Welcome All Spirits: A Wake-Theme Halloween Party

table with pumpkin typewriter clock and edgar allan poe book
Friends and fiends, guests and ghosts—all are invited to this frightfully fun Halloween party.

Welcome All Spirits

Plan a haunting night of "groan-up" thrills and chills, where ghostly figures haunt the halls and dead men tell tales. A spooky buffet of ghastly dishes and wake-inspired decorations set the mood for a frightening yet fun Halloween party.

Invitation Incantation

Conjure up all your favorite spirits for a wake-inspired party. Send out these invitations with the promise of a night filled with supernatural mysteries (and fun!).

Spooky Front Door Decorations

Rising to heights of elegance, twin pumpkin towers flank the front door. Lace-wrapped pumpkins ascend from lightweight urns sprayed with gray stone paint. Pleats of lace border each urn, and a black bow decorates the base.

Frightening Table Display

Compose a scene near the entrance of your party that beckons guests to cross the threshold into another dimension. Drape a table with mournful black lace and top with tarnished silver and a future-foretelling crystal ball. Print out menu cards so guests can match the macabre entries to the culinary creations on your buffet.

Open-Casket Buffet

Serve up your gruesome feast in perfect wake form -- inside a coffin. To raise the coffin to serving height, we created a platform table from lightweight garden center urns on plywood pedestals. Topped with a sheet of wood, the eerie ensemble gets a spray coat of black granite paint. Follow our step-by-step instructions for the creepy crypt, which is lined with black felt and eerily adorned with nailhead trim.

Anatomical Edibles

Challenge guests to identify body-part fare on your buffet. Our list of 15 gruesome dishes range from store-bought delectables, such as "belly bits" (jelly beans), to easy-to-prepare party favorites, such as "icky intestines" (barbecue sausages). Download the free menu and print off copies for your guests so they can check off the body parts they discover as they nibble their way through the buffet.

What's in a Name?

Although the names may be stomach-turning, these dishes themselves are actually stomach-satisfying. Delicious treats await your guests, such as raspberry brie, if they can work up the gumption to get past their gruesome appearance and sinister names.

Delicious Dippers

Seasoned "toes" are the ultimate finger food. OK, so maybe white asparagus "fingers" are the ultimate finger food, but both make excellent sauce dippers. A plate of icky sausage intestines oozes nearby.

Soul Food

The brains of the operation, made of molded (not moldy) shrimp, are displayed on an elevated silver tray, while a standing rib roast looms invitingly in the background.

Spooky Presentation

Serve the sinister smorgasbord on antique china and tarnished silver to add frightful ambience to the buffet of terror. And, of course, "bleached bones" (glazed sweet breads) taste even more delectable when served with "belly bits" (orange jelly beans).

A Watchful Eye

Living up to its scavenger reputation, this faux vulture keeps vigil over the buffet. Perch a few around the buffet table and any other unexpected place around your party area.

Scary Drink Station

Guests will need courage to belly up to this bar for Shock-tail Hour. Download the free drink labels, print them on distressed paper, and add a frightening stamp. Draw a circle around the text and your stamped design. Cut out around the circle and adhere to bottles. For an elegantly eerie serving tray, spray an old frame with ivory crackle paint and line it with lace.

Go to the next slide to see how to make the cocktail napkins.

Cocktail Napkin Makeover

Ordinary napkins would stick out like a severed thumb at this wake. But with a little distressing and stamping, plain-Jane cocktail napkins blend right in. Protect your work surface with newspaper. Insert a cardboard scrap into a napkin fold. Use a skeleton stamp, scroll design stamp, and black ink to stamp the images onto the napkin. Lightly spray with walnut ink; let dry and repeat for the rest of the napkins.

Shiver-Up-Your-Spine Shelving

Transform a built-in or bookcase into a vignette of Halloween horrors. Start with found things -- old books, tarnished silver pieces, stone garden urns -- then add in a few crafty projects, shown on the next slides.

Spirit Panel

A phantom presence emerges from the underworld and into the back of the bookcase. This papier-mache menace is mounted to a plywood panel and cut to fit your bookshelf, which means it can disappear as quickly as it appeared after your Halloween fete is over.

Creepy Candles

Cast an eerie (and safe) glow with battery-operated candles. Wrap the candles with aged book pages or newsprint, and group them on a silver tray for an otherworldly glimmer.

Lacy Pumpkins

A little bit of lace shrouds these "in mourning" pumpkins. Lay lace fabric over the pumpkin, gathering it at the bottom with your hand, to determine the location for the stem opening. Remove the lace. Cut a small circle with scissors and lay the lace over the pumpkin, inserting the stem through the cut opening. Gather the lace at the pumpkin bottom, trimming the excess lace, and secure the lace in place using running stitches in a wheel-spoke pattern.

More Halloween Party Ideas

Get some easy, creative ideas for giving your Halloween party a little flavor of Edgar Allan Poe.

Share the gallery

All Topics in Halloween Parties

Better Homes & Gardens may receive compensation when you click through and purchase from links contained on this website.