Killer party: 5 haunted places to inspire your best Halloween bash yet

When you’re throwing a Halloween party, it’s hard to go wrong. A bunch of adults snacking on tiny Halloween candy bars while dressed up in kooky costumes surrounded by fake cobwebs? The concept alone is entertaining. But to host a truly, terrifyingly terrific Halloween bash—the kind that haunts your guests for years to come… Well, that takes a little more effort and thoughtfulness.

This Halloween season, take your fright-fest to the next level with a party inspired by some of the spookiest places to go for Halloween across the country. But remember: Just because a party itself is scary, doesn’t mean planning it has to be. There are plenty of scary places to go for Halloween—but we’ve narrowed them down to perhaps the most haunted places in the country to inspire your next Halloween celebration

From spirited speakeasies to harrowing hotels, here are our favorite spooky places, plus some helpful, memorable tips to make things even easier. And it goes without saying—if you’re looking for the perfect adult Halloween party invitation, we’ve got quite a selection.

Read on for some ingenious Halloween party ideas… if you DARE [mwahahahahaha]!

 

The inspiration: Los Feliz Murder Mansion, Los Angeles, CA

 

Photo of the Los Feliz murder mansion

 

Why we’re scared 

In early December 1959, this hilltop LA mansion was the scene of a gruesome crime when the owner, a man named Dr. Harold Perelson, severely beat his teenage daughter and murdered his wife with a hammer and before poisoning himself to death, as well. For more than six decades, the house was uninhabited, used only as a storage space by its new owners. Many rooms sat untouched from the way they were when the Perelsons lived there—dust-covered Christmas tree, ‘50s TV set, wrapped gifts, and all.

How to host it

There’s something inherently creepy about really old stuff—especially when there’s a mysterious crime (and IRL ghost stories) involved. Pay homage to the scene of this mid-century murder with vintage decor mixed with a healthy helping of decay. Hang old-school portraits and artwork, but make sure to cover them in cobwebs and spiders. Add an old TV set playing black-and-white scary movies from decades. A haunted Christmas scene, with a retro foil fake tree and spooky ornaments, would be a welcomed touch, too. 

 

Left: “A Bloody Good Time” by Paperless Post. Right: A creepy TV with a red background.

A Bloody Good Time” by Paperless Post

 

Important little extras

Invite guests to dress up as ‘50s-style ghosts, with vintage clothing and pale, ghastly face makeup and fake blood. Let them “pick their poison” i.e. choose from cocktails of the era, like sidecars and mudslides, with creepy garnishes like gummy bugs and eyeball ice cubes. And don’t forget to include the murder weapon—a old bloody hammer—somewhere on the scene. 

How to word your Halloween invitations 

It’s not every day you get to invite your friends for some Halloween fun at your murder mansion, so take full advantage. If you’re serving drinks, you can guarantee they’ll “get bloody hammered,” too. Feel free to play up the “Creepy Christmas in October” angle if you go that route, too.

 

The inspiration: Winchester Mystery House, San Jose, CA

Photo credits: Winchester Mystery House.

 

Why we’re scared

What once was an eight-room farmhouse grew to be a sprawling, 160-room, seven-story mansion after it was purchased in 1886 by Sarah Winchester, the widowed heiress to much of the Winchester® Repeating Arms fortune. Winchester’s personal life was marred by tragedy, having lost both her infant daughter and husband within a few years’ time. Legend has it that the ghost of her husband William—contacted via a medium—instructed her to build the massive home in order to house the spirits of all the people killed by Winchester rifles. Otherwise, she’d be haunted by them for the rest of her life.

Unfortunately, William’s ghost didn’t tell her to hire a legitimate architect—and the Winchester House somehow ended up with several staircases leading to nowhere, doors that open to solid walls, and windows that would never see daylight. Sarah was said to have slept in a different room each night and used secret passageways throughout the mansion in an effort to throw off the spirits. Consider us spooked.


How to host it 

Even if the staircases in your home all lead to actual floors, you can still add a touch of that signature Winchester Mansion mystery to your Halloween party with these ideas. Create an indoor Halloween maze and place speakers around the house in unexpected places, like the bathroom or hallways, and play recordings of ghostly voices having conversations with each other or speaking directly to the listener. Decorate with vintage-y Wild West-themed details (think “wanted” posters for Butch Cassidy et al, and feel free to include fun posters of guests, too), and hint at gunfire with shoot-out sounds and “bullet holes” on the windows. 

 

Left: A spooky scene featuring drinks on a table and a cow skull. Right: "The Old Haunts" invitation by Paperless Post.

The Old Haunts” by Paperless Post.

 

Important little extras 

Have guests dress up like the very ghosts Sarah Winchester spent so much time avoiding: those who’d lost their lives to Winchester firearms. Since Winchester rifles were iconic to the Wild West, guests can come as ghost cowboys and cowgirls—the more creative the Halloween costume, the better. Serve themed cocktails like the Wild West (whiskey, peach schnapps, and cranberry juice), Loaded Pistol (mezcal, sweet vermouth, Strega, and grapefruit bitters), and Black Widow (blackberry juice, simple syrup, and vodka).

How to word your Halloween invitations 

Let your guests know they’re “wanted” for a “wild” evening of “mayhem and mystery.” If you’ve stocked your fridge with adult beverages, let ‘em know they’ll have plenty of beers to “shotgun.” 

