This Halloween Party Tutorial for Busy People will show you how to throw an awesome party when you’re short on time, while still sticking to a tight budget.
Halloween has always been a big holiday for me. I love making my own costumes, getting creative with decorations and food, and throwing Halloween parties. I’ve even gone trick or treating all the way throughout high school – mostly because I missed out on Halloween as a kid since I didn’t grow up in the US. Lots of kids still trick-or-treated in high school in Brooklyn, I didn’t know it was just for little kids in other places! Later in college, my friends and I always went to epic Halloween parties.
Even when I started working I made my work friends dress up to work on Halloween. There was one year where management had a ‘surprise’ department meeting on October 31 where they announced lay offs, and there was a farmer, ninja turtle, basketball player, and cave woman in attendance. Oops! How were we supposed to know?
I’ve thrown Halloween parties several years in a row in the past, and they’ve always been a ton of fun. One of the most fun memories Aldo and I have are from a Halloween party many years ago, way before we even considered dating each other.
I LOVE decorating for Halloween, making creepy snacks, decorating cupcakes, and going all out for Halloween parties. But for this year’s party I knew none of those things would be possible because we have little Elliot, so I had to get creative about how to throw an awesome party with minimal prep work. Let me share my tips with you from this weekend’s Halloween party:
Dollar store, dollar store, dollar store!
A 15 minute trip at the dollar store and I had ALL the decorations and supplies I needed for all of $20. Spiderweb, plates, cups, napkins, tablecloths, creepy crawly bugs, and other decorations. Two packages of spiderweb decorated our whole house and it looked awesome. I do have to say I was surprised that many things at the dollar store were $1.19 or $1.49 instead of $1 – when did this happen??
Let’s face it, the most important part about parties is the food. I *love* spending a ton of time making Halloween treats, but that just wasn’t possible this year. So we did things the simple way. Here is what we served:
- “Road Kill” Sausage & Peppers and Meatballs in marinara sauce in the slow cooker, with sub rolls. Absolutely no work on our part, and everyone can go ‘fishing’ for whatever they want to eat.
- Halloween Chips: Blue Corn Chips with Sweet Potato & Carrot Chips (orange Doritos would have worked too!) with guacamole and salsa.
- Hot dog mummies. Super easy, always delicious. Add little mustard dot eyes and serve with mustard.
- “Fried Toes”(Bacon Wrapped Dates). Also super easy and delicious. Just cut each bacon slice into 3 pieces, wrap each one around a dried date, and bake at 400F for 15 minutes. Brush with maple syrup and bake another 5 minutes.
- Store bought brownies and cookies. We just had no time to bake. But if you do want to bake, make some brownies and drizzle them with orange/green/purple icing. Very easy, very Halloweeny.
- Chocolate covered pretzels with Halloween colored sprinkles.
- Nutter Butter Ghosts. Dip nutter butter cookies into melted white chocolate and add chocolate eyes. Because you can’t go wrong with cookies covered in chocolate.
All of the above were very easy to make, and were enough to feed a crowd. It was a nice balance between store-bought food and getting a little hands-on with decorating treats. For drinks, we got soda, a six-pack of beer and a bottle of red and white wine, and asked guests to bring whatever else they want to drink. Easy-peasy!
The Little Details: Printables & Stickers
We printed out labels for food and a few paper bats and ghosts to tape up all over the house. Very easy, very cheap, and it adds a special touch to the party. Plus it allows you to serve normal food but still have it seem creepy and Halloween-y. Just slap a “Road Kill” label on the slow cooker containing sausages in marinara sauce, and it will totally seem like a creepy Halloween food. Just search on google or pinterest for Halloween printables, you’ll find a ton of cute stuff!!
We also bought a sheet of 100 Halloween stickers for $1, and used these as cup labels instead of having people write their names on cups.
DIY Your Costume
If you are the type of person who likes to make your costume, you should still do so even if you’re short on time. Just find something super easy and creative. We were a family of dominos. I don’t know if I should admit this on the internet for all of the world to see, but the dots we used were disposable nursing pads stuck on with adhesive spray. If we didn’t have that, we would have used sticky-backed felt that is sold in crafts stores or made our own sticky felt circles with adhesive spray.
I hope these tips are helpful! Our whole Halloween party came together in less than 3 days of planning. We even had time to go out for lunch and have some family over earlier on the day of the party instead of spending all day setting up – that’s how easy the prep was!