If you’re not down to party with strangers, another option is to throw a party yourself, and invite only ghouls and gals you really care about. Here are a few tips to get your brain juices flowing.


Invitations: Here are sample text message invitations (in 160 characters or less) to send to your guests. Because let’s face it, who actually sends “real” invites anymore?

–Life’s a witch! Treat her right, and there will be no tricks! Except @ my Halloween party. Join me @ 1234 YourAddy 8 p.m. 10/31. Costumes only! Lemme know if u can come!

–Werewolves will howl, vampires will bite ... Jacob and Edward will be out of sight. (Or a different ending: “The witches will booze on Halloween night.”) Join me 4 a night of mayhem & munchies, 1960 Bates Motel Drive @ 9 p.m. 10/31.

–One, two, Freddy’s coming for you ... three, four, better be at my door. (Halloween Party @ 1428 Elm St. @ 10 p.m.) RSVP 2 Me – costume contest!

Costume Contest: Host a costume contest and give out prizes for top costumes. Some ideas for categories – most original, scariest, funniest, best homemade, sexiest, best couple/group, most creative, worst effort. Prizes can be a homemade goodie bag with sweets or, for larger parties, a few dollars can be collected into a pot as the prize for best overall costume.

Music: To follow is an easy Halloween playlist to mix in with your regular party music.

“Black Magic Woman” – Santana

“The Creature From the Black Lagoon” – Dave Edmunds

“Devil in Disguise” – Elvis Presley

“The Devil Went Down to Georgia” – Charlie Daniels Band

“Frankenstein” – The Edgar Winter Group

“Ghostbusters” – Ray Parker Jr.

“(Ghost) Riders in the Sky” – Johnny Cash

“Highway to Hell” – AC/DC

“I Put a Spell on You” – Screamin Jay Hawkins

“Men in Black” – Will Smith

“People Are Strange” – The Doors

“Purple People Eater” – Sheb Wooley

“Time Warp” – The Rocky Horror Picture Show

“Thriller” – Michael Jackson

“Witchcraft” – Frank Sinatra

Karaoke: Enough said. Ask your friends if they have a machine first (you’d be surprised at how many people have them) and if not, check out a site like karaokeguy.com for rentals. In general, prices average around $75 to $100 for a 24-hour period.

Kings Cup: The game of heavy drinking can be turned into Hallow’s Cup – an altered version of the traditional game to include ridiculous rules relating to Halloween. For example, if someone pulls a Jack, they have to shout “Trick-or-Treat!” Or if a three is pulled, that person has to howl like a werewolf three times.

Some other suggestions: “Fly” around the table on an imaginary broomstick; moan like a ghost, dance like Frankenstein, give your neighbor a sweet treat (kiss), add potion to the witch’s brew (pour more liquid into the cup) or choose to poison a gamer (give someone a shot).

Beer Pong: Trade out the traditional red cups with orange ones and use colored ping-pong balls to spice up a classic college party drinking game.


Besides music, a good party must include food. Or at bare minimum, something to munch on during dancing breaks. Or at least a table where the socially awkward people can stand while everyone else has a good time.

Poisoned Apples: Yep, good, old-fashioned candied apples. Just be sure to slice them up before you serve them for easy eating.

Ingredients: 8 apples, 8 wooden skewers, 2 cups granulated sugar, 1 cup light corn syrup, 1/2 cup hot water, 1/2 cup red cinnamon candies (like Red Hots)

Directions: Step 1: Combine the water, corn syrup and sugar in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir until the sugar dissolves, then continue to cook without stirring until mixture reaches 250 degrees. Step 2: Add the cinnamon candies and cook until it reaches 285 degrees. Step 3: Remove from heat and dip a clean, skewered apple in the candy until completely covered. Step 4: Set candied apple on a baking sheet and repeat with remaining apples.

Or for the grown-up, cocktail version of this classic, mix 1 shot of Goldschlager or peppermint schnapps, 1 shot caramel liqueur and 1/2 glass cold apple cider. Mix the alcohol together first, then add cider and stir.

Witch’s Hand: Yes, it is likely the same thing that you made in kindergarten during arts and crafts, but these double as snacks and decorations; therefore, they are worth it.

Directions: Get a box of clear plastic gloves, candy corn, popcorn and spider rings. Step 1: Slide a candy corn in each finger slot and fill the rest of the glove with popcorn. Step 2: Tie the ends and slide a spider ring onto the fingers.

Brains and Guts with a Side of Blood and Bones: (Spaghetti and meatballs with breadsticks and marinara sauce). Yes, it’s a little cliché, but it’s simple, can feed a lot of people and is fun to Halloween-ize.

Jell-O Shots: Always a party favorite, Jell-O shots can be modified to have a Halloween theme. I call this creation “Bloodshot Jell-O Shots” – drink enough and your eyes will match the title.

Ingredients: A six-ounce box of any red Jell-O flavor (strawberry or cherry), paper cups, six ounces of tequila or vodka, six ounces of boiling water, one ounce of cold water and1.5 tablespoons of sugar. The sugar is simply to mask the taste of the alcohol, so you can add more or less if you like (Hey! I thought Jell-O was supposed to be sweet.).

Directions: Step 1: To make the Jell-O, mix the boiling water until the powder and sugar are fully dissolved and then add the rest of the water and alcohol. Step 2: Pour the mixture into either shot glasses or one-ounce paper cups. Glasses are more aesthetically pleasing; however, paper cups are way easier to eat out of (It’s like choosing between classy or trashy … and the winner is …). If you decide to use paper, you can keep with the theme by drawing spooky designs on the exterior of the cups. Some simple suggestions: gravestones, bats, spiders, eyeballs or witches. For an extra treat, you can put a gummy bear into the cup before the Jell-O thickens. Or you can switch up the color patterns by using orange Jell-O and black candy, purple Jell-O with green candy, etc.