Halloween has a reputation as a kids’ holiday, especially among the DIY set where cheap party ideas – think spaghetti masquerading as brains – reign supreme. But why shouldn’t adults participate fully in all the frightful fun that kicks off the holiday season? From ghoulish goodies to magical mixtures, there is plenty for grownups to enjoy!
15 ideas for a frugal adult Halloween party with the right amount of scary
- Make finger foods more frightening with a fearsome presentation. Mini caramel apples get the scare treatment when they’re speared with bony twigs.
- Black olives sliced strategically become the heads and legs that turn deviled eggs into spiders – or up the ante with a deviled egg recipe that makes eggs look devilishly rotten.
- Think creatively. Puff pastry stuffed with sweet or savory fillings and twisted into a cake pan before baking morphs into creepily real looking intestines.
- As classic as the gelatin brain is, why not take it to the next level with real brains? A half sheep head from the butcher costs less than you think and walks the line between scary and sophisticated when roasted and served with toast points.
- How about martinis? What you should know is that the best and most simple martini will always be the one true classic vodka martini – add a drop of orange food coloring for extra Halloween flare.
- If you’re thinking that’s not very spooky, a Bloody Dutch Sour looks appropriately like a mad scientist’s potion and the traditional Bloody Mary needs no explanation. For a freaky twist, cleverly carved baby radishes plus pimento olives make convincing eyeballs (and functional ice cubes when frozen).
- Teetotalers and designated drivers deserve to have just as much fun, and punch is a one- bowl approach to keeping everyone hydrated.
- A vat of deep red Dragon’s Blood Punch is inexpensive on its own but also delicious with a splash of vodka, should guests want to add their own.
- Play down the sparkle and up the spookiness by tossing a few apples peeled to look like jack-o-lanterns (aka, shrunken heads) into the punch.
- Sticking to an all black palette will not only contribute to the grownup Halloween atmosphere, but also make it easier to source decorations on the cheap. The key is looking for ways to repurpose what you already have.
- A rectangular chalkboard can do double duty as a gravestone and a menu for the drinks table.
- Drape everything in black tulle, cut black bat silhouettes out of construction paper to hang and scatter black leave garlands around the room.
- Don’t under decorate but do be haphazard in your arrangements – your goal should be to create a space that feels old, abandoned and eerie. There is plenty of audio out there you can download to reinforce your décor like creaking, moans, screams and even full haunted house walk-throughs.
- As for what the grownups can do while kids bob for apples, games aren’t a must-have but it is nice for guests to have something to do besides mingle. The winking murderer game costs nothing at all – participants pick slips of paper featuring outrageous ways to die out of a hat and when the murderer (host) winks at each victim, they have three minutes to pantomime their elaborate, dramatic deaths. Give out prizes for the best performances to encourage guests to join in.
- Or try Halloween Jinx, where guests are assigned a word they cannot say during the party. Lip slips result in funny or embarrassing penalties.
Who says Halloween is just for kids? Or that throwing an epically chilling Halloween party has to cost an arm and a leg (and a brain and a witch’s finger)? Use these ideas to get you started and then put your own spin on the fun.