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Hello! I'm so glad there is an entire forum for "crazies" like me that start planning for Halloween early on...since like November 1st!?

So this year will be my first full-blown Halloween bash. I have a small space and most of my friend's are not into Halloween like me, so I'm having trouble deciding what kind of party to throw.

The theme I am toying with is definitely ghosts/haunted house. I am thinking of something along the lines of "true love never dies" So I somehow want to incorporate love and ghost into the them. This is where the struggle starts. What should be my theme be? I don't know if I should even have a theme/costumes guest should adhere to since they are not into it like I am.

As you can see, I'm very confused! Any suggestions for what route I should take and what themes I could use? I'm open to ANYTHING that's haunted house/ghost themed. Thanks!
 

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Personally, from a guest perspective they would need to understand the story line...I was thinking at the doorway the guest will be greeted with the male and female corpse...as they enter they will see things like pictures or statements...all around the place...letting them put the story together...OR!!!!!...you could use charcters from movies like my favorite Nightmare before Christmas or...The Corpse Bride...making a banner true love never dies over them...it might be a cliche but it does incorporate love and ghost...if you want to use more traditional characters you can use The Addams Family...ot The Munsters....and decorate the party with these chaaracters in mind..I hope this will be helpful.
 

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Shadow Crosser
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Personally, from a guest perspective they would need to understand the story line...I was thinking at the doorway the guest will be greeted with the male and female corpse...as they enter they will see things like pictures or statements...all around the place...letting them put the story together...
I like this idea, you could have old love letters and dead roses lying around. If you feel your guests would have a problem doing full blown costumes, have them dress as the dead or ghosts...These are pretty easy to do with an old set of your regular cloths.

How about have several dead props (skele's and body's) and have clues around so your guest have to figure out and match the pairs.

As an Ice breaker (when I have a set of guests that don't all know each other) I like to play the "Who am I?" game. This is where you write down famous characters on 3X5 cards and pin one on the back of each guest so they can't see and then they ask Yes/No answer questions of the other guests to try and figure out who they are. It's an easy game and lossens everyone up. You could use famous love story couples as the characters or famous murderers.
 

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livin Halloween every day
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Both great ideas, The only thing i might add is of course ghost props and decorations. The scene setters have some cool easy to use ghost and cemetary type decorations. A flying crank ghost prop comes to mind also. I would send out invitations with a story of the true love never dies theme and encourage people to dress up and join the fun but not make the costume mandatory. I think the corpse bride greeter idea is awesome. I would also have ghostly or mournful music playing throughout the house.
 

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One thing I would disagree with is 'Want to make it the BEST!'

At your first attempt, I would do the best you can...let your friends in gently...don't try and make it too complicated...get them used to the idea of the Halloween party, then each year you can make it better. If you make it the best the first time, where do you go from there? Encourage them to join in with the 'spirit' of Halloween, help them with ideas for costumes, use examples from films, even non-traditional love stories maybe, such as between Igor and Dr Frankenstein!!

Decorate the house on the theme of true love, maybe the lovers owned your house in the past, and now haunt it and no-one has been able to live there for years, so it is old and run-down. Maybe the dead lovers are either trying to prevent modern lovers from experiencing the pain they suffered, or trying to bring them together.....

One source of costumes is local drama/theatre groups. Costumes from any period could be used, if the guests are made to look dead, for example, bright 60's or 70's clothes against white/pale skin. What about military uniforms? A love affair between a dead GI and his gal! In this way, people can dress in clothes that they are comfortable in, rather than clothes that are perceived as costumes.

I would suggest that you bridge the gap between a 'normal' party and a full-blown Halloween scare! Once people have been to one, they almost certainly will want to come back next year to see how you can top it! Then you are on the Halloween rollercaster!!!

HTH

Iffy
 

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I would definately tie your theme with the invitations. To me, the invitation sets the mood (and the guest's level of participation).

I've found that you can't really dictate what the guest should wear, but you can decorate your home to give the feel of your theme once they arrive. People love Halloween parties, and those that are really into it, will spend the time/money on a good costume. (My invitations always manage to say that costumes are mandatory). Every year the costumes get better and better.

