Come on, no one is too old for Halloween. Why not throw a spooky Halloween party that people will be talking about until Valentine's Day?

Here are some ideas to help get the party started:

1. Turn your garage into a full-on haunted house. That way, guests can walk through it before they enter the party. Cover the walls in black tarp; and create a maze throughout. Streamers and dim lighting will give it a creepy effect.

Have someone wearing all black hide in a corner, waiting to jump out and scare guests. At the end, have a table that features “victims of the haunted house” – in separate bowls have grapes for eyeballs, cooked spaghetti for guts and a platter full of rubber hands. They're sure to be a little grossed out.

2. So, maybe you're not into blood and guts. Have a Harry Potter-themed party! Assign each guest a character from the book to dress up as. For recipes for “magical” treats from the books, visit Chocolate frogs, anyone?

3.No one is ever too old to carve a pumpkin. Have your guests bring a pumpkin and buy carving kits before your party. Everyone can arrive and start carving while enjoying each other's company.

4. The Mummy Wrap is always a fun game. Before the party, buy a huge pack of toilet paper. Divide your guests into small groups. Have each group decide who will be “the mummy.” Set your watch for three minutes and tell them they have that long to create the best “mummy” by wrapping the chosen person in toilet paper.

5. Organize a scavenger hunt, Halloween-style. Create a list of things people will need to find, such as fake fingernails, a witch's broom, plastic spiders and fake eyeballs. Divide guests into teams and let them go at it!

For more fun, provide disposable cameras and have the teams take pictures with things on the list. Give them a time limit, and develop the pictures while they mingle or enjoy a craft activity. Whoever has the most pictures with the items on the list wins.

6. Of course, there has to be a costume contest. Instead of boring categories like “scariest,” think of fun ones like “the one you wouldn't want to run into in a dark alley” or “mostly likely to be repeated next year.”

7. You need a costume, too. The host's costume should always be among the best! Be original. Pick something current – you and your significant other could go as Meredith and McDreamy from “Grey's Anatomy.”

It's easy but creative: Scrubs and a long brown, wavy wig for the girl and a doctor's coat and stethoscope for the guy.

8. If you really want to heighten the creepy atmosphere, read Tarot cards, share ghost stories, or bring out the Ouija board.

9. Have a pumpkin pie-eating contest. It's always fun to get a little messy!

10. Gift bags are always a creative and cute thing to hand out to your guests as the leave. Try buying plastic gloves and filling them with popcorn for spooky popcorn hands or wrapping a lollipop in tissue with dotted eyes for a sweet tasting ghoul. Plastic spider rings and basic Halloween candy is always good to throw in, too.

© 2006, Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

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