BOO! Autumn is soon approaching and that means it is time to start thinking about your Halloween festivities. With the rising costs of food, gas and entertainment, you may be hesitant to fork out the cash to host your own killer Halloween bash. Hosting a party takes time and planning but it does not have to hurt your wallet. If you follow my tried and true tips, you will be able to host a fabulous Halloween party without going broke.
The first thing you will need to do is set your theme. The theme of your party will decide how you would like guests to dress up and it will also help you decide other things like décor. Some popular theme suggestions are: heroes and heroines, celebrities, adult humor, or masquerade.
Once you’ve picked a theme, you’ll need to decide on food so you can include that information on your invitations. From my experience, the most cost effective way to serve food is to stick with hors d’oeuvres only. There are several recipes on the web for spooky or novelty finger foods. Think cocktail wiener “fingers” and “bat wing” chicken wings. Check out warehouse stores to buy food in bulk for the best savings. Don’t forget to check your newspaper for coupons first.
For refreshments, you can make a huge bowl or two of non-alcoholic punch using fruit juice and citrus soda. Look at thrift stores for punch bowl sets. I see them almost every time I step into a Goodwill store.
If you plan on serving alcohol, decide on a single themed cocktail to serve instead of providing a full bar. One of my favorite Halloween cocktails is the Zombie of course! Ask an outgoing friend to be bartender for the evening.
After you have decided on a theme and refreshments, you’ll need to send out invitations. If you are a traditionalist, get busy making your own creative snail mail invitations by hand. To save money, use materials you already have around the house. Recruit a creative friend or teen to help out. If you prefer to really save money AND time, send out e-mail invitations. There are free e-mail invite websites that allow you to send out your invitation and keep track of your RSVPs.
Now that the invites are in the mail, it’s time to start looking for decorations. Your best bet will be thrift stores and dollar stores. I like the fake spider webbing because it can cover and hide a lot of items in your home. Black light bulbs are cheap and add to the mood. Ask a family member to dust off some decorations out of the attic. The best time to buy decorations on the cheap is always right after a holiday. After Halloween, be sure to stock up for next year’s party.
For mood music, you have a couple wallet friendly options. We all have the friend or sibling with the headphones constantly in his ears. Find out from that person how you can load up an MP3 player with music and play it through speakers. You can also make your own mix CDs of the usual seasonal favorites like “Monster Mash”. Halloween sound files and songs can be found online for free or nearly free.
One of the neatest ways to entertain is to have someone read Tarot cards at your party. A pack of Tarot cards can be bought for less than $10. Or, depending on your circle of friends, someone may already have a deck. Whether you believe in the legitimacy of Tarot or not, your guests will have a blast learning their fates. If this is not up your alley, stick with the classic kiddie game favorites to avoid spending a lot. Bobbing for apples really is challenging and doesn’t require you to charge up your VISA. A bag of apples and a bucket is all you need.
So, what are you waiting for? With some careful planning and a little time, you can host a fabulous party that your guests are sure to talk about for a long time. Only you will know that you didn’t spend a ton of money!