Dark Autumn Week: Planning a Halloween Party

Spend your money on booze and food. Forget spending it on outrageous decorations. Pick a theme that allows for an assortment of "found" things.

For example, if you want to have a castle, do this cheap alternative - start collecting cardboard boxes way ahead of time to construct and paint a structure of your own making. It's almost free. Some people get paper that looks like castle walls to cover their walls. Nope. Get cardboard, cut the boxes apart, attach to the wall with tacks. Now, take a knife and carve blocks out of it. Don't cut all the way through. Take a big car sponge and a tin pan with some gray paint in it and sponge it onto the squares. You now have castle walls that cost you a jar of paint and a sponge.

When I planned this party, the theme was Postapocalyptic Graveyard and the invites looked like a nuclear holocaust. I put a sign on the front door, routing people into the backyard side gate. They entered past caution tape and lots of nuclear radiation symbols into a yard lit by a black light and tons of crosses pounded into the ground painted with florescent paint. A nuclear graveyard. The crosses were made by taking down some old lattices I had for plants and pounding them into crosses. Florescent paint at the store - 99 cents a jar, took about 2 jars. Black light was 9.99 at Spirit Halloween.

The guy above was on the end of the graveyard, a sentinel with a gas mask and a radiation symbol. No cost.

Then, folks entered the pool area. I put a piece of green plastic over the pool light to make it bright neon green in the water. Floating on the surface were empty water jugs (no cost, drank the water) and they had extra fluorescent green paint put inside and rolled around with radiation symbols on them floating on the surface. With styrofoam balls and black paint and black pipecleaners, I made giant spiders all over the walls around the pool. Radiation size!

The back patio near the pool was the food spread and a wheelbarrel filled with ice and booze (see menu below).  The patio was lined with old sheets that were tea died and the edges torn off to look ancient.

Entering the main yard, there was a bonfire going in the fire pit, chairs everywhere. A Reeper, a ghost, 

a graveyard, and tons of baby dolls in front of the shed where a creep doll animation movie by Brothers Quay played against the wall of the shed and house, including the real dolls with the movie ones. Inside, the band room was open and musicians came and went to play. The bathroom was set up with bloody hand prints and the walls covered in printouts of celebrity autopsy reports and criminal reports for killings.

Open music room for jamming

... a Halloween party isn't complete without a drunk pirate tambourine dude.


White Pizza Dip
1 envelope of Knorr’s herb and garlic pasta mix (in dried seasoning section near dried spaghetti mixes and dried chili mix packets)
½ lb (8 oz) sour cream ½ lb ricotta cheese (8 oz)
1 oz pepperoni chopped 1 c. shredded mozzarella
1 loaf of french bread or italian or baguette bread sliced
Preheat oven to 350. Combine all with ¾ c. mozzarella and sprinkle rest of mozzarella on top. Cook x 30 mins. Serve with bread dippers.

Build Your Own Nachos
Crockpots with melted velveeta in one, and heated chili with no beans in another. Basket of tortilla chips. Paper bowls. Little containers with sour cream, guacamole, green chilies, pickled banana peppers, diced tomatoes.

Dips and Dippers
Container of black bean dip, container of hummus
Carrot, celery, and grape tomato dippers, as well as baked pita dippers

Italian Lovers Pumpkin
Hollow out pumpkin, put ice inside and then a container that fits in the hole filled with marinara sauce.
Take chunks of pepperoni and fresh mozzarella and place on toothpicks and stick into the side of the pumpkin.

Dessert: Brownies, cookies on the drink table, along with Halloween candy scattered on the tables.

white wine, port, water, sodas, and beers, and this punch:

Apple Pie Punch
Apple cider, spiced rum, and hot cinnamon schnapps to taste, floating slices of apple on top and a red vine straw in the cups.