Gatherings from The Kitchn

A Spooky Colorful Halloween Party

updated May 1, 2019
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(Image credit: Alexis Buryk)
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Bright colorful lights and “scary” vegetable posters with glow in the dark googly eyes (Image credit: Alexis Buryk)

Halloween might just be the best excuse to throw an awesome party. Unlike Thanksgiving or Christmas, there are no expectations when it comes to Halloween: you can throw a party that’s as goofy, spooky, or relaxed as you like. There are no traditional expectations. That’s why a couple weeks ago I invited thirteen of my friends over to my small New York apartment to dance, eat delicious things, drink boozy beverages, and play a Halloween game (no, not bobbing for apples).

So far this week I’ve shared the party plan and menu, the Hip Hop Halloween playlist, and a recipe for pumpkin spiced peanut butter cups. Today I’m showing you how the whole party came together!

(Image credit: Alexis Buryk)
(Image credit: Alexis Buryk)

The Days Before the Party

I had about two weeks to plan this party. Like with most parties, the bulk of the work fell on the two days leading up the party, and then the actual day of the party itself. The party started on a Friday night at around 7:30pm, so people could come over whenever they got off work.

The first thing I decided on was a theme. We had five costumes made for the party, all of which were food related, so I let this humorous force drive the theme of the party. I wanted something silly and colorful to go along with the costumes, and then something a little spooky for Halloween. Thus, a spooky colorful Halloween was born.

I knew I wanted all the decorations to be big and bold to make my little apartment appear bigger. I settled on some big black and white DIY posters I made on Fedex’s black and white plotter, some bright colorful lights, colorful balloons, and black and white paper skulls.

→ Get our instructions for making big posters like these: How To Make Really Big and Cheap Photo Posters for a Party

The hardest part of this entire party was simply gathering all the stuff in time. Lugging stuff around the subway in New York can sometimes be a pain. But once all the groceries and decorations were in the house, it was smooth sailing (or at least for the most part).

Colorful lights from BrightLab! (Image credit: Alexis Buryk)
(Image credit: Alexis Buryk)
(Image credit: Alexis Buryk)

The Day of the Party

Despite my best intentions to make at least some of the food ahead of time, or put up a couple decorations in advance, it just simply didn’t happen. Trying to gather stuff for the party proved to be more difficult and time consuming that I had thought.

The first thing I tackled in the moring was food. I tend to get a little carried away with making food for parties, and bite off more than I can chew. I had decided to make a few favorite appetizers, a big vat of pumpkin chili with fixings, and lots of desserts (which Kelli helped make). If I could do it over again, I’d make sure I did the pumpkin spiced peanut butter cups a couple days ahead of time (at least). Waking up and melting chocolate first thing in the morning can be a little tricky.

After the bulk of the appetizers were ready and the pumpkin chili was on the stove, I got to work on reorganizing my living room and putting up all the decorations.

The Food!

Pumpkin Beer (Image credit: Alexis Buryk)

I bought an assortment of pumpkin beer for the party, which I thought would be fun for people to try throughout the night. My personal favorite is Pumpking from Southern Tier Brewing Company – it tastes just like pumpkin pie in alcoholic form.

Pumpkin Chili (Image credit: Alexis Buryk)
(Image credit: Alexis Buryk)
(Image credit: Alexis Buryk)

The Costumes

As I set the table and dimmed the lights, the guests started trickling in. Five of the costumes were made specifically for the party: Quinoa Woman, Captain Kale, Trader Joe-Bot, Sriracha Jumping the Shark, and Funfetti Mug Cake. Stay tuned until next week where we’ll show you how to make them yourself!

I had told a few of my friends about the food costumes that we had specially made for the party, and a couple of them decided to come with food-related costumes of their own making. How great is that?

Here are all 13 of the costumes we had going on at this party!

Quinoa Woman (Image credit: Alexis Buryk)
Captain Kale (Image credit: Alexis Buryk)
Trader Joe-Bot (Image credit: Alexis Buryk)
Funfetti Mug Cake (Image credit: Alexis Buryk)
Sriracha Jumping the Shark (Image credit: Alexis Buryk)
Double-Ply Paper Towel (Image credit: Alexis Buryk)
Pineapple (Image credit: Alexis Buryk)
Mustafa (Image credit: Alexis Buryk)
Lobby Boy from The Grand Budapest Hotel (Image credit: Alexis Buryk)
Asparagus (Image credit: Alexis Buryk)
Nerd(s) (Image credit: Alexis Buryk)
Apprentice at Amber Waves Farm (Image credit: Alexis Buryk)
\I (Image credit: Alexis Buryk)
Robert Moses (Image credit: Alexis Buryk)

A Goofy Night Filled with Dancing and Trivia

The first thing everyone did was tackle the food table. Drinks were the first thing people saw, followed by the savory stuff, and finally the sweets. Word to the wise, make sure you make yourself a bowl of pumpkin chili before you serve it to guests – it goes way too fast. That, or my friends are a bunch of wild animals.

The whole spread (Image credit: Alexis Buryk)
Sriracha jumped the shark attacks the table of food (Image credit: Alexis Buryk)
Big handfuls of popcorn (Image credit: Alexis Buryk)

Not all of my guests knew each other, which I think makes for a great social setting. Because everyone was dressed up in crazy costumes, it immediately made everyone and everything more relaxed. The Hip Hop Hallowee playlist my friend Laura made also definitely helped in this matter.

Cool kids hangin’ (Image credit: Alexis Buryk)
(Image credit: Alexis Buryk)
Dancin’ to some tunes (Image credit: Alexis Buryk)
Someone said something really funny (Image credit: Alexis Buryk)
Captain Kale reading off some trivia question (Image credit: Alexis Buryk)

Halloween Game: We Ended with a Game of Trivia

Instead of going the traditional route with Halloween games (a la bobbing for apples, monster mash, and “guess the squishy thing in this bowl”), we played trivia. My boyfriend James decided the categories and questions and the party was split up into four teams.

I liked how trivia didn’t seem to disrupt the flow of the party. If I had tried to do another game that felt unnatural or forced because it’s Halloween, it wouldn’t have been nearly as fun.

Grown-Up Game Tips!

  • When choosing a game for a whole bunch of adults to play, choose a game that you know everyone will love even if it goes against the theme.
  • If the game is a little competitive, even better.

The categories for trivia were Food, Halloween, and America. On Friday I’ll share the questions (with a neat downloadable PDF) so you can use the game for your own Halloween party! It’s a lot easier than making up questions. Trust me.

This team did not win (Image credit: Alexis Buryk)

People lingered around after trivia for a few more bites of graveyard dirt cake and another glass of sparkling apple cider sangria. The candles slowly burned out and the peanut butter cups were demolished. Till next Halloween!

Featured Party Resources



The Menu

Serves 13 to 14 people




Sweet Treats


(Image credit: Alexis Buryk)

Photographed by: Alexis Buryk
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