Decorating for the Complete Halloween Experience
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Decorating for the Complete Halloween Experience

By Jenna Hughes

Whether you hold a Halloween gathering every year or you are excited to throw your first bash this October, we have the scoop on what will make your party a spook-tacular event!

Halloween Jack-O-Lantern and party drinkIt is hard not to love Halloween. The holiday has evolved into a cheerful month long celebration of the wacky, weird, and fantastic. Second only to Christmas, Halloween is one of America�s favorite holidays to celebrate with elaborate parties and amazing decorations.

Decorating your Halloween party venue (for example your living room, garage, basement, or barn) to the nines is an absolute must. Guests want to be transported into a whole new world � whether it is one that is creepily cute, gory and scary, or slightly macabre with that popular Victorian Gothic twist. Party hosts and hostesses should know their audience and cater to them. This is easy to do if you think of your party as split up into several different 'stations' or focal points. The entrance, refreshment table or food station, the entertainment area, and if you are ambitious you can also decorate the restrooms or a separate area devoted to a mini side-show or 'haunted house.'

Set the Mood with a Fabulous Entryway - If your guests arrive in a great mood, they will carry that into your party. It is particularly important to set that mood from the minute they step into your venue � or even better, from the minute they step out of their cars. Even something as simple as a few fake cobwebs can get guests into the Halloween spirit. For dramatic effect, add a track of spooky sounds or music, along with a fog machine or a little dry ice. You can also set out a fake skeleton in a chair by the door to hold a bowl of candy or party favors. Encourage your guests to take one� if they dare! Package your party favors in personalized Halloween themed favor bags custom printed with a creepy quote, compliments of the hosts.

Refreshment and Appetizer Table - The refreshment table will be your guest�s next stop. Give all of your food a sinister twist, even if it is simply potato chips and punch. Set out little signs renaming these mundane foods. Cider becomes 'witches brew' served in bowl set inside a hollowed out pumpkin and some dry ice. Potato Chips become �zombie skin,� while the old standby pigs-in-a-blanket gives new meaning to 'finger food'. Halloween inspired party supplies are a must! Simple things, like spookily styled Halloween napkins and cups will dress up your tables and make sure the Halloween mood is carried throughout the party.

Music and Lighting - Music and lighting are the easiest and most effective ways to create that creepy Halloween atmosphere for your guests. Surround the dance floor or main room with spooky lights or carved pumpkins lit with battery operated led votive candles. Halloween songs can be played softly to serve as background music or more loudly to encourage guests to dance. Projecting old black and white monster movies onto the walls and ceilings will give a strobe light effect that gives guests flashes of creepy scenes. By using iconic old black and white films and keeping them silent, you will set the tone without getting too gory or frightening your more sensitive guests.

Give Your Party Room To Grow - Your guests will probably wander into a few different areas. They may go outside to smoke or take their food into a less crowded room. Guests love it when the party extends into every room they enter. The restrooms are often forgotten, but so easily decorated! Dim the lights and add a few jack-o-lanterns to the counter to set the tone. Cobwebs on the faucet handles are a nice touch as well. Next to the sink, you can place Halloween themed guest towels that are not only more sanitary and convenient than cloth towels, but also add to the overall mood of the room. To keep guests out of private areas, simply rope them off in a creative way with crime scene tape or a sign that promises an untimely fate to all who enter. You can really only get away with this type of behavior on Halloween, so take advantage of it!

Create a Haunted House or Freak Show - To give your guests a complete experience, create a haunted house or freak show in your house, basement, garage, or back yard. It doesn�t need to actually be scary. Guests often appreciate silliness and are more comfortable laughing than being frightened. The standard peeled grape eye-balls and spaghetti bowl of worms might seem like lame special effects, but guests will love the nod to tradition � especially if it is obvious that the pranks are meant to be silly. You can turn your apothecary chest or dining room hutch into a mini freak show displaying mysterious items floating jars, shrunken (doll) heads, and other such things that can be easily made or purchased from a party store. You could even fill a Halloween gift bag with freakish novelties and treats to send home with your guests.

There is really no way to go too far when decorating for your Halloween party. Give free reign to your imagination. This is one of the reasons people love the holiday so much. If you start planning now, you could have the biggest, most memorable, Halloween bash planned weeks in advance. Then all you will need to do is sit back and watch the pumpkins grow.

About the Author - Jenna is a writer and product developer for My Wedding Reception My Wedding Reception Ideas specializes in personalized party supplies, wedding favors and accessories, as well as customizable gifts. For more personalized Halloween party favors ideas visit

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