How to Create an Elegant Grown-Up Halloween Party

Lifestyle expert P. Allen Smith shows those who have aged out of trick-or-treating how to create a spooky-chic gathering.

stacked pumpkins

Pumpkin Stacks

Create some height to your outdoor design by stacking pumpkins and bales of hay. Draw the eye up with some fun, inventive ways to decorate with traditional fall décor.

Photo by: Mark Fonville/Hortus Ltd.

Mark Fonville/Hortus Ltd.

Create some height to your outdoor design by stacking pumpkins and bales of hay. Draw the eye up with some fun, inventive ways to decorate with traditional fall décor.
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Halloween is a holiday steeped in magic, fun and treats. While it’s always a marvelous and entertaining spectacle to see children running through the neighborhood decked out in costume, this day is not just for kids. I love to see adults embrace their festive and creative sides, to take full advantage of this anything-goes holiday.

Great Halloween Entertaining and Decor Ideas

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P. Allen Smith gives up the ghost with inspired All Hallow's Eve party tips.

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Halloween is a great opportunity to get in one last big social event before the chaos of the holiday season begins. So delve into your shadowy depths, and find inspiration in a few ideas for how to throw a memorable Halloween party.

pumpkins in baskets

Pumpkin Decor

Rustic baskets lined with wheat straw and filled with pumpkins are a chic seasonal focal point that you can leave in place through the fall. Throw the straw and pumpkins into the compost pile after Thanksgiving.

Photo by: Hortus Ltd.

Hortus Ltd.

Rustic baskets lined with wheat straw and filled with pumpkins are a chic seasonal focal point that you can leave in place through the fall. Throw the straw and pumpkins into the compost pile after Thanksgiving.

Producing a costume can be the scariest part of Halloween for some adults. Remove the pressure to impress and request all your guests just wear black at your spooky gala. It’s not a bad idea to grab a few festive accessories like witches hats, Venetian masks or face paint to liven things up.

jack-o'-lanterns

Elegant Jack-O'-Lanterns

A Halloween party wouldn’t be right without at least one Jack-O'-lantern. These silver bowls give Ole Jack an air of sophistication.

Photo by: Mark Fonville/Hortus Ltd.

Mark Fonville/Hortus Ltd.

A Halloween party wouldn’t be right without at least one Jack-O'-lantern. These silver bowls give Ole Jack an air of sophistication.

Don’t hold back when it comes to décor. I like to pick a theme and run with it. Whether you prefer a ghoulish, creepy atmosphere or a lively harvest theme, look for unexpected ways to design the look of your party. Instead of setting pumpkins out on the ground, think about creating levels to draw the eye up. Stack them, or use props like bales of hay, wire cages or baskets to give them some height.

Create specters dancing through the garden with some cheesecloth and chicken wire or go Gothic with a ghoul made by soaking fabric in liquid fabric starched and then draped over a dress dummy to dry. Add some eerie lighting from within to really make your haunting dancers shine.

Halloween yard decor

Ghostly Yard Decor

Create these fun, floating ghostly shapes with a little formed chicken wire, gauzy cheese cloth and liquid fabric starch. A battery-operated florescent light give the apparitions a spooky glow.

Photo by: Mark Fonville/Hortus Ltd.

Mark Fonville/Hortus Ltd.

Create these fun, floating ghostly shapes with a little formed chicken wire, gauzy cheese cloth and liquid fabric starch. A battery-operated florescent light give the apparitions a spooky glow.

Halloween is all about embracing the ghostly atmosphere of the evening and encouraging your inner goblin to come out. A fire pit—or bonfire if you have the space—is always an easy, excellent centerpiece at night. Away from the fire you could throw some bales of hay out for seating and let your Halloween cauldron runneth over.

Food is just as important as your Halloween décor. There are so many thematic options when deciding on a Halloween party menu. I prefer to leave the candy bucket on the porch, and offer guests a few classic fall-themed hors d’óeuvres and cocktails.

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41 Printable (and Free!) Halloween Templates

From printable party invites to cute cupcake, gift bag and party favor embellishments plus pumpkin-carving templates and props for a photo booth, we'll help you get your spook on this Halloween.

Honey and Goat Cheese Bruschetta

Delight guests at your next fall or Halloween party with this sweet-and-savory, elegant appetizer.

Easy Apple Cider Champagne Cocktail

Try this perfect, seasonal sip at your next fall gathering.

Fall Recipe: Chocolate-Dipped Pumpkin Madeleines

These autumnal pumpkin cookies are the just-right treat to serve at a Halloween party, Thanksgiving dinner or any fall get-together. They're also the not-too-sweet complement to a cup of tea and party of one.

Halloween Kids' Craft: Pretzel Skeletons

White chocolate-covered pretzels and marshmallows combine to create a fun Halloween treat that kids will love helping to assemble before they devour them.

Halloween Recipe: Furry Snowball Monsters

These fun-filled cakes are sure to be a hit at your Halloween party. The familiar taste of chocolate cake and marshmallow topped with coconut will have you wishing you were a kid again.

Candy Bar Cookies Recipe

There's no such thing as too much chocolate — especially at Halloween. Turn your favorite candy into decadent, chunky cookies with this chocolate-lover's recipe.

Marshmallow Jack-o'-Lantern Cookies

These little jack-o'-lanterns are as cute as they are tasty. Placed on a chocolate wafer for crunch, these soft marshmallows can be made several days ahead of your Halloween party. But they're so irresistible, you'll need to hide them.

Zombie Slime Shooters Halloween Cocktail Recipe

"Blood slime" gives this fruity martini a creepy look that's perfect for Halloween gatherings.

Halloween Haystack Mummies Recipe

These adorable white-chocolate "wrapped" mummies are a great addition to your Halloween treat lineup. Flavored with peanut butter and butterscotch, the potato sticks give them just the right amount of salty flavor and crunch.
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