‘Tis the season of ghouls, ghosts, and wicked parties to host! Halloween is the time of year when adults get to dress up and have just as much fun as the kids, but when throwing a party, it helps to stick to the adult side of things.
A poorly planned Halloween party can end up with only half the guests wearing costumes, a paper skeleton taped to the wall, and a plastic jack-o’-lantern sitting by a bowl of chips. This is not what you want to do. This is not what your guests want to attend. This is a big no-no that will ensure somebody else takes over for next year. And unless that’s your intention, we’ve got some tips to ensure your party rocks hard enough to raise the dead.
How Much Alcohol Do You Need?
There’s nothing worse than running out of alcohol in the middle of your party. You typically want to ensure guests have a drink in their hand from when they arrive to when you shuttle them off in their Uber. Smaller parties are easier to estimate as the worst that will happen is you end up with an extra bottle of wine or two whereas larger parties you could end up with several handles of liquor that will remain in a cabinet collecting dust.
A general rule of thumb is to assume each guest will consume two drinks during the first hour of the party and one drink every hour after that. So, if you’re hosting a four-hour long party, plan for each guest to have five drinks.
You’ll get about 20 mixed drinks from a one-liter bottle of alcohol. Just divide the number of liquor drinks needed by 20 to figure out how many bottles you’ll need.
Figure about 1 quart per every three guests who will be drinking liquor.
A 750-ml bottle of wine serves about 5 glasses, so just divide the number of wine drinks by 5 to get a good estimate of the number of bottles you’ll need.
Beer is easier since one can or bottle is one serving. For larger parties, a keg might make more sense. Check the size of the keg as they vary and assume 8 ounces per serving. For example, a ⅙-barrel keg contains 84 8-ounce beers, a pony keg provides 124 8-ounce beers, and a full keg will give you 248 8-ounce beers.
DON’T FORGET: If for whatever reason your guests are drinking more than you planned and you think you may run out soon, just order more from Spec’s on Instacart and you can have it delivered to your door in an hour!
Themes are an easy way to ensure guests come dressed, as they don’t have to spend days agonizing over which costume to wear. It also allows you to quickly gather decorations as you’ve established a theme and aren’t just wandering around the store aimlessly picking things.
GHOST: Everybody dresses as a ghost. This can be from a sheet with holes to a full-on latex application. The decor is haunted, and the outside is a graveyard.
DEAD CELEBRITY: Guests have to come as a famous person who has passed on. Skulls and glitter and a DIY photobooth are a great addition for this theme.
MOVIE MONSTERS: Everybody has a favorite movie monster from childhood, and this theme lets them all run wild. Think Jason, Freddy, Mike Myers, Dracula, Mummies, Frankenstein, and those are just the classics. Décor for this theme can be Hollywood’ish with old movie posters and memorabilia as well as a healthy dose of jack-o-lanterns.
ZOMBIES: Everybody comes as the walking dead. The yard and house can be decorated as a graveyard with the kitchen looking like a mad scientist lab/morgue. Toxic waste symbols and zombie posters hung everywhere. A fun idea is to remove all the napkins and flatware, so guests have to “eat like zombies.” This works great with lots of red sauces and salsa as well as pasta and BBQ items!
CLOWNS: All the clowns… the good, the bad, the ugly…. and the evil. Circus theme throughout. Creepy old school circus music will help set the mood. Some people have serious issues with clowns so be sure and let the coulrophobics beware!
VAMPIRES: Real ones, not the shiny ones. The yard as a graveyard with lots of coffins and caskets. Lots of bats, candles, and spider/spider webs. Red wine, red sauce, red velvet cake, anything red or bloody can be served.
OLD FASHIONED HALLOWEEN: Old black bandit style masks, plastic facemasks held on with a rubber string. You can have classic old decorations everywhere. Apple bobbing, charades, and cake walks with candy corns, caramel apples, and adult punch for treats.
WICKED BREW BASH: Guests come as a witch or warlock (or something similar) and everyone brings a six-pack of their favorite beer to toss in the cooler. Spider webs and witch-themed décor set the mood, while “guess the beer” games keep the party going.
BLACKLIGHT PARTY: Everybody wears UV reactive costumes or makeup. Almost like a modern-day rave but for Halloween. Your décor should be black light posters and anything neon. This works great with a lime green punch.