Throwing a Halloween party is a great way to connect with friends or reach out to get to know your neighbors, but what if you’re short on time, on a tight budget and not what you’d call “crafty”? It's not as impossible as it may seem. I threw together a Halloween party for my neighbors that took very little time. Like all parties, It’s all in the pre-planning! Here's a step by step process on how to throw a last minute Halloween party for less than $150.
Step one is deciding what the purpose of your Halloween party will be. Is it to get to know your neighbors? Is it to connect casually with friends? This will set the tone for the party and help you prepare the games accordingly. For the purposes of this party plan, let’s say the goal is getting to know your neighbors. The focus therefore of the party will be in helping people feel welcome and allowing them to connect with one another to build a relationship foundation. To accomplish this, I chose games that allowed for lots of interaction.
Choosing a theme for your party is part of the fun. Our theme was a very simple pumpkin theme, which made decorating easy. We encouraged the adults to come dressed in costume as well as the kids. You get to decide how you want to throw your party. Just make sure that whatever you choose, your focus remains on the guests and you’ll be fine.
Setting a budget is key because you don’t want to upset your normal household budget by going overboard on a party, especially this close to Christmas. This party plan works with a budget of $150, but you can scale it down to fit your own household budget needs by eliminating some of the games or food items. Click here to download my free Halloween Party Budget Planner.
We found that the best time to host a Halloween party for our neighbors was 8pm-9pm. We called it a “Trick-Or-Treat After Party" and made it easy for the neighborhood kids and their parents to stop by after they’d finished going around the block. If you have young children, you may want to do the opposite and host a pre-trick-or-treat party so the littles can get to bed on time.
If you’re short on time and not all that crafy, you can design your invitations on Vistaprint instead of making your own. The design ideas are really great thought starters and the site is user friendly. It took me only 10 minutes to design these invites. Vistaprint also offers overnight shipping so you can design them today and get them by tomorrow to hand out to your neighbors for next week. Here is the link to the invitations I created in case you want to use my design. The prices were very reasonable (only $14 for 20 invitations). I highly recommend Vistaprint for invitations.
When it comes to games you can use these easy ideas to make your party a lot of fun with minimal work.
Guess the Loot Game - Cost $0
If you decide to throw a post trick or treat party, one game could be allowing everyone to guess how much candy is in each child’s bag. Trick or treater #1 holds up his bag, people can pick it up if that aids in their estimate. Everyone gets a piece of paper and pen. Writes the trick or treater’s name on the paper then their guess next to it. Repeat this process for each trick or treater and then allow the kids to count up all their candy. The winners are those whose guesses came closest to each total.
Get To Know You Trivia Game- Cost: $0
A good way to break the ice with people you don't know is with a trivia game. Everyone sits in a circle and each person takes a turn picking a card and then has to answer the question. There's no winner for this game, it's just fun to do. Download my free Get to Know You Trivia Game to get you started. You can print the cards out on card stock and cut them out for an easy card game.
Games for Purchase: Here are a few games we have used in the past that worked well. Rather than create games from scratch, I just ordered them on Amazon. If you're a Prime member, you can have them delivered within two days at no extra charge, which is the perfect solution for a last-minute party. Not an Amazon Prime member yet? You can sign up here for $5. Prime Discounted Monthly Offering
Jack-o-lantern Pumpkin Toss
A Pumpkin Toss game was a nice compliment to our Pumpkin party theme. You don't need a lot of space to play it either. We set it up in on our dining room table. You can find the game we used here.
Candy Corn Bowling Set
Candy corn bowling is an easy way to incorporate the festive nature of your Halloween theme into your party. We set up the pins at the end of our hallway and let the kids and parents go to town bowling them over. You can find the set we used here.
Pop Goes the Pumpkin Game
This game doubles as a decoration, so you should plan to play it last. To set it up, simply fill 35 orange balloons with candy, confetti, and some with small toys. Then blow them up and stick them to your wall in the shape of a pumpkin. Cut out a green stem from green wrapping paper. Let children take turns choosing which ones to pop with a safety pin. The children get to keep whatever is inside the balloons they choose to pop.
For a last minute party, you don’t have to get elaborate on the decorations. Since the Pop Goes The Pumpkin game hung on the wall, it served as a great decoration. I just supplemented the decor with brown paper which I used as a makeshift table covering and added an orange table runner with a few mini pumpkins to make it more festive.
The trick to a great party is making your guests feel welcome. The best way to do that is to put a little thought into setting the ambiance in the room such that they "feel" good when they walk in. You can most effectively set the ambiance through the use of scent, sound and lighting.
Scent: We usually purchase a cinnamon broom every year as soon as Fall hits, and it is fragrant enough to fill the whole living room. It's a great, low cost solution to filling your home with a festive scent to welcome guests.
Sound: Choosing a themed music playlist or a kitchy movie to play in the background helps to set the tone of the party. We chose to have the movie It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown playing in the background when guests walked in. This allowed for an instant feeling of nostalgia for the parents and a fun kid-centered vibe for the kids.
Lighting: Lighting sets the mood. To put help people relax, adjust your lighting according to your theme. We have our living room lights on dimmers so we set them up just high enough to see each other's faces but not so bright that it feels too sterile when guests walked in. If you don't have dimmers, you can think about using table lamps, candles or a string of orange lights instead of bright white overhead lighting.
Halloween is already hectic enough with the trick or treating and costumes. The last thing you want to have to worry about is cooking too. This party prep calls for pizza delivery. Lay out simple finger foods such as a veggie tray, chips and salsa/guacamole that you can pick up pre-made at the grocery store and just transfer to serving trays/bowls.
We have a fire pit so we roasted S'mores as one of our party activities. If you don’t have a fire pit, or it’s too cold in October where you live for S'mores, you could try roasting marshmallows over the open flame of your stove instead. That works just as well and the smell of the roasting marshmallows is sure to cement the get together in guests' minds for years to come. These wooden skewers worked great for us.
Root Beer Floats in mason jars are a memorable thing to incorporate into your Halloween party. We used traditional vanilla ice cream and A&W Root Beer. I found the mason jars at the dollar store, but they are so popular now that you can even find them at Target or add to the rest of your shopping cart from Amazon.
You can pull together a last minute Halloween party without spending a lot of time or money. You can use my free resources below to get you started.
DOWNLOADABLE FREE Tools:
Remember the reason you're hosting this party in the first place and keep your eye on that goal. This will keep you from stressing out about little things and help you to enjoy the party so much more knowing that you accomplished something meaningful like establishing new relationships with your neighbors.
Happy party planning!
Welcome to Honey & Figs! I'm Lisa. I love helping people with practical ways to live more abundant lives based on my own experience. You can click here to find out more about me.
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