So this year, you’ve decided to forego each and every lame college Halloween party and throw your own bash. Kudos! Whether you’re a party planning novice or known around campus as the soiree guru, there are a few extra steps you MUST take for Halloween. Not only do you need a theme (yes, a theme), you have to consider that this holiday can get a little out of control — but that doesn’t mean your gathering needs to get broken up before midnight. These Halloween party ideas and Halloween safety tips are sure to keep you and your guests festive until the wee hours of the morning — that is, if you want them invading your space for that long!
- Get into the theme of things — Make it simple for guests to come up with unique apparel. For a non-scary night, have an around the world theme where guests can dress up as famous movie characters from around the world. For a frightfully good time, have guests dress as their favorite horror movie villains—and suggest they stay in character all night. Encourage couple and group costumes as well by offering prizes (like a $5.00 gift certificate to the local pizza joint) for best solo, best couple and best group attire!
- Lights out! — Lit jack-o-lanterns and eerie illumination are a must for a Halloween bash. However, take some tips from Shelly Marie’s October 25, 2011, article posted to College Lifestyles, “CL’s Halloween Safety Tips,” and blow out the candles whenever they might be unattended. You can also avoid candle hazards entirely and use battery operated candles like flameless tea lights to illuminate the festivities.
- 21 and over, please — It may seem like a downer at first, but if you’re serving alcohol, you must either appoint a friend or hire someone to act as the 21 and over police. Have this person stand near the entrance, ID attendees and stamp the hands of all guests under the legal drinking age. This is for your own protection in case the police decide to crash your bash. Minors will get a drinking ticket and you’ll get one as well for serving.
- Hey, bartender, make me a drink! — Along these same lines, you may want to have a friend or actual bartender making drinks for your guests. In a Willamette University guide “How to hold a Safe Party,” the writer explained, “choosing a reliable ‘bartender’ will help you keep track of the size and number of drinks that guests consume.”
- Beat of a different drum—This is Halloween, so make sure your playlist is filled with eerie music and scary songs to keep your guests chilled all night long. From must-have hits like “Thriller” and “Ghostbusters” to eerie noises that make people jump, keep the party hoppin with the right sounds!
- Alert! Alert! — Regardless of whether you live in a dorm or an apartment, you have neighbors — and they WILL hear your party. So take action before they do. The Dean of Students Office at Illinois State University explained that “Hosting a Responsible Party” means alerting “your neighbors before the day of the party.”
- Time to go — Although your party invites don’t need to specify an ending time, you should have an idea of when to shut the party down and kick out the last few stragglers hanging around the punch bowl. By turning on bright lights and packing up the food, even those who refuse to leave will get the hint! If you have roommates, it’s crucial to discuss an end time prior to starting the party.
- Food and drink and candy, oh my! — Don’t leave your guests wanting anything or you might just find them heading to another shindig. Real Simple’s “Party Planning Made Easy” offers a checklist of must-haves to ensure everyone is still talking about your bash until spring.
- Décor-um — You don’t have to spend hundred of dollars on decorations, but you do need a few staples like black and orange cups, plates and napkins. Pumpkins, too, are a must. Go all out with fog and black lights to take your party to the next level!
- Keep out! — Remember to block off areas of your room or apartment that you don’t want people to venture into. You can put a table in front of the door to your bedroom or spring for an animated werewolf that makes noise anytime someone goes near the laundry room.
Follow these tried and true tips and your Halloween party will go off without a hitch!
Do you have any Halloween party dos or don’ts? We’d love for you to share them!