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How to Throw a Halloween Party

'Horrifyin' Halloween' Party

Kids seeking a haunting holiday sour at the sight of a candy-coated Halloween party. For them, grisly and ghastly is the only way to go. Let those tough types test the strength of their spine with a party that oozes with heart-stopping surprises, cringe-worthy crafts, and a menu into which only the boldest vampires would sink their fangs.

Try It!
Here are some Halloween recipes from our collection:

Creepy Invites

You Called?

If you want to create the gross atmosphere right from the beginning, be sure to tie your invitations into the theme. We'd suggest getting a surprise messenger to do your, inviting.

Find small jewelry boxes and rubber rats that will fit inside them. On the outside of each box, write "Open up, if you dare!" Then write party invitations on parchment paper, in spooky writing.

Tie black ribbon around the rat's neck and attach the other end to the invitation. Place the rat and the invitation in the box. Cut out a bat from construction paper, and glue it to the front of the box.

The invitation reads:

"My master has sent me to invite you to a Horrifying Halloween Party! Come to 1234 Maple Lane on Saturday, October 26. The haunting will take place from noon to 3:00 p.m.! Call my master to RSVP at 555-1234. Be afraid. Be very afraid!"

Place a fake rat inside the invitation box.
©2006 Publications International, Ltd.
Place a fake rat inside the invitation box.

Making a Haunted House

Buy the creepy things you're afraid to touch and place them throughout your house for a Horrifying Halloween Party.
©2006 Publications International, Ltd.
Buy the creepy things you're afraid to
touch and place themthroughout your
house to set the horrifying mood.

Slimy snakes, nibbling rats, a slew of spiders, and all the creepy things that haunt your dreams -- that's the stuff nightmares are made of. This Halloween, haul those horrors out of naptime and let them -- OK, rubber imitations of them -- hang about your house for a truly terrifying party.

Party stores keep a monstrous stock of rubber vermin and insects on the shelves at Halloween; buy the ones you can't bare to touch and then plant them in surprising spots around your house. A rat in the sink, a snake in the coat closet, and worms writhing out of the sofa cushions make for revolting surprises. Keep stashes of plastic spiders in your pocket for tossing into the air when guests least expect it.

In the party room, a black light and cobwebs stretched from cotton batting create an eerie glow. Confirm guests' suspicions that the place is haunted by tossing white sheets or canvas tarps over furniture. Not only will your upholstery be protected from partygoers, you'll attain that abandoned house look found in all those old horror movies.

Of course, no house can be haunted without the help of a few ghosts. Hang one in a high corner, from a ceiling fan, or from a doorframe under which guests must pass. Stuff one corner of a large white plastic trash bag with 2 bunched-up trash bags. Twist a neck under the head, then fold the excess plastic skirt over the bulge and twist again, securing the resulting round head with a rubber band or string. Make a fluttering ghost by cutting the bottom of the skirt into long strips. A creepy soundtrack of low moans, wails, and screams played throughout the party will complete the eerie effect.

Table for Ewww...

You may appreciate a cheery dining room, but as endless fright flicks prove, apparitions appreciate an aged place. Date yours by tossing a white sheet over the tabletop and dressing it like an old banquet table. Plastic goblets or wine chalices are a must. Got some tarnished silver? Set it out -- unpolished.

Add some cotton spider-webbing to a candelabra stacked with melted but unlit candles. Pepper the dishes with plastic spiders. And for a true antique finish, fill the centerpiece with rotting food (plastic fruit covered with cobwebs).

Eyeing the Arrivals

As guests arrive, it's good to have a quick game or craft in the works so the kids who've already shown up have something to do. For this party, you can't miss with eyeball checkers. To create this creepy game, glue black and red poms to the checker pieces, and glue wiggle eyes atop the poms.

Supernatural Challenges: Halloween Games

Eyes on the Prize

Invite kids to search through the
©2006 Publications International, Ltd.
Invite kids to use their feet
to search for the missing eye.

Something freaky is afoot when you fill a shallow laundry tub with unraveled brains, but kids will think you've really lost your marbles when you invite them to use their bare feet to search among the mess for eyeballs. A true test of toe dexterity, this game is good for endless giggles.

Cook and cool at least three boxes of spaghetti noodles before the party. Place it all in a shallow laundry tub. Add one tablespoon of cooking oil per box to keep the noodles from sticking and to ensure maximum slipperiness for your guests. At the bottom of the noodles, slip in three marbles.

Let the games begin! Set the noodle-filled tub on the kitchen floor, and put a chair on either side of it. On "Go!," two kids must race each other to find the missing eyeballs, using their bare feet only. They must pull the eyeballs out of the tub with their toes and deposit them into a small bowl next to the tub.

Whoever pulls out the majority of eyeballs in two minutes wins. Reward the winners with ped-appropriate gifts such as toenail polish or Halloween-themed socks.

