Halloween is my favorite holiday.
My first Halloween costume was in the 8th grade when I dressed as Josie, lead singer of Josie and the Pussycats, for school.
We didn’t celebrate Halloween growing up and I’ve never been trick or treating, so it might seem odd that the holiday is now my favorite of the entire year.
Halloween is a holiday that embraces the weird inside all of us. There’s something about the holiday that encourages imagination and individuality. It’s a time when we can shed our usual pretenses of being just like everyone else, and celebrate what makes us eccentric.
I’m a big fan of sci-fi, magic, fantasy, anything that stokes my imagination and encourages me to dream a bigger world. Halloween is the one holiday when I can ignore the real world and slip back into the world of make believe.
Halloween is basically Disneyland. It allows us all to be a kid again.
It’s rickety skeletons, homemade jack-o’-lanterns, and creepy crawly creatures decorating usually spotless, trendy homes.
Halloween is a night of stories and myths and dreams. It’s a glimpse into the past. A haunted house full of history, cobwebs, and memories. It’s “Hocus Pocus,” “Casper,” “A Nightmare Before Christmas,” and “Halloweentown,” just to name a few. It’s the triumph of good over evil.
Brad and I spent almost all of our Halloweens either bar hopping with friends in DC, crammed into tight spaces with loud music and spilled drinks, or a friend’s house party where the music was also loud and the room often still overcrowded.
While those events were fun, it didn’t fully capture the Halloween experience we wanted. We wanted to make Halloween great again (ugh, why did I just make that joke?).
There are moments when I look at Brad and think, “Wow, did I get lucky marrying this kid.” This happened a lot while we were preparing for this party. I don’t know many husbands who wouldn’t bat an eye when I suggested creating a maze in our backyard. He also really added to the ambiance by using red lights, flickering lights, purple lights, all kind of lightbulbs!
I also was very lucky in that my sister-in-law’s mother-in-law (are you still with me? Should I draw a diagram?) is a huge Halloween fan and lent us a giant box of decorations for us to use.
Preparation for this party started as early as last year when I visited TJ Maxx after October 31st to buy decorations on clearance. I started the official planning in July, wondering if August was too early to send out invitations (it was, I waited until September).
The first annual Spooktacular Soirée was a combination of dinner party/murder mystery game. It was a ton of fun, but whoa, was it a ton of work.
Next year’s party we plan to only serve spooky bites and tempting drinks, enabling us to invite all of our friends and cutting back on some of the prep time. Ok, maybe not all of the prep time. But at least I won’t be hot gluing plastic vampire teeth into place cards holders for 16 people.
I didn’t get photos of every detail of the party because I was still getting ready while guests arrived (which is basically 60 percent of every nightmare of mine. Throw in a math test I forgot I had and I’d probably die of fright), but the highlights are below.
I really couldn’t have done it without friends who lent me numerous items and assisted before, during, and after the party (Carol, Shannon, Jess, Brittany, Betsy, Emily).
And if you need some good Halloween tunes for next year, here you go.
I want to use black envelopes and gold Sharpies for every piece of mail I send from now on.
I soaked every wine bottle in warm water and baking soda so that I could pull off the labels easily.
We attached the plastic spiders with mounting poster putty.
We set up two dining tables for the party so that everyone could move around the room easily. We used every chair in our house for seating!
This glass skull is Brad’s favorite decoration! We purchased it at Ross Dress for Less and inserted the faux candle.
I did quite a bit of Googling to find spooky images that weren’t too creepy, and printed the images at Costco. I wanted classy photos that would fit our haunted mansion theme. You can find most of the images on my Pinterest board.
It’s rather dark but you can take a tour of the maze in the video above. We used black plastic sheeting from Home Depot and lots of duct tape!
We took our costume inspiration from Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion. In the ride, you can find a bride who killed three of her husbands.
We had a fantastic time at our first annual Spooktacular Soirée and can’t wait to do it again next year!