Being a fiction writer means having a wild imagination, which my kids benefit from. Every year we have a themed Halloween party. This means every year we go all out making sure the party is a huge success. Unfortunately, I do not have images to accompany the party planning ideas. Most of my ideas are for Halloween so they involve candy. I use the parties as a safe alternative for the kids. We always have a costume contest and have a guess the candy corn challenge. All families are asked to bring a bag of candy to my party's which are placed in a large bowl, mixed around and divided into goody bags for everyone.

Don't be afraid to make your party unique. Have fun with your party!

  • CARNIVAL:  This is an easy party to modify for small kids through adult. Its fairly inexpensive as well. You may have to recruit some help to set up the games as they are played if the party is for kids; if its an adult party...they can set up themselves. 
    • The first thing you have to do is think Carnival. What would you do at a fair or carnival? Every game has a bowl of candy so the kids get a piece (or two) when they play. You can set the rules as you wish.
    • bobbing for apples is always a big hit. I have a HUGE cauldron that we fill with apples and water. Their prize is the apple.
    •  Pumpkin bowling is simple. You need to save 9  2 liter bottles for the pins (put about 1 cup of water in each one to help keep them upright). buy the most perfectly round pumpkin you can find for the bowling ball and set up on a level surface. We used a tarp to keep the pumpkin from getting dirty.
    • Ducks in a pond this one has a little cost to it. you need a small child's pool and several rubber ducks (oriental trading) write a number on the bottom of each duck to determine the number of candies the children can grab from the bucket. 
    • Bean Bag Toss. I made a large jack-O-lantern out of plywood and propped it against the house, made three bean bags out of socks and rice. The Jack-O-lantern had numbers written on each of the areas (highest number in the hardest place to score)
    • Plunko. these boards can be made, or purchased for a small price
    • Balloon pop hide a number in each balloon. This can be time consuming to set up, and a bit dangerous for smaller children. If you don't want to use darts, the kids can always sit on the balloons to pop them
    • ring the target. you can use anything for the target and really anything for hoops. again 2 liters work well, just add water or dirt to weigh them down. You can buy glow bracelets for the hoops
  • Hunger Games: This was probably my kids favorite year. It took a lot of preparation for this one. I wanted to use weapons that wouldn't actually hurt the kids when swung, so I had to make all of them. 
    • I asked all of the adults to dress like they lived in the Capitol, and wow did everyone get gaudy!  The invitations were all written as though the kids were being selected to attend the Hunger games starting out with You have been selected as tribute in this years annual Hunger games... and ending with May the odds be ever in your favor. Then I wax sealed all the letters! The kids LOVED the wax seal.
    • All my weapons were made out of pool noodles and duct tape. Don't get me wrong, they still stung, but no bruises, cuts, etc...and it was cheep. I made 3 survival packs with rope, water, a foam knife and a candy bar in each one. The cornucopia was a designated spot in the middle of the yard where all the weapons, food, water, and survival packs were placed.
    • The kids were all given a list of rules prior to starting and a unique stamp. They all stamped a book with their name beside it. The stamp was used during the "game". When they "killed" an opponent, they stamped their victim. The victim had to take a brief time out in a designated area then were permitted to return to the game. 
    • The one with the most "kills" won a prize and the person who dies the least amount of times got a prize.
    • I did have an adult sitting in the time out area keeping a log of the victims to keep it fair.
    • The adults were armed with special weapons like colored smoke, to represent fire; marshmallow guns, for trackerjackers; blue candies, for night-lock; we even had 2 monkeys. 
  • Pirates: This was a fear-factor scavenger hunt. It has to be done in the dark to be effective or its not scary. The ultimate goal is to see which group gets to the treasure first.
    • The invitations this year were messages in a bottle, and started out with Ahoy Matey. The background paper was a torn/burned treasure map. We had fun ageing the paper.
    • This took a lot of planing. The kids had to separated into groups, and the goal was to follow the clues. The clues were riddles that led from one to the next. That's where the planning comes in. You have to plan your gross fear-factor items, where they will be then create a riddle for each one that doesn't just some out and say I am a spider in a tent.
    • Dead animal guts: take an old stuffed animal or get one from a thrift store, rip open the belly. Over boil spiral noodles, add cooking oil and red food coloring or fake blood for effect. Hide the laminated clues (or zip-locked) deep in the gut so the kids have to search in the "animals" intestines to find the clue. Its fun listening to the reactions!
    • Arachnophobia: Take loads of spider webbing and create the monster of a spider's home, don't forget to add all kinds of spiders. hide the clues deep in the webs so the kids have to reach in and possibly even touch a hairy spider.
