“The keys to success are having a lot of activities that are different than what kids normally do,” says Rachel Fullan, owner of The Little Old House of Make Believe, a children’s party center in Langhorne, PA. You must also “make sure you don’t invite too many kids,” says party planner and author Penny Warner. “Keep it simple and get extra help if needed.”
Theme. “A harvest theme can be really good for kids,” says Fullan. “You can take nature and put it to good use by using hay for different activities, apples for bobbing and pumpkins for decorating.” Other cool kids’ themes include a monster mash, Dracula or a carnival.
Food. Don’t go overboard. “You can invite guests to bring a spooky treat and let them have fun with that or get creative and serve basic cupcakes and have a station with Halloween-themed frosting and toppings,” Fullan suggests.
Entertainment. “Break your guests into two teams to have a mummy wrapping contest with rolls of toilet paper,” suggests Warner. “Story telling is a great entertainment. As the story is told, pass around food in bags that represent each body part — for example, cooked spaghetti for hair, Jell-O for the liver or dried apricots for ears.”
“Instead of pinning the tail on the donkey, you can pin the bow tie on Mr. Bones or have Jack-o-lantern decorating contests, gluing on body parts to avoid using any knifes or sharp objects.” says Fullan.
Time. Halloween falls on a Wednesday this year, so Warner recommends scheduling your party after school.
Length. For smaller kids, about two hours is a good length, says Fullan.
Décor. Keep it simple, “Hang or tape black, orange and white balloons around the area,” says Warner. “Also, putting cobwebs with plastic spiders in doorways is always a good idea.”
MetroKids MomSpeak blogger Hilary Chybinski has hosted several adult Halloween parties. “Three successful keys are yummie food and drinks, fun decorations and an upbeat attitude, she says. Here are her other tips.
Theme. Choose a theme rather than calling for costumes. “I’ve done your favorite cartoon character, movie character and decade,” says Chybinski.
Food. Stick to appetizers and finger foods such as pigs in a blanket or stuffed mushrooms.
Entertainment. In addition to music, consider a costume contest with voting and prizes.
Time and length. A good time is 7pm, for 3 hours or so. If you want to be home for trick-or-treating, have the party the night before or after Halloween.
Décor. “Decorations can be a fall pumpkin patch, or you can match your party theme,” says Chybinski.
Nicole Jones is a MetroKids intern and communications student at Drexel University.