Back when I was single, I have to admit I thought Halloween was annoying. You have to go buy candy that you don’t want. You have to answer the doorbell that is interrupting your evening. You would rather turn off the lights or go out.
Now that I’m a parent Halloween is unavoidable. And I have to admit, I love the creative aspect of it. I find myself completely immersed in pinning Halloween craft projects on Pinterest. I can’t help but buy more Halloween decor every year at thrift shops. We spend weeks talking about Joe’s costume ideas, and then days shopping for said costume and props. I invite Joe’s friends to come over and do the outdoor decorating and we transform the front yard with spiderwebs, gravestones, dorky signage, a strobe light on the porch, a mechanical ghoul on a motion sensor, streamers, and lights.
We have a great neighborhood with lots of kids and families and for the past few years we’ve had a group Halloween party to get the kids together before trick or treating. Our neighbors across the street hosted a pizza party for a couple of years and when they moved, we picked up the baton (or wand or scepter or scythe, if you will.)
It is a great opportunity to see all the kids in their costumes and have some spooky fun.
We host it outside and pitch our party tent (which is a plastic canopy with flaps I bought online from a golfing outlet.)
Here is our skeletal (ha ha) party plan in case you’d like to do one in your neighborhood:
- Prepare your guest list. We like to be inclusive so all trick-or-treating age kids and babies on the 3 streets that comprise our neighborhood are invited.
- Send out an invitation. We like Evite and Paperless Post for their cute invitations and easy way to track RSVPs. Some families have filters that block those emails and some families I don’t have email addresses for so we also do a paper flyer that a helpful mom puts in the appropriate mailboxes.
- Lay in your supplies and groceries. We have pizza delivered so there’s no cooking. Make sure you have enough Halloween-y paper plates and napkins. We also buy bottled water, sodas and ice. And candy. Don’t forget the candy.
- Decorate the weekend before. Save some last minute touches (lanterns, gauze spider webs, garlands, table linens, candles and flowers for the day of.)
- Start the party before sundown so the little ones can get an early start on trick-or-treating and you get to see everyone’s costume before dark.
- Guests often want to know what they can bring so delegate dessert and appetizers. It is BYOB for adults but do have a cooler filled with clean ice, a full ice bucket with tongs, bottle and wine openers, and cups for those adult beverages.
- Make your Halloween playlist or set your ipod to Pandora’s Halloween Party Radio station. Michael Jackson is a must. Loud speakers are a must. Blast it!
- Party down. When it gets dark, the children set off for the candy hunt with adult chaperones. Other designated adults take their stations at their doors to give out the candy. And other designated adults (usually those who have worked to help set up the party and do the hostess’s bidding hang around to polish off the pizza, have a beverage, and enjoy the spooky candle glow.)
Many, many thanks to Allison Beuker of Allison Beuker Photography for the outstanding pictures that captured the children’s infectious Halloween excitement and creativity. Perfection.