A freelance writer living in Perth, WA. My blog is coming soon. Watch this space!
Published October 2nd 2011
Even though Halloween is still a month away, there is a lot to get done if you are planning on having a party. While it is not as popular here as it is in America, it is not just an American holiday.
Halloween is an old Celtic tradition, based on the pagan holday Samhain (or Samuin), where it was believed that the veil to the Otherworld is at it's thinnest. It is also known as All Hallows Eve, or A spirit night (in Wales only). To help celebrate this night, many people dress up and go trick or treating. Other people host a party, and these ten points should help you to host a great Halloween party.
Carving pumpkins may be a messy job, but it is a lot of fun to do. There are some simple steps to carving a pumpkin: Cut a hand sized circle in the top of the pumpkin, then scoop out all the guts, leaving the inside of the pumpkin smooth and free of seeds and pips. Then draw on whatever face you want with a thin pen. Finally cut out the drawn-on face with a sharp carving or pearing knife, pop in a tea light candle (to dry the pumpkin out, leave the candle burning for 24 hours), pop the top back on, and you've made a scary and brilliant Halloween decoration.
You can also use capsicums for a different effect.
Try having a row of them out the front, with different faces. At night it is really effective.
2. Decorate your house
As well as the Jack-o-lanterns, make sure to stock up on fake spiders webs, skeletons, fake blood and other Halloween decorations that are available at many stores.
For maximum effect don't go overboard with the spiders webs: drape them over a lot of things, but make them thin. There's nothing less effective than a clump of obviously fake spiders webs everywhere.
Have your skeletons hidden out of sight for the best frights. Or rig them to drop from doorways so that when the doors are opened, then drop down on your victims.
If you cant afford real fake blood then use red food colouring that isn't watered down. splash it around outside or leave it in a puddle with a false severed hand in the centre of the puddle.
A simple one really: as well as soft dronks, juices, waters and alcohol, why not make a Halloween punch? You can even add food colouring to make it blood red for that spooky touch.
Obviously you need finger foods as well as snacks, but what you could do for something different is serve Halloween inspired food. Serve bread sticks for bones, a boiled egg (or a pickled onion) as eyes, spaghetti for brains and of course, meat for organs. Really with your imagination, you could make anything spooky.
To make the food more interesting, then why not make a game of it. Blindfold your guests and then tell them they are eating brains, organs, bones and eyeballs. Then watch them squirm.
By either dulling the lights or using low wattage coloured bulbs, you can make the whole house seem spooky and dangerous. Or use a black light if you are dressing up as a skeleton to make you look more like a skeleton.
Use pre-recorded spooky sounds of people screaming, cackling, groaning and moaning for an atmospheric fear.
After the original terror though, why not play just some 'normal' music or some Halloween themed songs. Try 'The Monster Mash' or 'Thriller' or something from 'The Rocky Horror Picture Show'. All are good, fun songs.
Have bobbing for apples, the food game or pin the tail on the werewolf games set up to give your guests something to do. It doesn't matter what their ages are, if the games are fun they will join in.
Try giving out a small award for the best costume, the spookiest costume and so forth. Allow people to vote for them, and try to give awards to more than one person. If your budget allows it or you don't have too many people at your party, why not give one to everyone?
9. Gift Bags
Everyone loves lollies, candy and sweets at Halloween. So why not give all your guests a little gift bag for their evening, full of sweets and toffee apples. No matter their age, everyone loves a gift bag of lollies.
As the host, your costume is an important one. You could go for a classic scary one, like a vampire, witch or mummy. Or you could dress up as your favourite character from a book/movie. Or perhaps you could go as a different professional (nurse, pilot, nun).
Try getting a friend to dress up as a scarecrow and have him stand still in the garden. Then, when people get near, he can move and scare them.
Whatever costume you choose, try looking at your local costume store for some ideas.
No matter whether you are hosting or attending, the biggest thing you should do is have fun. So enjoy yourself this Halloween at a great party.