Halloween parties are the best. You can put up tons of creepy and fun decor and create your own special spooky treats and drinks just for this occasion. Picking the perfect music is another super entertaining aspect of planning for this type of event. It can be stressful if you have big plans, but with a good party checklist, you won’t need to worry. That way, you can put your energy into preparations and deciding on the ideal costume.
What Is a Halloween Party Checklist?
A Halloween Party Checklist is a fantastic way to get ready for your Halloween party. This simple tool helps you get organized and shop for your party. You should use a list (like this one) that covers every aspect of what you need, from decorations and music to food and drinks. By placing things in simple categories, you can easily ensure you don’t miss anything you need or want to have at your event.
h in some rubber gloves before the event and then placing those to cool off a different-colored fruit punch.
The Ultimate Halloween Party Checklist
The Ultimate Halloween Party Checklist will help you get started and prepare everything you need to have an amazing Halloween party. On the list below, you’ll find each category sorted into a shopping list that you can use to organize your event, so you don’t need to worry about what to look for or overlook any items. All you need to do is check off each item as you go. Feel free to bookmark this page for easy access.
Before you even start looking at the food for your party, you need to consider your guests. It is essential to know your crowd and offer gluten-free, vegan, or even sugar-free options if you have a company coming with special dietary requirements. It’s a good idea to pick out three or four essential yet fun recipes if you plan to cook. Creepy-themed pies are great because they only require some extra pie crust cutting or other fun things like plastic spiders on top. Cakes and cupcakes are the same. Decide in advance whether you plan to offer a full spread or just a few sweets. It’s also a good idea to have some savory munchies like chips.
- A candy bowl is a must-have for any Halloween party. You can use a plastic pumpkin or get fancy with mini coffins and other fun ideas.
- Get napkins. You’ll need them.
- Serving dishes are essential. Go with plastic or themed containers rather than the glass and metal you’d bring out for a dinner party.
- Small disposable plates for people to put food on
- You can easily upgrade savory snacks like vegetable and cheese trays for the theme by adding plastic spiders or cutting the top of a plastic Halloween skull and putting a bowl of dip inside.
- Chips and crackers or small slices of bread or toast are great
- Cold Cuts can go under a repurposed ribcage from a plastic skeleton
- Desserts should be the most significant part of this candy-heavy holiday. Sort them out in categories by type of dietary needs, so they are easy to find and decorate with anything creepy like gummy worms or eyeballs.
- For non-cooks, head to the local bakery or grocery store and get a Halloween sheet cake or some decorated sugar cookies.
- Don’t be afraid to get creative with pies, Creme Brulee, or pudding that has a layer of strawberry preserves in the middle. This is one party where you should have as much fun coming up with spooky-treat ideas as possible. Anything that brings out your inner witch or mad scientist is perfect.
Pro Tip: A hollowed-out pumpkin works well for a dip, salsa, or other semi-liquids like a jello salad, but don’t stop there. You can carve a watermelon, serve the insides as punch or food and put candy or an electric candle inside.
If you want people to come and stay at your party, then it is essential to have lots of drinks. People who are dancing and socializing need to stay hydrated. This is especially important in the south, where Halloween may still be a warm-weather event.
- Punch Bowl (or a pumpkin, or cauldron) and ladle
- Ice chest (or a cauldron)
- Canned beverages, soda, or beer depending on the crowd
- Water bottles
- A nice punch, whether alcoholic or not, is a great reason to float a few fun Halloween-themed ice cubes.
- If you choose to have a bar, you’ll need a bartender, a table, and a few simple drinks. Come up with 2-3 cocktails and offer 2-3 shots. Beer on tap from a keg is also a good option at the bar.
Pro Tip: Consider freezing a red premade fruit punch in some rubber gloves before the event and then placing those to cool off a different-colored fruit punch.
A few simple guest accommodations can help elevate your party to the next level. Some things are obvious, like seating, but others are more options, such as making swag bags for people to take home.
- Chairs and seating are essential for guests
- Make sure you have a cleared space for dancing
- Pick a room for the coats and purses so people can take them off and show their Halloween regalia.
- Stock up on toilet paper, so your party guests don’t have to worry about bathroom breaks.
- Consider putting up signs pointing the way to food, drinks, and the bathroom out of courtesy.
- Swag bags are a popular item. Much like children’s party favors for a birthday party, you may want to set out a table of small bags with candy or silly items like plastic costume jewelry. Some hosts even opt for tiny liquor bottles at adult parties.
- Make sure there are heated or cooled areas for people to relax, depending on the weather.
- Place some simple masks on a table where people will see them coming in and encourage anyone who isn’t dressed up (or everyone) to put on a mask and join the fun.
