On Halloween, all rules of hosting get upended. Guests are to be terrified, spider webs are to be displayed with pride, and a dismembered finger in the salsa is a good thing. We asked Thumbtack party pro and Halloween genius Lynn Ferris for her tips on how to throw an unforgettable Halloween party.
If you’re a crafty type, you’ll want to make sure you have time to create all those creepy Pinterest projects and watch Youtube videos on how to make a fake eyeball out of styrofoam. If you’d rather hire a professional like Ferris, you’ll want to make sure to book them early so they have time to make your party the talk of the neighborhood.
Stock Up on Candy Corn
Make sure you have plenty of treats and drinks. You never know when your party will be invaded by zombies who may be tempted away from your guests’ brains by the buffet table. Even if you’re not a big fan of Halloween-themed food, you can still be suitably festive with Halloween plates, napkins and cups. “One of my favorite finds is a set of salad servers that look like skeleton arms and hands,” says Ferris.
Give Spiders Their Day
“Zombies are really popular now and make for great props,” she says. Ferris’s favorite Halloween decoration last year was a fake dog skeleton. But if you don’t want to fill your house with the undead, you can still make it a creepy crypt for the holiday.
Pick up plastic spiders and mice and add them to the buffet table. Put a cake stand on the mantle with a few creepy crawlies, a candle or two, and any skulls you happen to have lying around. “I put a fake rat in our bathroom” says Ferris. Guests don’t notice the lurking rodent until they close the door and shriek in dismay.
Don’t forget to dim the lights, set out candles, and play a creepy soundtrack in the background.
Flee the Crypt
“The real people-pleasers are outdoor decorations,” explains Ferris. “My husband and I set up a graveyard scene at our house every Halloween and we get hundreds of kids stopping by on Halloween night. With tombstones, crosses, rising dead zombies, skeletons and ghosts, it’s quite the scene.” She also planned a party where guests were asked to scare the trick-or-treaters. Ferris set up one of her cemetery scenes and party guests in costume positioned themselves in the graveyard and waited for kids to come hunting for treats. “Standing motionless, the guests waited while people debated whether they were real or not,” says Ferris. When they moved suddenly, people screamed and swore and generally make a deeply satisfying ruckus.
What was the best Halloween party you ever attended?