31 October is the eve of All Saints day and thought to have originated as a pagan Celtic festival of the dead. Scottish children would disguise themselves and go visiting but it is the American immigrants that popularized it to the version of ‘trick or treat’ that we now know today, a throw back to Mischief Night of their homeland. Stock up on small treats for any visiting ghouls and throw a Halloween party for adults or children as the clocks will have gone back and winter is nearly here.
HALLOWEEN PARTY INVITATIONS
Use the shapes below as templates for your Halloween party invitations. Cut out the required number in coloured card or use white card and decorate. Write the details of the party on the back. Include a smaller version in the envelope for guests to RSVP but write RSVP somewhere on it so they get the idea! If you have time, write some of the reply for them so that they only have to fill in their name and whether they can come or not. Click on Halloween Invitation templates to download.
HALLOWEEN PARTY DECORATIONS
Cut out silhouettes of witches and cats in black paper and stick on the walls. Have a few old fashion broomsticks and witches hats lying around the rooms.
Fill some balloons with helium and once tied, attach to string or thin coloured ribbon. Place a piece of white material over the balloon so that it hangs over it and completely covers it (should look like a ghost!) Tie the ones with string to a piece of furniture so that they float in the middle of the room and leave the others to float up to the ceiling, depending on the amount of gas in them. Draw eyes onto the material if desired.
Most supermarkets sell battery operated light-up pumpkins which look great placed around the room & are safer than candles.
Cut out pumpkin faces from orange paper and fix over the front of jam jars with a nightlight in. Take orange and black as your colour theme and use these for the candles, napkins and plates. Halloween themed paper plates and cups can be bought from most supermarkets. Have a pumpkin lantern (see below) as the centrepiece with candles at either end of the table and have others dotted around the room. For childrens parties, just use the pumpkin lantern or remove it to the side of the room for safety. Alternatively, rather than a lantern, draw a face onto pumpkins or satsumas with a black marker pen.
Get the children to help you make Halloween bat decorations (great for a half term rainy day) & arrange around the room. Place on windowsills & shelves or attach with thin elastic & hang from doorways & light fittings.
This papier mache pumpkin from Hobbycraft makes a great spooky decoration. Just cover with strips of orange paper.
For name cards, cut a ghost shape out of white card, draw in 2 eyes with black pen and write a guest’s name on each one.
PUMPKIN JACK O’LANTERNS – originally made and lit to ward off evil spirits. Slice the top off a pumpkin or squash (turnips were originally used, but aren’t as colourful) and scoop out and discard the seeds and stringy pith. Scoop out the flesh leaving a 1cm rim all round. Set the flesh aside for cooking later, if required.
Draw outlines of eyes, nose and a jagged mouth on the pumpkin. Carefully carve around the outlines with a knife, then cut through the skin and flesh. Remove the carved-out pieces taking care not to split the skin. If making more than one lantern, vary the faces. Put a nightlight or small candle inside. If replacing the lid, take care as it may burn. Have someone check the lanterns throughout the evening to make sure they are not fire hazards.
HALLOWEEN PARTY FANCY DRESS
Cut out a circle in black card approximately 20 inches in diameter. Cut out a circle from the centre of this so that it sits easily on your head at forehead level. Cut out a semicircle again 20 inches in diameter andform into a cone. Glue the ends of the cone together. Make cuts around the base of the cone 1 inch in. Place the cone in the middle of the original circle and fold the cuts on the cone under the brim. Glue. Decorate with gold stars if desired.
Wear with a black skirt/trousers, black top and a black cape (use a length of material gathered at one end to go around your shoulders). Make a broomstick by attaching long twigs to a pole with string. For the witch, choose bewteen a Goth look with the make-up or an old hag, warts and all. Don’t forget your wand.
