By Tricia Y. Petrinovich
There are two reasons (in my mind) why Halloween parties can rarely go wrong: costumes and candy. I’ve never outgrown either one, which is not saying much as I still play with Hot Wheels and like to color. Maybe it’s the fun of rummaging through closets trying to figure out how to turn a pin-striped shirt, cut-off shorts and gladiator sandals into a killer pirate costume. We certainly could never afford to buy or rent costumes when I was growing up, not that there was much to choose from (some of you will be old enough to remember the sheet of plastic you pulled over your head that had a picture of a costume on it. LAME.) Every closet in the house was fair game and creativity had to come to the forefront. The goal was to turn “nothing” into “something,” without MacGyver around to help. And as far as Halloween candy, I think the reason I love it is that I can delude myself into thinking that the 44 fun-size Snickers I inhaled were the “rough equivalent” of a full size candy bar. I can be in denial that way. The point is that October festivities can be a blast.
If you can’t pull off trick-or-treating without the neighbor’s yelling at you – they frown on those of us practically-AARP-eligible-adults ringing their doorbells (I’ve heard) – then you should consider throwing a kick butt Halloween party for other friends who also shouldn’t be loading their pillowcases with Crunch bars at the neighbors’ houses. But I can sense your hesitation. You are wondering, even now, exactly how to plan a fun Halloween party. I get it – you need me. Here are some of my suggestions to put the “Wee!” in Halloween:
Consider a Theme
It’s always fun to irritate people with an annoying theme that you can carry throughout the whole event until everyone wants to vomit. I’ve done this a lot, which might explain why everyone has a conflicting event the night of my parties. Still, if you are clever enough, they’ll have a hard time discerning between brilliance and stupidity. You can do a decade party, a western theme, even a Hollywood glam event where people dress like their favorite celebrity. Or, come up with your own scary theme. For example, why not do a “Bone Bash?” Everyone dresses as skeletons, you play “Pin the tailbone on the donkey,” or Operation, and the prize for the games is a bone-in ham. Make food in the shape of tibias and clavicles, and if anyone groans, just tell them it’s meant to be humerus.
Be a Gamer
A great way to get everyone to interact, have a blast, and possibly start an entertaining hockey-esque brawl is to pull out Catch Phrase, Taboo or another box game party favorite. Or make up your own list for a rousing game of Halloween-themed charades using scary movie titles, books and phrases. Our household favorite is a relay race game where you divide the group into teams of about four, equal parts men and women. The women have their purses with them, and the men have their wallets. You create a “running path” between you and where the teams are (move all breakables – this one gets wild!) and then use your pre-written list of at least 30 items. You simply start calling out things from your list. For example, say you want “the first man with a breathmint in his ear.” Women scramble through purses, a man from each team tips his head with a Breathsaver or Tic Tac in it and bolts for the front. For a holiday item, you could say “the first person with a picture of a skeleton.” Some will grab paper and draw, others will pull up an image from the Web on their Smart phones. Creativity abounds! Other ideas for items? A man with lipstick, a woman with a man’s shoes on, anyone with an espresso punch card, or someone with a safety pin stuck in his shirt. At one party I said “the first man with a mirror,” expecting women to dig for makeup compacts for the guys. One man saw a quicker way – he ran up and took a mirror of mine off the wall and held it out to me! Hey, now there’s a creative guy I need when I’m trying to figure out how to make a Pocohontas costume entirely out of tube socks. In any event, the first team to the front with the item gets 3 points, the second gets 2 and the third gets 1. Any team after that gets 0 and the team with the most points at the end of the list wins.
Go Big on the Trickery
The pendulum always swings in favor of treats. But don’t underestimate the fun of putting blue food coloring in the drinks, or floating a fake eyeball in someone’s glass. Change nametags all around and be generous with the fake spiders and plastic vomit. And hello – remote control fart machine? Always a party favorite.
The key to having a great Halloween party for you and your other adult friends is to err on the side of making it a little immature. And why not? Your friend (the CPA) is dressed up like The Incredible Hulk and won’t stop playing with the fart machine.
I know this is all sheer genius. You are welcome. If you must know, my inspiration comes from chocolate and I am now on my 45th – ope, make that 46th – fun-size Snickers bar.