Don't forget to carry your theme into the guest bathroom....:)
 

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I agree with a lot of posts here. I think that true love never dies is a great idea for a theme. Perhaps if you have an attic you could set a recorder up in it with chain sounds or something sounding like it's bumping around up there even if it's just a crawlspace in the ceiling. Have some photos of a couple who were supposed to have lived in the house before and now haunt it is a great idea. I think with your invitations pulling your theme in will be really important and help your guests know what to expect for your party. You could also insert a sheet in with famous movie love couples that are dead or undead.... Think.......... the crow (Eric and Shelly)...... beetlejuice(Adam and Barbara)...............Ghost (Sam and Molly)........Night of the living dead 3 (Curt and Julie) these are just a few examples, but I hope it helps.
 

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STARK Raving Mad
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Ok, this may not be a very popular opinion, but it is based on our 13 years of Halloween party experience.

Our first few parties were NOT themed and BARELY decorated. Looking back, I believe that was actually for the best, since we only had a handful of guests (6, then 10, then about 20). If we had put lots of time, money, and effort into building a theme, creating a back-story, decorating, etc, and only had 6 people show up, we would have not only felt like complete failures but might have decided not to have any more.

By our 4th party, we started doing more decorating, and we had almost 40 guests.

Now, some of you may say that we had more guests because we decorated more, but nobody knew how much we had decorated until they arrived.

The fact is, our efforts grew in response to our turn-outs. By our 5th year, we were averaging 50 - 60 guests, and maintained that number until 2007 when we suddenly shot up to 150. Coincidentally, that was also the year of The Pirate Ship - our greatest decorating effort to date.

So, to summarize, decorate, but don't worry about making it "the best". Just make it fun. Being "the best" will come in time.

Oh, and we always tell people that they do NOT have to follow the theme, just that they have to be in costume. The theme just helps those with little or no imagination decide what to be by narrowing down their options.
 

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A themed party would be great with whatever you choose.
I am the love of halloween in my town ive never had a party cause I was always to busy doin my yard decor but i have gone to a few and some have been decorated great but most of the people dont care about halloween like most of us but seems when its halloween they get in the spirit .
good luck to ya
 

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Themed parties are really fun. But they're also hard to put together. If you follow some of the advice here --which would result in a very cool party-- you'll be putting a TON of effort into just decorating. Which is fine, but might be a bit much for your first Halloween party.

My suggestion? If you want to combine love/Halloween, it might be fun to do a Wedding Massacre or Zombies Invaded My Wedding (you get the picture) theme. If you use elements that are very recognizable as wedding elements, and make them spooky, the theme will be crystal clear and really funny.

Think about: a black (or a white with bloody frosting) wedding-style cake with a plastic hand reaching out of the top or a bride standing over or munching on a dead groom, red tulle decorating the place, bouquets of plastic eyeballs, red foil Valentines hearts with severed heads hanging from them... you get the idea. Seems like it would be an easier version of the same thing without the need for so much real "story."

-Karen
 

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i had my first party last year. My theme was "Witches Lair" I only decorated the kitchen space with a scenic backdrop or stones , had a cauldron on the table with black table clothes green led lights under the cauldron as fire.. used cob webs and spiders and black roses play it up a bit then i had potion bottles around. used a couple of hanging skeletons and some glow paint and i was set. Honestly i had maybe 20 people my first party and every one dressed up. Only because your friends might not be full into halloween with decorating there house and stuff doesn't mean they won't dress up for your party trust me they will work them selves up for it and will wear a costume.

I really like the Love never dies theme. You can just decorate one or 2 rooms in your house. You don't have to go over board with decorating on your first party to make it great. Your party will be tons of fun as long as you have things to do. We played the " who am i" game at my party you can go to party city and they actually have the kit for it with labels of famous characters and bags of candy for who ever guesses right. which makes it so easy and less stressful trying to figure out what to give out as a gift or what characters.
 

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STARK Raving Mad
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Themed parties are really fun. But they're also hard to put together. If you follow some of the advice here --which would result in a very cool party-- you'll be putting a TON of effort into just decorating. Which is fine, but might be a bit much for your first Halloween party. -Karen
Well said.

Our 2004 theme was the wedding of our two main back-story characters (Lord and Lady Bydingue), and the party was the wedding reception. We even had a genuine wedding cake (made by my good friend Scott Powell). Our invitations were our standard 6-page newsletters, but we had considered using something that actually looked like Wedding Reception Announcements.