This, along with Dracula, is a popular Halloween party fancy dress choice for men. Buy a pair of red trousers from a charity shop or dye an old pair. Open out a wire coat hanger to use as a tail and cover with red tape. Cut an arrow head out of red card and attach to the end. Cut 2 sets of prongs for the trident out of red card and attach either side of a pole. Also cut out 2 horns and attach to a band or a red baseball cap. Complete with a red shirt.
A nice easy one providing you’ve got an unwanted white sheet. Drape a white sheet over you so that you are completely covered and mark with a pen where to put eye holes. Remove the sheet and cut out the eye holes and draw on a mouth if required. Wear with white gloves available from pharmacists.
Go for the period look of dramatic black cape & white make-up or a modern day version (good for those that don’t like fancy dress). Girls, vamp it up with your sexiest dress. All you need now are the obligatory teeth. Don’t forget you don’t like crosses, garlic and wooden stakes.
HALLOWEEN PARTY FOOD
Cauldron of pumpkin soup (use up the discarded flesh from the lanterns)
Cauldron of baked beans and frankfurter fingers stew (tear the frankfurters in half by hand to create an uneven edge & use a sharp knife to mark finger nails & knuckles)
Eyeball hardboiled eggs
Curly chip intestines
Witch/monster face pizzas
Pumpkin pie with lychee eyeballs
Pumpkin shaped chocolate cake
Individual jellies with sweet creepy crawlies, lychee eyeballs & marzipan fingers
Eyeball cake pops
Halloween Biscuits – click for Severed Finger Biscuits recipe and Meringue Bones (see photo above)
Iced shaped biscuits. There are plenty of halloween cutters around – bats, witches, owls & pumpkins.
Halloween Cupcakes – click for Spiders Web Cupcakes & Ghost Cupcakes recipes
Satsumas piled in a bowl
DRINKS – serve red drinks such as cherryade or cranberry juice to look like blood or blackcurrent juice as witches brew.
Great for party bags, prizes or visiting trick or
treaters, these Halloween chocolates are available from Chocolate Trading Company
Or how about these spooky treats from Cadbury Gifts Direct – Dead Heads, Cauldron’s Mix & Screme Eggs
HALLOWEEN PARTY GAMES
Divide into 2 teams. One team goes behind a sofa or out of the room. One member of this team makes a scary noise such as a witch cackling or a ghost wailing, without the other team seeing them. The team in the room then has to guess which guest made the noise & write it down. Repeat several times and then swop over.
Fill a large bowl with water and an apple for each person. Each guest takes it in turn to lift an apple out of the water without using their hands. Place the bowl on plenty of newspaper before starting and have a towel handy.
Ghosts and Goblins
Split the guests into pairs & see how many words they can make out of GHOST and GOBLIN. Here’s how we did:
host got gosh nob loin oil ling gin lingo big
hog shot ho no long lib glib bin lino
hot so to on glob lob gob bog go
sot go lion log nib nil gib boil
Try it using other words such as pumpkin and halloween.
Start to tell a spooky story and let each guest add a line (don’t make it compulsory).
Hide various small Halloween shapes such as ghost, pumpkin, witch and bat cut out of card, around the house. Give each shape a value and get the children to find as many as possible. At the end, add up the points and give a prize for the most shapes found and also one for the most points. Click on Halloween Treasure Hunt for pictures.
Good for younger children when you’re waiting for them all to arrive or after tea as a calming down game before parents arrive. Each child has a sheet of paper with different pictures on it (each sheet is different). The caller draws a picture from a bag/Halloween bucket, says what it is & shows it to the guests. Each child that has that picture on their sheet ticks it with a pencil or covers it with a bit of paper/a coin or whatever you can find plenty of. This continues until a child has a complete line across, down or diagonally. You can then start again or continue until a sheet has been completed. Give small prizes such as chocolate Halloween shapes to the winners. Click on Halloween Bingo for sheets & calling pictures. Copy & paste the pictures if more sheets are required.
Don’t forget some spooky music!