5 Tips for the Perfect Fall or Halloween Party


Every year our friends and neighbors pack the house before trotting out to Trick or Treat.  It’s a lot of fun in new urbanism neighborhoods where living close together means maximum efficiency in the candy gathering.  Of course, our kids don’t eat candy–but our dentist “buys” it back for $1 a pound, and sends the candy to the troops abroad, so my kids work hard to earn candy for money, which we find hilarious to watch.

Each year we pull out the same decorations and try to string them up slightly differently, so we only have to spend money on food each year.


Here are our tips for the perfect #Semi_Handmade Fall Party or Halloween Party

1). Serve a Hearty Dinner

It will be a long night, and help the kids avoid the temptation of eating the candy on the way by filling them up with great food.  Plus, you’ll have to fuel the parents to keep up with the madness.  See our grocery checklist below for all the food supplies you’ll need to make it #Semi_Handmade!


2). Re Use Your Decorations.  Other than spider webs (which are a pain to reuse), take what you have on hand to follow a theme all the way through.

You can go:

  • Classic Orange+Black
  • Colorful Green+Purple
  • All Black with Silver Accents
  • All White (ghostly!)

Our favorite with young kids is green+purples to keep it light and not too scary.


3) Use What’s Around You

We love to pick up acorns, beautiful leaves and pine cones to fill up glasses and bowls.  Even better, we can save and reuse for fall decorations around the house and reuse them for Thanksgiving!

We carved out this pumpkin you’ve seen all over pinterest and used store bought guacamole and the project was done in 10 minutes.  Talk about #Semi_Handmade!


4)  Make it even simpler by doing a potluck and just set your table with gorgeous white platters and bowls for people to put their food in to make a marvelous, cohesive display.

We did a sandwich bar with pre-made basic sandwiches guests could jazz up with fancy mustards and spreads, and is so much more attractive than layout out lunchmeat and buns.

Our hot dog bar had a base of halved kielbasa, caramelized onions and peppers served with chili and cheese sauce.

Little touches like these swords (we had pirate party supplies leftover!) made the kids go crazy.

We added a little food coloring (also could use beet juice) to the deviled egg mixture for this gorgeous orange-red.

We used our cupcake stand to hold different desserts like Frankenstein dirt and worms and pumpkin cheesecake cupcakes (muffins, because we are healthful like that).

Hot chocolate in the carafe and lemonade rounded out our drinks.


Final Tip

5)  Make sure to have a special moment or statement.  The families all made their own caramel apples.  We found these tiny apples that would be a better portion size and easier for littles to eat, set up caramel to melt in an ordinary fondue pot (you could use a slow cooker too), and then set out some fun ingredients to roll the caramel apple in.  
This ironically makes the caramel set faster and makes it MUCH less messy.  Plus, the kids could mix and combine their favorite toppings, and it was a great way to transition into trick or treating.  As soon as everyone made their apple, we could head outside, controlling the mess and keeping the evening moving!

Hope you enjoyed this party!  Looking to recreate one for yourself?



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Here is our shopping list for a fabulous party that is only #Semi_Handmade:

Bulk Shopping List:

1) Kielbasa
2) Buns
3) Tri colored Bell Peppers
4) Pre Sliced Cheese
5) Bruschetta or Bagel Chips
6) 2 Dozen Eggs
7) Pre Made Guacamole
8) Carved Lunch Meat variety pack
9) Frozen “pigs in a blanket”

Local Grocery Store

1) 2 Red Onions
2) Ketchup + Mustards: Dijon, Whole Grain, Classic Yellow
3) Summer Sausage
4) Sour Cream
5) Jarred Horseradish
6) Velveeta type melting cheese
7) 1 can diced tomatoes
8) pistachio pudding mix or vanilla + food coloring
9) Milk
10) Caramel apple toppings: crushed chocolate cookies, mini chocolate chips, crushed nuts, mini gummy bears, frozen raspberry pieces, frozen pomegranate seeds….be creative!

Other supplies

1) Clear Cups
2) Permanent Marker
3) Googley eyes
4) Supplies to make banners, cardstock, bakers twine, etc. (we used a cutting machine to help)

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