Halloween Party Ideas for Grownups on a Budget: Tips for Food, Decorations & Costume Parties at a Cheap Price

Need Halloween party ideas for grownups? Start by setting a budget and creating an invitation list. Think through every detail so there will be no frightening surprises. Don’t forget the Halloween music. Download a CD of spooky music and sound effects for Halloween party fun. Create decorations that are low-cost, and add a few decorations the guests can eat.

Tips for Halloween Party Food and Decorations

Ask each guest to bring a food item or finger food – enough to go around for everyone unless it’s a big crowd. (Hint: A big pot of chili works great for a crowd and is perfect for cooler weather.) If the weather is warm, serve snack foods, a few easy appetizers and a variety of beverages. Use disposable dinnerware to make cleanup easier.

Add one or two carved candle-lit pumpkins for “atmosphere” and make use of glow sticks (Department store Halloween aisle) to add a little drama after dark. To save money, homemade and store-bought sweet treats can double as some of the party decorations.

Need a few more Halloween decoration ideas?

  • Buy small Halloween party bags and fill halfway with wrapped candy or a few homemade cookies. Staple closed or tie with orange or black ribbon. Put a few bags on the fireplace mantel, a few on each bookshelf, and so forth. Display at least enough bags so that each guest can take one home at the end of the evening.
  • Decorate for Halloween with natural decorations: Indian corn, gourds, clusters of bare sticks, tall grasses, and pine cones. A little fake cobweb (Halloween supplies) stretched over each cluster adds to the ghoulish effect.
  • Black and orange balloons cost very little and make great decorations. Cluster 3 or 4 together and attach to corners of the room close to the ceiling.
  • Put a handful of wrapped popcorn balls or wrapped candy in a basket and stretch a fake cobweb over the basket.
  • Buy a bag of candy “body parts” (Halloween candy shelves) and place parts strategically on the food table.
  • Cupcakes or cookies frosted and decorated with bats, spider webs and tombstones make ideal edible spooky party decorations that are low-cost. Draw the creatures, etc. or buy plastic party decorations.
  • Make a spider web cake for an edible centerpiece. (Instructions in last section)
  • Make a jack-o-lantern centerpiece cake: Bake two Bundt cakes and assemble together to look like a pumpkin. Frost with orange tinted frosting. Create a jack-o-lantern face with small candies as desired.*

*Family Circle magazine has a similar idea for a pumpkin cake styled by Karen Tack. The cake is made from scratch and is baked in two 1.5-liter Pyrex bowls. After assembling the layers and frosting with orange-tinted frosting, dark brown or yellow M&M candies are added to make the eyes, nose and mouth. The rest of the cake is then covered completely with orange M&M candies. A candy bar cut in half is added for the pumpkin’s stem.


Halloween Costume Party Ideas

For a cheap and easy Halloween party, try a hobo theme. Write invitations on scrap paper. Ask guests to dress up in hobo clothes and award a prize to the “best-dressed” hobo. Have everyone pitch in with the food: shepherd’s pie, chili, tuna salad, or a bag of broken cookies. Bake a lop-sided cake or bake cupcakes of various sizes (some too small, some half-frosted).

Halloween costume ideas from classic TV shows are good choices for singles and couples. The TV character idea can even be a costume theme for a party. Guests will have fun dressing up as a favorite television personality from the sixties or seventies (or later).

How to Make a Halloween Spider Web Cake

Making a spider web design on top of a cake is easy. The directions below can be modified – make a white web on a chocolate frosted cake, for example. Add a plastic spider to the web if desired.

  1. Bake an 8 or 9-inch round cake according to package directions.
  2. Frost the cake with white icing.
  3. Take a brown or black decorator gel tube and draw 4 concentric circles on top of the cake. (Chocolate syrup in a squeeze bottle also works well for drawing circles.)
  4. Using a table knife and starting at the center of the cake, lightly pull through the rings from center to the outside edge. Wipe frosting from knife. Repeat every few inches until the “web” is complete.
  5. Attach a plastic spider or two if desired, or make one that’s edible.

Successful Halloween party planning is easy and fun, and can fit any size budget. Be sure to make a list of all the things needed – paper cups, napkins, ice, and so forth – so that nothing is overlooked. Share the preparations for less stress, and be sure to delegate a few close friends to help clean up when the party is over.

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