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Discussion Starter #1
Since for most of us are festivities are behind us, I thought it would be a good idea to start a thread with "ah ha" moments...or ideas that you had this year that either saved you time, money, stress...whatever....if it's worth talking about ...share it1

My "ah Ha' moment and idea was purchasing a roll of 3'x100' landscaper fabric ( less then $13) - fabric...not the plastic type to use to blacken out walls, ceilings, floors...whatever you need! It does not shine, it does not have static cling...works wonderful and is re-usuable! Now it is all precut to the height of my ceiling, and bagged away for next years use!

Anyone have anything to share?
 

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make your menu easy ( or at least one that you can prepare in advance). and don't depend on everyone to bring what they said they are bringing. i had friends were responsible for the hot dog buns. well everyone was almost finished eating when the buns showed up.. so the essentials like this.. just put them on your own list..
 

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I always have too much food left over, so for me making less variety and more bite-sized snacks seems to be the way to go. I had a taco bar set up and that went over well but I had way too many sweet snacks and of all things, chicken wings, left over.
 

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Not so much "ah-ha", but after really rushing things in years past since we've had the kids, we started setting up earlier than ever this year and I'm so glad we did! While we still felt some rushing around, this year both DH & I got to eat before guests came over AND we got to take some pictures during daylight hours, so that was a serious win for us!
 

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Discussion Starter #6
make your menu easy ( or at least one that you can prepare in advance). and don't depend on everyone to bring what they said they are bringing. i had friends were responsible for the hot dog buns. well everyone was almost finished eating when the buns showed up.. so the essentials like this.. just put them on your own list..
I know everyone has a different type of party/gathering/haunt.....but for us our party is going on 11 years old and hosts over 100 guests....I didn't cook any food this year personally...just set out chafing trays/sterno....and so many people bring food...when they ask, I lead with suggestions, but overall ask for "hearty appetizers"....I ask a good friend to make a few desserts...because most people care to much on food...not sweets....this year we had a perfect amount of food. Last year the only food I made was a taco bar....and it was mostly leftover for hangover cleanup the next day! lol
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Hire a caterer for your parties, so much easier and I think we actually saved money!
Spooky Dave...I agree...having someone in the kitchen helps! For the past 6 years, one of my single BFF's is incharge of keeping the food organized, in chafing trays, passing horedorves...etc...(sp)....it is wonderful, she also does alot of clean-up throughout the party....she is so helpful, and allows my husband and I to host instead of running around trying to keep things organized! Like I mentioned, this is the first year ever that i did not prepare any food....just papergoods, mixers, house punch, soda and water....everyone brought delicious hardy appetizers, chicken tenders, meatballs, all sorts of goodies...hardly anything left over...worked out well!
 

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Not so much "ah-ha", but after really rushing things in years past since we've had the kids, we started setting up earlier than ever this year and I'm so glad we did! While we still felt some rushing around, this year both DH & I got to eat before guests came over AND we got to take some pictures during daylight hours, so that was a serious win for us!
Although I don't have any little ones at home anymore, I do run a very busy floral business, so I agree, getting things started early is the way to go, and making a timeline helps you fall asleep abit easier at night!! Glad your party was good, can't wait to see photos! Are they posted anywhere?
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I always have too much food left over, so for me making less variety and more bite-sized snacks seems to be the way to go. I had a taco bar set up and that went over well but I had way too many sweet snacks and of all things, chicken wings, left over.
I use to put out way too many goodies, and then I was staring at them the next day! I agree, tailor your party menu to the group going. If it is an adult party with alcohol, sweets just seem to sit....more hardy, hangover food seems to go over!
 

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Remote controlled LED bulbs inside for ambience. Worked great. Putting different colours down the hallway worked well. They suck for general living though. Even the Feit bulbs aren't really bright enough on 'white' and I opnly had those in the kitchen. I may actually look into getting HUE bulbs so if the house lights need to come up they can, not cheap but the low light cheapy crap bulbs I got off Amazon totally got on my nerves the next day. Plus if there is an emergency where we need light it would not have been good.
 

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This was my first party. I would say I learned that hangover foods are best. Hotdogs are a no. Nachos....big yes. Have someone in control of music, preferably a friend with open tastes. Also, next year I may make a half recipe of my pb/jungle juice. I made a full recipe (20 gallons) and had about 13 gallons left over. I probably could've cut costs there by about $100.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
This was my first party. I would say I learned that hangover foods are best. Hotdogs are a no. Nachos....big yes. Have someone in control of music, preferably a friend with open tastes. Also, next year I may make a half recipe of my pb/jungle juice. I made a full recipe (20 gallons) and had about 13 gallons left over. I probably could've cut costs there by about $100.
Wow! That's alot of punch! I agree, hangover ( drunk munchie foods) are best! I also take notes from year to year, it's fun to look back on, and maybe re-invent old ideas that worked years ago! Thank you for your feedback!
 

