Inviting friends and loved ones over for a festive movie night is such a fun way to celebrate spooky season! And before you press play on a Halloween classic like Hocus Pocus, Beetlejuice or It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, you’ll need the perfect cozy backdrop for guests. From eek-chic accents to sweet and savory treats, the only scary thing about setting up this Halloween movie night is how fast it all comes together!
“We love a good movie night around here, so we thought it would be fun to create a Halloween movie night to get into the holiday spirit,” says party pro Dannyelle Nicolle-Ramjist, founder of Life Is A Party blog. “We love the idea of enjoying classic Halloween movies from the comfort of your own home by turning the living room into a movie theater. Just set up a cozy evening on your couch with lots of pillows, throws, decor and party snacks. And the best part? How about instead of wearing Halloween costumes, you wear Halloween pjs? So easy!”
To get the look of Dannyelle’s Halloween movie party (above), start by setting up a special help-yourself snack bar! Simply top a table with pink tulle and twinkly lights, then add pails of flavored popcorn, bottled drinks, a festive sign and a cake stand filled with cupcakes. To finish, tape a paper garland to the front of the table and set a few faux pumpkins on the floor. Also smart: Place extra pillows, cushions and blankets nearby for guests to snuggle up with during the movie screening.
Wow your guests with too-cute tickets
At her party, Dannyelle created adorable movie tickets to add to the theater atmosphere of her event. To get the look, visit her website for the free printables. Or make your own version by using an orange marker to jot a Halloween movie night message on rectangles of white paper, then add ghost stickers. Mail to guests ahead of your movie night with more details jotted on the back or simply hand them to guests as they enter as a fun nod to a classic movie theater ticket booth! (To wow your visitors as they arrive, click through for our spellbinding Halloween door ideas!)
Set up a hot cocoa station
Spark creativity by allowing guests to customize cups of hot cocoa! To make a trendy mix-in tray, arrange a few ramekins filled with marshmallows on a large serving platter. Next, layer on cookies, chopped candy, caramels, toasted coconut and chocolate. Add mini spoons into ramekins for serving. Set the tray near empty mugs and a slow cooker filled with hot cocoa and a ladle for serving. (Click through for an easy recipe for pumpkin-spice hot cocoa.)
Add instant ambiance with a twinkling candlescape
Halloween movies are even more enjoyable when you watch by glowing candlelight. And this sparkling autumnal focal point will brighten up any corner instantly! To do: Simply place two mini pumpkins or gourds (real or faux work fine here!) on a round wooden serving tray. Then sprinkle on a few fall leaves. To finish, place a battery-run candle or two on the tray. Place on a tabletop near your television or coffee table so guests can see the flickering “firelight.”
Toast to fun and friendship with a pumpkin spice martini
Kissed with a hint of pumpkin spice, this delicious cocktail will get everyone in the Halloween spirit! To make, pick up a pumpkin spice–flavored syrup like Torani Pumpkin Spice (Buy on Amazon, $18 for 24.5 oz.) (Click through to learn how to make your own skinny syrups in a variety of flavors!) For each cocktail: Dip the rim of a martini glass in maple syrup, then in a saucer filled with cinnamon sugar. Add 1 1⁄2 oz. of vanilla vodka and 1 oz. of pumpkin syrup to an ice-filled shaker; shake and strain into the glass. Float a star anise on top of drink.
Bake up a sweet batch of ‘batty’ cupcakes
These silly sweets are sure to fly off your snack bar! To make: Bake up a batch of chocolate cupcakes; let cool, then top with chocolate frosting. For 24 cupcakes, cut 24 chocolate-sandwich cookies in half. Press two halves, cut side down, into icing on each cupcake to form bat wings. Add edible eyes like Wilton Mini Candy Eyeballs (Buy at Amazon, $11) to each to finish. Prefer a grown up cupcake? Click through to our sister site for delicious cocktail cupcakes!
Ensure Halloween movie night fun with games
A little friendly competition keeps guests smiling and on their toes! Before your party, print out bingo cards, then fill in the squares with a few common sights you’ll see in a Halloween movie (costumes, cobwebs, a full moon, etc.). Hand out the cards and markers to guests, then sit down for your screening. Have small gifts on hand (like scratch-off lottery tickets or fall-themed lotions and soaps) to gift to winners as they shout “bingo!”
Press play on festive movies and more with a ‘playlist’
Whether you’d like to laugh or scream (or both!), plan out which movies you’ll watch ahead of time. For easy streaming, create a “playlist” of movies on the Netflix app by selecting your favorite titles and clicking “Add to My List.” Don’t have time for a movie marathon? Opt to watch Halloween-themed episodes of your favorite TV shows. Add the shows to your playlist and let the fun begin!
Or if your brood prefers the seasonal sweetness of Hallmark Halloween and fall movies, check out their schedule for all the airing times so you can plan your movie night accordingly.
Surprise your guests with candy-filled tote bags
Send guests home smiling with trick-or-treat totes that also add Halloween flair to your flick fest. Simply line up these totes on an entryway table or on a windowsill so they’re in view and easy to grab! To make each, start with a cute orange and white polka dot party-store bag. Then, tuck a piece of tissue paper into the bag and fill with a mix of your favorite candies, lollipops or dollar-store trinkets like faux spiders or candy rings or autumn-scented hand soap!
Serve up smiles with a variety of gourmet popcorn
“I thought it would be fun to serve our popcorn in pink cauldrons,” says Dannyelle. “We picked up some black plastic cauldrons at the dollar store and painted them in three different shades of pink.” (Tip: Choose nontoxic spray paint or craft paint to turn your cauldrons from black to pretty-in-pink — and be sure to only spray the exterior of the cauldrons.) Next, let them dry, then line the entire interior of the cauldron with plastic wrap. At her party, she filled a trio of buckets with buttery movie theater-style popcorn, white cheddar popcorn and caramel corn.
For a sweet surprise, fill a few ramekins with creative popcorn mix-ins like chocolate chips, sprinkles, mini candy eyeballs and more; add small spoons into each for easy serving. To finish, place the popcorn buckets near the ramekins with a stack of paper cups and allow guests to scoop and help themselves to their own customized popcorn cup. Let the fun begin!
A version of this article originally appeared in our print magazine, Woman’s World.
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