Three Ways to Throw the Perfect Halloween Party

By Colleen McTiernan

Photos by Sincerely Gone Photography

Thinking about throwing a Halloween party this year? Whether you are planning on a scary soiree for tweens and teens or something a little more subdued for tiny tots, one of these three themes (complete with costume ideas!) is sure to help inspire you with this year’s Halloween festivities.

Party #1: Gothic Halloween

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Create the atmosphere

For this gothic setup, we used fake spider webs, lace and skeletons to create a spooky atmosphere.

Sweet treat

We placed red vines in a spider-themed vase for a sweet treat that still adds to the gothic theme of the party.

Finger foods

We made these creepy spider pizzas using flatbread rounds, pre-made pizza sauce and mozzarella cheese. Then we cut up black olives to create our spiders.

Wicked Awesome Wolfman

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Materials Needed

  • Plaid button-down shirt
  • Jeans
  • White T-shirt
  • Faux brown fur
  • Black cotton work gloves
  • Faux plastic nails
  • Black nail polish
  • Brown costume makeup
  • Hair gel
  • Costume teeth
  • Hot glue gun
  • Outfit

Cut the faux fur into a variety of shapes, then glue it to the jeans and around the wrists of the shirt. Glue a large, v-shaped piece of fur to the front of the white T-shirt.


Use a hot glue gun to attach plastic nails to the fingers of the cotton work gloves. Once dry, paint the nails black. Cut out additional pieces of fur to glue to the backs of the gloves.


Use a sponge to apply sweeping strokes of the brown costume makeup on the forehead, chin and cheeks. Use a brown eyeliner to create thick eyebrows and to draw on the nose. Use a quarter-sized amount of hair gel to spike up the hair; it is OK to go a little crazy here! For the costume teeth, look for a pair that are made from flexible plastic that will not be uncomfortable.

Not-So-Villainous Vampire

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Materials Needed

  • Burgundy- or maroon-colored dress
  • Black leather jacket or black cardigan
  • Black tights
  • Black boots
  • Headband (we found this great bat one at H&M)
  • Victorian choker
  • Black netting
  • Small alligator hair clip
  • Bobby pins
  • Hot glue gun
  • Red lipstick
  • White eyeliner
  • White face powder
  • Outfit

For a cooler night of trick-or-treating, a leather jacket and black leggings will help keep your child warm and stylish. In warmer weather, a light cardigan and thin tights are the way to go. Add a matching choker to complete the look; we found ours at Hot Topic.


Cut a 7-inch circle from the black netting. Pinch one side of the netting and glue to the hair clip. Clip the netting on the top of the head and then place the headband just in front it. The headband will hide the clip behind it and the remaining netting will stick out in the front. Use bobby pins to secure the remaining netting.


Use a white or pale face powder over the entire face and neck to give your child a vampire-like pallor. Dark lipstick and drawn on “fangs” finish the look. Use the white eyeliner to draw simple white triangles below the bottom lip, eliminating the need for those uncomfortable plastic teeth!

Party #2: Fall Festival

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Sweet treat

We used yellow, orange, red and brown candies to create these ornamental corn-inspired cupcakes.

Create the atmosphere

Fake leaves, hay and pumpkins create the perfect autumnal feel for this party.

Finger foods

We cut up grilled cheeses and placed tomato soup in small plastic containers for a quick and easy snack.

Sweet Scarecrow

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Materials Needed

  • Denim overalls
  • Plaid button-down shirt
  • Straw hat
  • Faux leaves
  • Straw or raffia
  • Hot glue gun
  • Plaid fabric
  • Boots
  • Orange costume makeup


Cut up your plaid fabric into several rectangles of varying sizes. Using the glue gun, attach the cut fabric to the overalls. Place them sporadically; do not be afraid to be creative! Tuck the faux leaves and straw into the overall pockets and secure them with the hot glue. Glue extra pieces of straw on the inside of the top of the overalls and the wrists of the button-down shirt so that they just peek out. This gives the illusion that your little one is made of straw, just like a real scarecrow!


Create a band for the straw hat by cutting a long strip from your remaining plaid fabric. Wrap the fabric around the base of the hat and secure with hot glue. Then glue on a few more faux leaves and some loose straw.


Use orange costume makeup to color the nose.

