Are you wondering how to throw a Halloween party this year? It’s the season for food, fun and festivities mixed in with a bit of fear. Here is a guide to get you started on planning a great adult Halloween party. Planning your event around a theme and engaging the five senses of party guests will guarantee a great party.
It helps draw guests in and will make the Halloween party more memorable for everyone. Take our Halloween planning suggestions and personalize them so you can throw a great party this season.
Halloween Party Checklist
- Choose a Theme
- Halloween Decorations
- Festive Party Games
- Halloween Party Food
- No Costume, No Problem
- Engage all the Senses
- Goodie Bags
- Dress for Success
Choose A Theme
The great thing about an adult Halloween party is that anything goes. Do you want your party to be scary, light-hearted, filled with monsters, or based on a color scheme?
For some great Halloween party theme ideas go to Fun Halloween Party Themes for Adults. It has twelve great adult Halloween party theme ideas you can use as inspiration and I will be using some of them as examples here.
Don’t forget the theme for your party can also be Traditional Halloween. There are a lot of choices and your theme choice will effect the rest of the party, so put some thought into it.
When planning your adult Halloween party, engage the five senses with your theme. A great Halloween event will affect sight, sound, touch, taste and smell. Use the senses to evoke feelings and create new memories for your guests.
Halloween Party Decorations
Now that you have chosen the basic theme, let’s consider how to decorate for an adult Halloween party. If you chose a color specific theme like Blood Bath, you will probably want to focus on the use of white, red and black without traditional Halloween decorations. You can use decorations to really make your theme stand out and set the mood for the party.
For a blood bath party, you could put bloody hands and blood dripping window clings on the windows so guests see them before they even enter the party. You can place blood splatter decorations on white walls and bloody footprints on the floors.
With an adult Halloween party there are many ways to integrate your party theme into the guests experience because you don’t have as many safety and swallowing concerns, like with a children’s party.
For other party themes you can also use traditional Halloween decorations combined with your chosen theme decor to set the stage for a festive Halloween party. Decorating can be a lot of fun especially if you are a creative person.
This is also a good opportunity to make DIY Halloween decorations. A combination of DIY, personal Halloween decorations, and a few purchased items can make a great adult Halloween party. Especially because Halloween themed items are more convenient to buy than ever.
There is also a great selection of decorations to be found for every room in the house and amazing outside decor.
Adult Halloween Party Games
It’s always a good idea to plan adult Halloween party games to break up the time and encourage socializing at your event. There are a lot of traditional Halloween party games, and you can choose your games based on how much time and involvement you want to have as the party host.
There is the classic costume contest which can be done by having all the guests vote for their favorites and adding them up or by choosing a panel of judges to pick the winners.
A great passive game, that won’t take a lot of your attention during the party, is the Guess How Many Candies Game. Just take a glass jar and fill it with candy. Place a pen and paper along with a “Guess How Many Candies” sign nearby. You can use jaw breakers, candy eyeballs, candy corns or any other Halloween candy in your jar. Preferably candy with a color related to your party theme. The party guest who guesses closest wins the jar and the candy to take home and eat. You can also schedule a time to bring the candy jar out during your party and give party guest 30 minutes to an hour for guessing. Consider having a special prize available in case someone guesses the exact amount inside. The prize doesn’t have to be expensive, it can be a dessert item or some sort of goody bag.
The Mummy Wrap game isn’t just an adult Halloween party game, kids enjoy it too. However, at a party with cocktails the Mummy game can be extra fun for adults. To play, split your guests into teams and then one person on each team will be the mummy. The other players each get a roll of toilet paper and the race is on to create a mummy the quickest.
Halloween Party Food
Whether you are having an elevated Halloween soiree or an old school costume party, food will likely be served. A great part about attending an adult Halloween party is all the delicious and creative foods.
Some of you will make delightful Halloween treats the center-piece of your party by scheduling the fun around all the food and drinks.
