Halloween Party Recap: The Elements of Style

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Happy Monday!


I hope that you are awesome.


I was excited to see so many of my friends and their families carving pumpkins and attending football games this past weekend.


It looks like fall is in full gear.


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As I mentioned in an earlier post, we had an outstanding time at the Halloween party.


Thanks to a little pre-planning, and a lot of support from my friends everything was finished, and flawless! In corporate America, after working on a project you generally write a recap.


So, in the spirit of sharing what I learned, here are five things I learned planning this party.




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Freeing my head from that very tight wig!


DH likes our parties, but he’s cheap.


Lesson One: In order to have the party I wanted, I knew that I would have to splurge sparingly. 


I think this is generally a good rule, and leads to making good decisions when planning a party.  That said, I decided to upcycle many things to put together an amazing Halloween party, and invest in good signage.


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Custom Labels were my one splurge item and I used them in two areas of the party: on drinks and candy dishes and to a professional looking  photo booth.


I found two great vendors on Etsy, and both women worked with me to create custom labels that really worked for my party. Dana, owner of Dana Decals, put together a large label for my photo booth.It was the perfect height and length, and she went to great lengths to make sure it was properly shipped.


The second area where custom labels came into play was my candy bar. I had worked with Laura At Tickled Plum before, and knew that she creates high quality die-cut labels that are perfect for a candy bar. She also created covers for my beer, water and wine bottles.


This gave everything a custom look and set the tone for the party.


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These custom labels made the photo booth and candy bar look more professional.


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In addition to custom, personalized labels, for the first time, I tried something new, incorporating printables into my party.


The web is full of free printables.


Although I had never used them before, I will never again plan a party without them.


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These printables added a great dimension to the party planning and everyone loved them.


At the last-minute, I decided to print them (mostly because they were easy to cut) and affix them to the top of Mason Jars full of Sangria.


I had planned to label the Mason Jars “Sangria” in Sharpie marker so everyone would know what they were drinking, but at the last-minute changed my mind, opting for printables I had pinned to my Halloween Pinterest board.


I’m glad I did, because the printables were buzzworthy and fun.


Much more impressive than a Sharpie marker!


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Lesson Two: Ask someone smarter and more passionate for help.


 If you’re planning a major undertaking {like inventing a holiday that doesn’t exist} I highly recommend you find someone more passionate and more knowledgable than yourself and ask them for advice.


My friend K. was amazing.


She was my craft mentor.


She didn’t do everything for me, but she watched over my projects and provided sincere, supportive actionable feedback.


Together we made, modified and stuck to an actionable plan.


She gave me homework, gave me counsel and lots of confidence {thank you, K!}.


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Lesson Three: Thief and Doctor.  


My friend Sara always says this, and it’s such good advice.

A lot of the projects I really liked came from Martha Stewart’s Halloween ideas.


I took her original ideas and customized them. 



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Using fruit crates that are generally regarded as trash here, I collected as many as I could, painted them black and created a candy bar that spanned the length of my terrace.

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Martha Stewart Halloween, October 2010.



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While my candy bar was different from Martha’s I was pleased with the result, and my ability to create a large display for little money.


I like low-cost, high impact.


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One of my favorite things Martha made for Halloween were her head waiter sculptures.


They were made using napkins I poached from Starbucks and were creepy, low-cost enhancements to my tables, candy bar and Bloody Mary bar.


In case you missed it, here’s the tutorial from Martha:


And here’s my version:


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Lesson Four: Serve something ordinary, extraordinarily.


This is a big one.


In the past I have served a lot of food.


All homemade. All cooked in my kitchen, day of.


Too much food probably.


And some of it was probably too complicated and not necessary for a good party. 


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This time, I enlisted the help of my friends Costco, and Jackie, making donut trees.


The donut trees were a great way to dress up a pre-cooked, pre-packaged snack, while adding a little pizzaz to the Halloween party food table.


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I took this idea to the beverage table too. I dyed shots of rum red and labeled them “bloody good rum” and shots of Jack Daniels at Jackie’s insistence, labeled them, “devil’s urine”. The names were clever and the shots went quickly.


Marketing works, people.


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And finally, lesson five: pick a theme. Stick to it. And go with it.


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I had decided that blood red, white and black would be my colors.


Although some of the oranges, greens and purples were tempting, they simply didn’t match.


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After strictly adhering to the color scheme, I decided to incorporate spiders into the decor.
I had seen them on Pinterest and liked the way some party planners incorporated them into floral designs, tables and other displays.


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I even froze spiders in ice trays, but we didn’t remember to put them out!


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My rigor around the color scheme and the spider details really helped the party look cohesive. When planning another party, I will very committed a very strict color scheme.


It makes everything else more impactful. 

It also helps with budgeting, excluding a lot of unnecessary items from consideration!


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I hope that these five learnings are helpful as you plan and execute your next party or event. These are the things I’ll take into consideration the next time I plan an event.


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One last thanks to my readers for enduring a month of Halloween madness.


And, a big thank you to my friends for smuggling sticker, straws and candies into Mexico; making donut trees, taking trips to Mercado Sonora and Fantasias Miguel, gluing glitter skulls, building props, coming over to make soup, sip samples of Sangria and taste Jell-o shots for brunch {this makes me sound like a demanding, needy friend!}.


Without your support I could have never had such an amazing party.


Each of you are a treat!


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  • http://www.jessbopeep.com/ Jessie

    OH my gosh, your decor and adherence to the theme deserves an ovation! I’m actually tired just looking at all the work that went into it- well worth it, I’m sure. I’m thinking maybe you should consider a new career in party planning!!!!

  • http://thenectarcollective.com/ Mel @ The Nectar Collective

    Kim this is incredible! LOOOOVE all of the decorations and how creative you are WOW! I’d love to attend any party you throw! :)

  • Rachel Murphree

    Wow, you thought of EVERYTHING! What a fun, detailed party!