15 Halloween birthday party ideas for a spirited celebration

A black layer cake covered in simple white ghosts and ghosts emerging from the top, with white gourds and brass candle holders in the smoky distance.
Paperless Post Blog > Birthday > 15 Halloween birthday party ideas for a spirited celebration

Everyone with a late-October birthday understands struggle: do you throw a birthday party, or do you throw a Halloween party? Having a Halloween-adjacent birthday doesn’t mean you have to choose one or the other. Celebrate both with this list of Halloween birthday party ideas and add a little pumpkin spice to your special day. Adults and kids alike just need a few decorations and themed ideas to turn a sweet 16 into a spooky 16, or a golden birthday into a ghoul-den birthday party.


8 adult Halloween birthday party ideas

Left: A black “Spirits of the Dead” Halloween party invitation with an ornate gold border of skeletons and the night sky. Right: Purple and blue adult beverages in glass goblets in a dark setting.
Memento Mori” by Paperless Post; Image via Crowded Kitchen.


Strike just the right balance between birthday cake and the witching hour with these eight Halloween birthday party ideas for adults, along with unique Halloween birthday party food ideas and decor suggestions from Paperless Post Party Shop. After you choose your theme, pick a Halloween party invitation that matches to add the gory icing to your cake. 


1. Themed costume party

Do you love the ’80s? Are you obsessed with “The Nightmare Before Christmas?” Add suggestions to your birthday party invitation for a themed costume that fits what you love the most.

  • What to wear: A costume that fits the birthday’s theme, whether it’s from a TV show, fashion era, movie, or is based on a Halloween character.
  • Food and drink: Serve food and drinks that match the theme—such as blue milk for a “Star Wars” Halloween birthday party, or lots of Champagne for a “The Great Gatsby” party.🎉
  • Cake: Clever cake decorators can make your birthday dessert look like a famous object from a TV show, or incorporate important parts of the theme—like this “Stranger Things” creation.
  • Decor: Make the party space match the mood with popular theme decorations like blue and white for a beach party or tropical decor for a “Love Island” theme.
  • Do: Play ’80s music or your favorite TV show in the background, or set up a viewing party and have everyone watch. You can even plan a drinking game around well-known quotes or characters. 


2. Murder mystery dinner party

Give guests a birthday—and Halloween—to remember with a dramatic murder mystery dinner party, where everyone’s a suspect and the company’s to die for.

  • What to wear: Dressy attire—cocktail or semi-formal, if you like.
  • Food: Serve Halloween cocktails with a formal dinner—the number of courses may depend on how quickly your murder takes place.
  • Cake: Make a killer cake that takes your guests’ breath away.
  • Décor: Set a macabre mood with a gothic paper chandelier.
  • Do: Solve the murder, of course. If you’re setting it up on your own, use a quick guide to help.


3. Dog costume party

Dogs love birthday parties, and dogs love wearing costumes—at least, that’s what we tell ourselves. Throw a doggy birthday party to celebrate your pup’s October birthday—or if it’s a dog-loving human’s birthday, add the dogs and their costumes to your guest list anyway.

  • What to wear: Encourage guests to match or coordinate with their dogs’ costumes, if possible. Think of the photo ops!
  • Food: Have dog treats and people treats galore, especially dog biscuits and finger foods, respectively.
  • Cake: Providing a doggy birthday cake goes without saying, but you should probably provide a human cake for your two-legged friends, as well.
  • Décor: Use lighthearted Halloween decorations for a dog costume party—nothing too scary for your furry friends, but definitely something with a tail.
  • Do: Set up a costume fashion show so your guests can show off their coordinated costumes. Give a prize for different awards. 


4. Escape room party

Just when your guests arrive, it’s time for everyone to figure out how to get out! Challenge logical friends and family to an escape-room birthday party, where they have to use their minds to solve puzzles and win a reward that starts with a “C” and ends with an “AKE.” 

  • What to wear: Encourage guests to wear costumes, but have them take off any bulky or heavy parts before they start the escape-room puzzles.
  • Food: Have lots of classic Halloween snacks and drinks ready for everyone after they’ve escaped, such as mummy hot dogs or witches’ brew cocktails.
  • Cake: Bring the mystery element to your escape-room birthday cake, or even use it as another clue with a secret code written in icing on the top. Just don’t serve it until everyone’s solved the puzzle.
  • Décor: Classic Halloween decorations are a must. especially if they up the creepy factor of your escape-room puzzles.
  • Do: Book a local escape room or plan your own—the choice is yours.


5. Monster movie night

A black online invite for a scary movie night at a drive-in theater with an illustrated animation of a red hand reaching out of a television screen ri grab popcorn and an orange crescent moon.
Scary Movie Night” Flyer by Paperless Post.


