Have you ever been in a situation like this?
You’re talking with friends or family, laughing it up, and someone says, “I don’t feel like taking the kids trick-or-treating.” Everyone starts chiming in, lamenting over the “good old days” of Halloween, when you could walk two blocks and have a bag full of real candy – not pretzels. Blah, blah, blah, everyone’s laughing, then someone shouts out, “Who’s throwing the Halloween party?” And some genius volunteers your house at the end of this week?
Don’t panick – I know it takes you a month to fully clean your house, but listen! I’ve got six steps for you to throw an easy, affordable, and festive Halloween movie night – and it won’t take any time at all! If you’re not on board with throwing elaborate parties for your family and friends – don’t worry! Follow this list, and you’ll impress your guests with your party throwing prowess! Aren’t you excited now?
How To Throw A Fabulous Last Minute Halloween Movie Night In 6 Easy Steps
1. Pick Something To Watch
Since my littles and I don’t prefer scary movies (my husband, on the other hand, loves them), our movie choices may be different from yours. But if you’re interested, here are some of my family’s favorite Halloween themed movies that aren’t too scary for kids (or chickens, like myself):
- Monsters, Inc.
- Toy Story of Terror!
- It’s The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown
- Transylvania II
- The Nightmare Before Christmas
Now, I know this whole post is geared toward throwing a fabulous movie night – but if you and your guests don’t care for Halloween movies, why not consider watching the Halloween episodes of your favorite TV shows? Check out this list by Huffpost, “13 Perfect Halloween Episodes To Stream On Netflix Right Now” or this one by Tech Times, “31 Halloween Themed Episodes To Stream Right Now.” There are some great episodes on these lists!
2. Set The Mood
You ever notice how nice and bubbly everyone is when they’re at a party? Their mindset is completely different – they’re on their best behavior and their energy is so upbeat! Watch the stress melt away as your guests get into party mode. Their moods will change at the thought of spending a special evening in your home, making memories, and sharing an experience with you!
So how do you set the mood in an affordable, easy way?
Clean Your House
I know, I know, cleaning your house for a party is boring and tedious, but having a clean house does matter. It’s the difference between a normal day vs. a special evening in your home. If there’s just no way you’ll be able to clean your house in time for guests, then only clean the areas your guests will see. That’s right. I said it (if you live in an open concept high rise, I’m sorry…). Shove everything into the guest room and lock the door so no one can go in. Keep all doors to rooms no one is allowed in closed – your guests will get the picture.
Unless you invited kids to your party. Or your aunt that doesn’t believe in boundaries…
Mood lighting is critical in a last minute party scenario for two reasons:
1.) It creates ambiance (it’s the difference between eating steak for dinner at your house versus at the fancy steakhouse downtown) and
2.) If you haven’t cleaned your entire house, who’s gonna know with the lights so low?
The best lighting for your Halloween movie night will be candles – especially if you have pumpkin, vanilla or autumn/spiced scented ones! Placing candles in areas around your home gives those spaces a warm glow, but also allows you to direct guests to “approved” areas (i.e. better lit areas, like where the food is, or rooms that have been cleaned). If you happen to have any kind of scented candles, those scents add another layer to the mood of your party, so don’t hesitate to light candles – even your “Summer In The Tropics” one. It all works!
TIP: No worries if you don’t have candles. Instead, whip out your Christmas lights! You’re gonna pull them out in two months, anyway, right? And if you want to add real scents to your home, do like Cher did in Clueless and bake something in the oven! You’ll get the same results!
Playing background music as your guests arrive (and up until you start watching the movie), adds another layer toward influencing everyone’s mood. Have you paid attention to the background music when you visit stores, eat at restaurants, or even when you watch movies? How does the music make you feel? More often than not, it influences your actions in that moment; spurring you to make a purchase, eat something, or feel something. Do that in your home with Halloween music, and no one will know it took you only one day to prepare for your party!
