Halloween Ideas to Die For

Even if you’ve outgrown trick-or-treating (or the neighbors have just stopped giving you candy),
you can still scare up some fun with a grown-up party (well, a mostly grown-up party).

Dawn of the Decorations
Don’t be afraid. Decorating for a Halloween party can be easy, especially when you combine your everyday pieces with well-chosen spooky details.

The Room
Whether your theme is vampires, a monster-y mash or a dinner party murder mystery, you can instantly set the mood with eerie music and horror movies playing in the background. Create a focal point with lighted Halloween garland, snaked along a mantel, cocktail table, sideboard or kitchen island. Just tuck in a mantel scarf and add a handful of glittery felt spiders to complete the effect. Drape chairs with panels of gauze fabric from a craft store to mimic cobwebs. Or opt for the quickest trick of all: Top favorite pillar holders with black and purple candles.

The Table and Beyond
Think of it as making costumes for your normal, everyday serving pieces. A Halloween centerpiece can be as simple as filling a glass trifle bowl with Halloween ornaments or stacking cake plates with party favors—then stacking those on dusty old books (for effect, of course). If it’s a mix-and-mingle party, create food and drink stations on your sideboard or kitchen counter to keep the traffic and the fun flowing. Let your dining chairs serve as extra chairs around your upholstered seats, so everyone has a clear path to the table.

Not sure your friends will get in the spirit? Fill a basket or trunk with funny Halloween costumes for them to wear. (That’ll teach ’em.) Up the hocus-pocus quotient with a fortune-teller behind a curtain and you’ve got yourself one hair-raising hullabaloo.

No need to fear. Find easy, fast, fun looks on our page of Halloween decorations.

Halloween Ideas to Die For
Halloween Ideas to Die For

The Cocktails
Stock up on a secret ingredient we like to call creepiness. Mix a simple cocktail like the classic Cape Cod—cranberry juice and vodka—pour into a martini glass, garnish with slices of blood orange and call it a Vampire Cape. If you’re serving wine, create scary wine goblets by dipping the rims into a mixture of corn syrup and red food coloring, then turn upright and allow the goo to drip down the sides. For designated drivers or guests who prefer non-spirited refreshments, fill a drink dispenser with cider or a deep-purple grape punch (Concord grape juice spiced with cinnamon, cardamom and nutmeg) cooled with eyeball ice cubes.

The Food
Really, you are limited only by your own evil imagination. One idea we’re obsessed with is vanilla pudding, turned green with food coloring, then topped with crushed chocolate wafers and gummy worms. Layered inside glass shooters, there are few things more delightful or disgusting. Other favorites: Gingerbread skeleton men, deviled eggs, moldy cheese balls (cream cheese rolled in herbs) and cupcakes dressed up with the help of a Halloween cupcake kit. Arranged along a decorated table or buffet, your platters have never looked so spellbinding.

A ghoul’s best friend: Barware and serving pieces that can be used for parties any time of year, all year long.