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Jumpin' Jack Flash
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Discussion Starter #1
i think i do a post similar to this just about every year, but here we go again.

i've had a halloween party in some form dating back to about 2012 (and occasionally before that in my college years), and my wife and i have hosted our current party since we moved into our house in 2016.

we always like to do something that keeps people engaged, but it seems like we've never quite figured it out. last year we did a scavenger hunt, and while chilly weather may have had an impact, i'm not sure it was well received regardless. this year we did a live-action Clue game, and it went over about the same as the scavenger hunt. we usually do a beer pong "tournament" later in the evening, and the people who play (generally, the competitive people in the group) really enjoy it, but it usually only involves about half the party goers, at most. my wife goes to tremendous effort to organize everything, and then it seems like people are mostly indifferent.

this is all complicated slightly by the fact that our circle of friends have children in ages ranging from infancy to early teenagers. however, we've done a pretty good job of designating areas/activities/times of the evening as more kid-friendly, and others as more adult, and we've done this for several years so i'm not sure that aspect is really hurting things.

i'm looking for suggestions of activities that will really get people involved, and even interested enough that some people who are on the fence about attending may decide to show up. i think the mistake we've made is that we've done things that really require a lot of engagement, even effort, and unless you're really into those things they almost feel like a chore. we need ideas that people can just casually engage in, maybe even come and go from as they please. beer pong is good in that respect, as people are playing a game or two at a time, then they can wander off while someone else plays, but again, participation in that activity is somewhat limited.
 

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So this is our third year doing a Halloween party, we range in age from late 20's to early 40's, from quiet and timid to "party every weekend"ers. We keep it strictly no kids (just because its easier that way) and honestly, we just stand around and drink and eat and talk all night. I like to think we go all out, with food and drinks and a projector playing horror trailers and a bonfire, but I've struggled with trying to plan things like games or activities and in the end, it just stresses me out for the very reason you mention. My sister even mentioned doing something like "wink murder", where someone is designated the murderer through drawing of cards, then when you get winked at, after a brief pause, you fall to the ground or retire to another room. Sounds like a blast, but the idea of having to "herd the cats" to get something like that done or to even have everyone participate and not complain about it gives me anxiety. So I guess what I'm saying is sometimes the most fun is not having a plan at all? Ours is fairly small (30-40 people) and a lot of them are people we don't get to see a lot so for me its fun to watch people that I know talk to people that they don't and have a good time with no drama.

BUT, with your posed question, a murder mystery is always a good way to get people engaged. Beer pong is always a lot of fun. Cards Against Humanity is ALWAYS a win when the night starts winding down. We're trying a costume contest with prizes this year to maybe get more people excited about dressing up this year. If your friends like to cook, a chili/soup cook-off would be cool, or maybe a best appetizer of the night.
 

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Jumpin' Jack Flash
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Discussion Starter #3
we do costume/food contests, and that has worked out well because nobody has to participate if they don't want to, the only effort during the party is people voting and then gathering everyone to give awards, and the actual "activity" (giving out the awards) only takes a few minutes.

we also tried a murder mystery several years ago...there was a fair amount of participation, but we were younger then, and people were a bit more inebriated than they usually are now, and it sorta just went off the rails and the winner was the group that frankly just made a good guess.

i think i overall like the "let people hang out and do whatever they want" situation. the only problem with that is that people end up funneling almost exclusively into the kitchen, and it gets loud and hot pretty quickly. if we can keep things low key, but divert people into different places in the house, that would be ideal.
 

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the only problem with that is that people end up funneling almost exclusively into the kitchen, and it gets loud and hot pretty quickly.
Yep haha. The first year we did our party it was normally chilly fall weather (around 50 here) and we didn’t do a fire and EVERYONE piled in our probably 10x20 kitchen and it was miserable. Last year it was in the 40s and we did the fire and almost everyone stayed outside the whole night. This year it looks like it might rain all day and I’ve almost hit full blown panic because I can’t imagine 40 people huddled in our small space. Might look like a college kegger in here if Mother Nature doesn’t cooperate. Not sure your situation but a fire pit outside, food in one place, and a more quite room has definitely helped us spread people out and make it more enjoyable for everyone.
 
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