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Event Inspiration/Articles/Inspiration/13 Killer Theme Ideas for This Year's Halloween Party

13 Killer Theme Ideas for This Year's Halloween Party

Kick off spooky season by throwing an epic celebration with a creative theme.

Lilly Blomquist


Planning a legendary Halloween party can be a lot of work. From compiling a guest list to creating a delicious menu to decorating the party space, the whole ordeal can be exhausting. We get it. 

To make the party planning process much simpler and more fun, selecting a theme could be your saving grace. Rather than walking blindly through the department store aisles, wondering if you should buy the floating skull or the grinning jack-o'-lantern (or better yet, splurge on both), selecting a theme for your party will narrow down the seemingly endless options. 

A themed party will get your creative gears turning and guide all of the essential party elements, such as food, drinks, costumes and decor, that will kick your party up a notch. If you’re unsure where to start, these 13 Halloween party themes will give you some inspiration. Whether you’re looking for spunky and sweet or spooky and scary, these themes will set the tone for any type of Halloween celebration that you’re after.

1. Witch Hunt 

Although you won’t find any real witches, hosting a party with a scavenger hunt twist will feel like everyone’s trying to solve the witchcraft mystery of Salem. To plan a bewitching scavenger hunt, plant a trail of hidden clues that lead to a secret prize. Or, you can distribute a list of Halloween-themed items, such as a broomstick or a Hershey’s chocolate bar, for teams to find and capture with their smartphones. A scavenger hunt makes for a great Halloween party activity since it accommodates any weather condition. You can plot the course outside in the crisp fall air or indoors if the temperature provides a shivery chill. (Pro tip: Party games and activities are great ice breakers for a guest list that’s combining different groups of friends and family who are meeting for the first time.)

2. Back to the Future

Do you ever wish you could go back in time? With a party based on Back to the Future, you’ll be transported to two different decades in just one night. Everyone can dress in either neon, leg warmers and large hair from the 1980s or poodle skirts, Peter Pan collar blouses and cardigans from the 1950s. To match both time periods that take place in the movie, you can alternate between playing ‘80s hits from Prince or The Smiths and ‘50s classics from Elvis or Frank Sinatra. After all of the singing and dancing works up an appetite, pass out Marty McFly’s diet staples of pizza and Diet Pepsi while watching the movie on TV. If you want to stick with the time traveling theme, consider hiring a fortune teller or psychic to predict further into the future.

3. Candy Land

Sure, the holiday is full of magic and mischief, but Halloween wouldn’t be Halloween without overflowing bowls of sweets. Start the trick-or-treating festivities early by transforming your home into a real life Candy Land. Everyone can dress up as their favorite characters from the nostalgic board game, such as Gramma Nut or Queen Frostine, or their favorite candy, such as candy canes and peanut brittle. For more mouthwatering treats, fill jars with colorful lollipops, gumballs and gumdrops, which will also create a rainbow aesthetic. If you really want to drench your party in delectable decor, book a chocolate fountain, like this one.

4. Witches’ Brew

For the 21 and older club, spice up the Halloween festivities with boos and booze. Serve pumpkin flavored beer and spiced sour ale from brands, such as Voodoo Ranger or Good Gourd, to savor fall flavors. You can assemble the bottles in a DIY pumpkin cooler by cutting off the top of the pumpkin and filling the hollow center with ice, or you can arrange a bar cart with an array of cold ales. If you aren’t interested in playing bartender all night, why not hire a pro? While the drinks are flowing, you can reminisce on your college glory days by setting up a table with orange Solo cups for beer pong and flip cup. 

5. Fall on the Farm (Kids Theme!)

The classic children's song and nursery rhyme “Old MacDonald Had a Farm” is not only a great tune, but it can also be a fun Halloween theme for kids. Although you probably won’t have access to a real farm, take a spin on the song’s theme by hosting a fall harvest fair. You can decorate the setting with scarecrows, bales of hay, straw, pumpkins and pots of mums. The kids can sip on hot apple cider and bite into caramel apples while sporting a farm animal costume, such as a cow, lamb or duck. If you’re planning an outdoor party, book a hayride on a tractor to explore the farm-like land. If you have some extra time and want to take your party planning to a whole other level, make a DIY maze out of bales of hay.  

6. Hocus Pocus

For a magical and spooky evening, throw a party with a focus on Hocus Pocus. Guests can dress up as witches and warlocks or one of their favorite characters from the movie, such as Winifred Sanderson or Emily Binx. Pour electric punch or an alcoholic version for adults in a cauldron to offer visitors a taste of your mesmerizing potion along with **not poisonous** apples. To really feel like you’re in an evil witch’s den, assemble stuffed animal black cats, plastic bats, black hats, black cloaks, brooms and cardboard tombstones around the house. If you want the party to really come to life, hire a magician to share tricks from his own book of spells.

