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A Host's Guide to Halloween

My husband and I love hosting guests at our house (what can I say? I'm an event planner after all!), and one of our favorite parties to host is our annual Halloween party. We get really into the theme and picking out our costumes. We've got the spooky decor, Halloween-themed food and drinks, spooky music, and our guest list and that should be enough, right? Well we've actually noticed that in wanting our parties to be enjoyable for all of our guests, we've taken a step back as hosts and have not dictated how the night will go like we should. We had just assumed that the normal for a casual house party was to have an awkward beginning where all of the guests mesh together and awkwardly decide what to talk about. What we recently realized is that it doesn't have to be that way! Having a centralized party theme helps direct your guests as to how the night should go. We found that we did a great job of setting the mood, but we didn't quite have a theme or activities in mind. With a clearer theme in mind for this year, we are confident that the days of awkward bumbling at our party are over!

Despite what you may think, there are many party theme ideas within the Halloween bracket. Instead of simply saying "I'm hosting a Halloween party this year," I challenge you to delve deeper and find a more niche theme that suits your guests and hosting style. Picking any of these themes will ensure that you have more direction with your party and guests won't be left bored at another Halloween house party like the ones they've been to all of their life. So read on, and enjoy these Halloween party themes-there's one that's sure to please every kind of person!

Charcut-treat Board Party

This trendy party theme was made especially for your classy, competitive, and creative friend group! Tell each guest or couple to bring their best Halloween-themed charcuterie board. There are so many great ideas online for how to make some fun spooky designs and fun ingredients you can use. Make sure everyone knows they have to put the board together themselves, or they will be disqualified from the competition. Give all of the guests scorecards as they arrive so that they can take note of the creativity and tastes of each charcuterie board- winner gets a prize. Allow guests to mingle and graze for a bit while reminding them that they have a job to do. You provide the wine and voila- you have a fun, classy party for minimal hosting effort!

Murder Mystery

Imagine this: Your guests have all just arrived for what they believe is a nice Halloween dinner party. Appetizers, drinks, and dinner are served, and just as the guests get up to start mingling before dessert... The lights go off, followed by a scream. The lights flicker back on and to everyone's horror one guest is on the ground. "There's been a murder!" your guests hear you say, and you instruct everyone to walk to the other side of the room and find their goody bag with their name on it. Inside are their clues, props, and identities for the rest of the night. Your guests may not even all know each other, but they must work together to solve this Halloween mystery. Costumes encouraged but not required.

Classy Halloween Dinner Party

Not quite feeling a spooky monster bash, or a fall harvest party, but something more in-between? Look no further than a classy Halloween-inspired Dinner Party. There are an immeasurable number of ways that this can be done, and the great thing about this theme is that it is so open to your own interpretation as the host. Do you want it to be witch themed, with bubbling drinks and smoking appetizers, or do you want it to look like Dracula's lair, with blood-themed treats? I could go on and on about sub-sections within this theme but I think you get the point. Make sure you have a table that all of your guests can fit around, and set it with nice place settings, maybe some candles, and whatever other decor fits your specific theme. As the host, it is your job to prepare the dinner, so this party is more time-intensive but will leave a great impression on your guests if executed well.

Scary Movie with Scary Treats

Instead of conversing, playing games, or sitting through a whole dinner with guests, would you rather just Netflix and Chills? Invite your guests over after dinner time for a scary movie marathon! Pick out some cult classics (or some of your favorite family friendly Halloween classics) and provide some spooky themed theater snacks and drinks to go with your movie.

Haunted Escape Room

If you have clever friends and don't mind not having a concrete party conclusion time, a haunted escape room themed party is a must! Adorn your house in spooky Halloween decor with hidden clues buried throughout. You can find escape room packs through Etsy, or if you're feeling clever you can create your own. Wait until all of your guests have arrived and have maybe had something to eat, then lock the door and announce that there's only one way out and that no guest can leave until they've all worked together to figure out how to escape. This should make for some laughs and some great entertainment. To keep the tradition going, you could time the guests each year with different clues and see if they can beat their time the previous year. Costumes are definitely a great addition for this one.

Scary Submersive Sleepover

Have you ever had a nightmare that you feel you couldn't escape from? This party encapsulates just that feeling. If you and your guests are fans of scary movies and the paranormal, THIS is the extreme party theme for you! Invite your guests over for a fun Halloween-themed sleepover. Maybe have some fun Halloween-themed treats or watch some scary movies. Require your guests to stay the night (maybe in the house, maybe in tents in the backyard), and plan for some spooky things to happen for the duration of their stay.

Fall Harvest Party

This is more of a casual get-together with friends (like the Halloween version of a Friendsgiving). Think good company, good food, chic autumn decorations, and less of the Halloween scaries. Activities that match the fall harvest party theme include pumpkin carving contest, carnival games, potluck/baking contest, and maybe some fun DIY fall inspired drinks. This idea makes for a cute fall photo aesthetic. Costumes not required.

Themed Costume Party

This is a go-to theme for hosts who aren't quite sure if they want to go as extreme or intensive as some of these other themes. Have a favorite scary movie or TV show? Decorate your house in that theme and make your guests each dress up as a character from that movie/show for some theme continuity. You can also have themed food and themed games planned.

Halloween is really such a fun holiday for me, because there are so many unique and wonderful interpretations on it. Depending on your own experiences of Halloween, that word will have a different connotation. And your next Halloween party is the perfect time to invite your guests to step into your world and see what you think about when October 31st rolls around. These ideas are sure to wow even the pickiest of guests, as there is truly something here for everyone. Which theme will you be implementing at your Halloween party this year, and which ones have you tried previously? Comment below!

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