25 hacks for the best adults-only Halloween party
You won’t miss a party-planning trick with these 25 hacks, tips and treats
Halloween parties are more fun when you’re a grown-up: you can stay up later, go all-out with a cool costume and eat as much candy as you want (within reason). The best part, though, is that you can serve beer as part of your celebration! To help you throw the ultimate adults-only ghoulfest, we’ve got 25 Halloween party hacks to fuel your fright night.
It’s all in the set-up
Get your zombie duds on and kick back. Doing your homework before the doors open means you can actually be a part of the celebration rather than hustling all night. Amirite?
- Invite right. Send spooky paper invitations ahead of the event (there are plenty of fun options at party stores and online). Set an RSVP date and follow up so you get an accurate head count and know how much to buy.
- Theme your eats. Scarily delicious themed eats make great conversation starters. Check out our guide to easy Halloween snacks and the beers to sip with them. From devilled eggs (complete with red pepper horns) paired with American-style India pale ale to candy apples with your fave radler, there are tons of tasty choices.
- Grab a bargain. When you’re beer shopping, remember that 2-4s offer the best value. When you buy beers by the big box, you save an average of $9 over buying the same amount of beer in six- or 12-packs. That’s a trick and a treat.
- Do some matchmaking. Set up a candy and beer tasting table. Not sure whether it’s pilsner or porter with that peanut butter cup? (It’s neither! Go for a brown ale.) We’ve created the definitive guide to pairing brews with your favourite Halloween candies — just because we love you.
- Stay chill. People will get hot in their costumes, so open the windows or set out fans and cool the place down before everyone arrives. You want the mood to be scary, not sweaty.
- Ding-dong, the witch is in. Get a spooky doorbell for guests to ring — it sets the tone for what’s happening inside. Search online for options that range from corny to genuinely scary.
Buying beer for a crowd is easy: just follow our 4:1 rule. Once you have that lineup on ice, make it even more fun with a signature beer cocktail, swanky serveware and a funky dress-up or two.
- PSL? More like PSB. For Halloween, pumpkin-spice beers are a no-brainer. Like tiny chocolate bars, they’re a treat that’s pretty much only available at this time of year, so enjoy ’em while you can.
- Soup up your serveware. Supply novelty cups, goblets and tankards for beer (check your local dollar store or anywhere else that sells Halloween goodies). Don’t forget to grab all the stuff to decorate them — like ping-pong balls made to look like bloodshot eyes, glow sticks, spider stir sticks and more. Look online or at party stores to find bottle openers shaped like skulls, bones, pumpkins and so on.
- Bubble, bubble, toil and trouble. For an extra-fancy way to dress up a beer glass, contact a local commercial ice supplier and ask if they sell dry ice pellets (and stir sticks that allow them to be used safely). Drop them into your beer and watch it bubble like a witch’s cauldron. (Bonus: Dry ice keeps brews frosty cold.)
- Create a signature drink. Our Beer Punch with Ginger & Lime is Halloween-ready. Spicy-sweet and tangy — thanks to ginger beer and limeade — this easygoing lager-based bevvie is great for a crowd. Mix up a batch or two and kick back so you don’t have to play bartender all night.
- Make your coolers, well, cooler. Set out buckets that look like cauldrons or jack- o’-lanterns, fill them with ice and beer, and serve. Or slap a few Halloween cling decorations on the side of your favourite cooler and park those brews where they’ll stay cool for hours. (Don’t have a cooler? Stop by and we’ll hook you up.)
- Spook-ify those beers. Put out syringes filled with lemonade that you can inject into your brew (think of it as an instant radler!). Or add a drop or two of red or black food colouring to help turn golden beers into forbidding-looking potions.
Create some serious atmosphere
Dress-up isn’t just for the invitees — get your home in on the party action, too. From outdoor decor to mood lighting to spiderwebs all over the place, this is your chance to get that Halloween feeling in every room.
- Make a ghoul first impression. Outside decor counts just as much as indoor. Don’t stop at jack-o’-lanterns — throw in some ghosts, tombstones or whatever else your imagination (or local home improvement superstore) can supply.
- Go big — really big. When decorating your house for a Halloween party, remember that more is more: festoon the place with as many spooky touches as you can fit, from cobwebs to crows to candles. Don’t be afraid to get kitschy. Dollar-store plastic skeletons, orange and black streamers, and cartoonish mummy door hangers are all fun and nostalgic.
- The right lights. Mood lighting is Halloween party gold — and candles are an easy way to create max atmosphere. Add a little pumpkin spice scent and you’re right on trend for this time of year. (Hey, it complements the beer!) But don’t stop there. Switch up your lamp lights as well: red bulbs create a dim, ominous atmosphere, while black lights — classic party move! — will make costumes glow.
- Scream bloody murder. Turn the bathroom into a murder scene: drop red food colouring into a tub full of water for a blood-filled bath and/or cover your hand with fake blood and smear it on a translucent shower curtain.
- Sweeten up your guests. All that scary stuff is great, but guests will enjoy a bit of sweet decoration as well. Colourful lollipops, gummi bears, candy corn and licorice look great scattered on tables or in clear glass jars — and they make for easy snacking.
Fun and games
Brush off those dormant DJ skills and lean in to the entertainment director role. It’s time to make this party really memorable.
- Project your fears. Hang a sheet against a large wall and project horror movies on it. Mute the sound so it doesn’t interrupt conversations. (No one’s actually going to watch the movies; they’re just for atmosphere.)
- Game, set, match. Set up games and activities that adults will enjoy. How about a Halloween-themed scavenger hunt? Maybe a Twister battle between the werewolf and the ghost over there? Or go classic with a pumpkin-carving contest or murder mystery game.
- Commune with the spirits. For a smaller or low-key group, break out the Ouija board and conduct a seance. Wait, did that pointer just move?!
- Have a costume contest. Hold a competition for the cleverest beer-related costume. Some inspiration: ghosts in traditional Bavarian Oktoberfest outfits, a spooky brewery cat or your favourite beer (and maybe grab a sixer of it to share with fellow party guests).
- Make some noise. A sound effects loop will help set the sonic scene, and online streaming services have plenty of playlists for this. Hide a speaker somewhere away from where you’re playing music (in the bathroom, maybe) so that the whole house sounds Halloween-y. While you’re clicking away, make a Halloween playlist that goes way beyond “The Monster Mash.” Some suggestions:
- “Wolf Like Me” — TV on the Radio
- “Black Sabbath” — Black Sabbath
- “Jack the Ripper” — Screaming Lord Sutch
- “Bela Lugosi’s Dead” — Bauhaus
- “The Number of the Beast” — Iron Maiden
- “Meet Ze Monsta” — PJ Harvey
- “Evil (Is Going On)” — Howlin’ Wolf
- “Die Young Stay Pretty” — Blondie
- “Murder by Numbers” — The Police
- “6 Feet Deep” — Gravediggaz
- “Ghostbusters” — Ray Parker Jr. (hey, some classics will always be classic)