For others, food is incidental and is mostly served to compliment the other Halloween horrors going on during the party. For example, why serve a hot dog when you can give out severed fingers in a bun. Whether you decide to provide a little or a lot of Halloween treats, your theme can help guide your menu and the colors you serve.
If you enjoy cooking, baking and food, then find fun menu items related to your chosen theme and incorporate them into your party. You can bake blood splatter cupcakes for the Blood Bath theme, or fun Halloween themed foods if your sticking with a traditional adult Halloween party. Setting out theme colored candies throughout the party can also help accentuate the theme.
If you don’t enjoy cooking and food prep, consider offering a simple food item and one themed drink. You don’t have to go overboard and offer an entire menu of Halloween delights.
A punch bowl is a classic Halloween serving container that can turn simple Hawaiian Punch into an exotic drink. For an easy treat, there are pre-made cut and slice Halloween designed cookies at many grocery stores.
Serving dishes, plastic dinnerware, utensils and napkins are a great opportunity to spread the spirit of your theme throughout the party. Don’t be shy! Add stripes, zig zags and polka dots into your Halloween theme dinnerware.
Along with your chosen theme, you can play songs, movies or sound effects in the background to create a Halloween ambiance. If possible, incorporate your soundtrack with the adult Halloween party theme you chose to really engage the senses.
Do you want to play movies related to your theme in one room of the party? You can play them with the volume muted for visual effect or with the volume up at a level that isn’t too loud. You want guests to be able to talk and hear each other with the movie playing.
Different areas of an adult Halloween party can have different background effects and ambiance set up. There can be spooky sound effects at the front of your home, a Halloween movie on the television inside, and music playing in the backyard area.
Playing songs is more convenient than ever with Spotify and all the other available technology. However, putting one or two songs on repeat can dull down your party atmosphere so it’s a good idea to come up with a playlist ahead of time. Below are a few songs with links to the iTunes store to get your Halloween playlist started.
Halloween Playlist Samples
Halloween Party Lighting
Once you have chosen an adult Halloween party theme, use it to guide the coloring and brightness of your lighting. For example if your theme is Alien Invasion, you can use green light bulbs and glow sticks to add ambiance.
No matter what theme, try to focus on lighting that will keep guests in a positive light. For example, keep fluorescent lighting at a minimum (yes this includes CFU’s) and use more pleasant incandescent or even candle lights.
→ Limit bright overhead lighting when possible and replace it with low watt bulbs or use lights with dimmer switches and tabletop lighting.
No Costume, No Problem
Almost every adult Halloween party will inevitably have a guest show up without a costume. Even if your Invitation had a costume requirement. Situations come up in real life. It’s better that friends show up with an un-costumed guest than not show up at all.
Give your guests costume options by preparing a bowl, trunk, or shelf with DIY costume parts. Put any old masks, an old sheet, Halloween make-up, fake blood or costumes specific to your them here. When friends come in, keep it friendly and offer them the Costume Corner to get in the spirit.
Engage All The Senses
After going through all the excitement of planning an adult Halloween party you want it to be a fun and memorable event for guests. Halloween events are fun and yours will be too if you’re following some of our how to throw a Halloween party suggestions. One way to make an adult Halloween party more memorable is by engaging the senses throughout the party experience. Having a multi-sensory event helps establish strong memories in your guests.
Sight will likely be the easiest sense to engage and even saturate at a Halloween party. No matter what theme you choose, the stark colors and decorations are like eye candy for your guests. Add the sight of food, snacks, drinks and dinnerware and your party will be memorable for guests.
It can be difficult to figure out how to engage the sense of touch when planning your Halloween party. However, touch is involved each time your guest picks up food to eat or sits in a chair.
For this reason, considering seating and plating will help engage your guests sense of touch. Think about what kind of textures your guests be making contact with.
