How to Pull off a Killer Adults Only Halloween Party
Do you ever miss being a kid, spending a large chunk of your year fantasizing about what you would dress up as for Halloween, and those magical hours leading up to trick-or-treating?
There was a strange energy in the air on October 31. Maybe some of that had to do with the bagfuls of candy passed out, but it surely it was also connected to the thrill of going off on your own—and a sense of unity, however small, with the costumed strangers passing by.
As an adult, that feeling can be difficult to recreate. I’m pretty sure I spent last Halloween at the office, working late to meet a deadline. I may have been in costume—Rosie the Riveter?—and there were some complimentary candy cups from the building’s management. There wasn’t quite the sense of excitement and connection, though. I wanted to experience what I had as a kid but as an adult. I wanted to put in a little bit of effort and be rewarded with tons of strangers who wanted to give me candy simply for existing. I wanted…an adults-only Halloween party.
That’s really the closest we can get, isn’t it? Unfortunately, few want to take on the task of throwing this party. But why not be that person who gives some adults the opportunity to relive the childhood trick-or-treat glimmer?
Because I know you’re a noble soul who wants to be that person, and because I am not that person, I reached out to my friend Lauren Hum who did throw a killer adults-only Halloween party some years back. Lauren has degrees in psychology and interior design, is in school for cosmetology, and is a wife and soon-to-be mother; she’s the kind of brave party organizer who knows how to juggle tasks, execute a creative vision, and anticipate the desires of party guests while not losing her mind in the process. Here are some tips from her to get you started:
Lighting is important.
“I switched out all the regular light bulbs with red-colored light bulbs,” she said. “That’s a cheap thing that makes a huge difference.” You could use any spooky color—blue, purple, dark green—but there’s something very Rosemary’s Baby about red.
Know when to ask for help.
How did she choose the music? She told her then-boyfriend to make a playlist. Done and done. Plus, a nice way to get a friend or significant other who doesn’t have party-planning gene involved.
Simple food is better food.
If you’re trying to feed more than five people, don’t stress yourself out by trying to wow with the gourmet appetizers; people just need a little something to munch on. I remember stuffing myself with various delicious foods at this party, but Lauren assures me it was nothing fancy. She said she just made some simple stuff (like dips) the morning of, et voila.
Choose one thing to get creative with…
So you don’t overload yourself, choose a single thing that you’re willing to invest a little more time on; your guests will notice. From Lauren’s bash, I remember the rats—shapes cut out from black construction paper and placed on the stairs and other places throughout the house that created an eerie effect. (Lauren laughed when I brought this up. “That’s what everybody remembers about that party.”)
And as for the rest, the old formula works.
For the majority of your ambiance creation, just get the cheapest stuff you can find at whatever run-of-the-mill Halloween craft store that’s closest to you. Spider webs, plastic spiders, whatever—good lighting, good friends, and good food can transform even the most basic parts into something otherworldly.