Once you reach a certain age (for most, it's around 18) Halloween parties become something more than peeled grapes and cold spaghetti strewn across a folding table. They are a place for serious costumes, serious boozing, and serious spookiness. No crepe paper allowed.
For those in the first stages of planning a hair-raising Halloween hullabaloo, you're right on track: start early for best fear factor. For those of you who are thinking about a party, but don't plan on doing anything about it until October 25th, it's a good thing you're reading this. You're going to need all the help you can get.
Your Halloween Decoration Check List
- Cobwebs Duh. The only way you are going to create a creepy, crawly, rotting vibe is if every nook and cranny is stuffed with cobwebs. They need to be everywhere, to the point of inconvenience to your guests. Make it so they can't go to the bathroom without having to punch their way through a barricade of sticky, clingy fibers. Note: Cobwebs are the only thing that are allowed to be both at your childhood Halloween party and the grown up version.
- Loud Screaming. You can find motion detectors or timers at top-of-the-line party store that will play blood-curdling screams throughout the night. These are a must for those who wish to have a sort of "torture chamber" feel for your party. To save a couple of bucks, those with the DIY spirit can record their own screams, slap 'em on an iPod and disperse them throughout their Halloween Party playlist.
- Disembodied Hand in the Chips Buffet. Tables are notoriously difficult to make spooky, and many have fallen victim to a half-hearted scattering of candy corn before giving up. You are not one of those people. You have purchased a variety of body parts from your local party supply and prop store, gored them up a little more with some food coloring and ketchup, and buried them in your bowls of Doritos. Well played.
- Real Creepy Crawlies. Forget about those plastic worms and gummy spiders. Start breeding and harvesting a real, live colony of maggots now and display them in gothic glass vases in your party space. From afar they will look like rice, but up close they will wiggle. It's sure to make at least three weak-stomached party guests queasy, which should be every party host's goal.
- Bucket of Blood, Carrie Style. A surprise blood bucket is a sure-fire way to up the creep factor at your Halloween party. Actual blood is pretty gross - don't go there - but some red water (mixed with a little bit of flour for thickness) is vegan and terrifying. Some things to keep in mind:
- Red tends to stain, so don't dump any buckets of red goo over your Oriental rugs.
- Red tends to stain, so don't dump any buckets of red goo over your friend with the really expensive costume.
- Most people don't enjoy being surprised by a bucket of water dumped on their head, so plan accordingly. Perhaps your friend's girlfriend you really hate…
- Zombies and Dead People. Take a page from the Haunted House Guide Book and hire a few people to play zombies and corpses. Have them lurk a little too closely as people walk up your driveway, or leave them lying in repose in your roses only to JUMP OUT as your guests pass. Don't have the funds to pay for down-on-their-luck actors? Convince some of your friends who are going to dress up as zombies anyway to come early.
- Booby Trap Your Bathroom. The bathroom is usually a party-reprieve, where you can go and touch up your witch's warts and get away from that werewolf who won't stop flirting. Don't offer your guests such luxury. Keep your bathroom full of scary schemes: a ghoul who swings down from the ceiling as you open the door, the light switch covered in "guts" made from spaghetti, pumpkin innards and Jell-O. A fake corpse lying in the bathtub. Someone screaming every time the toilet is flushed.
That's right. It's going to be terrifying. Get excited. And comment with more adrenaline-inducing decorations!
Emma Stover is a Halloween junky. She writes for Global Sources, your B2B online resource for everything under the sun, from hardware suppliers to wholesale cosmetics.