For many people, It’s Halloween—not Christmas—that is “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year”! At Halloween, everyone gets to be a kid. We devise tricks and gags, dole out candy and treats, dress up in fun costumes, and pretend to be someone else for one night.

In addition to trick-or-treating, lots of people enjoy preparing and pulling off a smashing Halloween party. It’s a great way to bring family and friends together in the fall, and after a long time of social distancing, folks are ready for some fun and games.

However, planning a holiday party can get really scary when you start to add up the costs. After all, you don’t want to drain your bank account, especially for only one night of fun. So, in this article, we’ll talk about some spooky ideas to get the Halloween party started without you getting tricked out of your hard-earned cash.

Choose a Halloween Party ThemeWoman in Black Tank Top Beside Woman in White Fur Coat

You don’t have to choose a theme, of course, but it can make the planning a bit easier, and it also helps build excitement among your guests. If you have time before your party, look up images online of what each theme entails or search Pinterest boards dedicated to themed decorating ideas. Here are some great examples:

Pumpkin Party

Use orange and black colors to decorate your house and create pictures of pumpkins as decorations. There are plenty of free printable pumpkin decorations you can find online, or just make your own out of construction paper. Almost all children can draw or color a pumpkin, so this is an excellent option if you have small kids. 

At the party, you could have a pumpkin carving contest among older children, teens, and adults. If you prefer not to involve knives or sharp objects, provide art supplies and let your guests paint their own scary jack-o-lanterns. For food, the stores are filled this time of year with everything pumpkin-related. Older guests can sip on pumpkin-spice coffee, and younger ones can have orange soda! Whip up some pumpkin pie cupcakes or decorate a large round cake with orange frosting and a green stem. 

Ghostly Party 

A white and silver theme can be spooky and elegant too. This theme is a great idea for adults. Decorate with white sheets and old sheer curtains to create “ghosts” around the place. Spider webs are great, too– maybe even a graveyard scene if you have enough space. 

Use white or silver tablecloths and napkins as part of your table décor. Instead of orange refreshments, try making everything in white—white hot chocolate, white frosted cupcakes, popcorn, and more. You can also get some small white pumpkins for each guest to take home. 

These can usually be found at your local grocery store for around $1 each. 

Haunted House Party 

If the weather permits, this could potentially be an excellent party if you make it outside! Divide guests into groups and send them through a haunted house you’ve created using Halloween decorations like spider webbing and fake gravestones! You could make chocolate or candy pumpkins as a treat or even do some bobbing for apples! If you have the space, try turning this into a haunted hayride too.

Food Drive Trick-or-Treat Party 

At this party, guests bring treats instead of taking them! This is an excellent option for fundraisers – ask each guest to bring one or two canned or shelf-stable items to donate to the local food pantry or families in need.

Make sure that children also feel involved and excited about the prospect of giving by having them separate and sort the food into boxes or bags. Giving can become a new Halloween tradition and a night to remember for years to come. 

Ghoulish Delight Party 

This is ideal for those who love to be scared! Decorate with skulls and skeletons as well as monsters and other horrifying images. You can create your own haunted house effects with different lighting inside or use candles for a spookier feel. Play a terrifying soundtrack and decorate the table with “blood” (ketchup), white cloth, and lots of scary decorations. Serve monster-themed foods like green slime punch (pineapple juice, lemonade, and sherbet) or eyeball-deviled eggs.

Vampire Themed Party

This is perfect for adults or teens who have a dark sense of humor. Decorate with bats and black balloons and have your guests come dressed as vampires. Create a dance floor with some flattened-out cardboard boxes and have yourself a monster ball. 

Vampire party food can be anything you like. Bake some cupcakes and decorate them with red frosting and fake dollar store teeth. You could even make it an all-red menu and incorporate foods like strawberries, watermelon, and of course—blood-red punch.

Potluck Halloween Gathering

If your friends are into saving money like you are, maybe you could host a potluck. Lots of families get together on Halloween to go trick-or-treating together. This year, extend the fun and have a potluck dinner either before or after your annual candy-gathering expedition.

Have each guest bring their specialty—a casserole, salad, or dessert. You provide paper plates, utensils, napkins, and beverages. And, of course, make sure all your guests are in costume for the occasion. 

InvitationsPerson Holding Stick in Front of White Ghost Pinata

Email is efficient, but there’s nothing like an actual, homemade invitation to get your guests in a festive mood. You don’t need to be an artist to create an invitation. Type up something on your computer and print off copies. Fold them into thirds, put them in a business-size envelope and send them by mail.

If all of your guests live close by, you can even forgo the envelope. Instead, just fold them up and staple them together. This is another project that the kids can help you with—let them hand-deliver the invites a week or two before the party.

Closing Thoughts

Throwing a Halloween bash does not need to be an expensive affair. After all, it’s all about getting together with the people you care about for a night of merriment and fun. 

Consider a side gig like paid online surveys if you can’t find the money to plan a party between household expenses and bills. Paid surveys can give you just the extra cash you need to plan a modest party that won’t break the bank. 

Remember, nobody will remember the decorations or the food in years to come. But they will remember how they felt, and your job as the party planner is to create those good memories. With a little bit of imagination, you really can live rich on a budget and still plan the best Halloween party ever!