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Throwing an Adult Halloween Party? Here’s Where to Start Planning

A group of friends at a Halloween party
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Planning a Halloween party for adults can be as thrilling as the event itself. With the right tips and tricks up your sleeve, you can throw a standout party that will be the talk of your social group for years to come. From choosing a spooky theme to creating a cryptic dress code, here’s where to start.

Choose a Halloween Theme

A room decorated with a lot of pumpkins
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If you’re wondering how to throw a Halloween party, the first thing to do is pick your theme. Choosing the right theme can set the tone for the entire experience. A well-selected Halloween theme can accentuate the spooky atmosphere, ensuring your guests are in the Halloween spirit from the moment they step through your door. It’s not just about spooky decorations and costumes, but also about creating a cohesive and immersive atmosphere that engages your guests.

So, how do you choose the right Halloween theme for your adult party? First, consider your audience. If your guest list is full of horror movie buffs, a nightmarish cinema theme could be a hit. On the other hand, if your friends love pop culture, a theme centered around iconic Halloween TV episodes or a “famous monsters” theme could be a crowd-pleaser. Once you’ve settled on a theme, everything else—from the decorations, to the games, to the dress code—should revolve around it to create a unified experience.

Aiwolf Halloween Balloons

An easy way to dress up your doorway.

Create a Guest List

A group of friends at a Halloween party.
Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock.com

When conjuring up your perfect Halloween soiree, the guest list is an absolute must. It’s important to invite guests who will appreciate and engage with it. If you’ve chosen a classic horror movie theme, for example, ensure your guests are fans of a good scare. On the other hand, if your theme revolves around witches and wizards, you might invite your friends who are into fantasy novels or films.

Gift Boutique Halloween Party Invitations

Be sure to send out your invites early so guests can mark their calendars.

You’ll also need to take into account the space you have available. For an intimate gathering, a select group of close friends may suffice. If you’re planning a grand masquerade, however, you might want to extend the invite to colleagues, neighbors, or your wider social circles. Guests should have enough room to move, dance, and partake in your planned party games without feeling cramped.

Winoo Design Halloween Toilet Paper

A fun accessory for any adult Halloween party.

Pick Out Decorations

A living room set up with Halloween decorations
Aquarius Studio/Shutterstock.com

When it comes to setting the mood for your gathering, nothing does it better than the right Halloween party decorations. The ambiance you create with your décor can send shivers down your guests’ spines or bring a smile to their faces, depending on the Halloween theme you’ve chosen. Your choices can range from classic and creepy to whimsical and light-hearted. The key is to match your décor with your desired Halloween atmosphere.

If you’re planning a traditional Halloween party, then classic decorations are a must-have. Think of items like carved pumpkins, fake spider webs, and cardboard cutouts of black cats. For those who want to turn the scare factor up a notch, go for creepy and spooky decorations. Dim lighting, fog machines, and life-size skeletons can set a bone-chilling scene.

DealKits Halloween Creepy Cloth

This would work well at any themed party.

Decide on Food

An assortment of Halloween cookies
AS Foodstudio/Shutterstock.com

You may or may not decide to serve food at your party. Although a full meal isn’t necessary, it’s nice to provide your guests with something to snack on while they party.

When it comes to Halloween food, it’s all about the aesthetics. You want your food and drinks to fit the theme of your party. Think about incorporating traditional Halloween colors like orange, black, and purple into your food and drink menu. You could serve spooky appetizers like deviled eggs dyed black or creepy cocktails like a purple witch’s brew.

Pastabilities Halloween Pasta

If you are serving a meal, this pasta would be a great addition.

And of course, no Halloween party would be complete without sweets. Consider themed desserts like pumpkin-shaped cookies or a graveyard-themed cake. Remember, the goal is not just to feed your guests, but to enhance the overall Halloween experience with your food choices.

OREO Orange Creme Chocolate Sandwich Cookies

This cookie is always a fan favorite.

Plan Party Games

A group of friends playing games at a party
LightField Studios/Shutterstock.com

Throwing a memorable Halloween party is all about getting the vibe right, and what better way to do that than through fun and interactive party games? When it comes to selecting Halloween party games, you want to ensure they fit seamlessly with your Halloween theme while being engaging and enjoyable for your adult guests.

University Games Stupid Deaths The Party Game

This game is best for teens and older.

Consider Halloween party games that not only add a spooky feel, but also promote social interaction. You could think about a murder mystery game, where guests are given roles and must work together to solve a ‘murder’. Or maybe a pumpkin carving contest could add a creative touch to the evening. Remember, the goal is to facilitate a night of laughter, chills, and fun.

MSJEHQI Horror Movie Bingo

A great game for adult Halloween parties.

Establish a Dress Code

Women dancing at a Halloween party
Pixel-Shot/Shutterstock.com

Now, let’s talk about the pièce de résistance of any Halloween party: the dress code. This is where you can let your guests’ creativity shine. Do you want to keep it classic with traditional costume guidelines, or do you want to spice things up with a specific theme?

If you like the idea of a variety of costumes, ranging from witches to superheroes, your best bet is to leave the dress code open-ended. This classic approach allows your guests to explore a wide array of options and express themselves freely.

For a more cohesive party look, consider a specific theme. Zombies, vampires, iconic movie characters—the options are endless. You can even opt for a non-spooky theme like the 80s or a masquerade ball.

While you want to encourage creativity, it’s important to also set some clear boundaries. For instance, you might want to discourage too much gore or inappropriate costumes that could make other guests uncomfortable if that’s not the vibe you’re going for. The key is to strike a balance between fun and respect for all attendees.

Silver Lilly Dinosaur Costume

An easy costume if you aren't sure what to wear.


It can be daunting figuring out how to throw a Halloween party, but with a little bit of planning, it can be a super fun experience. The key is to plan ahead, let your creativity run wild, and, most importantly, have a spine-chillingly good time.

Anne Taylor Anne Taylor
Anne Taylor is a writer with a BA in Journalism and a passion for storytelling. Her work has been published on a variety of websites including Mental Floss and Well + Good, and she recently published her first novel, What it Takes to Lose. When she's not writing, Anne loves to travel (19 countries and counting), spend time outside, and play with her dog, Pepper. Read Full Bio »
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