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Discussion Starter #1
Our party is usually great with about 35 guests in attendance. We clean up & open our attached garage for beer pong & a photo op area. We put kerosene in a heater outside for the back patio. Downstairs is the kitchen, dining & living with games setup & the food area. Upstairs we have a bar so that area is usually packed. We have two guests rooms & at least half a dozen people usually crash here.

This year we had low RSVPs to start. One couple cancelled a couple days prior, then another couple & another friend yesterday. I understand things come up, but I was pretty upset as two of the 5 who cancelled are gluten free & I had made sure all but one recipe was gluten free. Extra work & money. We had an additional 5 who had RSVPd but just didn't show.

The total turnout was 19. A group of 4 showed up, asked "Is this everyone?" and left after an hour without even saying goodbye. The costume contest became a popularity contest. Everyone was gone before midnight. I've got a full tray of uneaten jello shots.

I don't think people realize what it takes to plan a good party & how much this means to me. I haven't tallied, but invitations, postage, decorations for the theme, food, drink, paper goods, prizes for the costume contest probably cost at least $300. Then there's the time spent making decorations, the playlist, cleaning, cooking. No one went on the patio at all, even upstairs to the bar & the guests room were unused. We had washed bedding & actually shampooed the carpet upstairs. It was a black light party & we learned everywhere our cats have thrown up when we did the test run of the lights. Gross!

At this point, I don't think I will do this again.

On a good note, my husband glow stick man costume was awesome! I went as a pinup Beetlejuice with glowing lashes, nails, lips & hair.



 

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Monster Collector
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You just can't predict a party. It's impossible. We've had good luck with ours and have never had a "bad party" in the 7 years we've been having it. The spending of money is always going to be a necessary evil when it comes to food, just goes with the territory of being the host. Don't let one not so great turnout ruin any future endeavors.
 

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Far Away Eyes
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Since you have had an annual party that was always successful, it seems surprising. I thought my problem was because it was our first party in a long while.

I ended up cancelling our party this year due to many cancellations and people who wouldn't commit one way or the other. If I hadn't, I think I would have ended up with about 6 people, including my husband and me. Even people who had said they were coming cancelled after I sent out a reminder email. The original invitation was over a month ago. I was really bummed, and had done a lot of work cleaning, decorating, stocking up on supplies, etc. What I ended up doing was having a more low-key affair with just our kids and grandkids, and one couple who came over. We had a great time anyway!

But now, I am feeling like you are, not sure I want to try to host a big party again. It is so disappointing when it doesn't work out.
 

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Like Shadowbat says, you can't predict these things. We've hosted parties off and on for different occasions and as it turns out the best party we ever had was an impromptu "hat party" we threw for no special occasion. We just told some friends it's a hat party so wear a hat, we had the most people we've ever had and saw some amazing and weird hats!
 

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I understand completely, I've had this same issue the last two years for my birthday and Halloween. Except for me, no one shows up or even bothers to say they can't come. They never apologize for blowing me off and don't even mention it until I have to approach them first. They really don't understand or respect the time effort and money that is out into these events. They don't even get how upset I am over it either. I've just realized that even my best "friends" I've known for years just aren't worth my time anymore. They cannot be bothered with me so I won't be bothered either. I've tried actively for two years and nothing. I'm sorry it didn't work out, next year have a plan B for if things go south. I'm going to have a plan B for just my boyfriend and I for next year.
 

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Blue Pill? or Red Pill?
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I think everybody has been here. What you need is a big family ..lol ..after I invite my family (@20 people); except for a few close friends, I really dont care if the rest don't show up. We have a blast ourselves. Don't give up though. Just don't have one every year. I have one every 3 years or so. Everyone has had a party that fizzled. If they say they haven't they are lying.
How long have you been living the place you are now? Sometimes it takes several years to get to know people and them to know you. Also, next time try not having it on the day almost everyone is having another party. (e.g. Oct 26) that way there is no competition. Also I know Ghoulette here on the forum has kind of "open house" all evening so people just come in and out as they please. That way if only a few show up, no one will every know because everybody was there at diff times of the evening.
Just some thoughts. Hope this helps you for next time. If its any consolation, I get only @10 or TOT on halloween night. All this for those special few to enjoy. But thats OK....;)
 

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I feel so bad for you! I know these people are your friends...but are they? Frankly, they don't sound very nice. A party takes a lot of planning and expense to pull off and all any host or hostess wants is for their guests to enjoy themselves. To leave without saying goodbye, to r.s.v.p. and then not show up and to make comments like, "Is this it?" - that's just plain rude. Where have manners gone?

