10 Best Halloween Party Ideas

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10 Best Halloween Party Ideas
Nancy Pfeifer/A to Zebra Celebrations/Style Image Studios

Halloween: It's scary, funny, gory and sweet, all rolled up into one. And when it comes to celebrations for the holiday, children have come to expect more than a plastic jack-o'-lantern filled with fun-size chocolate bars and candy corn. But coordinating an entertaining and creative bash that your children and their friends will rave about doesn't have to mean weeks of hunting down pricey party decorations, days of stressful planning, and giving your debit card a scare. With some interesting party ideas and creative tricks, your Halloween fiesta will be a fun treat for all -- parents included.

Glow in the Dark Party
Kathy Cano-Murillo

Glow in the Dark Party

Use the dark ambiance of the holiday in a way that's fun and keeps energetic hands busy. Glow-in-the-dark products, from puffy paint to stickers, are hot this season and available in almost every color, according to Kathy Cano-Murillo, Phoenix-based artist, author and founder of the Crafty Chica website. "You can either pre-embellish spooky T-shirts or decorations and have them ready to go for your party or have the kids make fun crafts that night," she said. "Either way, once you turn out the lights, everyone will ooh and aah at the results."

More from Kathy Cano-Murillo here.

Zombie Walk
Kathy Cano-Murillo

Zombie Walk

Zombies may have a gruesome reputation, but a little creativity goes a long way toward making them friendlier. Cano-Murillo suggests using face paint to let the kids "zombify" their personality or costume. "If you don't like zombies, you can make it a monster mash and keep the fun personality themes -- like a princess, doctor or sports star -- and use face paint to give them monster makeovers."

Pumpkin-O-Rama
Marisol T. Figueroa/Modishly Delish Events

Pumpkin-O-Rama

Fall's signature produce, the pumpkin, comes in a variety of colors and sizes, making it a versatile accessory and party theme. Marisol T. Figueroa, creative director of Modishly Delish Events Inc. in Miami, likes to decorate white pumpkins and use hollowed-out mini pumpkins -- of any color -- as serving vessels for dips or snacks. She also takes the theme a bit further by filling little dessert cups with a simple pumpkin mousse recipe she found online, adding a homemade touch to the typical snack table.

More Modishly Delish Events here.

Handmade Decor
Marisol T. Figueroa/Modishly Delish Events

Handmade Decor

Want to base the party's theme on unique designs rather than on the mainstream patterns sold at stores? Leave it in your children's hands. Have them draw a ghost, witch or other favorite character on a white sheet of paper, then utilize it as a template to create computer-generated images. Use the images on printed materials or as handmade cutouts for the party's decor. "You can use that same image to create different paper goods, such as cupcake toppers, favor tags, menus and even the invitation to the party," Figueroa says.

Bottles, Ghosts, Mummies, Oh My!
Marisol T. Figueroa/Modishly Delish Events

Bottles, Ghosts, Mummies, Oh My!

Use empty water bottles as festive beverage holders that can double as recycling lessons. Figueroa used one brand's unusually round water bottles as little ghost cups, filling them with milk and leaving their spooky features to the children. "It can be a fun project for the little ones by giving them black card stock or construction paper where they can cut out circles and ovals to create the eyes and mouth of the ghost. Then glue them on, pop in a funky paper straw and voila!" You can use this same method to make mummies with a symmetrically shaped beverage bottle.

Boo Hoot
Cheryl Najafi/CherylStyle

Boo Hoot

Play up the owl with a party theme based on this creature of the night. Cheryl Najafi, author, entertainment expert and CEO of CherylStyle in Phoenix, recommends carving owl faces into pumpkins instead of the typical jack-o'-lantern and turning basic store-bought chocolate cake pops into owl pops with licorice eyes and pumpkin seed feathers. Najafi likes to spruce up drinking glasses with colored felt, buttons and rickrack to make festive "beak-er" cups. "Fill each glass with orange juice and 7-Up and set them on a table topped with an orange tablecloth, decorative tree branches, feather boas and stuffed owls."

More from Cheryl Najafi here.

Spooky Kooky Snacks
Cheryl Najafi/CherylStyle

Spooky Kooky Snacks

A buffet of kid-friendly finger foods can easily become the center of attention at any fete. Najafi's suggestions include making little marshmallow ghosts from jumbo marshmallows and icing and turning simple string cheese into creepy cheese fingers by adding red or green bell pepper fingernails. "Let the little ones get in on the fun by setting out icing and colorful candies and having them decorate their own Halloween-inspired sugar cookies. Add some candy apples and PB&J sandwiches with the crusts cut off, and you are ready to party."

Ghostly Fun
Nancy Pfeifer/A to Zebra Celebrations/Style Image Studios

Ghostly Fun

Create a fiesta that Casper would be proud of. White takeout boxes provide good canvases for ghost faces and sturdy containers for treats, says Nancy Pfeifer, founder of A to Zebra Celebrations in Phoenix. Paint a square piece of foam with orange acrylic paint, add glitter, cut out some letters to spell "BOO" or "EEK," hot glue them on, and use it as a base for marshmallow ghosts on a stick. "Wrap some suckers with a white napkin, glue some googly eyes and tie with a black pipe cleaner or ribbon. It's an adorable ghost!"

http://www.atozebracelebrations.com

Affordable and Easy
Nancy Pfeifer/A to Zebra Celebrations/Style Image Studios

Affordable and Easy

How many super busy moms have the time or energy to make every dessert from scratch or a limitless budget to spend on a smorgasbord of treats? Pfeifer favors dollar stores when shopping for staples like cheddar popcorn, marshmallows, cheese crackers and candies. Her selection of pretty cupcakes disguises the fact that she doesn't bake. "I bought some [brand-name] cupcakes, ready to go. Kids love them just as much," says Pfeifer. "I used some cute cupcake wrappers from my local party store."

Color Coordination
Nancy Pfeifer/A to Zebra Celebrations/Style Image Studios

Color Coordination

Keeping everything chromatically in sync is a subtle yet effective way to complete any theme without needing to purchase a lot of accessories. For her ghost party, Pfeifer opted for orange, black with some chevron patterns, and polka dots here and there. She used the same fun scrapbook paper to make a banner, as well as cones to hold popcorn to further tie everything together. "Buy candy and snacks to match your color scheme," Pfeifer says.

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