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I have been running a 150 person adult party under a 4000' sq foot tent for 3 years now. Every year it has gotten more and more professional and Im sure many of you have seen the pirate lot in the for sale section from last year. We do a DJ, full decor, games, prizes, food and drink. I have much of the main things (tent, tables, chairs, lighting, stage) due to owning an event rental store.

I am now at an impasse. I have been trying to pull off a carnival flip with little success. I have been unable to find enough props and am now what would be 5 weeks from the party which seems like an impossibility to build most of the things I would need in time. I have the tough decision to make whether to lower the quality of the party and still run with it or take a year off. It is without a doubt the best halloween party in the area and my past guests are clammoring. I feel stuck....
 

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Moonlighter
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Hi James,
Your party sounds amazing - and a whole lot of work! :) I think we all put so much pressure on ourselves to "out do" what we've done in years past with our yard haunts, etc. And really, I think we are our own toughest critics. Truth be told, your guests would be just as happy with any decor and props you set up, even if it's the exact same set up as something you did in prior years. Most of them are just there for the fun and camaraderie of being with friends and enjoying the event itself. They probably wouldn't even notice any difference in the decor. But of course, if you are feeling the need for a break, then that's a different story. And there's absolutely nothing wrong with taking time off so that you can come back fresh and inspired for new activities next year. So think about what you really want to do with the event - canceling vs going forward with what you have, and then go from there. If you still want to have the party, then I'd suggest taking a step back and reassessing the props you already have. There may be much that can be reused or repurposed without starting from scratch with all new props. After all, you want to be able to enjoy this event too and not exhaust yourself before it even starts. Just have fun with it, and enjoy the company of friends and family. Hope everything turns out well for you. Sounds like quite the party!! :)
 

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Throw a Bring Your Own Prop (BYOP) event. :)

I've never been a fan of the whole haunted carnival theme because aside from a couple of things like a ticket booth and an entrance there isn't a whole lot to work with unless you're going to make a lot of elaborate rides.

Something that might work is make a midway running along the tent with horror-themed games. Maybe...

1. Reaching into buckets of "blood" to feel for prizes.
2. Hang a victim's face in the center of a ring of balloons with some "blood" in them, and you have to pop a balloon with a dart that'll splatter "blood" onto the picture.
3. A kiss the zombie booth.
4. Go on ebay, get an old Creepy Crawlers oven, some goop, and some bug molds, and have a booth where folks can make Creepy Crawlers (you'll be amazed how many older guys will flock to that. Some things you never outgrow).

You might need to recruit some helpers, and buy some tacky prizes, but that'll be cheaper than building rides and funner than just looking at props.
 

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2014 HELD OVER, RELIVE 2014, 2014 REPEATED
"Same theme as last year, feel free to dress the same or change up your costume"
Take less pictures BUT have more fun!

That would be my take
Its a party, we (the forum members) are way too hard on our selves, in trying to go bigger, better and different, your guests will have fun either way.
 

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Do something completely different and unexpected. Doing something minamilast but really well done isn't lowering the quality, it's changing things up. Maybe find a wooded area you could make into a spooky enchanted forest? Use black and white starkly painted 'scenes' on sheets to make different 'rooms' of a haunted mansion?
 

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With 150 people coming I am sure a handful of them would help you. Don't be afraid to ask for help. If done right setting up can be just as much fun as the party.

But if you are really not feeling it this year then waiting until next year is OK. If you think the party is getting stale then skip it this year. It just makes next year all the more fun. You cant just please everyone else, you have to make it fun for you too. Or it is just not worth it.

Whatever you deiced you can hold your head high and be happy knowing all the joy you have brought in the past and will bring in the future.
 

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Creepin' It Real
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Just thinking about entertaining 150 guests in a 4000' space tires me out! You've more than earned a rest, if that's how you decide to go. Leave them and you hungry for next year.

But first, I would recommend taking stock of your existing props and seeing if you can use them in a new way, either by revisiting an old theme with new layouts or trying a completely new theme using existing materials. Even without knowing a single one of your guests, I can almost guarantee no one will realize or care that you're re-using props they've seen before.

For example, a Seven Deadly Sins theme can be successfully thrown with few if any specialty props, and speaking from experience, it's wicked fun. Mad labs and crime labs have a ton of crossover. Formal party props make for a great wedding or, with the addition of some relatively inexpensive masks, a masquerade.

Take it easy on yourself - and invite us all! :)
 
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