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How to Plan a Cheap, Fun Halloween Party!

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If you are like me, a holiday party is lots of fun to plan, but when you finally get down to making it happen, you’ll realize a party can get expensive and complicated. You want everything to turn out perfectly and that never happens. People don’t go to a party to make you feel good about the great plan you’ve managed to pull off. Your guests will go to have a good time and you shouldn’t stress out because of it. Here is a way to have a Halloween party that will fulfill your “Holly Housewife” dreams, without breaking the bank or dampening your partygoers’ spirits.

First, if you are hosting the party, clean up your house. The earlier you do this and keep it this way, the less stressed you’ll be when the party day comes around. You’ll be overwhelmed if you have bought decorations the day of and then suddenly find yourself having to clean up and then put up the decorations. Spare yourself the migraine and clean up now.

Next, look up ideas for decorations, recipes, and costumes for the party. If you find creative things you can make them yourself and you won’t have to buy expensive decorations at a craft store. Find the recipes for creative refreshments you can make at home. Pre-made items are usually expensive, so you’ll save money and people will be impressed by how you’ve come up with such unique ideas.

Make a list. Before you take your big shopping trip, make a list of the items you’ll need to buy to set up for your party. Make sure you only put things on the list that you really need. If you find yourself wanting that cute centerpiece in the store that isn’t on your list, just move on. It’s probably too expensive. You could grab some colorful leaves and put them in a bowl as an easy alternative. Chances are your guests won’t notice the difference. Suggestions and cheaper alternatives like this can save your bank account.

Once you have all of your decorations, costume, and recipes thought out, make a guest list and invite people. You can invite your friends through Facebook, but if you want to go the extra mile, send legitimate invitations. People feel special when they receive handwritten invitations and will be more likely to show up. Be specific on these invitations. Make sure you put the where and when on the invitations. If you’re like me, you’ll want them to wear Halloween costumes, so put this on the invitations too. Tell them that they can bring anything they feel would contribute to the party. If you and your guests plan on drinking, add “bring your own booze” to the invitation so that your money isn’t demolished by a trip to the liquor store.

Time to go shopping! Go to the grocery store and get your items that are necessary for your recipes you’ve looked up and are confident in making. Go to the Dollar Store next to save money on cheap decorations that you’ll only use once a year. The Dollar Store often puts its upcoming holiday’s decorations in its first and second aisles, so go straight there to start looking for decorations. Everything here is cheap so you can get many decorations for less money. My suggestion is to get the biggest looking decorations. That way, it will look like you spent a lot of money to make this party great.

Also, try to buy 8-10 pumpkins from a local grocer for the party. These can act as great decorations and later I’ll tell you how they are useful in a friendly little competition for your guests during the party. Don’t put off buying all of these things to the day of. Buy them a few days before so you can plan out where everything will go and you won’t be rushed when making the refreshments.

Make your costume. To save money, go to thrift store and make your own costume. Halloween stores know that you will be scrambling to get a good costume quickly. You will pay handsomely if you wait to get your costume. Prepackaged costumes look more put together obviously, but it’s one night. If you have a well-thought out costume, people will remember. They won’t care how money you spent.

During the party, for entertainment, have one or two activities that your guests can choose from. I suggest watching a movie or having a pumpkin carving contest. If your guests want to watch a movie, make sure you have options when it comes to which movie. Ask around before the party if anyone has scary movies that they want to bring. If no one has any scary movies or all of their options are lame, find someone who has Netflix if you don’t, and have them send off to get some scary classics. Some great movies for this night are Vertigo, Rear Window, The Shining, Psycho, Nightmare on Elm Street, and of course, Halloween. Make sure you make a spooky atmosphere where you and your guests will be watching the movie.

If your guests don’t want to sit around and watch a movie, a fun alternative is to have a pumpkin carving contest. Get the 8-10 pumpkins you have as decorations and have people divide into pairs and have two judges. Set a timer for 20-30 minutes and let people carve! Your guests will have fun with friendly competition and it’ll give them a chance to flex their creative muscles.

Once time is up, have each team set their pumpkins on the porch with candles illuminating their designs. Once all of the pumpkins are set up, have the judges come out and rate them. The judges can pick their favorite based on humor or actual artistic ability. As a prize, let the winners pick one of their favorite decorations from your party. (They don’t have to know they only cost a dollar!)

Have a time limit for the party. Don’t cut it short or anything! Just make sure people leave at a reasonable hour. Remember, in the morning, you’ll be the one that has to clean up all of the decorations, any trash, and any pumpkin guts that accidentally made it onto your floor. Try to have a big trash bin in your house so that people recognize where to throw away garbage and use it.

Finally, be open to suggestions from others for this party! You don’t have to go by the book on planning parties; you want to make them fun, not all structure. If someone else has an idea, let them throw it into the ring. Halloween should be a fun time with your friends, not a chore that you feel obligated to do. I hope these suggestions will help you to plan a fun, easy, and cheap Halloween party that your friends will enjoy!




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About Mary Beth Pearson