Halloween is almost here, and hosting a spooky gathering in your apartment might be on the top of your list (after consuming copious amounts of candy, of course).
So how can you transform your apartment into a Halloween hideaway for a night? We checked in with our friends at RentSeeker to find out:
Set the Mood
Depending on your audience (will children be in attendance?), you can determine just how scary you want to take things. Cute decorations of ghosts and goblins can be found at many party supply stores, dollar stores, and even at Wal-Mart. If you want to take things to the next level, check out the Halloween-specific stores that inevitably pop up each year. They will have a gigantic selection of exceedingly creepy decorations that will transform your apartment into a haunted house that will delight (and frighten!) your guests. Remember that safety is important – it's not a good a idea to have any burning candles, like those in a Jack-O-Lantern, on the floor or in any other area where they can be easily tipped over.
The food is almost as important as the decor when it comes to a Halloween party. Along with the usual bowls of bite-sized candy strewn around your apartment, you can really let your creativity soar by making yummy and creepy treats. Finger cookies shaped like actual fingers (complete with a sliced almond for a finger nail), giant olive "eyeballs", cupcakes with crumbled cookies on top made to look like dirt, and a punch bowl with floating faux spiders. You can also go for traditional fall treats like candy apples, which make great party favours for your ghoulish guests.
While the size of your apartment may prevent you from having a full-on dance party in your living room, you can play Halloween games like pinning the bow tie on the skeleton, witch hat ring toss or zombie walking. Use smaller stations of games that allow multiple people to play at one time, such as various "mystery jars" set up around the apartment that encourage guests to try to guess what they are touching (slimy jelly and olives = eyes). Prizes for the best costumed guests are always big hits as well, and encourage everyone to get into the spirit of the spookiest night of the year.
Apartment Therapy provides even more helpful tips for getting your apartment Halloween ready:
• Replace regular bulbs with black ones.
• Cut out creepy profile pictures, like ghosts, bugs, jack-o-lanterns, from dark paper and tape the shapes inside lampshades. The silhouettes will be projected throughout the room.
• Wrap red wax candles with sheets of white beeswax. As the candles burn, the interior red wax will drip over the beeswax and look like blood.
• Place candles in old candelabras for a ghoulishly vintage effect.
• Carve apples and small pumpkins and use as votive holders.
• Place glow-in-the-dark decals on windows and mirrors.
• Paint plastic serving bowls, pumpkins, candlesticks or anything else with glow-in-the-dark paint.
• Make or buy scary labels for your beverages like "Poison" or "Witches Brew."
• Buy black fabric and use it to cover sofas and chairs. You can tuck the fabric into sofas and loveseats to create makeshift slipcovers. You can also temporarily attach fabric to wood with double-sided tape. (Never put tape on any expensive furniture, even though it will usually wash off with hot water.)
• You can buy or make an image projector and project any creepy photo against a large surface area. Single image projectors can be purchased for as low as $25, or you can do-it-yourself. For the DIY version, you'll need to already own a floodlight or powerful flashlight that can be set-up to project an image onto a wall. Then you'll need to buy color laser transparency film. Next, choose your image and simply print it out onto the transparency film. The size of the image should correspond to the size of the surface of your light source. You can tape the film to the front of the light and it will project that photo onto any surface. (Note, the image won't be crisp, so choose your photo with that in mind). If you want a more sharp DIY projection, tape your transparency into a standing picture frame and place it directly in front of the light source.
• Vinyl scene setters are a simple alternative to image projection.
• If you have a large television, play scary movies on it- without sound.
• Dip your hands in red food coloring and touch white decorations, like paper napkins and rags, to create a bloody fingerprint effect.
• Wash plastic bugs and put them in food displays.
• Buy cheap old paintings from thrift stores or garage sales. Then paint (maybe glow-in-the-dark) over the people or landscapes to create scary images.
Food and Drink Ideas
• Add red food coloring to creamed honey for spreading on rolls or other breads.
• Use Halloween cookie cutters on foods other than cookies. For example, you can make pumpkin or ghost shaped sandwiches.
• Hollowed out pumpkins are watertight for at least a day. You can use them to serve punches or as containers for ice etc.
• Buy dark and sinister-looking appetizers, such as plumbs, blackberries, black grapes and figs. Then place your fake bugs in the food presentation.
• Garnish drinks with an iced eyeball. Trim and peel radishes, leaving a bit of red for a veiny look, then use a melon baller to create a small hole, and insert a cut olive. Place in ice cube tray, fill with water, and freeze.
• Freeze up a few severed hands for the punch bowl. Use disposable latex gloves, washed and rinsed well, inside and out. Fill the gloves with water and tie off tightly with elastic. The shape will turn out best if you hang the gloves upside down. Freeze the gloves for at least one full day. Before the party, run warm water over the gloves and peel the latex off the frozen hands. Place in the punch bowl. It's ok if the fingers break. It just adds to the scary effect.