What does it mean to elevate a celebration?
Most people can host a celebration, but to elevate it, in my opinion, means to make it one that your guests will remember for a long time to come. Celebration Elevation, my actual business, came together because friends and family always pointed out the little details at my parties, and it made me really happy to see that the little things actually mattered. It wasn’t that I did anything difficult or complex, but I always want my guests to know that I tried to make an event more special for them. It sounds so corny when I’m actually reading this, but it’s true, I swear!
Over this past weekend, we hosted a Halloween party, and it was really fun. I enjoyed planning it, decorating for it, cooking for it, and I loved seeing our guests having fun. I know that it will be an entire year before any of you will probably consider hosting a Halloween party, but I want to give you an inside look at what it took to plan it and some of the extra details that I tried to include to make it more fun. You can use these same principles for any party you host.
There are many ways to invite your guests, whether it’s word of mouth, a group text, an email, an e-vite, or a paper invitation sent by the good old-fashioned postal service. You can make your own or order them from places like Zazzle or Shutterfly. Any of these methods is perfectly acceptable! You definitely need to keep your budget in mind when deciding on how you invite your guests. I will, actually, write a separate blog post soon where I break down costs and show you how to budget for a party.
My personal favorite thing to do is find some cute invitations that will set the mood for the party. For instance, I wanted our Halloween party to be more on the spooky/scary side, so our invitations reflected that. They set the tone for the event.
I knew that the kitchen and our family room would be the main gathering areas for the guests, but we also have a nice, big patio right off of our family room with lots of places to sit. We have a propane fire pit on the patio and an outdoor clay chimnea, so our guests could be inside or out.
I decorated the inside of the house with a haunted house motif in mind. We had spooky and creepy decorations, like the doll I made from a $3.00 doll I had found at a thrift store. The Instagram Reel where you can see me making it is here. We had some of those pictures hanging where the image changes from a cute little girl to when you walk away, she looks more like a scary monster. My Instagram Reel where you can see those is here.
I wanted the party to be dimly lit, so I bought lots of flameless LED tea lights, black flameless taper candles, and battery-operated flameless pillar candles at different heights. We put those all around the house. I also made my own spooky floor lamp, using fairy lights. You can see the tutorial for that here. I used a few candelabras that I’d found over the years at thrift stores or flea markets, and with the black flameless taper candles, they looked perfect for a haunted house.
I bought synthetic spider webbing from Amazon and used that all over the room. We sprinkled plastic spiders and cockroaches strategically around the room.
Our party was at 7:00 p.m., so rather than dinner, we served finger foods. A few favorites were the mozzarella balls made to look like eyeballs and the charcuterie boards that had a skeleton laid out amongst the cheeses, pickles, olives, and fruits, etc. Another popular item was the jalapeño poppers wrapped in crescent rolls, to look like mummies.
We have a big kitchen island, so we kept all of the food on the island, and I laid out some decorations around the food. I used some black tulle just woven around some of the platters and small gourds and pumpkins. It looked cute to scatter some of the flameless tea lights around the food, as well.
And don’t forget dessert! We had cake, cookies that looked like gruesome fingers (but tasted delicious), brownies, and a few other things that people could just eat as they were walking around and mingled with other guests.
I like to make some fun cocktails for our guests, but it helps if you know if your guests are drinkers and if they prefer mixed drinks or beer and wine. Our party lasted several hours, so we did have quite a bit of alcohol so our guests can indulge. Always make sure to have plenty of water and soda available, as well.
We pre-made some shots before the party and put them on platters so the guests could try them. We made a delicious pumpkin pie shot, that you could make for Thanksgiving celebrations if you’d like. They taste like a dessert with a “kick”.
I had bought a bunch of those plastic syringes from Dollar Tree and we made jello shots in them and put them on a platter of ice. We also made these really pretty shots that were made with blueberry jello and rum, with some black crystal sugar sprinkled on top and they were very popular.
LABEL THE FOOD & DRINKS
I made some very simple little cards to put in front of the food dishes, the shots and the punches we made, so that people would know what they were eating and drinking. For instance, on the cookies, I wrote “Frankenstein’s Fingers – almond flavored sugar cookies”. Or on the pumpkin pie shots, I said what they were called and then wrote: “contains pumpkin, vodka, milk & spices”. I think it’s just a nice touch to let people know what they’re having.
My most important advice to you when having a party that serves alcohol is to have a breathalyzer available right next to your front door. It’s less awkward to have people check their blood alcohol content than it is to “accuse” someone of being too intoxicated to drive home. And people find it fun to actually try to guess what their own number will be. Obviously, you don’t want anyone to drive away and hurt themselves or someone else. But there is a certain amount of culpability that you have as the host who over-served the alcohol and then let your guest get in their car to drive.
GAMES & ENTERTAINMENT
You absolutely don’t have to do anything besides put out food and drinks and maybe have some background music. But I thought it would be fun to play some games. I ordered some inexpensive skeleton “trophies” from Amazon, that were labeled Funniest Costume, Scariest Costume, Best Over-All Costume, etc. Then I made some simple little ballots on the computer and gave everyone one with pens. I also made a box with a slit in the top and labeled it Ballot Box. We had each person just take a quick walk in front of everyone as I announced their costumes so that everyone could see exactly what all the costumes were.
After I tallied up the votes, we handed out the trophies and it was a lot of fun. Grown-ups enjoy just being like kids occasionally, and this party was an excuse to do that. Except the alcohol part, obviously!
We had another little game where I had tiny glass bottles in different shapes and patterns. I filled some of them with colorful liquors, like Midori, Blue Curacao, Raspberry Liquor, etc. Then I filled some with water and added food coloring so that they looked exactly like the real liquor. I brought around a tray and had everyone choose a bottle. They were all corked, so no one could even smell the contents. Then the person would guess whether they thought it was real or the imposter. I gave out some little gifts for that game, as well. Again, just inexpensive things. I went to some stores right before Halloween, where the Halloween merchandise was 60% off at some places, and just bought a few little things.
We also had a karaoke machine out. Or as I called it, the Skaraoke Machine. See what I did there? We did experience some technical difficulties in the beginning, but people were good sports about it, and several people got to live out their rock star fantasy in my family room.
Party favors are certainly not required at an adult Halloween party. But I think it means something to people that you wanted to give them a small gift to thank them for coming to your party. You can always buy some small organza bags (4”x6”) online and just add some candy or another small, inexpensive gift. I put a handful of Hershey’s kisses in each one and added one of those tiny bottles of alcohol you can buy at places like Total Wines. They are less than a dollar each, and it makes a fun little gift. And with each one, I added a tag that said “Boo’s & Kisses”. You’re amazed by my cleverness there, aren’t you? 😊
Don’t forget to take pictures! Lots of them. You have some of your very favorite people gathered in one location, so take some pictures and the memories will live on for years!
I really hope that I did an adequate job of explaining exactly why I named my business Celebration Elevation. I sincerely love bringing people to my home, and hopefully making them feel welcome and special for the few hours that we are together. I’m not going to lie, it’s a lot of work. And I usually sleep a lot the day after our parties. But then I move on to the next occasion or holiday and do it again and try to think of new little details to add. Remember that saying, “the devil is in the details”? It’s true!
Thanks for stopping by my website and reading my words. I hope I’ve inspired you to elevate your next celebration, even if it’s just one extra detail you add to make it extra special.