Hey all you witches, wizards, spooks and spectators out there, it's that time of year again!
The leaves are turning orange, the weather is turning cold and the bonfires are being lit. Despite the obvious discomfort of extra frosty nights, we're suddenly seeing little witches, vampires and zombies wandering around and a sudden chill of excitement runs down your spine.
Yep - it's time to prepare for the spookiest, but perhaps the most thrilling night of the entire year. That's right - its time to plan for Halloween.
As for any party, if you're having the party in your house, you'll have to prepare your space before a hoard of guests arrive. They are pretty simple preparations, but many people overlook them. It's the same whether you're having the party in a hall, a park or a garden. 1) Clear your party space of any valuables and hide in rooms you can close up for the party. 2) Prepare a dance floor by rolling up any rugs and moving furniture to the edges of the room. (Or if you're having the party in a hall, clean the hall and make sure the floor is clear of any nails. staples etc.) 3) Set up a drinks/food space, within close proximity to the kitchen so that people can easily get to it. 4) If you have pets, make sure they're stored safely away for the duration of the party. 5) Decorate the house - every inch! Remember, don't be afraid to go overboard.
First of all, every Halloween party has to have a theme, and some seriously scary decorations. Remember the devil is in the details. Its important to have the right atmosphere, otherwise the party will just fall flat, so don't be afraid to go over the top.
Last year I did an 'Insane Asylum' theme, and the year before that, a 'Haunted House'.
For the 'Asylum theme' I dressed up the room with loads of sheets, hospital beds, scary strobe lighting, and some sterile looking instruments for eating and drinking out of. For a joke, we even had a couple of bedpans!
For the haunted house, I bought some fake spider webs and covered the house in them, even stringing some webs across doors that I didn't want anyone to go into. We bought a cauldron for putting some alcoholic punch in, covered the surfaces with black and orange candles and lit the fire. We also placed Jack-o-lanterns (carved pumpkins) around the room, skulls with candy corn inside, hung ghosts in doorways, put skeletons in closets, and even a dressed up a blow up doll in a bath full of blood. All of this I got from cheap décor shops and from online shops such as Amazon and Ebay.
Of course, a there is no point to a Halloween party without fancy dress! So to add some extra atmosphere, I asked everyone to dress up in accordance to the theme. For the 'Asylum' theme, we of course, got a lot of Mad Doctors, Naughty Nurses, Frankenstein, Hannibal Lecter and Decrepit Igors, as well as the traditional Witches, Vampires, Zombies and Red Riding Hoods. It was fabulous. It got even better when I put a competition together for the best costume, and people put a lot more of an effort in. It's perfect for a charity fundraiser, then you can sell tickets to help cover the costs of the party.
People got really creative. Some came in very cheap costumes they got off of Amazon, and others that had them specially tailor made. Many hired costumes from costume shops in London, but my favourites were the home made ones. There are plenty of options available in shops and online, but the most popular seem to be Ebay or Amazon. There are also loads of costume stores in London for hire or purchase some of which are listed below.
Carnival – 95 Hammersmith Road, London W14 0QH
Non-Stop Party Shop – 214 – 216 Kensington High Street, London W8 7RG.
Angels – 119 Shaftsbury Avenue, London WC2H 8AE
Madword – 69-85 Tabernacle Street, London EC2A 4BA
Halloween music for parties is a little difficult to organize, but there are plenty of spooky songs out there that are bound to add to the fun. iTunes have some great Halloween lists that you can download, as well as some CDs full of spooky sound effects and haunted house creaks and 'WAHAHA's' but here are some of my favourite songs that never fail to get the house pumping.
1) This is Halloween by Marilyn Manson
2) Thriller by Michael Jackson
3) Bark at the Moon by Ozzy Osbourne
4) The Devil Went Down To Georgia by Charlie Daniels Band
5) The Raven by the Alan Parsons Project
6) I'm Your Boogie Man by White Zombie
7) The Ghostbuster's Theme
8) The Addams Family Theme
9) Tubular Bells
10) Werewolves of London by Warren Zevon
11) Monster Mash by Bobby Picket
At this kind of party, games both for kids and for adults in an absolute must. I can hear some of you groaning at the mere thought of setting up some kind of 'distraction', but to be honest, you've got to get them to do something in those costumes besides standing around eating and drinking. Trust me, everyone will love it.
1) Bobbing for Apples: Fill a large barrel or bowl full of water and place apples in the water. Tie two of your guests arms behind their backs and get them to pick apples out of the barrel using only their teeth. Whoever picks the most apples out of the barrel within 1 minute, wins.
2) Jack o Lantern Competition: Give each guest a pumpkin, set the timer and see how quickly they can carve a face in the pumpkin within 3 minutes.
3) Pumpkin Bowling – literally play a game of bowling using pumpkins and plastic bottles. You can have fun smashing them afterwards.
4) Halloween Feel Box - Fill at least 5 boxes full of squishy and scary things like… fake spider, spaghetti, peeled grapes, etc and see if your guests can guess what it is.
5) Candy Corn Relay Race – No hands allowed in this great game where guests race to move candy from one bowl to another using only a spoon in their mouths.
6) Halloween Candy Guessing Game – Set a jar full of candy and let the guests take their best guess at how many pieces are in the jar.
7) Halloween Jinx – As guests arrive, let them know there are certain words they can't say. If they do say them, set up some kind of fun penalty like wearing Heidi Braids, or getting a pinch on the bum…
8) Killer Instinct – Hide and seek, but scary. Start out with standard hide and seek but instead find your guests in your scary costume. How loud can you make them scream?
9) Murder Mystery – This game is my personal favourite. It gets everyone involved and it really sets the horror scene before the full on party begins. All guests take part in a murder mystery game. Choose one of your guests to be the victim, and everyone else is a suspect.
Every guest is given a character and there should be a short introduction on who they are and their background, each guest should be given a notebook and pens to note down the facts. You should take them through the introduction to other characters where previous evil deeds and spooky characters are revealed.
Then the body is discovered, (after there is a blood curling scream), where you and your guests can examine the body and the crime scene. You listen to the post mortem results, and are asked to formulate theories and decide on the 3 M's Motive, Method and the Murderer. After about an hour, you reveal the answers, clues and evidence are linked to the characters and any of the guests may be questioned and accused. - Poirot Style
– Then a prize will be given for whoever cracks the case!
There are loads of fantastic recipes that you can make which will add to the atmosphere of the party such as - mad scientist body parts, eerie eyeballs, witch fingers, fried spiders, dried scabs, devilled eggs, haunted human heart, pumpkin pasties, and of course the famous pumpkin pies. These and more can be found on the websites listed below;
Of course there can be no party without alcoholic drinks. Halloween is the perfect time to get creative. Thankfully, there are loads of recipes online that will give you guidance in making scary brews, cocktails and potions.