Two to three weeks before the party:

1. Send invites, using calligraphy pens to write out the party particulars. Enclose a glow-in-the-dark spider ring as a "must wear" passport to the party.

A few hours before the party:

2. Swag black gossamer throughout the party room.

3. Mummy-wrap lampshades with strips of old sheets. Replace bulbs with black-light bulbs.

4. Place big, fat hairy spiders in some of the cobwebs.

5. For a Halloween dinner party, decorate the table with ivy branches, petite pumpkins and beeswax pillar candles.

6. Roll up individual settings of orange and black cutlery in Halloween napkins and tie with black curling ribbon. Thread a black spider ring through the curling ribbon before tying the napkin roll closed.

7. With curling ribbon, hang bats from black and orange helium-filled balloons.

8. Place motion-activated skulls and hands in unexpected places, such as countertops, hallways and even bathrooms.

The party begins, welcome guests.

9. Illuminate the walkway with homemade luminaries out of brown paper bags weighted with sand. Carefully light a votive candle inside.

10. Have guests enter a spook-tacular atmosphere using fog machines and recorded howling sounds.

11. Usher guests through an entryway overflowing with orange, yellow and Web Night print balloons.

12. Play the soundtrack from The Rocky Horror Picture Show, or a Wagner opera.

Play games and activities.

13. Have guests create spooky art with white construction paper, crayons and tempera paint.

14. Have a dance contest to the Monster Mash. As prizes, give away classic scary stories, such as The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.

15. Bob for apples.

16. Play musical tombstones instead of musical chairs. Cut tombstones out of stiff cardboard.

Share refreshments and cake.

17. In black cauldrons, serve brain dip (use any lumpy dip) with dagger-shaped crudités, blood soup with bone slivers (tomato soup served with chips); worms with blood (wheat spaghetti with tomato sauce) or bloodshot eyeballs (deviled eggs painted with red coloring and set with black olives).

18. Turn a plain chocolate cake into a bat cake. (Bake a round cake and a cupcake. Cut the round cake in half and invert the two halves, so that the round edges are back to back, forming the bat wings. Add the bat head by placing the cupcake at the top of the design. Use black and orange tube icing as well as candy corns to complete the design.)

19. Serve Skullberry Punch by freezing water in round or oval ice cube trays and adding two frozen blueberries to each individual ice cube slot. (When frozen and put into punch glasses, the cubes will look like skulls with dark, sunken eye sockets.)

The party ends, say good-byes, give out loot bags.

20. Dispense party favors, such as glow-in-the-dark fangs and fingers, tattoos, skeletons and bat and vampire books, in loot bags filled with Halloween candy.


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Candlelight can create an eerie glow, but watch out for open flames around small children and awkward costumes. Use your dimmers or swap your light bulbs with darkly-colored bulbs if you’re worried about fire safety.

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