Whether you love those black-and-white monster movies or a modern scream queen flick, a scary movie night is always a fun party idea for a Halloween birthday. Turn down the lights and unplug the phone for tonight’s creature film.

  • What to wear: Have guests wear cozy costumes, such as animal onesies or Halloween pajamas, for a comfy couch experience.
  • Food: Popcorn, trick-or-treat candy, and sodas to sip on—yes, please.
  • Cake: Print an edible screen of the movie poster for your cake, or decorate it in a classic Halloween style with orange, black, pumpkins, and bats.
  • Décor: Incorporate the themes and style of the movie into your decorations, or just go as scary as possible.
  • Do: Watch the movie, plan a game that people can play each time someone gets killed in the film, or have people reenact classic scenes for a laugh. 


6. Ghost story slam

Everyone’s got that one ghost story they heard at camp—the one that lives in their head rent-free, especially on Halloween. For the ultimate Halloween birthday gift, ask guests to write out or memorize their favorite ghost story and read or recite it at your party. 


7. Franks and steins BBQ

Add Halloween flavor to a backyard cookout with a “franks and steins” party—also known as a “hot dogs and beer” party. This Halloween birthday party idea is perfect for those who prefer to celebrate Halloween—and their birthday—more casually.

  • What to wear: Costumes or BBQ-appropriate attire, depending on how devoted your friend group is to the Halloween spirit.
  • Food: Grill up those franks, along with any other meats your guests would like, and serve your favorite IPAs in old-fashioned beer steins.
  • Cake: A Frankenstein cake will give your guests a chuckle, and it’s a lot easier to make than some more complicated monster cakes.
  • Décor: String up some pieces of white fabric for tree and shrub ghosts, put out a few pumpkins, and use gingham plates and cups.
  • Do: Have a three-legged monster race, cornhole, and pumpkin carving stations. 


8. Ghouls’ night in

Get your best witches together for an enchanting good time. Drinks, dinner, dessert, and maybe a few scary date stories—who knows what you ghouls will get up to?

  • What to wear: Cute, comfortable costumes, or Halloween pajamas and loungewear.
  • Food: Halloween cocktails and appetizers, plus that bag of candy that was supposed to be for trick-or-treaters.
  • Cake: Serve some Halloween cupcakes or eyeball cake pops for a quick birthday treat.
  • Décor: Go with a witch theme for your décor, starting with bewitching party plates and hanging witch hats.
  • Do: Make some mixed drinks, share some stories, paint nails, or do facial masks. A ghouls’ night in is all about girl time and relaxation. 


Kids’ Halloween birthday party ideas

Left: “Spider” cupcakes with Oreo cookies atop white frosted chocolate cupcakes with eyes and legs drawn on. Right: A Halloween party invitation reads “Costumes and candy” with an illustration of a bright haunted house with friendly-looking skeletons, witches, jack-o-lanterns, and ghosts inside.
Image via Texan Erin; “Halloween House” by Paperless Post.


Kids with October birthdays don’t want to be overshadowed by ghosts and goblins—but that doesn’t mean they can’t invite a few to their spooky kids’ birthday party! Use these Halloween birthday party ideas to plan a less-scary-but-still-spooky October b-day celebration. And heads up: many of these work as Halloween birthday party ideas for adults, too.


9. Haunted (bounce) house

If the birthday kid isn’t ready for a real haunted house, try the next best (and bounciest) thing with a haunted bounce house. Buy or rent a Halloween bounce house and let the fun begin.

  • What to wear: Bounce-friendly costumes, or costumes with activewear underneath.
  • Food: Set out some pretzel broomsticks to keep that bouncing energy up.
  • Cake: Halloween cupcakes with orange frosting and black icing for a jack-o’-lantern face.
  • Décor: Use these cute Halloween frights plates to strike a kid-friendly tone.
  • Do: Bounce! And when kids get tired, hang the witch piñata.


10. Halloween scavenger hunt

If you live on a street that goes all out for Halloween, organize a Halloween decoration scavenger hunt for a birthday party with a mission.

  • What to wear: All Halloween costumes are the perfect attire. For a theme, ask guests to dress in detective gear.
  • Food: Once the hunt is over, make some Halloween pizzas to settle your little ghosties down.
  • Cake: Why make a whole cake when Oreo spider cupcakes will get the job done?
  • Décor: Hang up some giant Halloween skeletons outside as spine-tingling decorations.
  • Do: Guests check off Halloween decor items, such as a scared jack-o’-lantern, a scarecrow, or a fake black cat, from a list, and return to the party house for a Halloween reward.


11. Mermaids and pirates

Take a trip under the sea! For a Halloween birthday party that’s a bit more nautical, have guests dress up for a special mermaids and pirates party. 

