Halloween is just a few weeks away, which means now is the time to start planning your spooktacular party. Even if you’re having a smaller gathering, putting together fang-tastic food, devilish decorations, magical music, and creepy costumes, can be a bit of a, well, nightmare. But not in a good Halloween way!
Here are nine things you can do make sure your party is frightfully festive without the stress. (Hint: Thumbtack can help you with all of them.)
Hire a Party Planner
Let’s cut to the chase: You might think hiring someone to plan your party is an unnecessary expense, but actually, a party planner will ensure you stick to your budget. Even better: he or she will save you a ton of time and will help ensure you’re able to actually enjoy your own party. From the invites to the décor to the food, a party planner will help with as much or as little as you need.
Her main goal? To ensure your gathering is so spooky and spine-chilling, everyone will be begging you to make it an annual event. In other words, THIS is the year you’ll finally have the best haunted house on the block.
Photo: Harry Potter
Get the Help of a Decorator
All holidays require decoration of some sort, but Halloween is one where you can get silly and have the most fun. If you don’t want to hire someone to help with the whole party, bringing in an event decorator can still save you a ton of time and money while ensuring your party decorations aren’t a paper skeleton hung hastily on the door and some black and orange crepe paper strung from the ceiling.
A decorator will make sure the mood is set from the second your guests arrive. Ask if she can bring in props like giant illuminated pumpkins, tombstones, and severed heads (you want people posting pics on Instagram, don’t you?). Also make a plan for how she’ll handle the lighting, one of the most important elements to giving your party that eerie vibe that’s a must for Halloween.
Photo: Martha Stewart
Use a Caterer
This one’s a no-brainer. Do you want to be scrambling to frost 60 pumpkin cupcakes right before your guests arrive or do you want to be upstairs applying your zombie makeup? Caterers will use their cauldrons to whip up delicious treats that will delight your guests. You want finger foods that actually look like fingers? Gummi worm Jell-o shots? They can probably make it happen.
Not only is it a lot less work for you before, during, and after the party, they’ll also make sure you stick to your budget and have just the right amount of food so that the adults aren’t even thinking about trying to steal their kid’s trick or treating loot.
Bring in a Costume Consultant
If you’re the host of the party, your guests are going to expect your costume to wow. So unless you have a broomstick that actually flies, this might be the year to retire the sexy witch costume. A costume consultant will come up with ideas, make sure your costume is appropriate for the situation (if you’re going to be running around all night, you don’t want to wrap yourself up like a mummy), and work with what you already have in your closet. She’ll also keep your budget in mind, and most important: make sure whatever you end up wearing is completely bewitching.
Photo: Katie Perry and Left Shark
Get a Face Painter
Face painting isn’t just for kids anymore, although if there are kids at your party, don’t expect to make it to the front of the line anytime soon. Be sure to find out how many people they can paint in an hour, what kind of designs they do, and if they use regular brushes or airbrushes. A lot of face painters will also do henna and glitter tattoos for those who want to join in on the fun, but don’t necessarily want to commit to an entire face mask.
Spin up a DJ
You might spend the entire night before making the best Halloween play list of all time, but there will always be that one person who has to step in and takeover. And a lot of times that one person doesn’t understand that no one else wants to hear Rush’s greatest hits. Hire a DJ and let them handle the music, which should be fun, and upbeat, with a smattering of Halloween favorites like “Monster Mash” and “Thriller.”
If there will be children at your party, you will want to have activities set up to keep them entertained. Apple bobbing, pumpkin carving, and cookie decorating are all great ideas, but instead of spending the entire party manning those stations or asking friends to do so, a hired professional who’s great with kids can come in and take over. It’s more fun for the kids and for the adults.
If your party is grown-ups only, think about bringing in a tarot card reader, fire eater, or even someone who can set up a murder mystery event. And don’t forget about the most important part of the night: the costume contest!
Photo: Nightmares Fear Factory
Hire a Photographer
Your friends and family will spend hours picking out and putting together their costumes (well, except that one neighbor who always shows up in pair of scrubs and says he’s dressed up like a doctor). The worst thing that could happen would be to not have any amazing photos of the end result. A photographer can come in for a couple of hours, capture the magic, and make sure that you have those memories for the rest of your life. Yes, even that one of you of your face dripping with water and an apple between your teeth. What? That’s the best one of them all!
Schedule a House Cleaner for the Day After – Now
Halloween might very well be the messiest holiday there is. Pumpkin guts, spider webs, candy wrappers, fake blood… Not to mention all of the dishes. You’re working so hard to make sure everyone has the most thrilling night of her life, you deserve to relax when it’s all over. Hiring someone to take care of the mess (it’s not too early to schedule it) is the way to go.