SIMPLE Spooktacular Halloween Party: A Guide to Wicked Fun and Ghastly Grub

how to host the ultimate simple Halloween party

Halloween, that magical moment when the boundary between the living and the supernatural gets as thin as a spider’s web, is the absolute best time to throw a party that’ll make your guests’ hair stand on end. From decorations that send shivers down your spine to snacks that’ll make you scream, we’re here to make sure your Halloween bash is a graveyard smash.

Brace yourselves for a night of spooktacular shindig, complete with witchy fingers, mummy dogs, and treats that are so hauntingly good, they might just raise the dead!

Setting the Haunting Scene:

Creating the perfect vibe is key to a memorable Halloween bash. So, let’s break it down:

1. Eerie Lighting: We’re talkin’ candles, string lights, and lanterns, not those harsh overheads. Let that flickering glow paint some spooky shadows and turn your spot into a haunted crib.

2. Creepy Decor: Transform your place into a legit haunted mansion with cobwebs, skeletons, and fake tombstones. Hang white sheets like ghostly apparitions and scatter rubber bugs for extra spookiness. And don’t forget the jack-o’-lanterns, carve ’em with those menacing grins.

3. Thematic Music: A Halloween playlist is a must, ya know? Bust out classics like MJ’s “Thriller” and the “Monster Mash.” For that extra chill, add soundscapes with creaking doors, distant screams, and howling wind. The right beats can take your party from basic to bone-chilling.

4. Costume Contest: Get your peeps into the spirit with a costume contest. Give props for the spookiest, most creative, and funniest outfits. It’s all about gettin’ everyone involved and sparking those conversations as they flex their ghoulish get-ups.

5. Halloween Movie Corner: Set up a chill movie-watching corner with a projector and a white sheet for that outdoor cinema vibe. Pick some classic horror flicks like “Psycho” and “The Shining,” or keep it family-friendly with “Hocus Pocus” and “Beetlejuice.” Make sure there’s comfy seating and plenty of popcorn for a cinematic experience that’ll give your guests goosebumps.

6. Interactive Haunts: Throw in a fortune teller booth where folks can get their futures “revealed.” A haunted scavenger hunt or an escape room can add that thrill factor. The more your guests get into it, the more unforgettable the night’s gonna be.

7. Spooky Sips: You gotta complete the eerie vibe with some themed drinks. Serve up some “witches’ brew” cocktails or go all out with a DIY potion bar.

How to decorate for a Halloween theme party

Planning the Perfect Menu:

When you’re plotting out your Halloween party grub, it’s all about finding that sweet spot between spine-chilling style and lip-smacking flavor. So, here’s a closer peek at some wickedly delectable dishes that’ll have your guests under their spell:

Witch Finger Sugar Cookies: Kicking off your Halloween feast with our Witch Finger Sugar Cookies is a wickedly delicious move. These almond-topped, raspberry-filled fingers will make your guests wonder if they’ve stumbled into a real witch’s stash. Just remember to serve ’em up with an evil cackle!

Mummy Hot Dogs: Take those hot dogs and wrap ’em in crescent roll dough strips to conjure up some adorable and mouthwatering mummy dogs. A little googly-eyed mustard for that perfect finishing touch, and these little critters will vanish faster than a ghost at dawn.

Halloween Oreo Cookies: Ordinary Oreo cookies take a hair-raising transformation when they take a dip in white chocolate and put on their edible eyes. These ghostly treats are frighteningly simple to whip up, and they’ll disappear from the plate quicker than a ghost at dawn.

Double Chocolate Mummy Truffles: Transform regular truffles into adorable mummies by giving ’em a dip in white chocolate and adding those spooky eyes. These delightful sweeties might be wrapped up like mummies, but they won’t stay wrapped for long once your guests taste ’em.

Fang-tastic Hamburgers: Sink your fangs into juicy hamburgers with a twist. Slice up some cheese into fangs and pop ’em on top of your burgers. Watch your guests go batty for these fun, savory bites.

Charcuterie Boards: Craft eerie yet sophisticated charcuterie boards with a mix of cheeses, meats, fruits, and crackers. Arrange ’em in the shape of a spooky graveyard, complete with edible tombstones made of cheese slices. Throw in mini bat and skull-shaped cheeses to crank up the spook factor.

Halloween party themed food

Costume Contest:

Judging Squad: First off, you need a crack team of judges, or at least a few pals who can keep a straight face. These judges should have a sharp eye for detail and a taste for the bizarre. They’re the ones who’ll decide who’s bringing their A-game.

Categories, Baby: To keep things spicy, you’ve gotta have categories that cover all the bases. Think “Scariest Costume” for the screamers, “Most Creative Costume” for the artsy types, “Funniest Costume” for the class clowns, “Best Couple’s Costume” for the lovebirds, and “Best Group Costume” for the ultimate squad goals. Oh, and don’t forget the grand prize, the “Best Overall Costume” for the one who steals the show.

Prizes That Sizzle: Let’s talk prizes, shall we? You gotta offer up some loot that makes folks wanna unleash their inner Halloween maniac. We’re talking spooky-themed gift baskets, movie tickets, restaurant vouchers, or maybe even a trophy that screams “I’m the Costume King/Queen!” More on that below.

Strut Your Stuff: You need a runway, people! Set up a makeshift runway with moody lighting for maximum costume drama. Alternatively, go all-out with a photo booth. Think Halloween-themed props, eerie backdrops, and loads of photo-worthy moments. It’s all about capturing those epic looks.

