Halloween Party Tips + Tricks (or Treats!)

Halloween is next Monday (aaaaah!) which means that this weekend will be party time. We're not hosting this year--just dressing up and attending--but if you're getting ready for a gathering of your own, take a peek at the tips below to make it the best night ever.

1. Prep your food ahead of time. The whole point of throwing a party is to hang out with your guests, so get all of the cooking and table setting done before they arrive. You'll probably have to replenish a few things over the course of the night, but you don't want to be trapped in the kitchen turning hot dogs into mummies while everyone else has fun.

2. Opt for a self-serve bar. As with the food, you'll be able to mingle more if your guests can make their own drinks. You can stick to beer and wine, make some punch, or craft a pre-mixed cocktail. Or all of the above if you're feeling ambitious. Just make sure your guests know they can help themselves.

3. Don't scare the kids. This obviously won't apply if you're having an adults only fete (and in that case get as freaky as you want), but if you plan to have some under-10s afoot, keep the decorations on the less realistic side. Having a kid cry and beg to leave isn't fun for anybody.

4. Leave some candy outside. If your party falls on Halloween and the neighborhood kids will be trick-or-treating, leave a bowl of candy on the porch so you don't have to keep running to the door. In our 'hood, the doorbell rings every 2-3 minutes during prime candy-getting hours, so save yourself the hassle and let the kids treat themselves.

5. Keep your costume simple. That's not to say that your costume can't be high quality, but I don't think it should be elaborate if you're the host. Don't go full Gandalf with the staff and long beard if you'll have to refill the bean dip later (hair in your food, anyone?). Practically speaking, it will be annoying to choose a costume that requires a prop because you'll have to put it down and pick it up all night. Save that idea for someone else's party.

Are you hosting a Halloween party? Or attending one? Tell me about your costume! I don't want to spill the beans on mine yet, but literally none of you will be surprised when you see what it is. Do you have any other party tips to share?

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