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I have a few "ah ha" moments.
Every year I host a CRABFEST. In 2012 ( our 10th year) I had the idea of using the crockpot on warm to keep the butter hot and ready, as opposed to constantly making butter through out the party. It worked so well, I felt stupid for not thinking of it sooner.

In Jan of 2015, my husband and I went to our first crab shack for dinner. We were astonished with the bucket on each table for the shells! They weren't using plates to scrape the table or holding trash bags open to arm clear the tables! You can bet we had pails for the tables in 2015 lol

If you came to the 2016 bash, you'd think wow, these people got their **** together. Lol all I can say is, it didn't happen overnight.....
 

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One thing that really helps for me the next day is that I cover all of the counters with disposable (black, naturally) tablecloths - in the morning, once all the big stuff is recycled or thrown away, we just bunch up the plastic and, voila, clean counters. It's much easier to face the kitchen (hungover) when I'm not scrubbing leftover food and spilled beer off of them.
 

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One thing that really helps for me the next day is that I cover all of the counters with disposable (black, naturally) tablecloths - in the morning, once all the big stuff is recycled or thrown away, we just bunch up the plastic and, voila, clean counters. It's much easier to face the kitchen (hungover) when I'm not scrubbing leftover food and spilled beer off of them.
Oh my goodness! What a great idea!!! Yes that is the worst! Picking up all that gunk hung over.......it makes me sick but I need to clean it!! Great idea thank you for sharing!
 

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Aha moment.... would be planning as everyone else has stated..... don't wait to the last minute. I have my dining room table all
planned out and other stuff etc.... I write things down and follow through.....
 

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I could have sworn I had commented on this thread but...guess not. Having hosted a growing Halloween party for the past 7 years we have a few bullet points:

-PLAN, PLAN, PLAN like everyone has said. Every. Single. Detail. needs a plan. Figure out your theme if there is one and what will go where.
-Checklist of things you need to buy or build and set a DEADline. (both of these should be done the first 6 months following your last Halloween)
-Take inventory and then decorate with your core set of decorations as early as September.
-If you can take paid time off from work--TAKE THE WHOLE WEEK of your party.
-Decorate with details the week of your party (spiderwebs, streamers, doorway dividers, etc.)
-Always invite people 30 minutes later than your actual start time, because people will inevitably arrive early while you're still getting ready. (That has been our experience, anyway, so we've learned to push the start time later so that they actually arrive on time.)
-Do a dress rehearsal the night before of all decorations...turn on/off any lights, animatronics, displays, etc and do a walk through of your space.
-The day of your party, make sure you have all electronics and everything ready to go BEFORE you get into costume.(I made the mistake of forgetting to do this and wound up having to climb ladders and reach into places with a mask I could barely see out of and monster nails that I couldn't handle anything with)
-Choose food that you can easily fix or simply heat up a few hours before your party.
-Plan for something to go wrong. Plan for a tarp wall to fall down, something not to work or HELL in our case the year before last the kitchen sink LITERALLY sprung a leak 3 hours before the party.
 

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House guests sometimes make plumbing leaks because they flop down on the toilet and lean back, (Or are simply very heavy people?)
But then the floor can be half rotted through and goes unnoticed until that certain person sits down?
Trying to start and finish a brand new Kitchen or Bathroom with any Holiday only two weeks away is and always will be "Bad News"!

My real "Ah-Ha!" Idea many yrs. ago was to raise admission price from $3 to $5. This seemed to almost eliminate the younger" drunkie-crowd", which made my worries fewer and my Octobers happier. (When the ticket price competes with one's booze money, booze usually "Wins".)
 

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I have a few "ah ha" moments.
Every year I host a CRABFEST. In 2012 ( our 10th year) I had the idea of using the crockpot on warm to keep the butter hot and ready, as opposed to constantly making butter through out the party. It worked so well, I felt stupid for not thinking of it sooner.

In Jan of 2015, my husband and I went to our first crab shack for dinner. We were astonished with the bucket on each table for the shells! They weren't using plates to scrape the table or holding trash bags open to arm clear the tables! You can bet we had pails for the tables in 2015 lol

If you came to the 2016 bash, you'd think wow, these people got their **** together. Lol all I can say is, it didn't happen overnight.....
For crabs, cover your tables with brown or white craft paper that's the width of the table. Buy the roll, roll it out to the right size, cut or tear it off, & then when they're done just roll up the whole thing. You can have buckets too but it's just easier that way & that's how most folks here in MD do it (at restaurants & at home)

Some may use newspaper for smaller tables but if you have long tables that's the easiest, quickest & cheapest way to go. Even the rolls of plastic table cloths would work too. Just roll, cut, eat, pull up & put down new.

At the end of the night you may have to wipe the tables down but that will be it.
 
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