Do you wonder where to get started? Looking for great party ideas? This short article will help you with some ideas and suggestions on how to create the most memorable Halloween party.
Step 1 – Style and Theme
This doesn’t necessarily mean asking guests to arrive in costume and making sure that all the food is a certain shade of blue! However some thought to the style and theme of your party will help you to plan the elements so that the party ideas have a distinct feel to them, one that your guests will remember.
Your party ideas theme will often come from the reason for the party; a birthday, special occasion, celebrating an event, a particular group of people etc. Is there a particular theme that is particularly relevant to the party, or you might wish to allude gently to one. Of course the list of theme ideas is almost endless.
Choose something that has relevance to your party ideas, or is a personal favorite. Decide if you are going all out with theme – guests will dress up and everything will be themed, or do you just wish to use the theme as a guide for the planning, giving the party a particular flavor.
Party ideas for style will be to some extent dictated by the theme. Consider how you would like your guests to dress: casual, black tie, costumed; what impression do you want to create e.g. casual, sophisticated, wacky
Step 2 – Food and Drink
Most, if not all party planning will involve food and drink. This can make or break a great party. Do give some thought to the part that food will play at your party – is it the main event, or a side issue to other activities? Food and drink will be influenced by several factors, you will need to consider:
Time of day & duration of the party. Will your guests expect a full meal, a light meal or just nibbles.
Theme and style. How far will these affect the food choices? You may need to research food and drink appropriate to your theme.
Budget. Food and drink expenditure may form the largest part of your budget. Set your budget and divide by the number of guests to give you the amount that you can afford to spend on each person. If your budget is limited, you might consider asking guests to bring their own alcohol drinks, or have a paid bar. Do provide plenty of soft drinks though.
Don’t forget about how your food and drink will be served – a full sit down meal, or buffet style – do you need waiting staff? Who will prepare the food – yourself, caterers, or consider hiring a chef for the day – it can be a lot cheaper than you might think. Check out this excellent post for food ideas
Step 3 – Entertainment
Do you wish to provide entertainment for your guests, or just hope that they will all find each other exhilarating company! Of course we all aspire to having the most eclectic and entertaining mixture of party guest who will effortlessly entertain each other! However the reality is that some form of entertainment will be welcomed and can be used as a great starting point for guests to interact with each other.
Think carefully about what you would like your entertainment to achieve. There is a big difference between quiet background music to fill silences at the dinner party, and a wild treasure hunt which has guests working together to locate and retrieve the booty ahead of the other teams.
You can hire professional party entertainment which will fit with your theme and style – a band or small group of musicians can be excellent value for money and they will be far more memorable than your CD collection.
Party games can be a great way to have your guests interacting with each other. Team building and making new friends are best served with team games. Search on the net for plenty of team game ideas, or try the classic Treasure Hunt. Individual entertainment games can be set up to provide amusement and a talking point – look for puzzles and quizzes that are appropriate to your theme.
Don’t be afraid to try something new or adventurous. Your party will be all the more memorable for it. Guests are usually more than happy to try something new and providing it is well organized will have fun!
Step 4 – Invitations
Send invitations in plenty of time. Design them according to your chosen theme and style. It seems obvious, but do make sure that all the party details are clearly stated on the Halloween invitation:
Date, time (indication of duration), place, directions if necessary. Make sure you explain what is expected of your guests – costume / dress code, punctuality, what to bring (wine etc).
And make it exciting! Tease them with hints of what you have planned so that your guests will be eager to attend. Ask for a response so that you will know who to expect.
Keep a list of those you have invited, and note responses as you receive them. A week or so before your party, chase up responses not received. You will find it much easier to deal with the catering and final arrangements of you know how many you are expecting to attend.
Step 5 – Be Organized
My way of getting organized is to create a major Halloween checklist. Take some large sheets of paper and write down everything that you can think of that will need to be done. Organise those items into groups according to when they must be done. i.e. 2 months ahead, 1 month ahead, 3 weeks ahead, 2 weeks ahead, 1 week ahead, 3 days, 2 days 1 day, on the day.
Next have a walk through of your party. This is best done at the venue itself. If you are hiring a venue, ask if you can have a half hour there at a quiet time to just go through a few things. If you really cannot do this at the venue, you will have to use your very best imagination.
A walk through should be done from the point of arrival at your party – parking, walking to the front door, being greeted, where to hang their coat, what to do with items being brought, gifts / bottles. What will they see, what will they hear? Then go into the party itself, how will your guest meet other people, find out where to sit / eat / drink / get involved etc etc. You must imagine yourself going through every moment of your party – see it from your guest’s point of view. And make lots of notes about what you will have to do or arrange to make sure that your vision is reality. Add all of these items to your to checklist.
Be disciplined with your checklist. Don’t put anything off – delegate by all means, but do make sure that you check up and keep on target.
Leave as little as possible to the last minute. On the day itself you should be able to relax and enjoy being the best hostess in town.
Enjoy your party!