Planning an Adult Halloween Party

That's a Scream and a Hoot

This checklist is just what you need for planning an adult Halloween party that's ghoulishly great. It covers all the basics so you can practically lurch along zombielike and still end up with a screaming good time.

1. Plan ahead. Start your planning at least 2 to 3 months out. You'll use every bit of this time creating decorations, looking online for pieces you need, and borrowing items to fill in your decorating holes.

2. Set your theme. It can be one of the classics like our haunted mansion, complete with our adult Halloween party invitations and Halloween party decorating tips, or more modern a la Freddie Kruger. Here's our short list of Halloween theme party ideas:

  • Haunted mansion
  • Witches, trolls, goblins
  • Teenage drive-in movie slasher flics: Friday the 13th, Scary Movie
  • Classic movie: Dracula, Frankenstein, The Mummy
  • Zombies, living dead
  • Classic TV: Munsters, Addams Family

3. Choose decorations. For our party, Halloween decorations are key, so start decorating your house ASAP. That's right, start now. When planning an adult Halloween party you'll need time to borrow items—a silver candelabra for your haunted mansion, for instance—and it may take some time to find these items.

To keep your party unique, try to make as much as you can with your own little hands. These are the things that your guests will find only at your Halloween party. Start with our homemade Halloween decorations and build from there. It's fun...really. Have a few friends over, do it together with snacks and drinks, and the time will fly.

Borrow from friends and family to further keep costs down. I lend out 1 or 2 of my big plastic black cauldrons every year to one friend or another. That's why I have 6! And scour flea markets, craft shows (some of my best things are from craft shows), and the Internet for the rest of your decorations when planning an adult Halloween party.

4. Send invitations. Select the date and get your Halloween party invitations out at least 5 to 6 weeks ahead of time. Give your guests extra time to pull their costumes together, especially if you're asking them to dress within your theme.

5. Get your costume together. You may want to start this when you start decorating. After all, you're the one hosting the party, so you need to make sure your costume reflects a lot of thought and has a LOT of detail. It's best to create your costume from scratch if you can, that way you're sure to be the only one wearing it. We have some nifty last minute halloween costume ideas to keep this as easy as possible. If you can't create your own, it's OK to start with a purchased or rented costume, but don't leave it at that. Add details that will make it truly original.

6. Select party favors. Decide what Halloween party favors you're going to send home with your guests. Something they can use in their own homes is always good. You can find great party favors on our Homemade Halloween Decorations page and on our Halloween Party Snacks page. You can also purchase others at a party store or online.

7. Make the food. Create all of the food you can ahead of time. Our Halloween Party Menus page is full of Halloween party food ideas. Ice cubes with candy eyes or spiders in them can be done weeks in advance (and should so you have a whole bucket of them for the big night). Cookies are also good to do early so you can take the time to decorate them really well. Need still more Halloween food and drink ideas? Check out our Halloween party snacks, Halloween party appetizers, Halloween party punch, and Halloween party drinks.

8. Charge your camera. Be sure to have an extra battery and memory card handy. Leave the camera out so you don't forget to take pictures. After all that goes into planning an adult Halloween party, you want to be sure yours is immortalized! Take a picture as each guest arrives and you'll get at least one of each of your party-goers.

9. Set out party favors. Put your Halloween party favors by the door so they're right there as each guest leaves. A great touch: using an orange ribbon, attach a "thank you for coming" tag to each party favor.

10. Upload your photos. Upload your pictures to Snapfish and share with all of your guests.

Return from Planning an Adult Halloween Party
to Adult Halloween Party Ideas

list of holidays in the fall

Try these spooky drinks
for a boo-tiful party!

black martini
witch's brew

Crunchy party snacks,
yummy party fare!

chestnuts & pals
pumpkin seeds