7 Lessons I Learned When Hosting A Halloween Party

For the second time in three years, I hosted a Halloween party at home.

If you ask me five years ago, this is something unheard of. I abhor the idea of wearing a costume and I feel I am not hardwired to wear one. The last time I managed to do so was at a Christmas party of the Couples for Christ in 2012 which featured retro attires of the 70s. That explains part of how I ended up wearing what I wore at the first party held in 2020.

Be explicit in your costume expectations

We didn’t just stage a Halloween party, it was a Halloween costume party. Of course, even if you drop the word “costume” in the event title, guests will still knock on your door clad in their most spooky character imitations from Freddy Krueger to Frankenstein. Without sounding like a killjoy, I was hoping that nobody will wear any costume with a semblance of the devil — tails, devil horns, and pitchforks.

But for someone who has failed the group by not wearing any distinguishable costume (I wore a red printed Pearl Jam t-shirt), that request is a big ask. I wasn’t credible enough to command such sartorial compliance.

Even before the party was organized, I already secured the Nick Bradshaw Top Gun attire, not only because of my affection for the duology, but also because being a fighter pilot was a childhood fantasy of mine. So when the event was formally organized, I had the guts to enforce the outfit requirement.

The photo booth is everyone’s friend

Coming off the heels of the photo booth success at Diony and KC’s wedding reception, the device was back for another tour of duty. We no longer needed to collect photos from random phones. Without the photobooth it’s likely the group won’t have a wide variety of shots besides the customary group photo at the end of the event, akin to the group photo we take every after choir service.

We’ve come a long way from the days of Kodak cameras with a finite set of snaps and a longer wait for the finished product. We’ve become click happy and the phone storage, or in many cases the cloud capacity, is the limit. This instant gratification of looking good in photos, or refining angles if necessary, feeds into our Instagram stories and Facebook feeds and is no longer in family-sized photo albums we kept at home.

Deliberate decoration makes the occasion more festive

Whether it’s a surprise birthday bash or a Christmas party, decoration aids in establishing the vibe of the event. Again, kudos to KC and Diony for a masterclass in a Halloween-themed party, possibly taking a leaf out of the wedding venue decoration playbook.

Getting help from friends gets the job done more efficiently

It’s not easy to host a party. You have to clean up and prepare the place to accommodate a guest list that far outnumbers the unit’s capacity. You play a little bit of Tetris at home to arrange things to optimize space and maximize enjoyment — move the sofa to the other side of the living room, hide the musical instruments that linger next to the dining table, empty the shoe rack, and so on. For someone who doesn’t drive, it’s especially challenging for me to do the groceries without expending a great deal of energy even before the event even begins.

It pays to know trustworthy people you can rely on to help out. Never be ashamed to ask for help to buy this, bring that.

Ordering food cuts the time and effort to prepare the table

At the previous Halloween party, we utilized the kitchen to prepare food the crowd is craving. This time, we decided to minimize this and rely more on delivery orders. As a result, we did not devote a great deal of time to buying, preparing, and cooking dishes. Although I’d prefer home-cooked meals, these deliveries are more than enough to fill hungry tummies.

Make sure the games are interactive

Diony and KC are a reliable couple you can count on. During our 2021 choir retreat at St Peter Canisius, Diony facilitated the games and they were hilarious that some episodes might make it on future conversations about memories of choir life. The same organizer did not disappoint at the following Christmas party, making it wacky with his unique take on setting up relevant games.

Ditto for the 2022 Halloween party. Classic takes on the sights (portraying the “dancing crab”) and sounds (werewolf version of songs) and the most creative takes to get her team to win a bag of chocolates (“the provincer”) were on full display.

Enjoy the moment

As the event wasn’t expected to finish before 1 am the following morning, ensuring enough supply of finger foods, drinks and hot beverage is a wise decision. True enough, even though one of us fell sick and retired early, the rest of the group continued to gather and sit on the floor singing our favorite songs aided by an acoustic guitar.

It was nice to welcome new members of the choir and their partners into the party and get to know them more in a more relaxed manner.

Unlike the 2020 Halloween party where I spent half of the time sleeping in bed, failed to dress up, and missed out on some of the earlier festivities, this time I was awake way past my bedtime.

Prepare for a half-day cleanup

Speaking of bedtime, sleeping late also meant waking up late — this time 8:30 am. The cleanup task is the next order of business. Doing it may not be fun but the party actually prompted me to do the needed spring cleaning I was procrastinating all these weeks. So it’s a win, not a complaint.

I am grateful to be hosting the Halloween costume party this year.

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