I know it's natural to say, "I'm not doing this again", but you know you will. You obviously enjoy entertaining and will want to do so again.. I say, go ahead, just pare your guest list down and forget the rest.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks Matrixmom. Good ideas. We've been in the same city my whole life & this was our 5th annual party. I'm worried now that if we try again, those from this year may not have had a good enough time to return. I don't think most people had other parties, but I considered trying a different date next time. There were some sick, some who had to work at 5am today, a wedding. Of those who RSVPd yes but didn't show, one couple posted on fb pics of their dinner date, one pics from another party. Of those who did show, a good chunk was 3 coworkers & their significant others who were first time guests.

Maybe next time I wont care if the sheets on the guest beds are clean, if people get cold on the patio or some people can't eat any of the food. Then I wont feel as let down if I didn't put as much effort in the beginning. I may skip doing a theme as well which is a lot more work & decorations, but it is fun to theme the invites, food, a cocktail & the costume contest prizes.

Sorry to say you had a bad experience too Jack'sEckstein.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Palladino, I've wondered the same thing about some people. You must know me, "I know it's natural to say, "I'm not doing this again", but you know you will." I do enjoy entertaining.

The "Is this everyone?" comment surprisingly came from my next door neighbor. He & his wife & two of their friends came. They just disappeared without saying bye. We had stored some equipment (lawn mower & air compressor) in their garage since we use ours as party space & when we went out at midnight to turn some outside decorations off, they'd left (probably to get some fast food & none of them should have been driving) & left their garage door wide open. My husband moved our stuff back into our garage as he was afraid it'd get stolen.
 

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Monster Collector
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I don't put too much thought into guests leaving without saying goodbye. There have been a couple instances where a day or two later people have said "sorry we didn't see before we left" and things like that. Between people being out in the yard, in the garage, and the house, sometimes I get lost and people can't find me. lol
 

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Feel bad for you for the turnout and Paint for the cancellation. And Paint I've been following your threads and know how much thought and decorating detail goes into your set up. At least your decorations outside will be enjoyed by the ToTers and passerbys.

I have not had a party but been on the end of invites from a neighbor who has thrown a party each year (non-halloween). They always have tons of people who regularly get invited so sometimes I think the thought is that your presence won't be missed as far a being part of a party crowd. I also think that when someone holds a party each year particulaly on a holiday, people get to the point of feeling bad about not having the chance to do something else that maybe they'd like to do for a change. And not everybody is feeling up to crowds all the time.

I know some people have very successful yearly parties but think those tend to be either family or very close friend oriented or they have tons of people who rotate coming thru out the years. I think it's good to give people (smaller parties) a break to do something else. Take a break yourself and go to someone's party or to a haunt attraction and still enjoy the season.

I've thrown a few dinner parties so do realize the effort and expense that goes into hosting something so try to RSVP as early as I can. It's horrible form and lack of courtesy not to RSVP but still you hear this happening alot. I think if you plan a party you need to give a cutoff date and plan your food based on those that agreed to come. And certainly if you know you have special food requests, tell those people in advance you are planning to make food especially for them that they will be able to eat. Guilt tripping never hurt!
 

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Our party went fine last night, but I too was disappointed at the turnout. We invited 40 and had 25 show. Not bad but I'm still a little bummed about it as six ppl canceled a few hours before it started, which I find very irritating. It really took the wind out of my sails. I think I may just skip doing a party next year and take a break from it. My husband and I talked about doing Disney or some other Halloween-inspired trip next October so maybe we'll just do that instead of a party as I know I would not feel disappointed.
 

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It is really frustrating when people don't bother to RSVP at all, but it's even worse when they say yes and then don't show! Ugh! I still have some hard feelings towards some family & friends who were no-shows to our wedding a few years ago after responding that they'd come because it cost us a lot of money per person. Grrr!

