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Jumpin' Jack Flash
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my girlfriend and i do a halloween party as our one "big deal" hosting event of the year, and this will be our fourth year doing it.

first year was kinda a dud because we didn't plan far enough in advance, but the last couple of years have been pretty solid--somewhere around 20-30 people, which is about all we can really accommodate in her house. everybody who comes seems to really enjoy it and we get comments on it for awhile after.

we invest a lot of time in planning, but compared to a lot of people here, i'd say we're casual hosts. as i said, we top out around 25 guests, our decorations are well done but i suppose somewhat minimal, and we don't spend a ton on the party--probably spend more on food than any other aspect.

with that said...

i'm interested in doing some sort of theme this year if anyone has any good suggestions for a "soft" theme--that is, we can focus our decorations and food in a certain direction, but we won't require much (if anything) of our guests other than showing up and hopefully dressing up, like always.

anybody got any good ideas?
 

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It's my 4th year too :) So far we have done 1st) general halloween (spiders, witches kitchen), 2nd) carnival, 3rd) zombies and this year is pirates. Out of all of them I think the carnival was the most impressive but also the most time consuming and expensive. As for last year, we went with the idea that we were a safe house and that zombies attacked on halloween night. My invite was a newspaper warning that halloween may b postponed. With decor and food $50 total!!!! And honestly I think I received more compliments. My idea was it didn't have to b overboard with zombies and actually the two I had were meant to b outside but I was worried about wind issues.

Another idea that looks cool, can probably be done on a budget if u do it yourself is a hotel.

Do u all have any existing props? I always repurpose my stuff, maybe I just pull them out and see what hits me...list what you have and maybe some ideas of what u and your guests will like and I'm sure all us here can help with suggestions. Take a peek at our albums and at pinterest (mine is below and I have like 10 separate halloween themes).
 

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Jumpin' Jack Flash
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Discussion Starter #3
i really like the dead carpet idea from what i saw on your pinterest. i also like your zombie idea from last year, but i prefer the dead carpet-type theme because i'm afraid with something like zombies or witches everybody would tailor their costumes to the theme--not that they'd think they had to, just that they'd naturally gravitate to that and you'd end up with a house full of zombies, and i prefer the organic feel of past parties where everybody went with costumes that were independent of what was going on at the party.

as for decorations and props, i'd put most of what i have in the "general" category. and it's mostly just decorations (candles, webbing, lighting, etc.). we've done a couple of minor props--a black light ghost that we hang in one of the guest rooms, and a scarecrow last year that left a lot to be desired--but we usually prefer just decorations and very minor props, as our guests don't get much into the prop stuff and i'm not good at making difficult stuff anyway. they mostly are of the "halloween is an excuse to party in a slightly different way than usual" type. but i figure if we can make the overall feel of the party a little less random and a little more unified, that may make it more memorable.
 

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I'm a casual host as well and last year was my first full-on themed Halloween party. I had a heck of a time convincing my roommate to really get excited about it, and her apathy towards Halloween means that it's pretty much my burden to shoulder when it comes to cost, so everything I did was with the view towards easy and inexpensive, with the accompanying thought that it be a theme I can easily add to or expand (and, since we live in an apartment with little to no extra storage space, focusing on things that could be easily dismantled, packed flat, and hidden away the rest of the year).

We did a general theme where the party was held in the haunted garret of a disgraced medical student who was involved in unsavory experiments on the unsuspecting populace. Lots of shredded cheesecloth curtains, cobwebs everywhere, and real + led candles, turning all of our ceiling fans into distressed "chandeliers" with magically floating candles, cheesecloth, and cobwebs (my 3Cs heh). Switched out all of our artwork for creepy daguerreotypes and anatomical charts + drawings, plus pinned some up on the walls when we ran out of frames. Created "holes" in the walls with poster board and faux bois contact paper. Then I "cracked" the window panes with clear contact paper which worked, eh, okay, but didn't photograph well at all, sigh. We actually already owned two skulls and some interesting curio pieces, so I just made sure to bring all those things out to the forefront. We put Nosferatu on a loop in the living room since we couldn't hide the tv.

I was able to somewhat theme the food (in a medical experiments / hints of cannibalism way), but wasn't allowed to go quite as over-the-top as I wanted. So we had chocolate dipped red velvet cake mice frolicking among almond cookie fingers, served with a red raspberry blood sauce; homemade guacamole and buffalo chicken wing dip (masquerading as, well, bodily excretions); Jalapeno bacon deviled eggs; "flayed skin" meats with cheese and "eyeballs" rolled in cream cheese and crushed pistachios; mini hotdog "toes" wrapped pig-in-a-blanket style. I made a red punch with floating lychee & blueberry eyeballs. It looked suitably disgusting.

I didn't keep a strict budget for the decorations because I probably spent maybe $50 or $60 all told (thank you Dollar Store). We spent much more on food and alcohol, ha.

It was really successful though. Everyone loved the food and decor. It went off so well that my roommate is excited to expand on it this year and is even open to going further with the themed food (yaaaasssss). We're thinking about having more of a dinner party next year so we can do a meatface with bbq ribs and link sausage intestines. I was able to keep everything we used, so I can spend another $50-60 this year to expand on the theme (more cheesecloth!) and maybe try my first build... my roommate has a piano in our library and I'm terribly tempted to try to make a surround so it looks like a pipe organ... :D
 

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Aww thank u :)

@chocolatemice, if your wanting to do cannibal type cuisine check out my zombie pinterest board "Halloween...zombie foods. I actually created this board as a contest link on our invites last year so that those that brought food could easily locate themed recipes....but it would work perfectly with your theme too. My link is in my signature :)

Oh and btw, dollar tree is supposed to have the red syringe ink pens I believe it's 8 for $1 that would work great as favors or invites for a medical theme
 

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@chocolatemice, if your wanting to do cannibal type cuisine check out my zombie pinterest board "Halloween...zombie foods. I actually created this board as a contest link on our invites last year so that those that brought food could easily locate themed recipes....but it would work perfectly with your theme too. My link is in my signature :)
Thanks! I've already pinned many of them, but there's some I hadn't seen before! I wish I could deal with shrimp, the shrimp brain is hilarious. There's really just too many amusingly disgusting recipes I want to make that would just be perfectly themed.
 

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Hi Dane!

Some great ideas here but I thought I'd share my first... theme theme... when I started branching out from just putting everything I have out.

My first was spiders. I bought a big spider from spirit and a couple of the egg sacs (which I now would probably make myself) from Cow Halloween (do they even exist anymore as a store?) and a bunch of spider web. I also had the guy wrapped in spiderweb from Party City.

I used spider web and small spiders everywhere. I hung the spider wrapped guy and egg sacs and everything around and had fun tossing all the tiny spiders at the spider web covered walls. I put the giant spider as a focal point. I used some of the red and white spiderweb and wrapped up body parts in them.

So lots of spiders and spider web which I can now use as a side item with almost any theme I do so nothing I bought was just for that year, plus I already had spiderweb.

Last year I actually didn't use my big spider because I did a Stephen King Theme and really couldn't think of where to put him and I had people asking where he was... lol.
 
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