At our house it starts around the first week of summer vacation. My daughter comes home from the library with an armload of books about — queue some “Werewolves of London” music here — Halloween. By the time the first week of school rolls around, she’s pestering me to get out the Halloween decorations. If there’s no sign of spiderwebs or black cats by October 1st, she can get a little, ahem, “witchy”!
Of course, I can’t really blame her as she comes by this love of the haunted holiday honestly: when she was just five months old, she “helped” me host a Halloween party for the moms in my pre-natal group. As precious pumpkins and darling doggies drooled (and, I admit it, screamed) in their costumes, I decided that this was a holiday I could sink some Dracula-sized fake teeth into. As my children have grown, so has my collection of Halloween party decorations, recipes, and games. Get ready to scare, uh share, in our favourite tricks and treats. And, don’t worry, if some of these ideas seem so complicated they have you turning over in your grave, I’ve also included some bare bones shortcuts.
Our Halloween parties start with an eerie invitation. One year, we sent out Martha Stewart boxed “severed” fingers tied with a ribbon to remind guests to attend our party. I got these awesome invites at Michaels, but you can make your own with this how-to from Martha:
Other years, we printed out invitations and attached them to a plastic skeleton or rolled them up scroll-style and inserted them into the band of a plastic spider ring. You can even attach your invitation to a Halloween cookie or a piece of packaged candy. Anything edible disappears faster than you can say “Boo” and gets kids jazzed up about the coming party—or maybe the sugar does that!
Bare Bones Shortcut
If you’re short on time (or you don’t want to hand out invitations in person), you can opt for a free on-line invitation like the “Halloween for Kids” invitations found at Evite http://new.evite.com/
Dungeon of Decorations
For Halloween, our basement is fully transformed into the “Castle of Creep”. Our dungeon of decorations was all bought at Michaels or the dollar store—usually I wait until things are on sale after Halloween. My daughter’s only rule regarding decorations: not too creepy! We have ghostly signs, strings of pumpkin lights, “flaming” cauldrons, hairy spiders lurking in webs, full-sized witches, and even a family of black paper mice scampering along the baseboards. Last year, I decided it was a good idea to cover the walls in themed plastic coverings! The rotting wood and peeling wallpaper effect.
http://www.darksidedisplays.com/detail.aspx?ID=6863 looked boo-tiful, but what a lot of work—and tape.
Bare Bones Shortcut
Black and orange balloons and streamers are a cheap and easy way to make your party space scream “Halloween”. So is plastic “Caution” or “Keep Out” tape from the dollar store. If you plan to blow up lots of balloons, buy yourself a plastic balloon pump http://www.amazon.com/AMSCAN-A37003-Plastic-Balloon-Pump/dp/B0002P4G2G. I discovered this trick after almost hyperventilating one year!