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Halloween party ideas - how to plan a Halloween party

Halloween witch made from balloons by Derbyshire Balloon Artist Melanie Allen of Balloon Artworks. Balloon decorations Derby, Nottingham, Chesterfield, Sheffield

Follow our Halloween party planning guide to ensure your Halloween party is a monster hit. Plus a video tutorial on how to make your own Halloween balloon spider to keep your young guests happy.

Here's our Halloween Party Planning Checklist to help you plan your spooky party

1. Plan well in advance

There's usually a lot going on at this time of year, so make sure your event is the one people know about first so that it is already in their diaries before they start receiving invitations from other people.

Pick the date for your party early and make sure you let your family and friends know well in advance.

The vast majority of Halloween parties take place on 31 October, but you may have good reasons for not holding your party on this date.

If this is the case, make sure you pick a date as close as possible to 31 October to ensure your guests are still in the Halloween spirit.

2. Give your guests an incentive to come in fancy dress

Make sure your guests know to come in fancy dress.

Give your guests an incentive to join in. Come up with a few different categories and offer a prize for the best costume in each category. Here are a few ideas:

  • Best ghost or ghoul costume

  • Worst witch costume

  • Best costume from a Halloween film

  • Most convincing vampire costume

Your options are endless, so have fun coming up with your own categories!

Staff from Sainsbury's Ripley store dressed in Halloween balloon hats and a giant balloon witch mask by Balloon Artworks, the Derbyshire Balloon Artist

3. Who are you going to invite to your Halloween party?

Draw up your guest list as early as possible, as who will be attending and their ages will influence the type of activities and entertainment you arrange.

If your party is predominantly for children, you'll need to make sure there are lots of activities and games to keep them interested and entertained. You could even surprise them by teaching them how to make a balloon spider.

4. Halloween decorations

Halloween is most definitely the time of year to go all out on the party decor. There's only one rule to follow - don't hold back. It's a time for extravagant, over-the-top party decorations, no matter whether you are holding your party at home or whether you have booked a venue.

Your decision on how to dress your venue will depend upon a number of factors:

  • your budget

  • the size of your event

  • the amount of time you have

  • how much help you have

  • whether you're a creative person

  • the effect you want to achieve

Your answers will affect your decision whether to create your party decorations yourself or whether to hire some help dressing your venue to help you create your perfect party atmosphere.

This is where you might want to considering hiring a balloon artist to come up with some Halloween balloon decorations just for your event and to help you design your party decor.

Balloon decor can be incredibly effective and eye-catching, particularly if you include giant Halloween balloon sculptures and masks.

CLICK HERE for more decoration ideas and to see what's available in our online shop.

Day of the Dead balloon models for Halloween by Balloon Artworks, the Derbyshire Balloon Artist based in Ripley

5. How to videos for making your own Halloween decorations

Here are some great places to start when looking for ideas for decorating your Halloween party:

And remember, great effects don't have to cost a fortune or take a huge amount of time. Small fog machines can be sourced relatively inexpensively online and are great for helping add a bit of eerie atmosphere to your event.

6. Themed refreshments

Plan your Halloween menu well in advance and get creative with naming your dishes and appetizers. Make sure you cater for a wide range of dietary needs.

Research Halloween cocktails for the adults, making sure to have a few non-alcoholic 'mocktail' options. The Bat Conservation Trust have recipes for both - click here.

Remember to stock up on extra sweets and candies for any uninvited trick or treat visitors.

Day of the Dead Halloween cake. Photography by Balloon Artworks, the Derbyshire Balloon Artist.

7. Halloween party goody bags

Candy cups topped with a Halloween balloon model are a novel variation on the traditional goody bag.

Ideally, you'll need candy cups that are 16-20 fl oz in size. Fill the candy cups with sweets and get your local balloon modeller to supply the balloon model toppers.

If you follow our Halloween party planning guidelines, you’ll be well on your way to hosting a great Halloween celebration. The key to success is to plan as far in advance as


The history bit - what are the origins of today's Halloween celebrations?

We all know that Halloween is hugely popular in the United States, but how did it all start?

Halloween or Hallowe'en has been celebrated on the eve of 31 October in different countries and by different cultures for many years and it is thought that many of the traditions we know today date back to the Celtic harvest festivals.

In Christian cultures, it is the start of a three-day period remembering the dead, including the 'hallows' or saints, and martyrs.

Traditional Halloween activities

A number of traditions have grown up around Halloween and no Halloween party would be complete without at least some of the following activities:

  • trick-or-treating

  • Halloween costume parties

  • carving pumpkins into jack o'lanterns

  • divination games

  • visiting haunted attractions

  • telling scary stories

  • watching horror films

About the author

Melanie Allen is a trained, professional balloon artist and the owner of Balloon Artworks, the Ripley based balloon studio specializing in high-end balloon modelling and balloon decorations for parties, weddings and corporate events, particularly in the Derby, Nottingham, Chesterfield and Sheffield areas of the East Midlands and South Yorkshire.

Melanie is experienced in both balloon decor and balloon modelling and brings both skills sets into play when creating her amazing balloon designs, in the emerging art of 'deco twisting'.

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