Coolest Halloween Party
by Liz Kelly
(La Jolla, CA, USA)
To me, as far as decorating for a party, Halloween is way up there with Christmas on the fun scale! I decorate early in October so we can enjoy the results all month! Each year I add on more detail.
THE BAR CENTERPIECE
Last year I bought a large' flying witch' attached to her broom. This year I discovered her broom was removable, so after stuffing her clothes with towels, I was able to have her crouch behind a bubbling, smoking, cauldron, found at an online costume shop. She needed help with her very poor posture, so I bought some fishing line and attached it to the back of her hat and strung/nailed it to the beam over the bar.
The cauldron doesn?t need stinky fog juice, just plain tap water; so it was perfect for an area where food is served. Also, the cauldron light slowly changes colors from orange to purple. Our witch is accompanied by her trusty black cat and black crow on each side.
The witch's lab required serious intricate detail. I bought 5 beautifully - designed potion bottles created by PBLEU, an Etsy seller. The bottles include: Curse of the Bermuda Triangle (which I filled with blue-dyed water), Transylvania Blood of Bat (red water), Hemlock Elixir (green water), Dead Roses (which contained dried flowers) and Shrinking Potion (which contained a tiny skeleton).
The Curses, Spells, Potion, and Brews books are actually one single sculpture made of polyresin, made by Raz Imports. The metal multi-skull candle (using flicker bulbs), rubber brain, skull, and rubber mouse sitting on the books came from an online costume shop. The rubber Amazon Tree Boa winding around the bottles came from an online animal specialty store (I wanted something realistic-looking). The ceramic stack of skulls on the far left once sat in an aquarium I owned years ago. The large spider sitting in the middle of the web came from a local haunted house tour!
THE AXE MAN
This prop was achieved by covering up my office door (located straight down at the end of our hall) with a black disposable plastic tablecloth and the axe man poster purchased from a party store. After wrapping the door with the tablecloth, I attached the poster to it with wall tack found at any office supply or hardware store (I discovered scotch tape glows!).
I laid a long black light on the floor directly in front of it to make the whites and grays from the poster glow. Our guests can't miss this when they visit the restroom!
We have this really great catwalk underneath the high end of our ceiling in the living room. I put a string of orange lights on it close to the wall, and my husband laid two long black lights side by side on the edge of the catwalk, next to a very chilled-out posable plastic 3-ft skeleton (he's resting his elbow on his knee and one leg is swinging over the edge).
I added black garland to soften the appearance of the sharp edges of the black light cabinets. It was a pleasant surprise that the black light made the skeleton's teeth glow. He watches you watch TV while his black crows keep him company!
THE GUEST BATH
This year we made it super spooky. I purchased a 'blood-spattered' shower curtain depicting a knife murderer doing his thing. With the curtain came a
motion-sensitive device that, when triggered (presumably when one flushes the toilet), would start screaming and playing the shower scene music from Psycho. I also bought a 'bloody footprint' bath mat to match. On the mirrors I used window clings of runny blood and handprints.FOOD
I decorated cupcakes in various styles this year, such as “brains” made with pink icing, bloodshot eyeballs (eyeball gummy candy on top of white icing with drawn on red icing “veins”), and zombies that glow in the dark. I also used a variety of cupcake picks: bats, spiders, zombie hands and tombstones, all found online.
To make the brains, I cut off a tiny corner of a plastic bag, filled the bag with white icing lightly dyed with red food coloring, and squirted it through the hole onto the cupcake. The plastic zombie figurines are from a playset I purchased online; they stand pretty well on icing. “Dirt” for the zombie cupcakes was made from crushed Oreo cookies (with the gooey white center scraped off). The black dye used for the spider web cupcakes can be found at bakeries that carry Wilton products. I also made Jello shots that had either a gummy eye or gummy brain in each cup – I just poured the liquid (I used red and green jello flavors) over the candy before chilling the cups.
Plenty of gross food props are available online – next year I’m using plastic crackers with bugs or severed thumbs on top to display with the real ones.
Instead of a “Best Costume” contest, how about a “Goriest Appetizer” contest, where you can judge your guests' grossest-looking recipes? Ladyfingers, anyone?
We always serve Blood & Brains (spaghetti) for dinner at our party, which we enjoy while we watch a DVR'd horror movie on TV. I decorate the entertainment center with pre-lit black garland, a terra-cotta pumpkin candle holder, a black wire-wrapped tree that holds tealight candles, and another multi-skull candle like the one used in the witch's lab. The purple globe comes with a regular clear bulb, but for Halloween I replace it with an orange flicker bulb. The real caged bird is unaware of the crow lurking on his roof!
I put a whole lot more work into the interior of the house as we don't have a whole lot of trick-or-treaters.we mostly just have adult guests for small parties. But I do try to set up some cool (nothing cutesy) props for the dozen or so kids that do come by. We don't use the front room, but since this is the part that faces the road, I put a flickering skull candle in each of the 4 front windows.
Next to the front door I applied a window cling depicting the upper half of a skeleton peeking around the corner out at the visitors. Behind the blinds where the window cling is located, I installed a black light into a regular lamp and placed it right behind the cling to give it an eerie glow. In this front room we also hang a mini strobe light (only $10 at an online costume shop) over the fireplace to flash around in the room like lightning, a cool effect from outside.
We install another of these strobe lights on the overhang outside the front door and turn on its scary sound effects. Also outside on every Halloween night you will always find 2 or 3 lit pumpkins carved by yours truly!