  • What to wear: Pirate and/or mermaid costumes, though kids can also wear any nautical costume that fits the theme.
  • Food: Nothing’s wrong with some Pirate’s Booty for snacks, though no one will mutiny over pretzel stick peg-legs and fruit swords 
  • Cake: No buried treasure can beat a colorful pirate cake.
  • Décor: Decorate with mermaid-themed balloons, streamers, and party favors.
  • Do: Set up a sprinkler or water table for water play. 


12. Pumpkin decoration party

Left: A square pumpkin carving contest invitation with illustrated smiling pumpkins around the border. Right: Cupcakes with white frosting and mini fondant pumpkins on top.
Pumpkin Posse” by Little Cube for Paperless Post; Image via Sally’s Baking Addiction.


If you need a Halloween birthday party idea for early October, a pumpkin decoration party fits the bill. 

  • What to wear: Guests should wear something they don’t mind getting messy—so leave the costumes at home.
  • Food: Serve roasted pumpkin seeds and other pumpkin-themed snacks, such as pumpkin pie.
  • Cake: After all that pumpkin work, guests will love some pumpkin cupcakes with cream cheese frosting.
  • Décor: Place honeycomb pumpkins around the house to get guests in a gourd mood.
  • Do: Younger kids can paint small pumpkins to decorate their homes for Halloween, while older kids and adults can pick up the carving knife for more dramatic jack-o’-lanterns.


13. Favorite character costume

What do Spiderman, Harry Potter, and Princess Jasmine have in common? They’re all coming to your Halloween birthday party, with a theme that celebrates every guest’s favorite book, TV, or movie character.

  • What to wear: Tell everyone to dress up like their favorite character—if it’s a little-known character, encourage others to guess what it is.
  • Food: Serve some skull pizzadillas for that just-right Halloween touch.
  • Cake: Use a Halloween cupcake kit for adorably spooky holiday treats.
  • Décor: String a bat garland across your dining room to give guests a silly fright.
  • Do: Host a costume fashion show so everyone can show off their favorite character costume. 


14. Trick-or-treat after-party

For birthdays in late October—including October 31st birthdays, trick-or-treating tends to be the main event. Turn this Halloween birthday party idea into your guests’ last stop on their tour around the neighborhood. 

  • What to wear: Halloween costumes, of course!
  • Food: Prepare some sugar-free food that guests can grab for some extra fuel—like pepper-jack cornbread sticks.
  • Cake: This party’s already got lots of treats, so give guests something simple like witch hat cupcakes.
  • Décor: Your party might be the last blast of Halloween, so go all out with magic cauldron goody bags.
  • Do: Let everyone know that they can end up at your house for extra snacks and treats after trick-or-treating. Or if you’d like to host an earlier party, have your trick-or-treating crew start at your place with some pizza before heading out into the neighborhood.


15. Spooky sleepover

Any October night is a great opportunity for a Halloween sleepover. 

  • What to wear: Casual Halloween clothes and/or pajamas.
  • Food: Whip up a pumpkin cheese ball for guests to snack on throughout the evening.
  • Cake: Instead of a regular cake, use Halloween cookie cutters for an interactive—and delicious—party activity.
  • Décor: Hang classic black and orange Halloween streamers across the party zone for a fun touch.
  • Do: Little guests may prefer a “late-over” where they can dress up in their pajamas but go home before bedtime, while older kids might enjoy camping in the backyard and telling ghost stories with a flashlight.


More Halloween birthday party activity ideas

Need to fill a little more time in your party? Try out these activity ideas that fit any Halloween birthday party theme:

  • Play some fun and easy Halloween party games and give out prizes.
  • Have a costume contest to decide who has the best (or scariest, or most creative) costume.
  • Host costume karaoke for guests to sing their favorite songs.
  • If it’s warm outside, play a round of paintball or freeze tag.
  • Stop by a pumpkin patch for a birthday trip through a corn maze.
  • Parties near an orchard can include apple picking for a healthy fall-time treat.
  • Attend—or organize—a Halloween parade on a nearby street.
  • Blindfold guests and have them guess which Halloween candy they’re tasting.

Tour a haunted house in your area, or use one as a model for your own haunted house party.


Send your guests some scaries with Paperless Post

An online invite for “Enchanting Bday Drinks” is fluorescent green on the left and on the right, an animation of Morticia Addams holding a smoking green drink with the phrase “What’s your poison” imposed on top.
Poison of Choice” Flyer by Paperless Post.


No matter if you’re hosting for a spooky, cute, or spooky-cute party, Paperless Post has invitations and party supplies to help make any Halloween birthday party idea happen. From invitations that track RSVPs and guest requests, to our Party Shop equipped with party supplies for every theme and color, October birthdays are about to be your favorite ones yet.

And if you’d like to plan a party with more Halloween than birthday in it, check out our Halloween party theme ideas for any scare-level for your social circle.


Browse Halloween invitations


Hero image via Lauren Camposano.