7. Haunted Carnival

To feel like you’re watching the magic unfold during the greatest show on Earth, plan a circus-themed Halloween party with a spooky twist. You’ll instantly be teleported to the stands of a circus tent with everyone dressed as clowns, acrobats, lions or mimes visiting from the afterlife, with a backdrop of balloons, streamers and banners. For a Halloween treat, set up popcorn, candy bars, gumballs, cupcakes with rainbow sprinkles and even a cotton candy food truck. To break up the sugar overload, throw in a bowl of peanuts or warm up some hotdogs. The party will also be full of tricks if you hire contortionists who twist and turn their bodies in almost unnatural, unimaginable ways. If you’re planning an outdoor Halloween party, rent carnival rides for more festive fun.

8. Creepy Crawlers (Kids Theme!)

There’s something about digging around in the mud and finding critters that fascinates kids. A garden-themed Halloween party will satisfy children’s curiosity without staining their clothes. For the fresh sights and smells of a garden, arrange green plants and bouquets of vibrant flowers on tables covered in green tablecloths with green napkins, paper plates and plastic cutlery to resemble the grass. Plan a menu full of seasonal fruits and vegetables that you would grow in the garden, like apples, sweet potatoes and carrots. While the young guests wear butterfly or bee costumes, they can make a new friend by creating spiders out of of black pipe cleaners and googly eyes. 

9. Poisonous Potion Cocktail Party

If you’re sick of all of the horror of Halloween, downplay the spookiness of the Halloween season with a spooky-chic black-and-white themed cocktail party. For this color palette, pull  decor inspiration from skeletons, ghosts, crows, spiders and bats. Guests can wear their favorite snazzy black or white cocktail threads to match the theme. To further set the mood for a classy evening, hire a jazz band. Of course, drinks are the highlight of the evening, so offer an array of seasonal wines and festive cocktails. Or, hire a bartender and ask for magical concoctions with pumpkin or apple flavors. The cocktail party will get you in the holiday spirit, the ghostly AND alcoholic kind.

10. Masquerade Ball

Don’t feel like playing dress up this Halloween but still want to get in the festive mood? Consider throwing a masquerade ball for an effortless and elegant Halloween celebration. Instead of spending time and money trying to piece together the perfect costume, all you need is an eye mask and classy black attire to get into character. Have fun with the theme, and deck the venue out in glitter and gold with balloons, streamers, lights and feathers. Serve fancy cocktails and wine to top off the evening. The party will look expensive without breaking the bank.

11. Tormented ‘20s

The 1920s were booming years steeped in luxury, affluence and prosperity. Let the prohibition era lend inspiration to a ghoulishly gilded soiree, where the ghosts of flappers and mobsters come back to life. While everyone enjoys champagne, wine, hard liquor and every kind of alcoholic beverage imaginable, play some iconic jazz tunes in the background in true Gatsbyesque fashion.

12. Murder Mystery

Put on your thinking caps, and whip out your best investigating skills while trying to solve a murder mystery at this year’s Halloween gathering. Everyone attending can dress up as fictional detective characters, like Nancy Drew or Sherlock Holmes, to play the part. For an interactive twist, invent a storyline where a murder takes place. After sharing the plot with your guests, offer clues to help them reveal the evil murderer’s identity. Set the ominous scene with spooky decor, like skulls, skeletons, spiders, cobwebs, tombstones and bats, and dim the lighting with a few lit candles. For some sustenance to fuel the investigation process and set the mood, pass out white frosted cookies and cupcakes splattered with red icing.   

13. Are You Afraid of the Dark? Glow in the Dark Party 

Nothing good happens after midnight, and that’s certainly true with The Midnight Society in Are You Afraid of the Dark? Darkness is full of uncertainty. Who knows what’s out there? To recall the days when you couldn’t get some shuteye without turning on a nightlight, throw a glow in the dark party for your annual Halloween event. To produce an eerie mood and a pitch black setting, cover windows with black tarp. Pretend like you’re deep in a haunted forest by spray painting branches and hanging paper bats from them. While the fire is crackling, gather around the fireplace to tell scary stories, just like The Midnight Society, but without leaving your living room. If this sounds too spooky, don’t worry. Glow sticks and other glow accessories will function as nightlights, and black lights will illuminate guests’ neon or white attire.

Published on 10/18/2019