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How to Throw a Halloween Party

'Magic Brew' Halloween Party

Call off the search for eye of newt. All you need to concoct a Halloween party that bubbles with black magic are these easy-to-find charms: a pinch of enchanted children and a slew of clever games and crafts. Mix well, then stand back and let it cook.

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

Invitation Incantation: Halloween Invitations

Want to summon your gaggle of guests with invitations so magical no witch or wizard could resist their charms? Send out charm pouches.

To make the pouches, buy enough fabric to provide 43 12-inch rectangles of purple fabric per invited guest and at least 1 yard of ribbon (any color you find bewitching) per pouch. If you don't have a sewing machine and hate sewing by hand, don't worry; fabric glue is strong enough for this job.

Cut out the rectangles. Use pinking shears or scissors with scalloped edges for extra flair. Fold each rectangle in half, and glue or sew the sides, leaving the top open. If using glue, let it dry completely. Measure 1 inch down from the top opening, and cut a small slit on either side of the bag, about 1 inch from each side.

Weave the ribbon in and out of the slits. When the ribbon ends are pulled, the pouch will close. (For fun, glue a spider onto one of the ribbon tails.)

Using a silver or purple pen and parchment or black paper, write: "Charmed, I'm sure! You will be if you don your pointed black hat or wizard's cap and ride your broom to Jamie Welp's house for a magical Halloween party at 123 Maple Lane on Saturday, October 26. The spell will be cast from noon to 3:00 p.m. Give the magic word, and food, games, and crafts will appear! RSVP: 555-1234."

Place invitations into a charm pouch when throwing a Halloween party.
©2006 Publications International, Ltd.
Place invitations into a charm pouch.

Roll up each scroll and tie with ribbon before tucking it inside a pouch.

Halloween Decorations: Hex House

Dress the house with bats, cats, and spiders to create the magical environment for a Halloween party.
©2006 Publications International, Ltd.
Dress the house with bats, cats,
and spiders to create the environment.

Cast a Spell With Style

Dressing the house to suit a witch's or wizard's fancy is a cinch.
Start by hanging a black umbrella from a short length of fishing line strung from a ceiling hook or turned-off light fixture. Cut out black bats from paper or fun foam. Glue on wiggle eyes, and add some dimensional paint. Dangle the bats at different lengths from fishing line attached to the tips of the umbrella's rods. These look fantastic when given a whirl.

If you don't have an umbrella handy, don't opt out of the black bats. You can still string them from the ceiling using fishing line and strong clear tape. Silver balloons filled with half air and half helium will hover hauntingly in the air.

If you're confident in your abilities to keep an eye on the kids while keeping the party moving, consider getting some dry ice. When mixed with a little hot water, the dry ice vaporizes and froths like a real witch's cauldron. This looks great set in an empty fireplace or kitchen corner. You can often purchase the ice from party stores. Just be sure to keep a close eye on curious fingers.

Finish the room display with a black light, a black cat cutout in the window, and, of course, one giant stuffed spider. You can make your own simply by stuffing the legs of four pair of black nylons with newspaper or cotton batting and safety pinning the remaining waists to a puffy pillow covered in a black pillowcase or fabric.

For added effect, paint a big foam ball black, glue on big wiggly eyes (find them at a local craft store), add some chenille stem antennae, and make smiling fangs. This spider looks great lounging atop a tall bookcase or plopped smack dab in the middle of the party room.

Black and/or purple streamers, tablecloth, and eating utensils give the aura of a witch's or wizard's mealtime. But why stop there? Fill a Halloween bowl with gummy worms, candy corn (monster's toenails), cinnamon candies (blood drops), mini-marshmallows (ghost tears), and corn curls (troll fingers) to make the spells stick.

You can use glow sticks for stubby wands, or create magical ones with 12-inch long dowels. You'll need one for each guest. Use black permanent marker or paint to cover all but the bottom 4 inches to avoid the dreaded inky curse. You can cover that end with duct tape or colored electrical tape. At the top end of the wands, tie on ribbons of foil stars, feathers, or curly wrapping ribbon. Place a magic wand at each guest's place setting.

Enchanting Amusements: Halloween Games

Hockey Wizards

If you've got a basement or if the weather permits, face off with a game of witch and wizard hockey.
The game is the same, but instead of hockey sticks and a puck, kids play with brooms and a ball. You can usually sweep up inexpensive brooms at the grocery or even dollar store.

Use brooms to play hockey as a Halloween party game.
©2006 Publications International, Ltd.
Use brooms to play hockey.

Check out the broom prices in your town before sending out the invites. If they're more than you want to spend on a group of guests, merely add a line to the bottom of the invite that says: "Don't forget your broom! We'll be using them to ride high with some bewitching games."


