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Halloween Party Ideas: Event Planners Share Their Top Tips

Scare up a good time with a hauntingly happy bash!


Fright-night delight is guaranteed when you surprise loved ones with a spectacular Halloween bash in the comfort of your own home! From tasty treats and on-theme sips to eek-chic decor, setting up a stylish yet spooky celebration is surprisingly easy and affordable. And who says grown-ups can’t enjoy all the festive fun? Here, we tapped top event planners for their best adult Halloween party tips so you can toast with friends, family and neighbors alike. Continue reading for all the savvy how-to’s, below.

Of all the holidays between October and January, “the best of the bunch, in my opinion, is Halloween!” says event planning pro Seri Kertzner, founder of, who styled the frightfully festive Halloween spread above.

To get the look, tape orange party-store letter balloons on a wall to spell out a fun phrase like ‘Boo.’ Next, top a table with kraft paper, a plastic cauldron filled with autumnal blooms and a few pumpkins painted black for an elevated, creepy-chic feel. Swap place mats for tote bags guests can decorate using puffy paint, glitter glue and festive beads. Add trays of crudite, treats and snacks for guests to help themselves. (For ready-made decor for your gathering, check out Kertzner’s striking custom party boxes for Halloween and more!)

Welcome ghouls and goblins with a holiday sip

Adult Halloween Party: Festive Halloween Signature Pumpkin "Beer-tail" cocktail

A little fizzy, a little sweet, Kertzner’s sparkling pumpkin “beer-tail” is a refreshing way to toast the holiday. To start, make a spiced rimming sugar by mixing 2 Tbs. each of brown sugar, sugar and cinnamon on a plate, then pour a thin layer of maple syrup on another plate. Dip rim of a margarita glass into the syrup, then the sugar mix. Next, fill each glass halfway with a pumpkin-flavored beer, then fill the rest of the way with nonalcoholic sparkling apple cider or your favorite hard cider; serve.

Add festive flair to place settings in seconds

Adult Halloween Party: Festive Orange Place Setting atop faux spiderweb decor
Charynn Olsheski,

Decor and event pro Charynn Olsheski, founder of, kept her place settings simple but sweet by focusing on Halloween colors. To make a cobweb place mat, fold a piece of black paper into quarters, then use scissors to cut out web details; unfold. Top with an orange paper plate, a themed napkin and mini pumpkins (real and candy versions!).

Bewitch with scary-sweet cutout cookies

Adult Halloween Party: Festive Halloween Cutout Sugar Cookies in Pumpkin, Ghost and Spiderweb shapes on plate

So-cute spooky treats offer an extra-special touch to a table! To do: Roll out sugar cookie dough, press with Halloween-themed cookie cutters, transfer to a baking sheet and bake. Next, roll out store-bought orange, black and white fondant, press with cutters, then place shapes atop corresponding cookies right after they come out of the oven. Let cool, then add details using cookie decorating icing tubes.

Beautify any corner with a blooming cauldron

Adult Halloween Party: "Blooming" cauldron filled with autumn florals

Filling a party-store cauldron with handfuls of seasonal blooms creates a surprising yet chic Halloween centerpiece — like this one by Kertzner — in minutes! To do: Fill a cauldron from the party store or craft store with cut-to-fit floral soaked floral foam. Next, snip handfuls of fall blooms and a small handful of eucalyptus. Insert blooms in first, one by one, forming a rounded mound. To finish, insert eucalyptus to fill in any gaps, allowing leaves to hang over cauldron edges. Display on tabletop. (To wow guests as they arrive with indoor or outdoor pumpkin decor, click through for our spellbinding pumpkin painting ideas!)

Say ‘welcome’ with a sparkling tabletop display

Adult Halloween Party: Candle and decor vignette on entryway or console table
Getty, Alexandr Kolesnikov

The warm, flickering glow from this DIY vignette is sure to light up the night and welcome guests as soon as they enter your home! Whether you set up this scene on an entryway table or a nearby console table, it enhances the Halloween ambiance. To do: Start by writing a festive phrase on a mini marquee sign (Buy at Amazon, $14.99); place on tabletop. Next, gather about 7 festive candles (like the gourd-shaped ones shown) from the craft store. Place around table; light. For extra flair, place one or two faux or real pumpkins onto the table. Add one of the pumpkins on a wooden tray and cluster with a wheat-filled vase and a candle; place near sign. Sprinkle a few fall leaves around table’s surface. (For even more Halloween tabletop decor ideas, check out these DIY centerpiece ideas.)

Bake up joy with candy ‘surprise’ cupcakes

Adult Halloween Party: Halloween Cupcakes with white and orange icing on wooden tray
Getty, Julia Sudnitskaya

Treat loved ones to petite, pretty desserts with surprise candy centers! To make, whip up the batter for a batch of your favorite chocolate cupcakes, but before you pop them in the oven, press an unwrapped mini candy bar into the center of each. After baking, let cupcakes cool and top with orange-tinted or white icing, then decorate with colorful sprinkles to finish.

Amp up any adult Halloween party with these easy ideas

Pick up faux cobwebs at craft and party stores and use them to add a Halloween touch to a wall without spending a lot of money. Kertzner used them to create a spooky-cute backdrop (behind her main party table) with the help of Command hooks. She stuck 10 hooks all over the wall behind her table, then stretched faux cobwebs between the hooks. To finish, she tucked plastic spiders in the webs to enhance the spooky feel. Also fun: Or set this up on a blank wall alongside a table of props (like sunglasses, hats, masquerade masks and more) as a backdrop for group photos and spooky selfies!

What else do you need for an adult Halloween party? Great music! Get everyone in the Halloween spirit with a curated selection of frighteningly fun songs! For a variety of playlists featuring hours of modern and classic tunes, search “Halloween Playlist” on Spotify. If you prefer to play a CD, try the Monster Halloween Hits CD (Buy at Amazon, $19.99), which features fun tracks like “Werewolves of London,” “Bat out of Hell” and much more.

Send them home smiling with sweet treat totes

Paper party totes filled with candy as party favors
Getty, Maglara

Your friends will be reminded of your celebration long after it’s over when you send them home with customized party bags filled with treats. To make each, first pick up kraft paper tote bags from the craft store or party store. Then cut out eye and mouth shapes from black scrapbook or construction paper; glue to bag, forming a festive face or character. Fill totes with extra candy, mini pumpkins, mini bottles of fall-scented lotion or hand-sanitizing gel and other goodies. Set the bags on a small table near the front door so guests can grab them on their way out..

A version of this article originally appeared in our print magazine, Woman’s World.

For more fun Halloween ideas and stories, check out:

From Spooky Cute to Classic: 10 Easy Halloween Door Decorating Ideas That Wow

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Halloween Centerpiece Ideas: 12 Frightfully Fun + Inexpensive DIY Displays

14 Fast, Easy and Delicious Halloween Cakes Sure To Scare Up Smiles

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