Whenever I start planning a party, it helps to have a piece of inspiration. That becomes my jumping off point.

It’s also one reason I like you to brainstorm ideas early in your planning process. And why I like you to search with broad terms on Etsy and Pinterest. Yes, you get a load of results (no biggie, because you can narrow your search term later). But, you also never know what you’ll turn up — it may be your inspiration piece!


For this party, my own Halloween bunting was my inspiration. I kinda of love it, so why not use it in one of my own parties? It made me want to make everything orange, black, white and polka dotted.

So, I thought I’d close out our Halloween Party Planning Challenge with my own Halloween party and some tutorials. Maybe they’ll inspire you! (Have you found the inspiration for your party yet?)

It’s not just my fabric buntings that I have fun playing with: it’s glitter banners and felt ball garlands, too! I wanted to use all three, so I set up the party in front of our living room fireplace. That gave me the mantel and our dessert table to decorate with buntings and banners. (And can I just give kudos to my husband who didn’t blink when he found the kitchen table in the living room? I guess six years of party planning have finally worn him down.)

From the bunting came the color palette, and from the color palette came idea to use a classic jack-o-lantern candy bucket as a centerpiece. From the centerpiece came the idea to make this a pumpkin decorating party. (I would have happily carved pumpkins outside also, but the day turned out to be rainy.)

Here are my party sketches; I really stuck very close to the original ideas. (And as you can see, you don’t need any drawing talent to sketch out your ideas!)

Party Planning Worksheets

To get my sketch pad and my other party planning worksheets, subscribe to the blog and I’ll send you my free Party Planning Cheat Sheets. I’ve planned my party right along with you during this Halloween Party Planning Challenge. If you look close, you’ll see I’d scheduled my party for September, but when I got sick, I wasn’t able to hold it until October. But, because I was using my weekly planning process, I didn’t fall behind when I had to put everything on pause. I just picked up where I left off and substituted some different desserts (the ones I ordered expired).

Backdrop

You’ll want to start your decorating by building your backdrop. (You don’t want to set up your dessert table and then try to reach around it to work on your backdrop.) I cleared the regular decor off the mantel and then propped up the jack-o-lantern canvas and candle sticks. My original idea was for the balloon garland to drape above the canvas, but the canvas needed to have been smaller for that to work. Live and learn!

Dessert Table

I wanted to keep the desserts very simple. No reason to offer too many sweets at a party that proceeds trick or treating! And since the kids didn’t really get that the mini candy buckets at each place were the party favors … and so they immediately dug into the candy … we definitely didn’t need much on the dessert table. I made an Icebox Oreo Cake — tutorial coming later this week — and served candy corn frosted brownie bites and mummy cake pops.

If you plan on serving only a few desserts, then you need to downsize your dessert table so it won’t look sparse. (You also can fill in with non-dessert items, like drinks, party favors, menu cards, and/or flowers.) I used a narrow table that’s usually in my front hall. However, it wasn’t tall enough to peak over the dining table. Guess what turns out to be perfect for elevating a table? Romper Stompers! Kudos to me for not purging our outdoor toys!

Dining Table

I’m not sure where the idea of using ribbon on my table came from, but it’s one of my new favorite tricks! I bought 1.5-inch wide orange ribbon and cut three sections, long enough to cross the diameter of my table and drape down each side. I just covered up the safety pin that held the ribbons together with the pumpkin centerpiece.

I used a tablecloth and placemats, because, children. The black melamine plates were a Target find that I first used in my daughters’ Selfie Scavenger Hunt Party. The white salad plates are part of my Johnson Brothers ironstone collection. Given our theme, the mini candy buckets with Halloween candy were a no-brainer party favor. The forks, napkins, napkin rings, and orange/black straws all came out of my party stash; sources are at the bottom of the post. It’s always satisfying to shop my stash and avoid any extra party shopping. It lets me allocate more of my budget on desserts or decor!

Later this week, I’ll have tutorials for you on the pumpkin centerpiece and the soda bottles.

Activities

I provided pie pumpkins for decorating. At just $1.99 each, they are very budget friendly! From the Target dollar aisle, I found adorable felt stickers for pumpkin decorating. Larger pumpkins that would be good for carving are about $4 at our grocery store, so those would have been an easy addition. But I also think it would be fine to ask guests to bring their own pumpkin. I had mini carving kits ready to go, but since it rained, we just used the felt decorations and pigged out.

If you do plan to actually carving pumpkins, you might want to pre-scoop the pumpkin guts and soak the pumpkins in a mix of half bleach/half water to help preserve them. That helps the kids skip over the scooping, which always seems fun and gooey at first but then gets a little tedious. It also keeps you from having to use the big knives around little kids. Since we had a mix of ages at our party, helping the little kids with their carving would have been easier to manage.

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