthday party, or an alternative to ‘trick or treating’. For adults it’s a great way to let your hair down as the weather turns and winter looms large. Or it might just satisfy the host’s need for spooky styling, putrid party games and fiendish food. (And alliteration!)

Whatever the excuse, not that you should need one, it’s an easy theme to work with and there are plenty of props available in the shops – from costumes and decorations, to food and drinks.

Themed food

You could, of course, keep it traditional with jacket potatoes, pumpkin pie and apple-bobbing. But why stop there? Themed food is fun to make, and entertaining to eat too (snot-and-eyeball cake is now a ‘tradition’ in this house, complete with green icing and bought chocolates covered in eyeball-patterned foil). You can get plenty of inspiration from food writers and magazines – Nigella has an excellent chapter devoted to such dubious delights as slime soup and graveyard cake in Feast. Supermarkets also offer some ideas, for example Sainsbury’s have sold purple potatoes in previous years which make excellent ‘monster mash’.

Largely, though, it’s a question of rebranding what you might ordinarily dish up, with one or two tweaks. Spaghetti in tomato sauce, for instance, can become ‘blood and guts’. Serve hotdogs using long frankfurters torn in two, dipping the cut ends in ketchup – instant ‘severed finger rolls’. And set spooky sweets into jelly for a delicious Halloween dessert. Even better, the kids’ stuff can be easily ‘upscaled’ into adult fare – spice up your spaghetti sauce with some chilli, add a slug of vodka to your jelly (but not too much or it won’t set) and mix up a couple of cocktails (anyone for a Zombie?).

Halloween parties

You could turn the themed food into an activity for young guests by letting them decorate skeleton gingerbread men, or create their own ‘monster-face’ pizza with red pepper teeth and green olives for warts, etc. Fancy dress – de rigueur for Halloween, of course – can also become part of the entertainment, so get the kids making witches’ hats, monster masks or wrapping each other in toilet roll to play ‘mummies’. You could even try your hand at fearsome-face-painting (or better still, delegate that to a loved one!)

Classic games

Once you’ve got the outfits and catering sorted out, there’s plenty you can do to keep the little ones (and the grown-ups) occupied. Classic party games can be adapted for Halloween. How about playing ‘pass the putrid parcel’ with skull sweets and jelly body parts hidden in each layer, or musical statues with added scary face-pulling? And it goes without saying that your party tunes playlist will have a suitably ghoulish theme.

You could stage a treasure hunt, either an indoor Easter Egg-style hunt with Halloween treats stashed around the house, or set ghostly puzzles for older kids or adults to solve to find the ‘treasure’. Provide glow sticks and light-up balloons for a Halloween disco-in-the-dark or read a scary story by torchlight. Then show spooky movies – everything from Room on the Broom for toddlers to classic horror for the adults (once all the kids are in bed, of course!)

Whatever your poison (hmm, a new cocktail?) and no matter how young or old your guests, there’s plenty of scope for Halloween partying. Just don’t let all the freaky fun give you nightmares…




About Alison McKay

About Alison McKay

Alison McKay is a charity PR professional with over 15 years' experience in full-time, part-time and jobshare roles. Since being made redundant while on maternity leave, she has divided her time between working for a local museum, freelance and volunteer writing, and being chief wrangler to a two-year-old mud-magnet and an almost-seven-year-old wannabe dog-care worker with a penchant for hair accessories. Alison's hobbies include yoga, reading cookery books and putting away just enough clean laundry to keep the pile below 3ft tall.

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