So you want to throw a Halloween party. But where the heck do you begin? And, more importantly, how do you make sure you have enough time to get everything done?
You make sure you have a killer Halloween party planning timeline, of course.
And lucky for you, that’s exactly what you’ll find in today’s blog post!
When I asked in my reader survey what was stopping you from planning a Halloween party, more often than not you guys told me it was because you didn’t feel like you had enough time – which I totally get! This year marks my ninth annual Halloween party, and I still have moments where I feel that way.
But I also get a jump start on my party planning and know which details I have to have planned by when – today I’m sharing that secret potion with you! Here’s the timeline of how I planned last year’s Halloweenie Roast.
Timeline for planning a killer Halloween party:
Six months out
- Start saving ideas! If you have a theme for your party, this makes looking for or coming up with ideas so much easier from the start. My favorite tool for saving party ideas? Pinterest! Here’s how I do it.
- Consider starting to save money for your party, if needed. It’s never too early to begin! Squirreling away $10-20 per paycheck now will go a long way later.
Three months out
- Narrow down all those great ideas you’ve been saving to the ones you’ll actually use
- Decide if you’ll tackle any large-scale building projects, like a cemetery gate or lighting set-ups, and begin collecting materials
- Pick your party date, time and location
- Begin making a guest list and collecting addresses if you’re mailing an invitation
- Outline your budget – and be realistic about what you can afford so you don’t overspend
Two months out
- Decide on any party activities that should be included on your invitation, like a costume contest or pumpkin carving
- Create your invitations (here are 7 details you should make sure you include)
- Plan time in the evenings or on the weekends for any large-scale building projects and begin working on them – the more time you have, the better, just in case something goes wrong and you need a Plan B
Six weeks out
- Send your invitations – I know this is early, but I like to give guests enough time to plan a costume
- Plan your own costume!
- Begin working on the party playlist (here’s how to create a perfect one)
- Start watching ads for your favorite places to buy Halloween items you’ll need – like party goods, decor, favors and activity supplies – for sales and coupons
Four weeks out
- Gather everything you need for your costume
- Draft your party menu
- Create a list of party goods, decor, favors and activity supplies you need and begin purchasing
Three weeks out
- Finish up any large-scale building projects
- Listen to party playlist from start to finish to make sure you’re happy with it
Two weeks out
- Finalize your menu and create a shopping list
- Finish buying party goods, decor and activities supplies needed
- Finish your costume
One week out
- Check in with guests who haven’t RSVPed but you expect will come to the party and finalize your headcount
- Go grocery shopping 2-3 days before the party
- Test audio set-up for party playlist
- Do any last-minute grocery shopping
- Gather and organize party decor, begin decorating spaces that won’t be disturbed before the party or spaces that take extra time
- Prep food that can be done the day before, like baking cookies
- Chill any drink items, like beer and sparkling or white wines overnight
- Charge camera batteries and clear an SD card so you’re ready to capture costume photos
- Wash any Halloween serving pieces you don’t use on a regular basis
- Carve pumpkins for decor
Day of party
- Decorate and set up party goods, like cups, plates and napkins
- Finish food and drink prep – don’t forget to make an ice run
- Make sure the bathroom your guests will use is clean and well-stocked with soap, toilet paper, etc.
- Get your costume on!
30 minutes before
- Relax! I always try (in vain, usually) to be done with everything 20-30 minutes before the party starts so I can relax with a cup of witches’ brew and get ready to have fun with my guests
Day after party
- Start planning for next year! It’s never too early to plan a killer Halloween party
And just in case you want all that in a nifty file you can save and reference…
I hope this has given you the complete picture of how to break up Halloween party prep! You can find more of my Halloween party planning tips and tricks on the blog.
What aspect of Halloween party planning is a struggle for you?
Share it in the comments, and you just might see your struggle simplified in a future blog post!
Want even more Halloween party planning tips? Sounds like you’re a perfect fit for my Killer Halloween Party e-course, which will open again this summer. Join my email list now so you’re notified when it opens for 2017!
Happy party planning,
Want weekly Halloween treats? If you just can’t get enough October 31st in your life, join my email list – Treats Not Tricks. Every Friday I’ll send you one Halloween treat to enjoy. It’s the best way to make every day feel like Halloween.