Plan a Neighborhood Halloween Party

One great solution to the Halloween dilemma is to host a Halloween Party, including both children and their parents. By hosting a neighborhood Halloween party, you can accomplish several things: Safer kids, more adult control over trick-or-treating, a fun family activity, and a neighborhood gathering that could just be the start of something big, to mention just a few.

A safer kid is always a priority for grownups, isn’t it? With a fun neighborhood Halloween party, the kids will be entertained, and more importantly – CONtained! The kids (and parents) can spend a couple fun-filled hours together, and families can get to know each other a bit better, maybe even forge friendships that last a long time.

Easy, Cheap Decorating

Hit the craft shop and pick up a bag of polyester batting. It makes terrific spider webs! Just stretch it out thin, attach to the corners of furniture and the walls. Place a spider (plastic or rubber, please!) – around $3 for a bag of ten – in the center of each ‘web’.

Replace a couple of lamp bulbs with inexpensive Black Light bulbs, available at most grocery stores around this time of year. Black light makes eerily glowing light on everything from teeth to eyeballs!

Grab some old ragged clothes from that bag you have stuck in the closet, ready to go to the Thrift Shop, and then stuff then with newspapers balled up or rolled, for your very own zombies. For standing zombies, stuff a broom up the back of the clothes and then lean them against a wall. If you really must have faces on your zombies, use cheap plastic masks.

Don’t forget the pumpkins! A fun activity at your neighborhood Halloween party is to have the kids decorate the pumpkins with kid-safe markers in a bunch of different colors, and then they can take them home as souvenirs after the party. Coloring, rather than carving, the kids pumpkins is much safer for them, not to mention less messy for you!

Cover tables and other flat surfaces with cheap plastic tablecloths, purchased in black, orange and creepy colors at most any party store. Check your Sunday paper for discount coupons and you could walk away with all the party plates, cups, silverware and tablecloths you need for a few bucks. Our party for 60 kids and adults ended up costing us just $37, not counting the copious amounts of candy, of course!

Treats and Tricks

Check in the bulk foods department of your local grocery store and load up on different kinds of candies. Select only candies that are pre-wrapped individually, for hygiene. Also, be sure to select a variety of fruit and non-fruit candies, caramels, lollipops and chocolate, and don’t forget the mini-packs of jellybeans (ghost poop). For our neighborhood Halloween party, we bought a couple of bags of candy called piÃ?±ata fillers, which also are available with small toys and tricks, if you want to give out little toys as well as candy.

My personal favorite treat is Bucket of Dirt: Bucket of Dirt has a great ‘Euwwww’ factor with kids! For a neighborhood Halloween party for 50 people, kids and grownups, use this recipe:

Use a brand new (and sterilized) plastic garden bucket. A five gallon sized bucket with handles, such as you can buy cheaply at Target will do fine. For serving ladles, use new and sterilized kid’s beach shovels.

2 lbs. Gummy Worms
1 lb. Gummy Insects
10 Large Packages of Chocolate Pudding, prepared ahead of time and refrigerated
1 Box Chocolate Wafer Cookies, crushed coarsely

Layer the prepared pudding, crushed cookies and gummy critters in alternating layers, reserving �½-cup cookie crumbs and a few gummy worms and insects for the top layer. Serve with the toy shovels.

Make Witches’ Brew as your beverage: For 50 servings, pour five 2 liter bottles of Diet Mountain Dew (greenish color) into a large plastic witches cauldron from almost any store. Add wormy ice cubes that you have prepared ahead of time with red juice and gummy worms frozen inside. At the last minute, pour in two 2-liter bottles of grape juice or other dark colored juice such as cranberry juice. This gives the beverage a sort of ‘icky ugly’ dark color that kids love.

Many pizza delivery companies do something different for Halloween, like making ‘pumpkin face’ pizzas. If you want to serve a crowd pizza, call around to get the best price, and let the other parents know on the announcements that there will be pizza and you need to collect the money for that early in the evening. Or, just consider it your gift to the neighborhood and pay for it yourself.

Fun and Games

For our neighborhood Halloween party, we pretty much stayed with the standard party games, with a twist: Broom Hockey, using lightweight and safer wiffle balls (larger version of hollow ping pong balls); Pin the Eyeballs on the Ghost, cut out and color a handful of eyeballs, complete with bloodshot lines, and then use tape to apply instead of pins, on your giant sheet ghost, hanging from fishing line against a door or wall; Musical Puddles, put a bunch of fake mud puddles, made from construction paper and markers around the room, each with a number on it, from 1-25. Call out a number and watch the children rush to stand on the puddle. The cool thing is, at your neighborhood Halloween party EVERYONE wins! Give every child a piece of candy for their Goody Bags, with every round. The goody bags they decorate themselves! A package of 50 brown paper lunch bags is inexpensive, and the kids can decorate them scary or funny, with felt markers, googly eyes, and bits of fabric, if you choose. They can each write their own name on their goody bag, so everyone goes home with their own.

Don’t forget the ghoulish, creepy music. Tapes and CDs can be found at the grocery store, dollar store or music store for very little money. The creepy CD I picked for our neighborhood Halloween party cost me $2.99, and had 36 creepy, silly, scary or funny Halloween songs and a lot of different creepy sounds, such as howling cats, bat wings flapping, and doors squeaking open. The kids loved the sound effects, and oddly enough, some even knew all the words!

Some general tips to make your neighborhood Halloween party a success are:

� Remember that smaller children can be frightened by things that older children will just laugh at, and take this into account, when planning your party.
� Be sure to distribute the goodies evenly, or be prepared to hear more howling than the usual Halloween banshees.
� Send out announcements at least a week in advance, so that parents can plan for your neighborhood Halloween party and so that the kids can be excited about having their own special party.
âÂ?¢ Don’t forget to enjoy the kids squealing and laughing!

After your neighborhood Halloween party is over, the kids have gone to bed, and you are wondering how you could possibly eat one more piece of chocolate stolen from your son’s goody bagâÂ?¦don’t you think it is time to start planning your neighborhood Thanksgiving party?

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