Keep a bowl filled with soapy water and a few towels nearby so kids don't have to traipse all the way to the bathroom to wash off.

Shot in the Dark

Aiming for a game that will test your guests' skill and not your patience? An easy-to-make, fun-to-play variation on the game of pool can be played on the floor of any room.

For extra fun, use red and black magic markers to turn the tennis balls into eyeballs. Draw a black pupil and the rim of the "iris" with the black marker, and red, spindly veins with the red marker on each ball.

Place half the guests on one side of the room, each holding a dowel and a tennis ball. Place the other half of the guest on the other side, at least 10 feet away, and give each of them a cup. Then make them all lay on the floor across from their partners. Those with the dowels (players A) must lie on their bellies; those with the cups (players B) must lie on their backs, arms extended behind their heads, with the cups in their hands and the openings facing players A. (Player B must keep the back of his or her head against the floo-- no peeking!)

Player A attempts to get the ball into the cup in this Halloween game.
©2006 Publications International, Ltd.
Dorothy (Player A) attempts to get
the ball into the cup.

This little vampire (Player B) holds the cup for Player A in this Halloween game.
©2006 Publications International, Ltd.
This little vampire (Player B)
holds the cup for Player A.

To play the game, player A uses the dowel as a pool cue and shoots the ball into their partner's cup. Player B cannot see the ball rolling, but player A can shout directions (move left, move right) to their partner in order to move the cup in the ball's path. If the ball gets in the cup, the two hurry to switch places and equipment, starting the process again. If the ball misses, player A must leave his or her dowel, run to get the ball, and start again. The first team to hit its target twice wins.

Older kids with better motor skills can boost the challenge by playing this game with players A blindfolded, and a third player calling out the directions to both.

Macabre Movie

Film a horror movie as a fun Halloween party game.
©2006 Publications International, Ltd.
Film a horror movie as a
fun Halloween party game.

Haul out the video camera and film a homemade horror movie. As you already know from watching them through the years, a plot is second fiddle to cool costumes, crazy makeup, and ear-deafening screams.

Use the kids' costumes to inspire the movie script, or you can provide garb by hauling out some old clothes, shoes, and costumes and letting the kids deck themselves out in whatever outfit suits their spooky style. Some old eye shadows and lipsticks are all that's needed to paint on blood, bruises, and some major under-eye circles -- they're all the rage with the walking dead. No doubt, the kids will have the screams covered. Let them spin out a basic script, and start taping.

For best effect, record the movie in small, one- or two-minute scene segments, and alternate between major close-ups, pans (sweeping the camera slowly across a scene), and zooms. The finished product will look less like a home video and more like a real horror flick. Add interest to each scene and build tension in the story by filming at different angles.

An ankle-eye view of a monster's sluggish footsteps; a look into the mouth of a screaming victim; a switch from the victim's eyes to the monster's outstretched hands and back again; a peek at the outside from the vantage point of a vampire sitting in a coffin -- team up with the kids to make the most of your imaginations.

After the filming is complete, hook the video camera up to the television and turn off the lights to enjoy an instant screening.

Halloween Crafts


And you thought the shower scene in Psycho was scary. Put it to shame by giving kids a craft that's awash in terror: monster mouth soap dispensers.

Kids can draw the head of a monster, vampire, ghost, or otherworldly being on the paper circles. The soap dispenser tip can poke out of the mouth, eye, or, if you've got a real gruesome guest, wound on the head. Help the kids mark the spot of their choice before they began drawing.

These scary soap dispensers are an easy and fun Halloween craft.
©2006 Publications International, Ltd.
Make these scary soap dispensers as
an easy and fun Halloween craft.

When the head design is to the artist's liking, cover the front and back with the clear adhesive paper, then cut out the hole for the dispenser tip. Slide the head on the tip, leaving at least an 1/8 inch of tip poking from the head opening so the soap doesn't drip directly onto it. Secure the head in the back with tape.

For special effects, you can mix a few drops of food coloring in each child's soap, so a blood red, spooky blue, gross green, or even a morbid black mix can ooze out of the opening. The colored soap will not stain skin.

Kids can use any leftover paper or cardstock to create a monster body that can also be covered with the adhesive paper and taped to the soap dispenser.

Ghastly Goodie Bags

Scary Take-homes

When kids leave the party, give them coffins filled with stuff all ghost- and monster-busters need to communicate with the other side: invisible ink markers, spell books (note pads), toy phones, paintbrushes (for dusting ghost prints), a small pocket mirror (because the dead don't have a reflection), and maybe even a monster figure or two.

This ghoulish goodie bag helps guests communicate from beyond the grave.
©2006 Publications International, Ltd.
This ghoulish goodie bag helps guests
communicate from beyond the grave.

The "It's Alive" themed Halloween party is another fun way to celebrate the holiday for kids and adults. Learn how to throw this Halloween party in the next section.