Click here to check out the invitation, cake, and our RENTED costumes. Yes, I said the "R" word. We were out of town the 2 weeks before the party and never finished our home-mades.
 

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You don't have to go crazy with the decorating to have a good party. Looking back at our first couple of parties I have to laugh at the decorations. But I can honestly say that we don't have any more fun now then we did back then (14 years ago). Each year our decor grew as our supplies grew and kept people guessing what we would do next. Jeez, those first years were a ton of cobwebs and colored lights and a couple of cardboard poster things. I love it these days, there is so much more to choose from! And....this site which is a such a wealth of inspiration!

I think a big key to your party is to think of your guests. Alot of ours had/have young kids so we never had it on halloween and usually didn't start until 8:30. This gave them time to get the kids settled where they needed to be and get their costumes on. None of them wanted to play games so we didn't do any. We played some good tunes and had some snacks. I was good for getting a drinking game going or dancing, or both usually. ;)

I agree with a good invite. I always did mine in a card making program, keeping them very festive. I also did put costume required. Oh..we also had a costume contest which was posted on the invite. The prize was usually trivial, but for them it was all about the title. :D

As far as a theme, I choose one to help me with decorating, but never ask my guests to follow suit. Hell, I was just happy that they came in costume! lol

Good luck with your party!
 

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One thing I would disagree with is 'Want to make it the BEST!'

At your first attempt, I would do the best you can...let your friends in gently...don't try and make it too complicated...get them used to the idea of the Halloween party, then each year you can make it better. If you make it the best the first time, where do you go from there? Encourage them to join in with the 'spirit' of Halloween, help them with ideas for costumes, use examples from films, even non-traditional love stories maybe, such as between Igor and Dr Frankenstein!!


Iffy
Fantastic advice, well said! Also Iffy I couldn't help notice that you are from Gosport - my family are from Portsmouth and most of them still live there! Everywhere from Fareham to Clanfield :) I moved away for University a few years ago so I'm not there anymore, but it was nice to see a familiar location!
 

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Love Triangle Murder Mystery Game?

I think the key to a good party is getting the guests involved. We had a family Halloween party last year centered on a Mad Scientist theme. The kids were involved with making slime and bubbling potions, and the parents were assisting with the "experiments." Lots of good laughs. By the end of the event, everyone was dancing the hokey pokey and doing the limbo dance (not very Halloweenish, I agree, but a lot of fun — especially with kids).

For your theme "true love never dies," I immediately thought of a twist on a murder mystery game. Everyone is given a small part to play in advance — perhaps after confirming the invite list. The story could evolve around a love triangle that ends in murder. You could leave clues around the area for people to inspect, combine that with the little acted-out scenes, and give out some prizes to the guests who solve the murder. Kinda like a life sized Clue game.

Lots of instructions for murder mysteries are on the web. Here's one page I immediately found on eHow: How to Throw a Murder Mystery Party | eHow.com
 

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Honestly our first party was BARELY decorated, and we didn't even have an invitation. It was word of mouth only, and we had about 25 people show up. THOSE 25 people told our other friends who didn't show up, and last year we had about 75 people show up. Last year we did a Wonderland Gone Mad theme, and now people EXPECT us to make it bigger and better than last year (a feat for sure!). We have about 110 CONFIRMED guests at this point, and we haven't even handed out the invites yet... YIKES. I'm telling you, if you are a fun hostess, and don't force stupid games on your guests, people will remember your party, and return next year, giving you more time to plan it out and get the people there. We sent out our FIRST Save the Date email on February 20th this year - and got about 30 responses at THAT time. The attendance will come in time, just be patient.

Unless you KNOW you have at LEAST 20 guests coming to the party (no matter how small the space), I wouldn't worry too much about the theme. True Love Never Dies is a great theme, assuming that most of your friends are involved or married. Single friends don't seem to really enjoy themes like that... it just reminds them that they are alone. I would go with something a little more generic for your first party. That's my two pennies. (Our First party was a combination of all things we loved (Pirates, Indiana Jones, Skeletons, Witches, etc))....We had cheap decorations you can buy from WALMART, and used ripped sheets for tattered sails of a ship on the patio, etc... REALLY was quite basic, but People loved it regardless.
 
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