Good planning can make a party a horrifying hit

Posted: Thursday, October 12, 2006

Halloween is creeping around the corner, which means parties will soon ensue. Planning the perfect Halloween party takes creativity and imagination. Here are some tips from party experts to help your party be horrifying, but in a good way:

· The first step is to pick a date. Scheduling the event on a day other than Halloween may prove to be wise, as many people with children go trick-or-treating. It’s also smart to send invitations at least one week prior to the occasion.

· To theme, or not to theme, that is the next question. Using a theme is a good way to invite people to wear costumes. Popular themes include: favorite celebrities, famous historical figures, super heroes and children’s story characters. Contests for the scariest, funniest or most creative costumes are a good way to engage guests, and prizes are always a hit.

“Costume contests are the best,” said Max Andrews, who works at the Duck Inn on Kalifornsky Beach Road. “We give out prizes like gift certificates to the winners. Free drinks are great, too.”

· Create ghastly cocktails by simply adding orange, red, green or purple food coloring.

“We’ll probably serve Blavod Vodka (for Halloween) because it’s black,” said Debbie Fromberg, a bar manager at the Riverside House in Soldotna.

Bring a brew alive by using dry ice, but use extreme caution and be sure guests don’t consume any. If serving from a plastic cauldron, put dry ice in a glass bowl first, as it can damage plastic. Freeze plastic spiders in ice cubes, or use peeled grapes to enhance drinks. Creepy curios like phony fingers or insects can also be hidden in food. Use Halloween-shaped cookie cutters to shape cheese, or serve up a delicacy of Worms-In-Dirt (using crushed Oreos for dirt over pudding and gummy worms) to make food fun.

· Decorations can either be bloodcurdling or low-key, depending on taste.

“I like fun things that glitter and shimmer; things with pizzazz, but not a lot of gore; I don’t do scary well,” said Jackie Greene with Partyin’ Place in Kenai.

One cost-efficient method is to use what Mother Nature provides as decor. Leaves offer a festive and colorful way to decorate tables inside. Outside, gloves and a hat stuffed with cotton balls and boots can be positioned to protrude out of a pile of leaves, which presents a perturbing impression to arriving guests. Glowing jack-o’-lanterns are traditional, but smaller-sized pumpkins also can be hollowed out to make votive candleholders, shedding some light on the ideal occasion.

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