How To Plan a Rockin’ Halloween Party

There’s no greater joy than watching someone make memories in a home that I’ve helped them find! That said, what better way to make memories than to throw a killer Halloween Party!? In doing research for my own extravagant Halloween party (hopefully), I found some pretty cool tips that have helped my brain start ticking. I hope you all can find ways to use them and then tweet me photos =).

Choose a theme: 

I personally think the more specific, the better. Just choosing “scary” as a theme is pretty boring, unoriginal and doesn’t allow you to get creative or your guests to get into it. Also, choosing a theme really helps with decor. If it compliments, it’s a keeper! Which leads me to my next tip, build your world first and let all else compliment it.

For example, if you’ve chosen the theme of “crime scene (think CSI),” you could turn a section of your home into a bloody crime scene, followed by another area (likely the kitchen, or wherever you plan on serving food and drinks) into a lab where “forensic scientists” are mixing interesting cocktails and serving them in test tubes.

Or, perhaps you pick a specific scary film or TV show that you love and work on turning your home/yard into a specific part of the plot that everyone will recognize and therefore get a kick out of. Finding ways to be as specific as possible is the object of the game. If you’re successful, your guests will be wowed and you’ll be setting yourself up for a successful event.


We’ve all been to the boring schmoozing parties. Good news is, they happen all year so don’t feel obligated to turn Halloween into another. Halloween is designed for kids, so act like one! Find a way to incorporate a game.

To go with the crime scene theme, maybe you’ve hidden clues and the object of the game is to solve the crime? Or perhaps, you have an iron chef style mixology competition in your fancy forensic lab with your fancy test-tube props? The judges can even wear lab coats!….over the top?

If you can’t think of a game that suits your theme, don’t worry too much about it; find a series of fun drinking games and people will still have a blast! Just remember to enjoy Halloween like a kid and you’re good to go.

Surprise ’em!

No time like Halloween to knock your guests off their feet. I would incorporate a surprise somewhere in your creatively constructed Halloween world… even if means your husband is hiding and he jumps out at your guests, a scare is all anyone wants on Halloween!

The crime scene theme offers an obvious (maybe too predictable?) surprise, perhaps there’s a dead body in your crime scene (a.k.a, your spouse) that appears fake and planted but actually grabs his/her investigators (a.k.a., your party guests!). Or maybe you actually build a haunted fort in your backyard where guests can explore (this could actually be where your crime scene is located), and have a few surprises along the way to get their goose bumps prickling.

If your significant other isn’t into jumping out on guests, explore using pre-programmed, realistic screams (you can do this with your computer) to startle guests. Or, my personal favorite, unexpectedly turn off all lighting as your guests are exploring your backyard fort so they have absolutely no idea where they are, where they’re going and what’s going to happen next. Taking their ability to see out of the equation opens all sorts of doors for ways to knock their socks off.


Sound can be an incredible element to a themed party, but it can also be costly. The trick of the matter is to incorporate an authentic sound as opposed to something so clearly artificial, ie: fake ghosts saying “ooooohhh” over and over again in the background kind of screams unimpressive. It will really put your party on a different level if you can find something authentic.

For example, maybe you and your husband/wife record the murder (meaning, C.S.I. quality voice over) at your crime scene themed party and have it play as a mood setter as people are walking in? Now, people can and will get really into this and visit a recording studio with all sorts of horrifying effects, which will of course cost a pretty penny, but I’m sure there’s a way to get this done with Garageband or some Iphone app!


I’m a huge advocate of making a special menu, but, I get it, it’s a lot of work! That said, even if you had one special cocktail that compliments the evening and made everything else your regular bar menu item, it gives you another opportunity to be specific in your theme. Keep in mind that the way you serve your drinks/appetizers can also get the job done — ie., if your theme is “witches,” you could serve a green drink out of a witches cauldron! Maybe you fill the “potion” with plastic spiders and mice so that the witch’s secret ingredients (a.k.a., friendly plastic toys) end up in your guests’ drinks — that could be fun, right?

Here are some recipes to get the juices flowing (no pun intended):

Halloween Dwinkies by HGTV

19 Halloween Party Appetizers and Drinks by Southern Living

Spooky Snacks and Devilish Drinks by

Shrimp Brain Cocktail, Monster Mucous and Other Fun Snacks by


Sometimes spending 100$ on one item and then no more than 5$ on everything else is totally fine. Maybe you rent a smoke machine (I’m a sucker for a good smoke machine), and then everything else is from the dollar store! There’s no reason why this has to cost you a fortune, but being creative and going the extra mile will definitely make the difference. Also, don’t underestimate what you can accomplish with your computer. Recording yourself dong a murder scene isn’t actually that difficult as long as you can keep yourself from laughing! And please, there must be an app somewhere that can turn lights off on your command…..right?….no? (please tweet me the app if you find it!)

Furthermore, emailing friends and asking them to contribute specific items when they attend your party can also cut a ton off the budget. For instance, if you make up some awesome drink recipes to compliment your awesome theme, don’t be afraid to ask friends to bring the ingredients you need.

Have a blast and tweet us @CurbsideInDC so we can see what you come up with!


Screenshot 2014-10-16 19.25.32

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