We do a pretty casual Halloween event and sometimes I think that's better than really going all out & planning a party. I love to entertain, but I get pretty insane a few weeks before the event - sort of a "hostess neurosis" kind of thing! LOL! I like for things to be perfect and well thought out, and I really put a lot of thought into making my guests happy & comfortable. So it really stinks when that sentiment is unappreciated or disrespected.

Have you talked to any of your no-shows since your party? Kind of a "Hey, we were bummed you didn't make it out to our party last night" kind of thing? Sometimes just at least telling someone that you were disappointed that they didn't show can make you feel better, rather than stuffing in your feelings and pretending it was fine.

Try to tell yourself that the party is for YOU, rather than for anyone else, even guests. That way, as long as YOU have fun and are happy with the food & quality of the decor, you can shrug off the other stuff as just 'extras'. Also, I like the suggestion of maybe having a smaller dinner-party type event next year instead, to sort of boost yourself back up and invite only true friends to that. You can always try another bigger party another year, and I agree with having it on a date maybe a little earlier that doesn't "compete" so much to help keep your guest list full.

Hang in there! :)
 

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I had my big party last night with lots of food and drinks I even hired a DJ turned my garage into a dance floor with laser light . One hour before the party,6 people cancelled . No problem I understand because we had very heavy rain. I invited 40 people and 43 came one of my guest asked if he can bring some co-workers so everything worked out great . Whenever someone cancel /no show, just don't invite them again and I let them know it.
 

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I'm sorry to hear that your party didn't turn out the way you wanted. :(. That definitely is the worst feeling after you put all the time and effort....not to mention money into it. While we had a good turn out this year....we're thinking about hosting a much smaller get together next year. For me....that will take the worry over the RSVP's and some of the planning away.

I do a have to say Cudos to you for all the gluten free food ( even though the gluten free guests didn't show) I have a wheat allergy and have to say...I almost never have a lot to pick from when going to parties. While it's awesome that you did mostly gluten free foods.....next time I would make just a few selections. Gluten free can get expensive.....and there are other things that you can put out that would work and not be as pricey. Veggie trays are great....cheese trays. I went to a party earlier saturday for our friends daughters 1st b-day.....the only thing I could eat we're the meatballs (minus) bread and fruit salad. But it worked and I was nice and full. :).
 

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I understand how you feel. I posted my dissapointment for my party as well. We invited well over 40 and I was shocked that 23 showed. (what saved us was people inviting others) all the people we invited cancelled. To me it depends on the reason and how far of a notice they give you. Most of my friends had serious situations occur and the others were just lazy. I can't understand, its free food and drink...we werent even making people dress up. It took months to put everything up (we even went so far as building half of our props...which we never do) and a lot of money for the drinks and food. But i have dealt with this before...some people don't commit.
I learn it comes with the program and if your love for Halloween and hosting trumps the dissappointment then keep going. But if the time and money are bringing you down then maybe you can colaborate with someone else for a co-party. Spit the cost, time and people.

I learn with each party and make notes the next day (so its fresh in my mind) so I know what to change and what to do differently.

Hopefully you will have a pow-wow with yourself and figure out the pros and cons...make a sound choice and don't look back.

Good Luck. :)
 

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We had our annual party on the 26th also, and we had 74 attend out off 100 invited. Overall, everything went good, we had a DJ this year, as last year we had 106 ppl, and no one could hear the music to dance to it was so loud. This year we took care of that, but....the RED SOX were on TV (being 1 hour north of Boston)...everyone wanted the game on. We set up our garage with the DJ, pub tables, heat, kitchen is the bar, living room is the food, and back yard fire and under an easy up tent was the TV for all the fans....problem....everyone wanted to watch the damn game! come'on!
Good news...I had a blast! Danced my $ss off! with about 15 steadys all night! Yes, other guests came in and out from time to time, but most enjoyed the atmosphere inside until the game started .
I agree though, ....most people have no clue how much time, $$, effort goes into planning a big party! However, I do this party every year for me, and I feel people look forward to checking things out. I have had some good feedback, and look forward to planning next years bash. Some parties are better than others, and if you don't have enough friends to pull it off, have your friends bring other friends!
 

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Dawn of the Dead
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There could be many factors. We had a lower turnout this year but there's a flu bug going around and several families of kids had someone sick. Also we typically like to do two years on and one year off to give everyone a break. But next year our son wants a Halloween themed 16th birthday so I can't disappoint the guy.
 
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