Also, outside areas can provide opportunities to change textures and effect touch. You might want cold, earthy and organic surfaces when using a graveyard theme. Having loose dirt for guests to walk on when outdoors can also provide a texture to interact with.
Whenever guests interact with your party tables and decor you can provide a texture that fits your theme. For example, the killer clown theme might have light-weight fabrics, fuzzy pillows and more playful textures than a traditional adult Halloween party would have.
Smell is an important sense that your guests will notice the moment they walk in the door. Light scented candles to add a holiday smell to your party environment. If you prefer not to have open flames, consider using a plug-in air freshener to spread a scent throughout the party. There are fall scents, cookie smells, and even a candy corn flavor for the holiday season.
After seeing, touching and smelling the food, naturally tasting it will be amazing. Eating is one of the activities that engages almost all the senses, which is one reason it’s such an important factor at events.
Some food does engage hearing. For example the fizzing of carbonated drinks. Whether you cater the party, buy a few snacks, bake cupcakes or make entire meals, your adult Halloween party guests will appreciate the effort put into a Halloween menu.
Sound is also discussed above in the ambiance section. With an adult Halloween party there is a lot of flexibility for adding sound. You can add scary sound effects like moaning, screaming and creaking sounds.
Another way to integrate sound into your party experience is by playing Halloween style music as a soundtrack for the party. Set up a playlist ahead of time using your party theme as a guide. You can also choose a room with a television to play a scary movie connected to your Halloween party theme.
Don’t be afraid to use different types of sounds in different parts of your party.
Halloween Party Favors
Add some nostalgia and send guests home happy with party favors or treat bags. Party favors and treat bags are a great way to end a party and show guests you appreciate them. It also gives them a souvenir to take home and remember the party with.
Party favors can come in many forms depending on how much time and money you want to put into your goody bags. Popular choices for containers are bags, baskets or cute little Halloween buckets.
The contents can vary drastically depending on personal preference, but with adult Halloween party favors you can include candles, stationary or send them home with “spirits” by including airplane sized bottles of alcohol. Some fun Halloween mini bottles are Jacob’s Ghost or Devil’s Cut by Jim Beam, Jagermeister and Smirnoff Sourced Cranberry Apple vodka. You can also include unique candies, macarons, DIY items and other fun treats in your party favors.
Dress For Success
Does your Halloween party have a theme? Are there going to be costumes? As the host you want to draw attention to the theme using your costume. This doesn’t mean you have to stick to your theme exactly, be creative.
If your party theme is the Zombie Apocalypse you don’t have to dress as a zombie. Be a human apocalypse survivor, or even a zombie hunter if you want too.
Don’t shy away from a great party theme like Killer Clowns because you don’t want to be stuck dressed as a clown. If you prefer, there are other ways to “represent” without putting on a whole costume.
Taking colors and patterns from your theme’s decorations and integrating them into your outfit is a great way to draw attention to the party theme without putting on a “costume”.
Halloween Party Invitations
Sending invitations out for a Halloween party is common practice if don’t want to answer a bunch of texts with party questions the day of your event. Fortunately, you have the option of making paper invitations or sending them out digitally.
The invitation is a great time to introduce your party theme to guests and give out any costume recommendations. For example, you can ask guests to come in costume or to come in a theme related costume.
It’s good to give the start and finish time of your event and mention whether this will be an adult Halloween party, a mixed event or a children’s party.
The invitation is also a good time to let guests know there will be a costume contest, food or any other activities at your party. There are many resources online for creating Halloween invitations. Here is a link for GreetingIsland.com which lets you print and mail out your Halloween invitation.
I also recommend Canva if you want to design your own invitation from scratch.
Throwing a Halloween party can be a fun and exciting event. People still think having a Halloween theme will stifle their creativity. However, it can actually encourage creativity and result in a memorable and fun event that is unique from other Halloween parties.
Even a traditional Halloween theme makes for a great adult Halloween party when you engage the five senses using food, decorations and activities.
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