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OC Party Planner's Tips For Your Halloween Party

Carved pumpkins stands on a ledge in fro
(credit: EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images)

Betsy Thagard is the owner and creator of B. Toffee in Newport Beach. Her friends know her as the "Queen of Entertaining" for her frequent and memorable parties. She discussed some things to keep in mind when planning your Halloween party.

Halloween party food decorations cobweb
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Don't Overdo It

When you're planning a party, it's easy to keep adding more and more things. However, more is not always better. One easy way to keep your Halloween party from spiraling out of control is to use a mix of decorations. You want the ghosts and goblins, but you can also use the fall leaves, pumpkins and gourds. This will keep you from "bringing out a whole new set of decorations for Thanksgiving."

Halloween party kids food
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Have Plenty Of Food On Hand

This kind of goes hand in hand with not overdoing it. Sure, you want your Halloween party to be a success. You want everyone there to wonder how you're going to top the event next year. Just remember that the more people you invite, the more food you will need on hand. Keep your list of invitees relatively short. This will prevent you from spending a fortune on food and worrying about whether you'll have enough.

Related:  B. Toffee Founder Shares Creative Ways to Entertain using Toffee

Halloween Party drinking pirate costumes
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Make Sure Your Guests Have A Good Time

This seems obvious, but these are all good things to keep in mind when you are hosting a party. First, have some good music for your guests to enjoy. As people are arriving, you might want to have a playlist of Halloween songs. However, once the party is in full swing, just make sure that you have some good uptempo music that is suitable for a party. For all you OCD folks out there, let your guests enjoy the evening without worrying about cleaning up. After all, nothing breaks up a party like putting your guests to work. "The mess can wait until the next day. You just want to have everybody enjoying themselves."

A woman carves a pumpkin at the 7th annu
(credit: NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)

Have A Pumpkin-Carving Contest

Again, this may seem like an obvious one, but there is one thing you can do to make this contest less of a chore. If you're going to hold a pumpkin-carving contest at your party, advise your guests to "clean out the insides before they arrive." This way, your guests won't have to go through the bother and mess of cleaning out a pumpkin while they're at a party. When all the jack-o-lanterns are done, have your guests cast their vote for the winner in whatever category you choose. Oh, and make sure you have some little prizes that your guests will really enjoy.

Halloween generic pumpkin carved pumpkin jack-o-lantern
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Don't Ignore The Visual Aspect Of Decorations

One of the great things about Halloween is that you get to decorate in a way you wouldn't do for any other holiday. You want your atmosphere to be fun, but you can also add a spooky effect to your decorations and your food and drinks.

  • Feel free to add some spiders and "severed fingers" to your cheese platter.
  • Hollow out small pumpkins or gourds and use them to serve your dips.
  • Add some dry ice to a cocktail (or a punchbowl) to give it that spooky appearance.
  • Put some driftwood (either natural or painted black) in a pot or vase and either hang decorations from it or adorn it with the "spiderweb" cotton you can buy at a craft store.

Related: Best Martini Bars In Orange County

Gary Schwind is a freelance writer covering all things Orange County. His work can be found on

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