The touch of a cold corpse, the sound of a howling wind, the taste of your heart in your throat...the senses truly come alive at Halloween. Spine-tingling invites and undead goodie bags are sure to set your guests' neurotransmitters on super-shiver mode. 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.
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 bidding...er, 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!"
Ghastly Goodie Bags
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 next Halloween theme party idea is fun for little Frankensteins and Brides of Frankenstein.
Listen up, moms and dads: Audio invitations are an awesome way to involve your kids and alert your guests to the frightfully good time that awaits. Using a few regular household items, you and your children can relay the party date and time details amidst a cacophony of spooky sounds. All you need are some blank CDs or audiotapes and a little imagination.
You'll need one cd or tape per invited guest. Since you're only going to be recording a few minutes of sound on each, choose the cheapest tapes with the fewest recordable minutes.
Local libraries and music stores often have recordings of eerie music or sound effects available, but you easily can make your own. Crack fresh celery for breaking bones. Have a vaporizer or humidifier gurgling in the background to mimic the sound of a cauldron bubbling or experiments going awry in a mad scientist's lab. You can also find sound effects on the Internet.
A slow wail (created by running your finger along the rim of a wine glass) makes a haunting intro. You can follow with a squeaky door, heavy footsteps that get faster and faster and louder and louder -- then a howl, a bloodcurdling scream, some celery snapping, insane laughter, and, finally, a spooky whisper that asks: "Who's next? You are, if you dare to attend Nathan Alexander's Halloween party on October 26. The terror begins at noon, at 1234 Maple Lane. Survivors -- if there are any -- can escape at 3:00 p.m. Please wear play clothes and arrive hungry. Your last meal will be a good one."
Finish with a haunting melody, more howls and screams, or whatever your imagination desires.
Once you've recorded the invite on a tape, use it as the master to dub the remaining tapes. Remember to rewind each tape to the beginning. You can also record the invitation on CD through your computer. Many programs are available for creating audio and burning CDs.
Finally, create a label for your CD or write "Listen if you dare" on the recorded side of the tape's label and underneath, "RSVP 555-1234." You can package each CD or tape in a festive envelope, box, or even trick-or-treat bag so your child can distribute the tapes with fanfare.
Goodie Bags from the Great Beyond
Besides the souvenir wig, let guests take home a goodie box or pail.
Fill each with a small pocket mirror to identify the undead (the dead don't have a reflection), a small vial or baggie filled with cinnamon candy blood drops, vampire fangs, a vampire toy, and a pencil (a.k.a. wooden vampire stake).
Halloween Invitations: Wheel of...Misfortune?
Who knows which way the wheel of fortune will turn when October winds blow? Your guests will if a gust blows this three-way invite into their mailboxes.
To make, cut a black 51/2-inch card stock circle and a white 6-inch card stock circle per guest. Cut out a triangle, about 1/4 of the pie, from each black circle, leaving at least a 1/2-inch border at the outside edge. (Make a triangle template, and trace it onto each circle. Then cut out the triangles.)
Cut out 6-inch circles from green, red, and black construction paper. Fold circles in half, then in quarters. Cut circles into quarters using folded lines as guides. Glue a green, red, and black circle quarter on each white circle, leaving a quarter white.
Use a brass fastener to secure the center of each black circle to the center of each colored large circle. Slowly turn the small circle until it spins easily. On the smaller disk use a silver pen to write: "This Halloween, will you be one of the good, the bad, or the ugly?"
In the white window, write: "Feeling good? You're invited to don your cheeriest costume and step into the happiest Halloween dimension." In the black window, write: "A bad moon is rising. Wear your spookiest costume for a walk on the dark side." In the green window, write: "Calling all monsters! Put on your ugliest scare-wear for a horrifically good time." In the red window, write: No matter which side you're on, you're invited! Come to Casey's house, 1234 Maple, on Saturday, October 25. The party is from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. RSVP at 555-1234 by Sunday."
You don't need a spellbook to create a magical Halloween party. In our next section, we'll give you some magic Halloween party ideas.
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