HOW TO HOST A SUCCESSFUL HALLOWEEN PARTY

Remember how I wrote that I wouldn't be giving out parenting advice in my blog? Well I never said I wouldn't provide occasional party planning advice. And the best kind of parties are always Halloween parties, IMO. The costumes, themed food and spooky decor get me every time. We host an annual family-friendly Halloween party at our house and I've learned a few tricks along the way.

Mantles are great places to put decorations where your children can't destroy them. Notice my sparkly pumpkins behind a metal shield that has fallen on my son so many times he won't go near it. 

Mantles are great places to put decorations where your children can't destroy them. Notice my sparkly pumpkins behind a metal shield that has fallen on my son so many times he won't go near it. 

People love on-theme food: Everything on your buffet table (and you should most definitely serve buffet-style so your guests can eat for several hours straight) should in some way be Halloween themed. Deviled eggs? Make them into bloodshot eyeballs with a little food coloring and some olives. Spinach artichoke dip? Make it look like a Jack-o-lantern is barfing it onto a plate of pita chips. This year I decided to make walking tacos only so that I could call them Walking Dead Tacos. The year I made Sloppy Joes I called them "Sloppy Joe (RIP)". General rule of thumb is the more disgusting the food looks/sounds, the better it tastes. 

Kids hate doing crafts on Halloween: The first year we hosted the party I had games and crafts galore. My husband also insisted on turning our upstairs into a haunted house, which kind of annoyed me because were the kids even going to have time for that with all the other activities? Guess what the kids wanted to do? Binge eat candy, grab desserts off the table with their bare hands like little animals, and go through the haunted house 1000 times. I think maybe one craft was made and I'm pretty sure a parent forced the child to be polite. I had several age-appropriate games in the basement which of course immediately turned into sword fighting with hockey sticks. 

This is what my son thought of the pumpkin craft I tried to force him to make this year. "Look mommy I'm an eyeball!"

This is what my son thought of the pumpkin craft I tried to force him to make this year. "Look mommy I'm an eyeball!"

The adults need alcohol: Halloween with kids is fucking exhausting. They are all on their absolute worse behavior, binge-eating nothing but sugar and up past their bedtime. On top of it all they are wearing an outfit you really would like them to keep clean long enough to get a decent picture. A party that involves a large horde of unruly children requires at least a few sanity-saving beverage options. This year I'm all about apples so I found an apple cider sangria recipe and stocked up on seasonal beer. I bought the kids cheap juice boxes at Cosco because those little monsters can't tell the difference. (Pro tip: Kids universally love juice boxes because they know sneaky adults can't water them down.) 

Don't make people take their shoes off: I'm talking to you, native Minnesotans. Shoes are most likely part of the outfit. Don't expect people to come to your house all dressed up in character and then walk around in bare feet. It's called a mop and it's a small price to pay for the hours your guests probably spent piecing together the perfect look. 

Cancel the party at the last minute: Make sure to do all your grocery shopping and run all your party-related errands early in the week so that when your children inevitably become sick and force you to cancel you are stuck with 50 snack-sized bags of Fritos, enough beer for 40 adults and more fresh food than your family could consume in a month. Post a depressing cancellation notice on Facebook and then repeatedly text all your friends the weepy face emoji. Seriously consider spending Halloween returning all the unnecessary shit you bought while on a party-planning endorphin high. 

So now you know all my spooky secrets. Just to clarify, the last step is optional. However, for a truly authentic family Halloween party I wouldn't skip it. Illness is a holiday tradition and your guests will take notice of your lack of attention to detail. 

I spent hours carving pumpkins for the tablescape at my cancelled party. 

I spent hours carving pumpkins for the tablescape at my cancelled party. 

I'll end by wishing everyone the traditional Halloween blessing:

 May your candy be ever free of poison, razor blades and street drugs

May your neighbors actually put on their fucking porch lights this year so all the trick-or-treaters don't skip your street

And may the weather not require coats over costumes because that is the absolute worst

Amen.