Haunt the House for an Old-Fashioned Halloween Party

Turn back time and delight guests with spirited treats, decorations, and party favors with old-fashioned Halloween flair.


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outside of lit house
1/17
Whispering Windows

    Set a spooky mood from the minute guests step up to your house by disguising the view inside the front windows. Cut black paper to the size of the window. Trace and cut out Halloween shapes. Tape paper on the windows and cover cutouts with yellow tissue paper. For an added eerie effect, line the front steps with an assortment of pumpkins; tuck candles behind some of the pumpkins to cast shadows and spooky glow.

2/17
A Ghastly Catch

    Paint black eyes on shapely white gourds, then capture a crew of the tiny "ghosts" inside a glass display case or vintage container.

3/17
Halloweens Past

    This timeless Halloween table, set with jack-o'-lanterns, tricky treats, and colorful potions, can be put together in a pinch. Color-copy images of vintage Halloween postcards and string them together to make a table-edge garland. Use sticks, leaves, and gourds to bring a touch of nature to the table.

4/17
Gooey Ghosts

    Decorate the party table with cake pedestals displaying tasty treats such as these pudgy ghosts that are easy to make. Squeeze conical meringue shapes from a pastry bag, bake for a few minutes, and let cool. Then paint on pairs of beady little eyes with black icing and a small paintbrush.

5/17
Bewitching Treat

    Pair the gooey ghost treats from the previous slide with these wicked witches' hats. Use purchased chocolate cookies for a brim and top with a chocolate ice cream cone; frosting glues the witch hat together.

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Mad Science

    Play up the old-fashioned decorating theme by arranging beverages in vintage glass canisters labeled with names of herbal plants and extracts to look like the ingredients for mysterious potions.

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Nevermore Alone

    Set the party's haunted stage by turning tables, display cabinets, and other existing furniture throughout the house into creepy nooks and crannies. For instance, perch stuffed black crows -- found at crafts stores and tag sales -- along a windowsill or roosting on furniture as creepy chaperones.

8/17
Witching Words

    Sprinkle a handful of spellbinding stones on a tabletop to make guests stop and ponder. Use acrylic paints to blacken stones, then handwrite or stencil seasonal words or phrases on the tops.

9/17
Freaky Family Tree

    Switch out your pictures and create a freaky family tree. Be creative and let your kids help pick out the paper and font styles.

10/17
Costume Tricks

    Place a costume witch's hat, enchanted with black buttons and ribbons, atop an antique candlestick.

11/17
Pumpkin on a Stick

    Display these whimsical pumpkin sticks in antique crocks embellished with the words "Tricks" and "Treats" added with paint or letter stickers. Pen facial expressions onto miniature pumpkins and skewer the petite jack-o'-lanterns on painted wooden dowels. Finish with ribbon bows, and send home with guests in remembrance of the Halloween festivities.

12/17
Boo-tiful Disguise

    Set a family-room chair a-tremblin' by draping it with a white cloth and adding ghostly black felt eyes.

13/17
Mystery Packages

    Wrap pint-size boxes full of Halloween candy with color-copies of old letters and journals; they'll look as if they were just pulled from the depths of a dusty attic.

14/17
Sickly Yuletide

    Sprout the skeletal remains of a neglected tree in a dark pot; then drape its bony limbs with a garland fashioned from black beads, handmade paper ornaments, and mini gourds with ghost faces drawn on them.

15/17
Carved Country-Style Pumpkins

    Carry a touch of the party's old-fashioned flair to some carved pumpkins on display. To create these types of intricate designs, don't carve all the way through the pumpkin rind. Simply scrape the skin off the top of the pumpkin to reveal lighter flesh underneath.

16/17
Frightening Favors

    Create frightening party favors for your guests. Paint black designs on white gourds and pair with spooky owls and faux black feathers.

17/17
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