While kids are gobbling up the witches' grub in the kitchen, you can set up a web of yarn for a challenging, giggly game of Spider's Web in the party room.

For each child, cut a very long piece of yarn -- make sure each piece is about the same length. Wind each piece of yarn around, through, under, and over the furniture and other pieces of yarn in the room.

To play, each child will be placed at the end of a long piece of yarn. The child must follow his or her yarn to its end. Untangling this complicated web takes some inventive movements -- crawling under, jumping over, or winding around and around is usually the seeker's spidery trip.

Witch Hunt

Unleash your guests on a scavenger hunt for all the ingredients young wizards need nowadays.
If you're sending kids out into the neighborhood, team up 3 or 4 with an adult. For guests too young to cross the street, hide these ingredients around the house or in the backyard. Challenge them to find, in an hour (half hour for younger seekers):

Send kids on a witch hunt as a fun Halloween game.
©2006 Publications International, Ltd.
Send kids on a witch hunt.

  • Eye of newt (dried bean)

  • Bat hair (dryer lint)

  • Snake teeth (grains of white rice)

  • Invisible cloak button (clear plastic button)

  • Mouse kidney (kidney bean)

  • Owl feather (colorful craft feather)

  • Dusty corpse (baking soda in small plastic bags)
Reward the winning team with fancy pens or pencils (look for ones topped with a feather or shoots of cellophane) they can use to write down their special spells.

For the grand finale, make a big production of dropping each find in a "cauldron" in front of your audience. Hide a small bowl with 2 cups of vinegar inside the cauldron, and toss in all the dusty corpse collected. (It may be wise to have some baking soda -- dusty corpse -- on hand if you don't get much from the kids.)

The chemical reaction you'll get from the kids will be totally explosive. As for the chemical reaction in the cauldron, it just safely bubbles and froths.

Bewitching Creations: Halloween Crafts

Charmed, I'm Sure

With enough practice, the kids will be casting spells like old pros. Help them along by giving them what they'll need to keep their powers close to their heart: witch charm bracelets and necklaces and wizard amulets.

To create the necessary clay, mix:
3 cups flour
1-1/2 cups salt
1-1/2 cups cornstarch
warm water

In a large bowl, mix dry ingredients together. Add warm water by drizzling it slowly from a cup until the mixture becomes moist enough to be kneaded. The dough should be sticky enough that it can be made into small beads by rolling the dough into little balls. The kids can also cut small charm shapes, such as moons, stars, bats, and witch hats.

Pierce the balls and charms with toothpicks so you can string them, and bake them in a 200
°F oven during the party. Because the sizes and shapes will differ, you'll want to check the progress of the jewelry every half hour.

These bat bracelets are easy and fun Halloween crafts.
©2006 Publications International, Ltd.
These bat bracelets are easy
and fun Halloween crafts.

When the clay is cooked, let it cool. Then let the kids paint their clay pieces with acrylic paint, which dries quickly. When the paint is dry, the kids can string their creations on rattail cord, lanyard cord, ribbon, or fishing line.

Sound too complicated for a busy parent at the helm of a party? Just make the clay, roll an assortment of balls, and cut out some charms before the party. Let the clay dry overnight. Then the kids can paint the pieces, add some glitter, and string their necklaces. If you'd like to give their work an extra shine, spray the painted clay pieces with a coat of glossy acrylic finishing spray.

Bat Crafts

Send kids flying over the moon by helping them create bat-wing bracelets.

To make, cut out 2 or 3 bats from black construction paper per child. Supply the kids with puffy paints, glitter, and glue or glitter pens so they can personalize the wings of their bats. When the bats are completed and dry, stack each kid's bats and turn the stack over. Staple the bats together in the center.

Send kids home with a ghostly goodie bag when throwing a Halloween party.
©2006 Publications International, Ltd.
Send kids home with a goodie bag.

Place a rubber band over the staple, and staple the rubber band and bats together. Kids can slip the bat bracelet on their wrists and flap, wings. The layers of bats make a fluttering sight the kids won't be able to resist.

Ghastly Gifts: Goodie Bags to Go

Beside their wand and batty bracelets, send each witch or wizard off with a pile of magical party favors.

Give tiny spell books (colorful miniature notepads), fun stickers, candy, a witch figure, and a lollipop ghost. (Cover a round lollipop with a tissue, and tie the tissue below the lollipop.)

If you're feeling charming, compose a few fun friendship, love, or study spells for the kids to cast.

There's another great themed party if your witches and warlocks are excited about spells. Create even more magic with the "Spellbound" Halloween party in the next section.