Friday, September 28, 2012

Outline For A Great Halloween Party

Halloween is not usually celebrated in a big way in Australia, (and when it is we lean more to the scary than the cute...) But with Tammy born on the 31st October our family has had a few Halloween-themed parties over the years.  Last year Abby suggested that we hold a birthday party for Tammy at the house she shares with some friends.  This was the invitation that Abby wrote and sent out:

The 'cheap' shops, like Crazy Clarks and The Warehouse, make it very easy to decorate on a budget for Halloween.   The house entrance helped to set the theme for the night and get people into the mood as they arrived...

Inside, we had a CD playing Halloween sounds in the front room, (screams, creaking doors, the usual :)  while some more up-tempo dance music played at the back of the house and on the back veranda.  We rented an old black and white movie of 'The Ghost and Mrs. Muir' and had that playing soundlessly on the TV.  If anyone got bored they at least had something to watch!  I think we probably went overboard with the 'eyes' on the TV, but we had a great time decorating, with some of Tammy's house-mates helping us out.

We used lots of fake spiderweb and spiders, with bats, snakes, rats, creepy-crawlies and toads.  It was great!  The oranges you can see are ones that Abby made by sticking the sharp end of cloves into the oranges to make a face.  They smell good too!

We also bought some cheap muslin, and we had fun cutting it up and decorating some of the windows..  Although the camera flash shows everything in bright light we actually only used lamp light - enough to see by but it made everything nicely spookier! 

When people came to the door we ushered them down to the end of the house to have their picture taken.  This gave people something to do as soon as they arrived (alleviating that sometimes awkward.. 'um, hello... what shall I do now' feeling :)  It also got people moving through the house, rather than have them all bottleneck in the front room - which helped to get the party circulating.


Since people usually arrive in groups or couples, it's fun for them to be photographed together with friends.  As props for the photos we used an old frame decorated with spiders and webs, and had the backdrop of a cardboard skeleton on the wall, (so even if you did come alone you still had a friend !)  Tammy's Dad took the photos, which gave him a chance to meet more of her friends too :)

After having their picture taken, each person was given a rolled parchment tied with black ribbon and written with the following:

Dear Guest,

There is a Murderer at the House Tonight!!

These are the RULES of ZOMBIE MURDER!!

· If you are Approached and Told “You Are Dead!” - You Must Wait for At Least 10 Seconds to let the Killer Escape, before you DIE!  (There is a Prize for the Best Death!)

· Then, you must Affix the Red Dot you are Given by the
Murderer to Your Forehead or Face in Plain Sight!

· Check the Time!  In One Hour you may Remove your red dot
and Live Again!

· If you think You Know who the Murderer is, you may Accuse Them!  If you are Correct - You now Quietly Become the Murderer!!  If you are Wrong - you must immediately Affix the Enclosed Dot to your Forehead and Count down One Hour until you Live Again!  (No Great Death Scene, Sorry!)
· You MUST NOT Discuss or otherwise diverge the Identity of the Murderer while you are Dead!  When you Live Again, Go For It!!
· If the Murderer Eliminates Everyone within the Passing of One Hour,
He/She Wins!!

· There is a Prize for the Best Death
· There is a Prize for the Last Man Standing (for anyone Still Alive at the Witching hour of 10pm!!)
· There is a Prize for the Most Kills!!


Ok, I probably have a bit of a reputation for coming up with complicated games, and I know this one sounds a bit complicated, but it actually worked really well and was a lot of fun.  I had asked one of the guests to be the 'murderer', and given them a small bag of red sticky dots.  When the murderer began to 'kill' people we had some truly spectacular deaths!  One of our favorites was the girl who noisily 'fell' all the way down the stairs - but most people 'died' with great abandon and noise and were very entertaining!  The good thing about this game was that it went on for a few hours, but no one had to stop whatever else they were doing to play - if you don't count people rushing to witness the latest 'death'!  From there, guests were directed back to the front room again, to this table:

Guess the Guts' Grams!?
Write Your Name -                     Write Your Guess –

(We used sausages, liver, etc, in the glass jar for a good old-fashioned 'guess the weight.' game. I think I emptied some cochineal in too?)  Next to that, in the black cauldron you can see in the photo above, was a bag in which was the following note:

Witches’ Potion Scavenger Hunt

When you have collected all of the Ingredients Below in a Halloween Bag, close the Bag and Shake it well.  Find a Witch who was born on Halloween and Loudly say, 'Happy Birthday!'  If the Potion has been made correctly, A Special Prize with then Magically Appear!!

(The Ingredients can be Discovered throughout the Witch's house!)

Tammy's Birthday Bubotuber Pus Potion!

Approximately four centimeters of Hardened Bubotuber Pus. (is thick, black and slug-like)
One Mummified Baby
One Green Rat’s kidney
One Pink Baby Dragon pellet
One Shriveled Hairy Elf’s Ear  (often to be found in Old Wooden Homes)
One small Mandrake Head (root that looks almost human - wrap carefully to avoid blood stains!)
One leaf of Belladonna
At least 4 inches of Bristle from a young Witch’s Broom
One Bezoar  (a small stone found inthe stomach of a goat.  Used as an antidote to poison)
Powdered Giant Toad Wart (any colour, although the blue is thought to have the best flavour)
One part of a Peacock Feather
Eye of Newt
One Veela Hair (one hair only or the potion will be too temperamental!)
One jellied Boomslang (a small venomous snake native to Africa.  Sometimes red, but not always)
Striped lozenge fo Flobberworm Mucous
One Sopohporous Bean
Small Vampire Frog
Glazed Ghoul Head
Strand of Spider Web
Rose Thorn

There is a Prize for the First Potion Brewed
And a prize for each Fully Completed Potion!