Pro Tip: Always set up a basket of feminine hygiene products for any ladies who need them.
Decorating inside is a must for any Halloween party. The creepier it is, the better. This is where you can go basic with red, orange, and black, or get wild and redecorate everything in your home, depending on your time, energy, and budget before the event.
- Set up the music and pick your playlist.
- Black or red lightbulbs make a perfect ambient decoration and require minimal effort.
- Spider webs are easy to put up and can cover a lot of space
- Pumpkins are always a good way to decorate. You can carve, paint or leave them plain. For a humorous take on the classic Halloween, pumpkins get some second-hand Mr. Potatoheads and stick their eyes, mouths, mustaches, and ears on more miniature pumpkins.
- Choose a basic themed table cover for all your tables. Doing this will protect them from drink rings and make them look great.
- You can get fancy with light displays or just print off a few creepy pictures and swap them out for anything you already have hanging in a frame on the walls.
- Set up electric candles. Never use real fire at a party with kids or alcohol.
Pro Tip: Put away the breakables and valuables. You don’t want to worry about anything you love getting damaged, so put it up so no one can accidentally harm it.
People should know they’re in the right place before they ever reach your front door. Start with spider webs because they are easy, but then you need to branch out into a bigger, better theme. If you’re not big on decorating, consider making enormous ‘evil’ or ‘mean’ eyes and a wicked grin out of paper or cardboard to put on your house or rent an inflatable instead of going wild. You can also use a themed projector for a super simple spooky upgrade. For those who want to do it all, it’s time to break out the ghosts for the eaves and trees or that skeleton collection you use every year. A good graveyard made of foam boards and spray paint is a fast and easy option because all you need is paint, a heat knife, duct tape, and some stakes. Toss in a couple of gloved or skeletal hands, and you have a graveyard that won’t take long to make or take down.
- First Aid Kit
- Put horror movies on TV or computer screens and then stash the remotes or mice so no one can change them. Make sure the volume is low or off with subtitles on.
- Make sure you have paper towels, a mop, and a broom ready to go in case of any unexpected messes.
- Don’t forget your costume. It’s easy to get overwhelmed and only realize at the last minute that you have nothing to wear.
Pro Tip: Set up a spooky photo booth with a fun painted creepy tree or haunted castle backdrop using a little cardboard, or make monster bodies with cutout heads like you might see at the fair.
A good Halloween party is a ton of fun. There are lights, costumes, silly music, and lots of sugary treats to go around. Even with the Ultimate Halloween Party Checklist at your disposal, you may have a few more questions. Here are a few of the most frequently asked questions about Halloween parties.
Unless you are hosting a party for school children or little ones who are going trick-or-treating afterward (or instead), your party should start around dusk. For a school group or a trunk-or-treat event where the party is a precursor to going out or alternative, shoot for around 2 to 3 pm while it is still light. Older school kids can start at the same time or an hour later. High school parties should begin around 4 to 5 pm before it’s very dark but late enough for kids to get dressed in more complex costumes. 6 pm is the earliest for family groups, but 7 is better so anyone with small children can go out and trick-or-treat. For college-age and above, you’ll want a later start between 7 and 9 pm.
The length of your Halloween party should depend on the guests. If you have children over for a kid’s party, 2-3 hours is plenty of time for a few fun games and some sugary sweets. When you have a mixed-age party with families or a high school group, shoot for 3-4 hours like a standard party. The adults will help keep the kids in line and appreciate having more time to socialize. Finally, a more extended party is in order if you are having a party for college kids or those up to around 30 years old. Start anytime after dusk, and plan to go until 12-2 am with more music and drinks.
It’s okay to serve ordinary hors d’oeuvre and desserts at a Halloween party, but the fare is generally more fun and colorful. Beautifully decorated cookies and things with a candy theme are a simple option for those who do not wish to strain their imagination and culinary skills. Anyone can wrap a sweet or savory treat in a bit of cellophane and ribbon to make it look like giant hard candy, after all. However, the best Halloween parties always have spooky or even gross-themed snacks. Ladyfingers with almond slice fingernails and red strawberry sauce on their ‘severed’ ends are a fun option.
A genuinely excellent Halloween party needs a little something extra to give it that spark, so people keep talking about it until the following year. For some people, it’s all about turning the house into a haunted setting, while, for others, it can be an epic creative spread of tasty spooky treats. So break out the spider webs and don’t be afraid to go wild on this one because Halloween is supposed to be a little scary and a whole lot of fun. Decorate the bathroom with fake blood drips coming from the ceiling and get that creepy shower curtain you always wanted (but not all the time). Set up a projector that does ghostly images. Halloween is the one night of the year when you can wear what you want, do your best mad scientist evil laughter, and people will appreciate it.