Need some ideas for a Halloween playlist? I put one together for you!
Everyone knows that if you’re low on time, feeding your guests with store bought, prepared food is an easy fix. But the true easy way? MAKE IT A POTLUCK! Here’s why:
- Less dishes for you to clean
- You won’t end up with a years worth of leftovers if no one likes what you make
- If they don’t like the food, they can’t blame you!
- Saves you time and money
Have your guests sign up for a food category (main, side, drink, dessert). Get an idea of what kind of dishes you’d like everyone to bring (Tacos? Pizza? Sandwiches?) so there’s cohesion in the meal, or give your visitors carte blanche, and have them bring their favorites! Whatever you decide, people will be happy as long as there’s food to eat!
The whole point of a “last minute” get together is to remember you don’t have to go full out on your Halloween decor and decorate your entire house. And the great thing about a movie night? You have to keep the lights low, so why decorate with gusto if your guests won’t see it anyway?
There are four main areas in your home that need to “decorated”:
- where your guests will enter your home
- where the food will be displayed
- the bathroom your guests will use
- the room where you’ll be watching the movie
Let me break it down:
Entryway / Foyer
Keep this area dimly lit. Pick up a bouquet of Fall flowers and place them and some (scented) candles in a spot where your guests’ eyes will land first when you greet them. You won’t need much decorating in here, since everyone will be moving into the next area, but as soon as your visitors see the candles and flowers, party mode in effect!
Because this area will be well lit in comparison to other rooms, focus most of your decorating in this room. If you spend any time or money on decor, spend it in this area. Buy a second bouquet of flowers, perhaps a pumpkin or two. Decorating one corner of the room or a table top will do wonders. And if you don’t have any time to decorate, don’t forget that specially displayed food can act as decor, too. Place every day food items on cake stands, group like items together. Display, display, display!
The only decorating in here should be a cleaned toilet and countertop! Just kidding! Keep a couple candles lit (dual purpose, hello?) and the lights off – with the lighting bouncing off the bathroom mirror, you’ve got mood for days in there! However, if you want to get super fancy, switch out your every day towels to a fall color scheme that coordinates with your bathroom, and/or throw some mini pumpkins in there. In a pinch, just light a bunch of tea lights and set them all over the counter tops and even in your tub/shower!
You won’t need to add much to your movie room – the lights will be off, and people should be paying attention to what’s on TV! As always, have some candles lit in an inconspicuous area, and display an assortment of movie munchies on your coffee table. No one will notice anything except for the food. … Or is that just me?
TIP: Since you’re going to be pulling out your Christmas decorations in two months, why not rummage through those boxes and see what decor you have that could cross over from Halloween to Thanksgiving? You’ll save time two ways: not having to go to the store for decor, and not having to whip out decorations for Thanksgiving!
5. BYOB (Bring Your Own Blanket)
Whether you invite friends over, or it’s just you and your sweet little family snuggling together on the couch, there’s something to be said about the comfort of your own blanket! Inviting people to bring their own blankets just adds to the fun! It gives party goers something of theirs from home, and makes movie watching cozier!
TIP: Have a bunch of extra blankets neatly folded and displayed somewhere in your movie watching room – it adds to the “decor” of the room!
6. Costumed Pajama Party
Okay, remember, last minute, right?
Who in their right mind thinks you can clean your house, decorate it, make food, and get fully dressed in costume? Oh no they didn’t. Instead, ask your guests to come as their favorite character in pajamas! Can you imagine the fun things people will come up with? Movie night in your PJs with your favorite blanket and treats is wonderful, but to come in a THEMED costume pajama? Next level stuff, friends.
Doesn’t that sound like a movie night you’d like to go to? I hope this list helps you confidently throw a last minute party, and your guests shower you with love and accolades! Have a great time!
What are some last minute party tips and tricks
you’ve had success with? We’d all love to know!