Halloween is more than traipsing children around the neighborhood collecting candy. Make this Halloween a safe and fun occasion by throwing a bash at home that is family friendly and, with a little creativity, easy on your budget.
Halloween is a big holiday celebration for my family. Each year since my oldest daughter was barely a year old, we have hosted a familyfriendly Boo Bash. But, increasingly, the challenge has been selecting a date that doesn’t conflict with school functions, sporting activities and community events – not to mention other Halloween parties. Last year, I solved this problem by choosing the Saturday after Halloween, which was also a long weekend for school-aged children. To have fun with the post-Halloween date, the theme was “S’mores Halloween Fun” and included spooky campfire stories, chili dinner and of course, s’mores. The result was tremendous fun!
Want to host a post-Halloween Boo Bash? Below are some highlights from my party plans that may inspire yours!
To set the tone for this fun, ghoulish and tasty celebration, hand-made “s’mores” invitations were mailed three weeks before the party. We made them from a white die-cut ghost glued to a chocolate brown (textured) square paper (to resemble a marshmallow on a Hershey’s® chocolate bar), placed it between two light brown square papers (to look like Graham crackers) and pinned them all together with a black spider brad. The event details were printed on the inside of the bottom “Graham cracker” paper. Adorable and easy!
The party was held outdoors so nature’s beauty was leveraged for party decorations. A few additional embellishments included dark brown burlap table coverings (inexpensive), garlands of colorful fall leaves and a trio of ghosts atop a small hay bale draped with a remnant of chocolate brown velvet to mimic a s’mores treat (insanely cute).
Since the party only lasted two hours, minimal seating was provided. In addition to log stools around the campfire, a few hay bales and outdoor blankets were placed on the lawn, and two small tables with plastic chairs were available for children to eat dinner. Fewer seating options meant that adults mingled while the kids played.
Food and Drinks
To complement the chill in the air and the simplicity of the campfire, a light dinner was offered that included hearty chili and cornbread, as well as skewered hot dogs for the kids. A self-serve bar included apple cider, bottled water, and wine for the adults. For dessert, guests roasted ghost-shaped marshmallow Peeps®; an unexpected twist on a classic s’mores treat! Food and drinks were simple and delicious.
For simplicity, disposables were used – orange ice cream bowls (found in the Target Dollar Deals section); custom-stamped “spooktacular” wooden spoons for the chili; and white “boo” cups (craft googly eyes applied to white paper cups) for the apple cider – inexpensive fun with a little personality!
The highlight of the evening was the spooky stories. A professional storyteller gathered guests around the campfire and captivated them with many haunted tales (appropriate for all ages) as well as humorous limericks and tongue-twisters. Because some friends were talking or playing during the first telling, the stories were repeated. The second time was more interactive as some children already knew what to say or expect. Best money ever spent!
Our annual Boo Bash concluded at dusk with tractor rides, a perennial favorite for the kids. My husband hitched a cart to his tractor and hauled a handful of kids around the house and down the street. They squeal with delight in the dark and beg for another turn. Want to host this Halloween party but need alternative ideas? Here are more ideas:
Instead of a homemade invitation, select a campfire themed invitation on Etsy and insert it into a black or orange envelope. If you want to email your invite, check out Paperless Post for adorable designs. Replace store-bought decorations with existing items, or make them. Pull plastic pumpkins, a witch’s cauldron and spooky ghosts out of storage and make garlands of colorful leaves out of cardstock. Change up light refreshments for dinner – popcorn clusters, crisp apples and decorated cookies, all washed down with a sparkling orange punch. This menu is crowd-pleasing and easy to assemble. Just remember to adjust the party time to either before or after dinner. In lieu of hiring a professional storyteller, encourage guests to tell (or make up) spooky stories.If guests need a little warm-up, consider prompting them with Mad Lib-style Halloween stories – ask for nouns, verbs and adjectives and insert into your original story. Laughter, as well as interaction, is guaranteed!
Wishing you a fabulous holiday party that leaves your guests wanting “S’Mores Halloween Fun!”
Asleigh Dorfman, CSEP