As Halloween night, you really need to figure a few things out. Your costume, of course, but also a Halloween party. Throw a party that your friends remember (or don’t). Skip the party favors in Halloween-themed plastic bags and go for something a little more #college.
Pumpkins make any fall function better. They add festivity to your party and get everyone in the fall spirit. Encourage guests to bring their own pumpkin for DIY carving if you’re throwing a small party or buy a few just for decoration if you know that no one will actually carve a pumpkin. Trusting all your drunk friends with carving knives could end bad, so invest in a pack of black permanent markers if you know your party is going to be really wild instead. The most creative pumpkin wins a giant cup that should always be filled with some witch’s brew.
Tablecloths turn your cheap beer pong table into a totally festive space for food, drinks or well, beer pong. Tablecloths make your apartment look like you decorated when almost no effort was involved. Plus, you can protect your furniture from inevitable food and drink stains. You can stick with basic black or try something more spooky, but be aware that flip cup can get sticky and leave stains. Don’t try bringing out your great grandmother’s handmade lace tablecloth; your friends won’t be that impressed anyway.
A sugar rush makes any party better, but it’s a necessary for any Halloween party. Since you probably won’t be walking up and down streets trick-or-treating, you have to buy your own candy (I know, being an adult is hard). Candy corn is a classic for Halloween parties, and you could even set up a contest where your friends have to guess the amount in a jar. Offering more alcohol as the winner’s prize always gets drunk college kids’ attention.
4. Skeletons (not real ones of course)
Skeletons definitely creep people out and can turn your apartment into a great party atmosphere. Stand it up somewhere guests can see it when they walk in, and it’ll become an instant conversation starter. It only takes one drunk selfie for the skeleton to become #InstaFamous, so come up with some kind of hashtag for all your friends’ Instagram posts. You could also scare people with it if everyone is drunk (or gullible) enough. But just be prepared for someone to try to dance with it or put clothes on it at some point during the night.
Every good party needs some punch, preferably with plenty of alcohol in it. The booze will be the pricey part, so try to get your friends to BYOB. “To make a great Halloween party, you need strobe lights and liquid nitrogen,” University of Texas-Austin junior Madelyn Guerra said. “Since those things aren’t usually available for college students, the number one ingredient to the best party is alcohol.” Look up some good mixtures online and call it a “witch’s brew” to seem more festive. Just be careful during your taste tests; the host shouldn’t get too trashed.
6. Finger food
Where there’s alcohol, there are snacks. Coat the stomach, am I right? Some of the DIY Halloween snack foods can get really complicated and usually don’t look like the Pinterest example. Plus, there’s no guarantee that they’ll actually be edible. If you’re confident in your artsy food decorating abilities, then go for it and serve up some weird eyeballs. If not, head to the grocery store and pick up some Halloween-themed cupcakes. Just remember not to stress about the food. Your guests will eat practically anything (especially when they’re buzzed), so don’t worry about perfecting your grandma’s homemade chocolate chip cookie recipe.
7. Hanging decor/banners
To turn your apartment into a haunted house, hang up banners and caution tape. You can opt for keeping the décor inside or spread the spirit out your door so everyone knows where the party is. Forget the basic “Happy Halloween!” banner. Snag some sticky fake spider webs and tombstones to set the scene. If you don’t want to seem like you’re trying too hard, just string some good ol’ Christmas lights up. The difference between a good Halloween party and a great one comes down to the details, so don’t be afraid to invest in some black and orange streamers. Your guests will be amazed at your interior decorating skills, and someone might end up wearing your décor by the end of the night (one less thing you have to worry about throwing away).
8. Festive utensils
Buy cheap Halloween paper plates and bowls (depending on what snacks you have) at the dollar store for another way to make it look like you actually made an effort to decorate. If you don’t have a problem with spending a little more money, find a big cauldron or plastic Jack-O-Lantern to put the punch in. This is super typical but also super festive. No one wants to wash dishes the morning after, so disposable utensils and cups are definitely a necessity. You can also guarantee that nobody will throw away your good silverware or break a glass plate.
9. Creepy bugs
This will probably be the easiest decoration you purchase. Buy several bags of creepy bugs or spiders and spread them out all over by the punch bowl or on the beer pong table. Hang the bugs from the ceiling and prank your friends by putting some in the freezer so someone gets freaked out every time they go for ice. Pranks keep everyone laughing and in the Halloween spirit.
Hands down, balloons are the cheapest decoration you can buy. Get a bag of black and orange balloons and blow them up (with helium if you’re really dedicated). Your guests will totally channel their inner kid and hit the balloons like volleyballs, so make sure you put your wine bottle collection out of harm’s way. The downside to balloons is the time it takes to blow each one up, so try offering extra drinks to anyone who wants to help you decorate before the party actually starts.