Having a “Ball”!

October 1, 2011 by Mindy Wood

Halloween is the one time of year Americans have a great excuse for dressing up in their favorite costumes. Other countries have scads of parties where they get to dress up (reenactments and seasonal parties) but we’re pretty much restricted to Halloween. So why not have a “ball” this year and change things up! For this type of great party, there are two versions: the adults only and kid friendly.

For the Adults: When choosing your theme, of course, you have to consider your guest list. Try not to be too restrictive but if you’re going for a ball with masks and dancing, make sure there are as few rules as possible regarding costume period and design. Don’t restrict it to one decade or century (can you imagine demanding all your guests show up in 17th century attire?). The more flexible you are, the more people will want to show up. If a period theme is what you want, let your guests pick the decade or century they want to depict. As to rules you might insist everyone wear a mask until the unveiling or only while on the dance floor.

Have categories for the winning costume like “most frightful” for those making a scary appearance and “most delightful” for those who went all out for an authentic period look, characterization, or something sexy. Tie in the décor with both modern and vintage accents like cobwebs, dark colored candelabras, gazing balls, drippy candles, gargoyles, black lace clad skeletons, and carved pumpkins.

For music play a wide variety but be sure your DJ is prepared to play soundtracks from scary movies and classic flicks. Let your guest pick the songs they want to hear but be sure to have selections ready to signal things like a contest, door prizes, specific dances, etc.

For the Kiddos: While a Halloween ball might be wildly appealing to your little pink princesses make sure you have plenty of guy stuff for the young ghouls too. Forgo the masks and set up stations for the kids to do activities that engage their senses. Hands in gooey green slime, finding “treats” in a box of gray colored beads or small rocks, or guessing games are great ways to have fun. While the ages of your guests will determine how scary you can make the over all experience, you can’t go wrong with crazy carnival games with some grooving music in between. You might be surprised how easy it is to line up the kids and teach them very simple dance steps. Award a prizes to the best “couples” on the dance floor but be sure everyone who participates gets more candy in their bags.

For backdrop music select familiar soundtracks to movies like Star Wars, Harry Potter, Superman or favorite game themes like Lego Batman and Indiana Jones to create epic suspense. For your dances, go for wacky classics like “Monster Mash”, the Adams Family theme song, “Ghostbusters”, “I put a spell on you” and “Martian Hop.”

Consider your guests first and the theme for your party will emerge. Have a safe and happy Halloween!

By Mindy Wood

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