I think this was the best game of the night.  The Scavenger Hunt took the players all over the house looking for the ingredients, which were hidden, some in plain sight - like these rat's kidneys above.  (Sorry, we took the photos before we had taken off the plastic wrap.  Abby made the cute signs.)   Some of the 'ingredients' were named, and some you had to figure out.  (eg  The four centimeters of Hardened Bubotuber Pus. (is thick, black and slug-like) was pieces of round, thick licorice.)  In the photo below, there were things hidden in the small wooden house (it comes apart), and in the plastic box behind the plant on the second shelf up from the bottom.  In many cases there were not enough 'ingredients' for everyone who came, which meant that those who were slow missed out..

The great thing about this game was that you could ignore it and go chat to someone or you could play as a couple or as a single, and it gave everyone something fun to do while they were meeting and greeting.  From what I could see almost everybody played :)

(This was on the back of the bathroom door.)

All the games were very much 'take it or leave it'.  I think that it can be a little annoying if you feel expected to join in an organised something when all you want to do is catch up with friends!  So these games were all very casual and you could move in and out of them.  For those who wanted to play, (other people were at the back of the house socializing or dancing), we later had a game of Charades...  

These are the titles we pre-prepared for Charades:

 Frankenstein    (book and movie)                                        Friday the 13th    (movie)
 Scream    (movie)                                                             The Exorcist    (movie)
 Halloween    (movie)                                                          Hocus Pocus    (movie)
 Nightmare on Elm Street    (movie)                                     The House of Wax    (movie)
The Rocky Horror Picture Show    (movie)                           The Ring    (movie)
The Hound of the Baskervilles    (book and movie)                  E. T.    (movie)
Buffy the Vampire Slayer    (movie)                                      The Adams Family    (TV)
The X-Files    (TV and movie)                                              Thriller    (song)
The Twilight Zone    (TV)                                                    The Munsters    (TV)
The Monster Mash    (song)                                                 The Haunting    (movie)
 Dracula     (book and movie)                                                Night of the Living Dead     (movie)

This was followed by a game of Halloween Mad-Gab, put together by Abby.  Anyone who didn't want to play gravitated to the back of the house and veranda for lounging or dancing, but most people seemed to enjoy playing.

Can you guess the one in the picture?  It's not hard to do these yourself and make them topical to your party.  These are some of the ones that we used:

Hop peeb earth date am me!    /    Happy Birthday, Tammy!
Bore nun hello way in    /    Born on Halloween
There teef earst ovoc toe bur    /    Thirty first of October
Duress apart tee    /    Dress up party
Drank yule aris jester pane in tharn ‘eck    /    Dracula is just a pain in the neck!
Tum mes ourf ave reet we itch    /    Tammy’s our favourite witch!
Vamp iris are rule sack res!    /    Vampires are all suckers!
Suck ellie tonnes earl hazeeb owns    /    Skeletons are lazy bones
If feud ropap um pa kin yogurt as quash    /    If you drop a pumpkin you get a squash
Aw itch with are ashes anitch ewe itchy    /    A witch with a rash is an itchy witchy.
Goes te sant am mee:  Ramp ant on hell owe een.
Ghosts and Tammy:  Rampant on Halloween
Blah ed curdle ings creams    /    Blood curdling screams                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              
Tree core tree eat!    /    Trick or treat!                                                                                                                                                       
We itch hing our    /    Witching hour                                                                                                                                             
Doe en tee t thaf ooed!    /    Don’t eat the food!

Finally, we had a 'Deadly Donut on a String' eating competition.  Each of the donuts had something inserted inside them - some were nice, like chocolate or jam, and others had garlic pieces, anchovy, tomato sauce, super-sour lollies, etc.  After that there was the cutting of the cake, awarding of a few costume and other prizes, dancing and just hanging out.

The best moment of the night?  When one of Tammy's friends took us by surprise in a HUGE way by charging up the front stairs, yelling wildly, wielding a screaming chain saw!  (Minus the actual chain, thankfully!)  There was a crowd in the front room playing charades, and everyone screamed in terror and ran as one to get away from the front door!  It was quite hilarious, and quite perfect for the night :)  

(A link to food for the Halloween party is here.)

(Felicity, over on her Bits and Pieces Bloghas a fabulous post about her ten year old son's 'Harry Potter' birthday party that you might also like.  It's the children's version of a great party in a similar  theme :) 



    Thanks again Mum and Abby - loved it!

    xo Tammy

    PS. Pretty sure there's still a skeleton on the back of the main toilet door in our house...

    1. Yes, we want him back..

      Family is forever you know :)


  2. There certainly is a skeleton there! I see him each time!!! haha :)

    and that scavenger hunt was way hard!! I gave up and just ate the lollies i'd collected already........

  3. Hahaha. I was so sad I missed this party! It sounded sooo cool!! Hearing about it in the lead-up (Mum and Abs was in the process of planning when she came to visit us in Sydney) and also afterwards when I got to see all the photos.
    No one can say that you, Sandra Munro, don't know how to throw amazing parties!!!
    Party Planning was your lost profession. If I was someone with a lot of money to spend on a party planner, I'd so hire you :D

    1. You have me for free anytime you like Bethy! :)