Being born in late October, Halloween was always my favorite holiday of the year. Halloween meant three things: I got to dress up as whatever I wanted, I got to eat an incessant amount of candy (this was the 90’s, before parents checked their kids’ candy), and my HALLOWEEN BIRTHDAY BASH. My mother always threw the most fabulous Halloween birthday parties. I mean, she went all out! She’d convert my grandmother’s garage into a haunted house, blindfold us before entering, and send us into Haunted House oblivion. My most vivid memory is sticking my hand in a bucket of zombie brains (a large jar of hair gel). It took me 20 years to get over my fear of the living dead.

There are endless ways to have a memorable party that your guests will never forget, and will ensure you to be the talk of many PTA meetings to come.

Here are four tips to get you started:

Food, Food, Food

Good food is the main ingredient of a good party. Start with the dishes you usually serve at parties and figure out how to make them Halloween themed. Meatballs? Why not call them eyeballs instead, add a little bloody marina sauce for an extra kick. How about popcorn? No, you’ve got zombie boogers! Ok, that’s pretty gross, but you get the picture. There are tons of scary recipes out there to inspire your menu.

Decor

You can have lots of fun transforming your home into a Halloween town without breaking the bank. If you’ve got a dollar store near you, check their party/seasonal decor section. My local store carries everything from tiny plastic spiders to large sheets of cotton spider webs. Want to really wow your guests? Throw in a few spooky decor items in unexpected places; guest bathroom, on the ceiling fan, or perhaps a have a skeleton pop out of the coat closet. The possibilities are endless.

Games

Adding games to the party’s agenda will keep guests entertained, and keep the fun and laughter flowing. If you’ve got a good amount of outdoor space, you could set up several booths with a different game or activity at each station. Limited on space? No problem. Try games that don’t involve too much movement from guests, like a toilet paper mummy wrapping contest or pin the skull on the skeleton.

Costume Contest

The most fun part of Halloween is getting to be someone (or something) else for an entire day. Want to encourage your guests to get into the spirit? Make it a contest! Have prizes for the most festive attire, which makes competitors all the more eager to win. Prizes can range from gift cards to delicious baked goods to a reigning champion trophy that the winner gets to keep until next year’s party.

Have you been to an awesome Halloween party? What was your favorite part of it?