Halloween Party: A Spooktacular Guide

Can you believe we are already at the end of September?  Now that the kids are back in school and the mayhem of after school activities is in full thrust, time really does seem to fly!  Speaking of flying, soon it will be time to look to the skies for witches, ghosts and other ghoulish creatures.  Yes, Halloween is only a few weeks away.  Have you started planning your Halloween party yet?  If not, don’t panic, there’s still plenty of time and we have you covered with our guide to a spooktacular Halloween party.  But first, why do we celebrate this eerie holiday?  What are the origins of Halloween and how did it evolve into the celebration that we know today?

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Ancient Origins

The origin of Halloween goes back thousands of years to a Celtic festival held at the end of the harvest season and known as Samhain (pronounced sow-in). 

It was a popular belief during this time that on the night of October 31st the boundary between the living and the dead became blurred allowing spirits to return to Earth.  In order to ward off evil spirits, people built bonfires and made offerings of crops and animals.  Villagers who attended the bonfires would wear animal heads and skins which is where the tradition of Halloween costumes first comes from.

All Saints Day

By AD 43, the Roman empire had brought about the spread of Christianity with much of the Celtic lands having been taken over by the Romans.

Over the years Samhain became merged with two Roman holidays:  Feralia, a day for the commemoration of the dead and Pomona where the Roman goddess of fruit and trees was honoured.

Years later, the original festival of Samhaim underwent even more significant changes.  By AD 609 All Matyrs Day was established by Pope Bonafice IV to honour Roman martyrs with  Pope Gregory III later expanding the celebrations to include all saints, now celebrated on November 1st.  The evening before All Saints Day became known as All Hallow’s Day, which eventually became shortened to Halloween.  Whilst this feast day absorbed some of the Samhain customs such as costumes and bonfires, the main focus shifted to the honouring of saints and praying for the souls of the departed.

Modern Traditions

Nowadays, Halloween is primarily viewed as a fun celebration for adults and children alike with celebrations as we know them taking shape around the late 19th and early 20th century.  Dressing up, trick or treating and being allowed to eat copious amounts of sugar – what’s not to love?

Halloween Party: A Spooktacular Guide

Halloween Party Planning

Halloween isn’t just for kids! It is also the perfect opportunity for adults to unleash their inner child, dress up in creative costumes, and throw an unforgettable party. Planning a Halloween party for kids (or adults) requires a balance of spooky ambiance, delicious treats, and entertaining games.

Setting The Scene

The first step in planning a successful and spooktacular Halloween party is to set the scene.  A spooky ambience is a must.  Use black and orange string lights and LED candles and lanterns to create eerie lighting.  Choosing LED candles and lanterns is a must for safety when throwing a party whilst still creating an eerie glow throughout the party space.

Next, hang some creepy decorations around the venue.  Things like Spider webs, bats, Grip reapers, Ghostszombies, witch hats or Animated Witches are great.  You can make the decorations as scary as you like but be mindful if planning a party for younger kids!  If the kids attending your party are on the younger side you might want to tone down the decorations.  This Halloween Balloon Arch makes a good centerpiece for a kids party.  Add some bunting and pom poms, Jack O Lanterns, warning tape  for a toned down Halloween feel.

Music

Get the party going with a great playlist including some spooky tunes.  For kids, you may want to include:

If you are looking for a more adult theme then check out the following songs to add to your Halloween party playlist:

Remember to mix in other popular party tracks to keep the party going throughout the night.

Dress up

No Halloween party can be a success without good costumes.  Encourage your guests (young and old) to dress in spooky costumes. You can even have a costume contest with fun prizes for the winners.

Food and Drink

Now that you have set the scene it’s time to think about food and drink. After all, a great party must always have spectacular food and drink, right?  A selection of fun and tasty Halloween-themed treats, snacks and drinks are a must for any successful Halloween party. We will be sharing some great recipes and ideas in an upcoming post so be sure to check back in.

Kids Halloween Games

I have planned countless Halloween parties over the years. These are some of the Halloween-themed games kids have loved the most:

  • Bean Bag Toss
  • Witch Hat Ring Toss
  • Halloween Bowling
  • Melt the Witch – Grab a whiteboard and draw a witch with dry-erase markersHave kids throw wet sponges at the witch to “melt” her.  The player who “melts” the witch in the fastest time wins a prize.
  • Wrap The Mummy -Divide your guests into pairs or small groups. Each group must dress up one member as a mummy using toilet paper within an agreed time frame. The group whose mummy is wrapped the best wins.
  • Witch Witch Ghost – This game is based on the classic Duck Duck Goose game where players sit in a circle.  Another player goes round tapping players on the head and calling out “duck” or “goose”. If the player calls out “goose” the player who has been tapped needs to get up and chase the current “goose”.  If the goose manages to sit down in the empty spot a new goose has been found.  Play in the same way by calling out witch witch ghost with the ghost acting as the goose.

High Energy Burning Games

  • Ghost Sweep Race –  Blow up a couple of white balloons and decorate them as spooky ghosts.  Set up two race stations and give the two starting runners a straw broom.  This is a simple relay where each side races against the other whilst sweeping the ghost.  First team to get all the racer back wins.
  • Pass The Pumpkin Relay –  Again, set up two stations and give each starter a small pumpkin.  The aim of this game is to pass the pumpkin over head then through the legs all the way to the back of the line.  The last player then comes to the front and play keeps going till the first player gets back to the front.  The first team to do this wins.
  • Ghost Poop Race – Another fun activity to help burn off some of the sugar high.  Set up a big bowl with ghost poop (pop corn) at the end of the race track and an empty one at the start of the race.  Give each runner a plastic or paper cup.  They need to run to the bowl containing the ghost poop, fill up their cup and run back to the start filling the empty bowl with the poop.  Once all players have run their race, the team with the most poop wins.  Make it more fun by having the kids run back whilst grabbing the cup with their teeth.

Non-Halloween Themed Fun Games

I also like to include other popular non-Halloween themed games at kids parties.  These are always popular:

Adult Halloween Games

To add some spirited fun to the party, here are a few Halloween-themed drinking games that are sure to get the laughter flowing:

  • Witch’s Brew: Create a large cauldron filled with a mixture of colourful drinks and alcoholic beverages. Each player takes turns drawing a small cup of the brew and drinking it. The catch? They have to come up with a Halloween-themed toast or recite a spooky story before taking a sip.
  • Boo-zy Costume Challenge: Just like the kid version of “Wrap The Mummy” but here the losing team needs to drink a shot.
  • Vampire Hunter: Hide small plastic vampire fangs around the party area. The guests then have to search for them, and every time someone finds a pair, they take a shot. The one with the most fangs at the end of the game becomes the ultimate vampire hunter.

Other popular (non-drinking) games you can include for an adult Halloween party include:

  • Murder Mystery: Host a murder mystery party where guests play the roles of various characters. Create a suspenseful storyline and let the guests solve the mystery while enjoying the evening. You can also buy a ready to play game to make your life much easier.
  • Bobbing for Apples: A classic Halloween game that never gets old. Fill a large bucket with water and float apples in it. Players must try to grab an apple using only their mouths, with their hands kept behind their backs.
  • Pumpkin Carving Contest: Set up a designated area for pumpkin carving and provide guests with pumpkins, carving tools, and stencils. Have a contest to see who can create the most impressive or creative pumpkin design. Don’t forget to provide prizes for the winners.

Happy Halloween

Planning a Halloween party is an opportunity to let your imagination run wild and create a memorable experience for your guests. So, grab your cauldron and get ready to host a spooktacular Halloween party that will have your guests talking about it until the next Halloween rolls around.

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