    • Roach infestation: Its unreal what you can find on Amazon. A pack of fake roaches is not expensive, they look real, and kids don't want to touch them. Just hid the clues under the bugs protection and watch the kids squeal.
    • Rats: Again ugly rats are not kids best friends and they are easy to find too. 
    • Eerie grave: get one of those motion activated hand bowls, they may/may not work depending on the light situation. Use a box, or dig a hole to make a "fresh" grave. place the clues inside. the hope is that a flashlight will shine just enough to trigger the hand and it reaches down as a kid reaches in to grab a clue. It worked for about 1/2 my kids
    • Witches brew: Use everything you have to make a thick gooey pot of brew. I used Jell-O, hair gel, cooking oil, aloe, and whatever else I could get my hands on to make a thick gel substance.
    • Arctic water: No one likes ice water. water proof those clues and sink them to the bottom (don't make it too deep. Ice water does sting.)
    • The fog: I have a fog machine, so we set it up next to a tree that we placed several set of glowing eyes in and hid the clues in the tree
    • animal dung: no one likes poop...or a pile of mud that looks like poop
  • Greeks VS Romans: Basically we did the Olympics! The invitations were scrolls
    • We divided the kids up once the party started by having them choose a number from a hat. They were either Greek or Roman. We had them compete in several Olympic sports under the supervision of adults.
    • Gymnastics: Each kid performed a simple floor routine, displaying any amount (if any) of athleticism they may have. I gave points for humor.
    • Archery: Yes, I let them shoot a real bow and arrow, under careful watch of an adult
    • Gladiator: Using pool noodles as their weapons and my daughters old make-shift balance beam, I had 2 opponents stand on the beam and using the pool noodles try to knock the other off. Last one standing got the points
    • Discus: I used freebies
    • Relay race: It was the "chariot" race. I person had to be the chariot so basically it was the wheelbarrow race, just named differently.
  • The Walking Dead: It was survival of the fittest. The invites were bio-hazard labels with a warning that the area was breached and the only safe haven was our place. The adults were all asked to come dressed as zombies. We were to be the walking dead. 
    • I made a "store" for the kids to raid, gave them a list of goals like a video game would do, and set boundaries and rules. To be turned into a zombie, both hands had to touch the victim or it didn't count. I purchase these re-loadable foam pop guns. the foam balls are attached by a string so the kids never lose their amo. If a zombie got hit they were frozen for 10 seconds.
    • I hid 3 liquid lolly pop blood bags around my yard. each bag was good for an extra life when presented after a zombie "bite"
    • It only took 45 minutes for all but 1 person to be infected and turn into zombies
  • Harry Potter: This one took me an entire year of planning and preparing for. The invitations were Hogwarts acceptance letters sealed with a wax Hogwarts crest seal. This was probably one of the most expensive parties as well.  All classes ran about 10-15 minutes long. and the entire time the kids were competing for house points. The house points were being kept by M&M's in 1 liter containers. The kids voted for 1 winner in each house for the costume contest and they won the house points for their house.
    • My preparations started out by asking friends and family to be professors for me. I had them come up with fun names and a small bit about themselves, then using Photoshop made them their own chocolate frog cards. We made chocolate frogs and the boxes. all templates can be found on line, the candy mold was found on amazon.
    • We made lesson plans for divination, potions, defense against the dark arts, care of magical creatures, transfiguration, and quidditch. We even made a trip to Hogsmede
    • I made wands out of chop sticks and hot glue, then painted them different colors. These were used for Olivanders. The kids closed their eyes and the wand chose the wizard. We also had chocolate coins for the kids as their withdraw from Gringots bank.
    • We built a huge platform 9 3/4 for the kids to walk through
    • The sorting ceremony was a little different. I baked cupcakes. I injected them with the 4 house colors, not knowing which color was inside. As the sat under the sorting hat, they chose their cupcake, and split it open to reveal his/her house color. Each child got a matching bandanna to wear for easy identification
    • the had flying lessons, a relay race, to learn how to control their brooms
    • then transfiguration where they had to play pictionary with playdoh. 
    • back to the quidditch field where hufflepuff played griffindor
    • care of magical creatures, they learned about mythology
    • Quidditch again ravenclaw vs slytherin
    • defense against the dark arts where the kids learned how to duel
    • Field trip to hogsmede where they all got a chocolate frog, every flavored beans, tried butter beer and other tasty treats
    • back to the classroom for potions! they had to make helios, dragon snot, and goblin guts
    • last round of quidditch, its the winner of each match to determine the ultimate winner!
    • closing ceramony