For the month of October Listing Toward Forty is Listing Toward Halloween, featuring a variety of Halloween posts including many by guest authors. This post is by Edd Fairman.
I have performed at approximately 60 Halloween parties over my 11 year career. I have probably attended another 40 parties over my lifetime but I have never hosted one.
Why? I’m usually working.
However, I feel that my experience as a guest and performer at so many Halloween parties has given me a bit of an edge on knowing what makes a good Halloween party. Here are my tips on how to host the ultimate Halloween party.
It doesn't matter when you have the party some people aren’t going to be able to come. With a limited number of Fridays and Saturdays in October, you only have a few choices.
Figure out who you REALLY want to be there and schedule around them. This allows you to really weed out your friends list. Someone is going to catch wind that you scheduled the party to fit someone else's schedule and won’t come just out of spite. This is a good thing. You didn’t want that annoying person there anyway.
Have the party November 1. This is great if your friends are in the theater, service industry, or hospitality. You will also save a bundle on decorations and candy. Also, having the party November 1 will totally tick off a bunch of people, which is great, because you didn't want them there anyway.
Have the party when you darn well please and just be comfortable with the fact that some people won’t be able to come.
I’m a big fan of savory food at Halloween parties because if you are like me, you have just spent the last few weeks leading up to Halloween subsisting on candy only. Here are a few food suggestions:
- Don’t make gross stuff on purpose. I don’t get it. I never quite understood the food “dare.”
- Don’t make themed food. Yes, you took 3 hours to make the perfect little ghost cookies and they looked great on the plate. But after about five minutes (if they taste good at all) they will look like a group of lost Klansmen who’s numbers have been diminished by a horrible scourge and no one will care about your effort. Actually, now that I think of it, Klansman cookies should be the only themed food at your event. Then you could all take turns biting their heads off and torturing them in various ways. Fun for all ages.
It is important that your guests know all the important information.
Location, Date, and time:
Yeah it seems like a real no brainer - but trust me, I’ve seen people that have hosted parties and been real light on the details. You’ll feel like a real loser if no one comes to your party because you transposed your address on the invite.
Do a real live invite. Even if it’s just an evite. Telling most people about a party is akin to telling them your pants size. Unless you are really close with that person they are going to forget this information immediately. So, type it up and send it out.
- Are costumes REQUIRED? Then you’re a jerk.
- Are costumes recommended? If so, and you are a guest and you don’t wear one, then you are the jerk.
I’m getting to an age where some of my friends have little ones and it’s always being asked, “Are the kids invited?” So, let people know. A great way to do it is to have a cut off time for “family friendly” fun. So, then after, say, 10:00 PM my friend can break out her body sized, anatomically correct, vagina costume and we don’t have to explain to the kids that it’s a costume of the front door to their first apartment.
- Hallo- sluts: If you going to dress up as a “slutty whatever” for Halloween and you are going to a party. It is YOUR RESPONSIBILTY to find out if it is a family party or not. Unfortunately, most of your average Hallo-sluts don’t take responsibility too seriously and probably aren’t reading this or won’t care.
If you are serving alcohol you must serve it responsibly. Some people can’t behave themselves around alcohol and then they put on a mask or costume and become full-fledged idiots. You, as the host, have a responsibility to the that drunken soon-to-be ex-friend to make sure they aren’t driving drunk, stumbling home drunk and vulnerable, or molesting the rest of your guests. If you’ve never been to a Halloween party where someone got too drunk and acted like an idiot, it was you and you don’t remember. Also, you almost ruined the party for everyone.
If you are asking your guests to bring anything (food, booze, chairs, etc) be specific. Don’t just say, “Bring something for the buffet.” You don’t have to instruct them as to what recipes to use and where to get their ingredients but at least tell them what else is going to be there so they don’t bring something you already have.
4. Try to relax
If you do all your planning well then you will be able to enjoy your party. If you do not plan well, it will be a totally stress out fest. Unless, you just relax, and say, “Hey we’re having fun.”
Edd Fairman, Wizard of Sorts is a stand-up comedy magician based in Chicago. You can learn all about him at www.wizardofsorts.com.
All Halloween posts from this series can be found here.
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