Welcome to part three of my Party Planning Challenge! We’re all planning our Halloween parties together, a little bit every day. If you’ve missed the first two parts, find them here:

We’re following the steps outlined in my 4-Week Party Planner, but I’m consolidating the steps in our series. I’d recommend signing up for a copy of the party planner to use for planning any party.

Today, we’re talking party favors and your menu.

Party favors – yea or nay?

The quick decision for this week is: do you want to send your guests home with a party favor? For a holiday party, I think favors aren’t necessary, but they always are a nice touch. If the budget you set in step one won’t permit party favors, then skip them. In terms of timing, you can certainly decide on party favors later, but it you want to order hand-made party favors, you need to do it early in your planning.

I’m thinking about doing lollipops in a jack-o-lantern treat bucket as my centerpiece, so I may just have guests take home a lolli, as well as their carved pumpkins. That will be easy and inexpensive. Here are some ideas.

  1. Tussie mussies – great for filling with little treats by The Gift Garden Shoppe
  2. Mini pinatas by Treats Gifts
  3. Halloween wands by Altered Eco Designs
  4. Spider party craft by Giraffe in a Bath
  5. Confetti poppers by Sprinkles Celebration Boutique
  6. Felt build-a-pumpkin by It’s the Little Things

What food will you serve?

Will you serve a meal, appetizers, or desserts only? Remember we talked about serving a pre-trick or treating meal in part one.

  • If you’ll serve a meal, will the main dish be hot or cold? Can you make your main and side dishes ahead of time?
  • What about beverages? List those as well.
  • Order desserts now, either locally or online.
  • Or, if you will make your desserts, decide on which recipes you’ll make.

If your party is actually on Halloween, you may feel like you don’t need a large dessert spread, and I wouldn’t disagree with you for the kids. But don’t forget about adult guests who won’t get to go candy begging after the party. Wouldn’t it be cute to use mini jack-o-lantern pails like I bought to give your adult guests their own candy stash? Just fill mine up with Reese’s Cups, please.

For whatever you intend to make, write out a shopping list of ingredients.

Menu Ideas

Every fall, I see magazines publish ideas for Halloween meals for kids that I can tell you now I will never, ever make. Hot dogs dressed up like mummies or something that will take a lot of extra hand work. Nope. They are for sure cute, but I don’t have that kind of time if I’m also hosting a party.

We usually have family over because the grandparents, aunts and uncles want to see the kiddos dressed up. So I’m always planning an entree I can make ahead of time. We usually go for a big salad plus an entree:

  • Chili
  • Lasange
  • Chicken alfredo casserole
  • Homemade pizzas
  • Chicken enchilada casserole
  • Meatball subs

If you need other ideas, My Recipes has a collection of Halloween dinner ideas here. Martha Stewart has seven Halloween menus here.

Dessert Ideas

For cake ideas, I’ve tried to choose inspiration cakes that anyone could make and that won’t break your budget. (If you want to see some towering fondant masterpieces, check out my Pinterest page: Halloween Party Ideas.

  1. Spider web cake from a party by Modern Moments Design
  2. Pumpkin chocolate cake by Baking a Moment
  3. Spooky eyeball cake by Betty Crocker
  4. Monster eye cake by The Cake Blog
  5. Candy corn cake by Sprinkle Bakes
  6. Mummy cake by Created by Diane

If you’re going full dessert table, here are some other ideas. Some of these you could certainly make yourself, but I’ve tried to give you purchasing links in case time will not permit.

I’ve also tried to give you a variety of items: sweet and salty, chocolate and not — just like you’d try to balance flavors and shapes on your dessert table. (Need to know more about planning a dessert table? Read this series: Dessert Tables 101.)

Of course, candy is always a good add-on — especially because it lets you round out your space without requiring additional baking.

  1. Candy corn pretzels by Party Time Chocolates
  2. Lollipops by Smash Candies
  3. Cake pops by Treats by Taryn
  4. Sugar cookies by Sugar Berry Sweets
  5. Rice Krispies Treats by Cupcake Novelties
  6. Ogre toes by Novelty Bakery Arts (I used these at my Witch’s Tea Party and they were yummy!)
  7. Monster slime popcorn by Momdot
  8. Oreo truffles by Chelsea’s Messy Apron
  9. Marshmallow pops by My Baking Addiction
  10. Spider cupcakes by Damn Delicious
  11. Candy bark by Living Locurto
  12. Nutter butter ghosts by Homemade Interests

Next time, we’ll talk about place settings. In the meantime, be sure to grab your 4-week party planning guide.

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