Vote It Up: Now, how are we gonna decide the champs? Are the judges gonna huddle up and make the call, or are we letting the crowd have a say? How about handing out tokens or ballots to the guests so they can have their say? It’s all about getting everyone involved.

Showtime, Baby: As the contest kicks off, bring those costume maestros onto the stage or into the photo booth. Encourage ’em to spill the beans about their character or what the heck inspired their getup. Trust us; it’ll be entertaining AF.

And the Winners Are…: Now, the grand finale. Build the suspense, and when the time’s right, announce those winners. It’s like the Oscars, but with more fake blood and fewer acceptance speeches.

Explore Martha Stewart’s Halloween Party Tips

Halloween costume party

Bobbing for Apples:

Bringing a timeless Halloween tradition like bobbing for apples into your party adds a delightful touch of nostalgia and an opportunity for friendly competition. Here’s how to create a bobbing for apples station that’s both entertaining and slightly eerie:

Setting the Scene: Find a spot, preferably outdoors or somewhere that won’t mind a little aquatic chaos. Grab a big ol’ tub or basin and fill it up with water. Now, here’s where we get fancy – add a few drops of food coloring to make that water look like it’s from a spooky, otherworldly realm.

Apples Galore: Get yourself a bunch of apples, and we mean all kinds – from Granny Smiths to Honeycrisps. Toss ’em into the water, and make sure there’s enough for everyone to take a shot at it. And yeah, toss in a few extra; you never know when an apple decides to pull a disappearing act.

Bobbing Rules: Now, for the fun part. Traditionally, you’re supposed to go all-in and use just your chompers to grab those apples, no hands allowed. It’s trickier than you’d imagine! But hey, we’re all friends here, so if someone wants to bend the rules and use their hands, we won’t judge.

Timing and Turns: Let’s keep this party rolling. Set a timer for each contender, like, say, 30 seconds. If they manage to snag an apple in that time, they’re the champ of that round.

Prizes and Glory: We’re not here just for wet hair and soggy apples – let’s make this interesting. Hand out some sweet little prizes to the apple conquerors. Think Halloween-themed knick-knacks, mini candy bars, or even a fancy “Bobbing Champion” certificate.

Towels and Cleanup: Things are bound to get a little damp, so keep those towels coming for everyone to dry off. Maybe even have a designated drying area and a change of clothes because, well, water fights are not off the table.

Safety First: We’re all about fun, but let’s not go wild. Keep an eye out to make sure no one’s taking a nosedive into the basin. And remind folks to play nice, especially when they’re bending over that water-filled battleground.

Capture the Hilarity: Don’t forget your paparazzi duty! Appoint someone as the official photographer or videographer to catch all those hilarious moments as your buddies try to nab those slippery apples. These shots will be gold for future gatherings, trust us!

Additional Ideas: HGTV Halloween Party Planning Guide


  1. Escape Room Experience: The winner’s diving headfirst into an escape room adventure that’ll make their brain cells sweat. It’s like a real-life mind-bender, but with riddles instead of Netflix.
  2. ‘Witches’ Brew’ Craft Beer Basket: Now, let’s talk beer. We’re talking about a basket chock-full of ‘Witches’ Brew’ craft beer, the kind that makes you cherish every damn sip because, let’s face it, we’re on this wild rollercoaster called life, and we might as well enjoy the ride.
  3. Halloween-Themed Candles Basket: These aren’t just any candles; they’re mood-makers. They’ll transform your winner’s space into a haunted hideaway, no ghostly apparitions needed.
  4. Private Psychic Reading: The winner’s in for a private session with a psychic or tarot card reader. It’s like peeking behind the cosmic curtain, getting a glimpse into the future, and who knows, maybe uncovering secrets they never knew they had. It’s all in good fun, but who says you can’t dabble in the unknown?
  5. Home Spa Experience: Last but not least, it’s relaxation time, baby! We’re talking about a spa-themed gift basket filled to the brim with luxurious bath products, scented candles, and a golden ticket for a massage or spa day.


Spine-Tingling Soundscapes: Create a hair-raising atmosphere with eerie soundscapes playing softly in the background. Check out apps and websites for a range of spooky sounds, from creaky doors to ghostly whispers, setting the perfect mood for your bash.

Costume Lifesavers: Set up a tiny station stocked with basic sewing supplies, safety pins, and yes, even a glue gun for quick costume fixes. No one wants a wardrobe malfunction in the middle of the monster mash, so this little nook can save the day.

Creepy Cocktails: Get creative with signature Halloween cocktails that not only taste amazing but also match the theme. Whip up concoctions with names like “Witch’s Brew” or “Vampire’s Kiss” to add a dash of spookiness to your drink menu.

Pumpkin Carving Showdown: Pump up the fun with a pumpkin carving contest. Provide the pumpkins, carving tools, and plenty of space for your guests to show off their artistic skills. Hand out prizes for the spookiest, most creative, and downright hilarious pumpkin designs.

DIY Photo Frenzy: Craft a DIY Halloween-themed photo booth with props that’ll turn your guests into witches, monsters, and more. Set up a camera or smartphone on a tripod, and offer instant prints or a digital gallery for your partygoers to capture those unforgettable moments.

Secret Sweets Hunt: Add a dash of mystery by hiding treats or small prizes throughout your party space. Organize a treasure hunt or scavenger game to keep everyone on their toes as they hunt down hidden surprises.

Late-Night Bites: As the night rolls on, those dancing feet might need a little refueling. Have a stash of late-night snacks at the ready, like pizza slices, mini sliders, or a nacho bar to satisfy those post-dance or post-movie cravings. Hungry ghosts and goblins, we’ve got you covered!

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