I’m not afraid to admit that I LOVE Halloween.

So what if I’m too old for trick or treating?! Who cares if it makes me a loser for loving fancy dress?! Everything about the holiday excites me; the bloody costumes, the haunting decorations, the eerie atmosphere…I don’t know why, but Halloween has always had a special place in my heart. Perhaps it comes from my teenage obsession with books like Point Horror, shows like Buffy The Vampire Slayer, and movies like The Craft, Hocus Pocus, The Nightmare Before Christmas and Donnie Darko.

Unfortunately I grew up in a community which was, well, kind of closed minded and creatively sparse – nobody really ‘did’ Halloween, not even the drama geeks. By the time I hit University, I’d never been trick or treating and I’d never been to a Halloween Party, let alone thrown one! Thankfully everyone I’ve lived with in my adult life has felt the same way about All Hallows Eve, and so my adoration with one of the spookiest events on the calendar has slowly come to life. Over the last few years I’ve partied the night away as a zombified nurse, a porcelain doll, a Battle Royale Girl, a beaten-to-death Fifties housewife and a dead waitress from True Blood, and this year I want to go even bigger and better!

If you’re planning on hosting a party of ghoulish proportions in a few weeks time, here’s a checklist that will ensure you don’t lose your head…

Guests

There’s no point in planning a party unless you know that people are going to come! Be honest with yourself about how many bodies your house/flat can accommodate – do you REALLY want to invite everyone you’ve ever met and find yourself in a nightmare situation? The easiest thing to do is to set up an invite only group on Facebook – that way you can stay in control, update your guests with any changes, and keep an eye on the numbers.

Costume

Once you know who’s coming, the next stop is usually choosing your costume. Do you really want someone to turn up to your party in the same outfit? Of course you don’t, so plan ahead! Use sites like eBay and Amazon to your advantage; ordering your spooky attire online, and in advance, can save you a lot of money and heartache. Be sure to make a note of delivery times (especially if you’re buying from across the pond) and when you can, pick up pieces out of season as the closer it gets to Halloween, the higher the price points will be.

The internet is also a wonderful place to do your research; people dress up all year round for fancy dress parties and conventions! Pinterest is a great place to start collating ideas, but make the most of cosplay forums, blogger ‘How To’ guides and YouTube tutorials too.

Decorations

Although the same ‘early doors/internet shopping’ rules apply to your decor, you can actually pick up some brilliant decorations on the high street – just don’t leave it until October 30th when the general public will wrestle you to the ground for the last hanging skeleton! Check out your local Poundland, 99p Store and TK Maxx for budget friendly items. If you have the time and you’d prefer to be more inventive, look out for mini DIY projects on the net and bookmark them – that way when you find yourself with a free evening and nothing to do, you can spend time cutting out bats or making gooey eyeballs…

Food

There are so many things to take into consideration when it comes to serving food at a party. Have you got all of your ingredients? Will you have time to make everything? Are there things that can be made in advance? Have you got candy to give to possible trick or treaters? Does anyone coming have particular dietary requirements? It can be a hassle to put on a spooky spread, so if you don’t have the time, then please don’t put yourself through the extra stress; schedule your party at a later time in the evening, only serve snack foods, or encourage your guests to bring a dish for the table.

If you find yourself with a couple of hours spare between decorating and getting dressed up, why not cook something spook-tacular?! Bakerella, Martha Stewart and the BBC all have great Halloween inspired treats on their websites, and thanks to Pinterest, I’ve bookmarked hundreds of original display ideas and savoury snack recipes. The possibilities are endless!

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