Enjoying Halloween doesn't end when we grow up, for many adulthood is when Halloween becomes most enjoyable, especially for those who have a knack for hosting Halloween parties. I've included my favorite 5 adult party ideas:
Photographic Scavenger Hunt
Send your guests out around the neighborhood with a list of items to photograph with their digital cameras and camera phones. Because some of your guests may not have cameras or cars, plan to organize teams of scavengers.
You can make the list of required items by yourself, or you can brainstorm with your guests before the hunt starts, making the list creation a group effort.
Include specific outdoor Halloween decorations in your neighborhood and around your house. List items such as, fake blood, cobwebs, spiders, haunted houses, lawn tombstones, decorative trash, spooky lights, and even wicked Halloween costumes that trick or treaters are wearing.
This game is best played at the start of a party, when all of your guests are at their liveliest. After everyone returns from the hunt, all of the photos of scavenged items can be uploaded to a computer and set as a continuous slide show in the corner of a frequented room. The photos will make entertaining discussion starters for your mingling guests.
Trick or Treat Drinking Games
To set up the game, pour your "treats:" make various alcoholic shots, not with hard liquor but with sweet mixed drinks and liqueurs. Include a few shots of beer as well. Then pour your "tricks:" make various shots of non-alcoholic unpalatable drinks, like diluted lemon juice, plain tonic water, cooled black coffee, non-alcoholic beer, and diluted hot sauce.
Be sure to keep your "tricks" separate from your "treats." To play the game, have your guests take turns rolling the dice. Guests who roll even numbers will receive "treat" drinks, while those who roll odd numbers will receive "trick" drinks.
Once guests know whether they've been awarded a trick or a treat, allow them to choose their particular shots themselves, but keep the exact contents of the shot glasses secret (though you may want to ask your guests if they have any allergies). This game can be used to moderate an open bar, since requiring your guests to roll the dice if they want free booze will prevent them going overboard.
For a more competitive version of the game, label all of the "trick" shots and include some really nasty ones, like toilet bowl water (label a shot of tap water as toilet water), blood (food coloring and corn syrup should do the trick), maggots (white rice with a bit of vinegar) and intestinal worms (spaghetti or ramen noodles cooked in black coffee).
Further, don't dilute the lemon juice or hot sauce. Use the dice in the same way as the non-competitive version, but have your guests forfeit and stop playing if they find all of the "trick" shots too disgusting to swallow. The last person still playing wins.
Dramatic Death Contest
Like the photographic scavenger hunt, this game requires a digital camera. For best results, plan to print out a lot of photographs and tape them onto a wall in a display. You'll also need some props: a lot of fake blood, some Halloween makeup (especially pale white and zombie green), old clothing, and play weapons like plastic knives, rope, and toy guns. If you can afford it, throw in some prosthetic wounds and phony severed limbs.
Designate a spare room or an area of the yard as the studio. This is where you'll put all the special effects props and the camera.
When your guests arrive, inform them that they're invited to participate in a Dramatic Death Contest: that is, a contest in which they must act out a dramatic, silly, over-the-top death scene and take snapshots.
Allow your guests, one at a time or in teams, to fake their own deaths in the designated area. Help them take photos of the scene or designate a photographer. In order to make sure everyone gets a turn, limit the number of photos taken of each death scene to about five snapshots.
Once all the guests are finished their death scenes, print out the photos and organize them on display in the main area where the party is taking place. If you would like, distribute ballots and allow the guests to vote on the best death scene. If this is too tedious, simply choose the best scene yourself and hand the winner a prize during a small ceremony near the end of the party.
Creative Tarot Cards
The practice of Tarot is linked thematically to the occult, to witchcraft and to black magic. This makes it a perfect theme for a round of Halloween fortune-telling. For this game you'll need a pack of Tarot cards, a few markers or pens, some small pieces of paper and a package of envelopes large enough for the Tarot cards.
Before the Halloween party starts, place one card with one piece of paper inside each envelope. Leave the pile of envelopes on a table with the markers, and light the area with a candle or small table lamp.
Early in the evening, invite your guests to go up to the table, choose an envelope, look at the Tarot card inside and then write a fortune based on that card on the paper. Encourage your guests to remain anonymous while being creative and personal: the fortunes should be written to address their reader, akin to the fortunes inside fortune cookies.
When a fortune is written down, the guest is to place it back inside the envelope and put the envelope in a new pile on the table. Leave written instructions on the table as well if you're expecting late arrivals to the party. When all of the guests are finished writing their Tarot fortunes, shuffle the envelopes and keep them hidden for an hour or so -- long enough for them to fall to the backs of your guests' minds. Once the party is in full-swing, mingle among the guests and offer each guest an envelope from the pile.
Fan the envelopes like a hand of cards so that your guests may choose their fortunes themselves. Encourage your guests to mingle and find the original writers of their fortunes. Offer a small prize, like some candy or a drink, to anyone who can locate his or her personal fortune teller.
Telling ghost stories is a classic Halloween practice, and is best left for the end of the night. When the party begins, be sure to let everyone know that the party will end with spooky storytelling. This will allow the party to come to a close when you want it to, without difficulty, awkwardness or confusion.
When it's nearly time to start telling stories, dim the lights and turn the volume of the music down, and then turn the music down again five minutes later, quieting the atmosphere gradually without shocking your guests. Light some candles around the main party room, and then turn the music off completely.
Be Sure to set up extra chairs and distribute pillows around the floor. Invite your guests to sit down and relax. Serve ice water for those who may have been drinking alcohol and need to sober up a bit.
To keep everyone engaged in the spooky storytelling process, start the story yourself and then allow guests to take turns telling parts of the story. A small pumpkin or other stand-out prop is ideal for this process: use it as a "talking stick," and make it a rule that whoever holds the prop is the person telling the next part of the story. When one person is done telling their part of the spooky story, they can pass the prop on to someone else to continue it for them.
This will keep guests from accidentally talking over one another.
Keep the storytelling going for a few rounds and try to make sure everyone who wants a turn gets one. Don't feel pressured to keep all of your guests entertained with games at all times. Even one creative, original contest or activity will liven up a Halloween party beyond the basics of costume contests and party favors, making it a memorable event to be recalled fondly, far into the future.
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