Party planning, in general, can be stressful and overwhelming right?
But it doesn’t have to be, use these tips from my years of planning parties to make your run smoothly as if you are a pro party planner!
When I was at university I was in a team that organized huge sell-out 2000+ people-themed parties and in my teaching days, I often had back-to-back parties at school. Each class had its own party, now I think about it I think my school manager was a sadist!
Needless to say, this means I have a LOT of party planning and executing experience, quite often on a shoe-string budget too. Here are my fail-safe tips…
Keep Your Halloween Party Planning Simple
You don’t have to make it complicated to have a killer party or event.
Start off by dumping all the ideas that are running through your head down on paper then cross out anything that makes you break out in a sweat before you start. You don’t need that kind of hassle, parties are supposed to be fun!
Draw up a running order of events, if you have little ones attending, remember to consider feeding and nap times, grumpy, sleepy hungry kids do not make for good guests!
Try switching things around until it feels like it will flow effortlessly!
Forget the “rules” of part hosting, you can do it your way, think about what makes sense and what feels like it will work.
- Decorations – what is quick and easy to put up and take down?
- Food – which recipes are easy to prepare, with little effort but is still impressive? (my Halloween recipe book here fits the bill)
- Games – which games are simple to put together, simple to play but bundles of fun? (The Halloween recipe book has a bonus party games pack with it! Just saying 😉 )
Does your Halloween Party plan fit your budget?
What? You don’t have a budget?
It might be OK for the Kardashians to throw a party with no budget in place but for the regular folk of the world, having a budget will help you plan better.
By having restrictions it is much easier to make decisions.
It either fits the budget or it doesn’t. It also helps with keeping all those ‘little extras’ under control. you might be thinking, oh it’s only a couple of dollars but when you have several items that fall into that category, the cost soon adds up.
Money is one of the main causes of stress, so if you keep that under control, so will your stress levels.
If you are finding it hard to make ends meet or you don’t have much to throw into a lavish party, ask all the guests to bring a dish.
With our bilingual playgroup, when we first started having parties they were a bit of a mish-mash but as time went on we all decided that pot-luck was actually the easiest way to do it.
We set up a group chat and check-in beforehand with a rough idea of what we are bringing so that we don’t end up with 7 bowls of pasta salad and a trifle! It works well and it’s easy for the host and everyone else. If you only have a few kids attending, consider serving them a muffin tin meal and then the adults can have theirs on a regular plate!
What do you need to budget for?
- Food (Fast & Fun Ghoulish Halloween Treats here)
- Decorations (how to make east flying bats here)
- Activities (inflatable giants ghosts here)
- Paper plates, cuttlery etc.
Set Boundaries before you start
Another thing I hear from moms is that having a lot of people in their homes feels stressful.
Totally get it, especially if your guest’s kids have different ideas about what is acceptable and what isn’t. Within our group of friends we have a strict no food upstairs rule – food and drinks have to be kept within a certain area.
We have this rule at home anyway and it wouldn’t cross my son’s mind to take his food upstairs but other people have other rules and eating in the bedroom may be OK at some homes.
If you want to keep certain rooms out of bounds, that is acceptable too. Let your guests know as they arrive, politely of course “No food upstairs and please stay out of the master bedroom” – you don’t really need to give a reason, your castle, your rules but you could add something about breakables being in that room or whatever.
If you are sending out actual invitations then you can always add anything important to the invite.
If your party has a theme (if you are holding a party that is not at Halloween) then be super clear about the expectations. Good communication with your guests can make all the difference between a great party and a flop.
- Will food be served? At approximately what time (helpful for parents with little ones)
- Start and end times
- Any guests attending with allergies?
- Is there a dress code/constumes required?
- Anything else that will make it easier for your guests that they should know about?
- Do any of the guests have any kind of special needs, a child with autism that might need somewhere quite to sit if things get too much for example
If setting boundaries is something you struggle with, try the scripts on this post to get you going.
Keep your partying planning flexible
Expect the unexpected!
Don’t be surprised if everything doesn’t go to plan. Often these things don’t, it’s no biggie, rather than getting upset and throwing a mummy tantrum, pour yourself another glass of wine and go with the flow.
Sometimes the kids are having so much fun playing that they don’t want/need to have a supervised game or maybe the games finish way quicker than you expected.
Pro Teacher Tip
Always have a couple of games/ideas set up ‘just in case‘ and you will rock it as the super mom! The thing that makes a good teacher a great teacher is when for whatever reason things go pear-shaped, you can pull something out of the bag and the class finishes on a high. The same with a party, always have a backup plan stashed away, in case of emergencies!
If you are a teacher or homeschooler or a parent of a kid whole loves bats (yeah, that’s my kid!) then I have a Montessori style parts of pats pack here.
- If someone doesn’t want to join in a game, really it doesn’t matter, let them sit it out.
- If a couple of guests call off sick, no worries, make the most of it with the people who did make it
- If you get through a game really quickly – push it up a notch, tell the guests that were a practice run and now you are going to play with these added rules to make it more difficult!
- If the kids are starting to get whiny, feed them, water them and let them chill. Whiny usually means they are hungry, thirsty and/or tired.
plan a Halloween party like a boy scout – AKA be prepared!
Like any good scout, this motto should be engraved into your brain.
Give yourself time to plan and think ahead.
Make lists to get all that noise out of your head and onto paper. Then you can cross out anything that is just ‘noise’. Don’t try and do everything yourself, delegate jobs to other people and if you are a bit of a perfectionist then imagine this is an exercise on self-help and you are going to be OK with whatever happens.
Assign jobs to people, you can even make them badges “party photographer”, “party games organizer” “party DJ” or whatever. You probably already know who will gravitate to certain roles so just make it official, if a fun kind of way!
Back-Up Plans, the “what ifs” are the biggest stressor when it comes to party planning. So deal with them before the fact and they become a non-issue.
Jot down all your “what ifs” and come up with some solutions, then you are golden. Just thinking about all these situations can get really overwhelming.
But… here is the secret sauce… If you have thought about them BEFORE they happen and have a backup plan in place, just in case, that overwhelm and stress melts away.
There is nothing to stress about, there is nothing to worry about because you have it under control! Go You!
- What if the weather is horrid?
- What if the kids demolish all the food in 30 seconds?
- What if all the games get played in record time?
- What if you run out of X, Y or Z?
- What if someone cancels at the last minute?
- What if someone spills red wine on my white carpet (really? you have a white carpet!)
All parties are different, which is what makes them so fun. So rather than following somebody else’s checklist or blueprint. Follow the guide above and you will have everything covered. Pick and choose what you want to include that fits your party needs.