Planning a spooktacular Halloween party!

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It’s that time of year again, the leaves are starting to turn and the air is starting to get colder (though not in the Bay Area just yet!) which means Halloween is right around the corner!

Halloween is one of my favorite holidays, I love the tradition of ringing in fall with witches, goblins, and of course – candy! So today I wanted to write about planning a fantastic Halloween party, whether just for your friends and family or your entire neighborhood.

We always like to have a few friends over on Halloween as we live in a neighborhood full of kids and we want to be around to answer the door and pass out candy. Our area is also mostly enclosed and very flat so parents in the surrounding areas like to take their kids here for some safe and easy trick-or-treating. Plus I love seeing all the cute costumes and getting the leftover candy to myself! Some of our neighbors go the extra mile and set up mini haunted houses in their garages, inviting everyone over for treats and scares. So whether you’re planning an intimate gathering or an open house, we’ve got some ideas for you!

For a dinner party – focus on creating a spooky atmosphere and a themed menu. The Food Network website has some great menus for various themes, including a vampire party, a spooktacular soiree, and a savory Halloween spread. If you aren’t in to blood punch, try sticking with seasonal flavors like pumpkin (great in soup, desserts, bread, and so much more!), apples, squash, beets, and other fall favorites.

For a kid-friendly bash – you can really have fun with these ones, I always loved blindfolded walks through “guts” (cold spaghetti) “eyeballs” (peeled grapes) and other grossness when I was a kid. For the actual food, you could try these deviled ham “eyeball” sandwiches to really freak the kids (and grownups!) out. If you can, try for something healthy like “carrot fingers” or hot dog “mummies” (pigs in a blanket) that can serve as a base for the sweets the kids will be eating later!

Neighborhood open or haunted house – food usually isn’t required at a haunted house (and honestly, would you trust it?) but candy is! Be sure to have a stocked candy bowl on hand for all the visitors. You can bet a big attraction will get more trick-or-treaters, especially repeat visitors. When I was a kid, we used to drive to a nearby street that went all out, with skits a mini garage haunted house, and a Frankenstein who would chase you down the street. We would go back over and over again trying to “steal” the candy without Frankenstein noticing (he always did) and run away as fast as we could. Though it may be a lot of work putting that together, kids will remember your house as the one to visit year after year, and big kids like me will have those memories forever!

For more menu and decorating ideas, check out these links. We hope you all have a safe and happy Halloween!

Spoonful’s top 10 DIY Halloween decorations 

Martha Stewart’s Favorite Halloween Parties & Activities

Halloween Party Themes from Better Homes & Gardens