Fall Blooms

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Materials Needed

  • Brown leggings
  • Yellow T-shirt
  • Large thin basket (we purchased ours from Hobby Lobby)
  • Hand saw
  • Burlap
  • Faux flowers
  • Hot glue gun
  • Tan webbing
  • Wire cutters
  • Burlap headband


Remove the bottom from the basket using a hand saw. Glue pieces of the burlap around the bottom to cover any sharp edges.

Lay the basket on its side and start gluing the flower stems along the inside rim. Be sure to vary the height at which the flowers stick out from the basket to give the costume a less structured feel. After you finish gluing the flowers down, glue a large piece of burlap down over the stems to help keep them secure.

Cut two lengths of tan webbing to create the straps. Glue one end of one strap to the front left of the basket, then glue the other end to the back left. Repeat with the other length of webbing for the right side of the basket.


Use the wire cutters to remove the stems from two to three of your remaining faux flowers, the use the hot glue gun to attach them to the side of the burlap headband.

Party #3 Not-So-Scary Halloween

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Sweet treat

Cover Blow Pops with tissues and secure them with twine. Then color in eyes with black marker for a ghostly finish!

Create the atmosphere

Brightly colored toy spiders, dyed vials of water and decorated pumpkins lend a distinctive Halloween feel to the party without making it seem too spooky for little ones!

Finger foods

We made these witch fingers by dipping pretzel rods in green-colored candy melts and using slivered almonds as the nails.

Magical Mermaid

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Materials Needed

  • Light blue leggings
  • Purple tank top
  • Wide purple elastic headband ribbon
  • Blue headband
  • Light blue felt
  • Teal elastic headband ribbon
  • Four 6-inch rolls of tulle in varying shades of purple, green and blue
  • Variety of shells
  • Hot glue gun


Cut a piece of purple elastic headband ribbon to wrap around your child’s torso. Use a piece of tulle to secure the two sides together at the back. If one piece is not long enough, use a strip of tulle to attach two pieces together.


Cut two 3-inch circles from the light blue felt and glue together with the headband in the middle. This will be your base. Using a length of tulle from each of the four tubes, fold each piece into a triangle and glue them around the top felt circle. Glue shells on top to finish.


Measure out enough of the elastic ribbon to encircle your child’s calf comfortably. Cut another length for her other leg. Elastic ribbon is very stretchy, so you may not need as much as you think!

Cut several 4-inch wide strips of the four varieties of tulle. How many you will need will depend on how wide your elastic ribbon is. Use a thin strip of tulle to secure the two ends of each length of elastic ribbon.

Wrap your elastic around a wide cup or small bucket. Starting at one end of the elastic, fold your tulle in half and pull the folded end through the first gap in the elastic. Pull the end of the tulle through itself to form a lark’s head knot. Repeat around the bottom row of the elastic, rotating through your four colors of tulle. Once the bottom row is complete, you will repeat the same step for the second and third rows of the elastic to create a full looking fin. Repeat for the second fin.

When the fins are complete, slide them around your daughter’s calves to complete her mermaid look.

Radical Robot

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Materials Needed

  • Gray pants
  • Gray shoes
  • Gray T-shirt
  • Large cardboard box
  • Smaller cardboard box
  • Two dryer hoses, cut in half
  • Blue construction paper
  • Scissors and wire cutters
  • Gold pipe cleaner
  • Styrofoam heart
  • Silver spray paint
  • Various household items; pie plates, mason jar rings, door stoppers, drain hair catcher
  • Hot glue gun
  • Silver eyeshadow


Cut two armholes in the sides of your large box, and then cut a large rectangle out from the front of the smaller one. Use hot glue to secure the two boxes together, then spray paint the entire box silver. Once the boxes are dry, use the hot glue to attach additional decorations to the box. Be creative; almost anything can work! We used door stoppers as antennae and finished the look with a pie plate, a drain hair catcher and mason jar rings. Bend a gold pipe cleaner to resemble the line of a heart monitor and glue it to the blue paper, then attach the paper to the box.

Cut the dryer hoses to the length of your child’s arms and legs. Then, once he is ready to wear his costume, slide the dryer vent hoses over his arms and legs.


Use silver eyeshadow to put a metallic glint on the nose!