 

The inspiration: The Stanley Hotel, Estes Park, CO

Photo credit: Stanley Hotel.

 

Why we’re scared

It’s hard to imagine a haunted hotel with a creepier reputation than the Stanley, a 420-room retreat outside of Denver with a history of eerie happenings. From a judgey chambermaid ghost, who has reportedly separated unmarried couples in bed, to apparitions of Mr. and Mrs. Stanley, themselves, checking in guests and playing piano in empty rooms, there seems to be no shortage of paranormal activity. Author Stephen King’s visit to The Stanley Hotel in 1974 inspired his best-selling novel “The Shining,” later adapted into the acclaimed Stanley Kubrick horror film starring Jack Nicholson. If you’re brave enough to make it through that movie without hiding under a blanket the whole time, then a Stanley Hotel-themed Halloween party might be the perfect fit for you.

How to host it

Looking for Halloween party ideas inspired by the Stanley Hotel? Decorate your home or venue to look like the fictional Overlook Hotel’s Redrum Parlor Speakeasy, home to “The Shining”’s eerie party scene. (And yes, Redrum is “murder” backwards.) Drape walls with luxe curtains, hang ornate sconces and chandeliers, and add velvet ropes for an upscale feel. Hire waiters (or ask family friends) to serve cocktails—and stay in character—throughout the night. Play ominous piano tunes over speakers. And no Stanley Hotel Halloween bash would be complete without a framed photograph from “The Shining” on the wall. “Here’s Johnny!” 

 

"Seeing Double" Flyer featuring the twins from "The Shining."

Seeing Double” Flyer.

 

Important little extras

Insist on guests come dressed in their flapper finest, the more 1920s the better. (See our Roaring Twenties blog post for more outfit ideas.) Waiters should wear tuxedos and serve advocaat liqueur, with the main bartender in a burgundy suit, just like the one who serves Jack in “The Shining.” A cameo by creepy twin children in blue dresses is optional but appreciated. 

How to word your Halloween invitations 

Hosting a more formal Halloween affair? Let guests know in the invitation by calling it a “ball” rather than a party, and inviting them to have a ghastly good time in the Redrum Parlor Speakeasy.

 

The inspiration: The Dungeon, New Orleans, LA

Photo credit: New Orleans

 

Why we’re scared 

If you’ve ever wondered why vampires (allegedly!) feel so at home in New Orleans, look no further than The Dungeon. Located in the city’s famous French Quarter, this “secret” bar sits a block away from the Gardette-LePrete Mansion—which is, itself, steeped in spookiness. As the story goes, the home was leased by the brother of a Turkish sultan during the Civil War who was a bit of a party animal. That was, until one night when the house fell silent and passersby noticed blood dripping down the front steps. Inside, all the party people lay brutally murdered, with the sultan’s brother having been buried alive in the backyard.

Hidden and exclusive, The Dungeon is a tribute to those lavish parties. It’s a place where ghost-loving patrons—both living and undead—can celebrate excess in a dimly lit haunt with glowing drinks, deathly decor, and a rock ‘n’ roll twist. 

How to host it 

Turn your space into a spot that vampires will want to flock to. Replace your lamps’ light bulbs with red bulbs for a moody, unmistakably vampy vibe. Hang props like axes, skulls, bones, and cages around the venue, and turn up a steady soundtrack of heavy metal classics from bands like Iron Maiden and Black Sabbath.

 

Left" "Nosferatu" by Paperless Post. Right: A macabre table scene with candles and a skull.

Nosferatu” by Paperless Post

 

Important little extras 

Ask guests to dress as vampires—and if they’re willing to go all out as 1800s-era vampires, even better. As for drinks, anything red and reminiscent of blood will do—this Vampire Kiss cocktail with “blood” oozing down the sides is a great albeit sticky option. Cool them down with frozen bats or fang-shaped ice cubes for a twist any true vampire would appreciate.

How to word your Halloween invitations 

Got any “killer” vampire puns? Use them in your invitation. Your party will “suck” (in a good way). It’ll be a “bloody great time.” You’ll be serving drinks and “bites.” If guests don’t RSVP, it’ll be a “grave situation.” And so on. 

The inspiration: The Bell Witch Farm, Adams, TN

Photo credit: Crossville Chronicle

 

Why we’re scared 

Farms are inherently a little creepy, what with all the scarecrows and potential to step in a cow pie. But we guarantee you’ve never been to an agricultural institution as spooked up as The Bell Witch Farm in Adams, Tennessee. As the legend goes, the ghostly witch of a woman by the name of Kate Batts began torturing the family of farmer John Bell back in the summer of 1817, with the intention of killing Bell and stopping his daughter from marrying her neighbor. Things started tame enough with the ominous sounds of clanging chains and gnawing being heard throughout the home, plus a few strange animal sightings. But the witch eventually began inflicting physical violence against the family until she got what we wanted: Three years later, John Bell was dead from poison, and the following year, Betsy broke off her engagement. That crazy Kate!

How to host it

If you love classic autumn decor with a gruesome twist, this Bell Witch Farm Halloween party idea is right up your alley. Decorate your space with bales of hay and murderous farm-adjacent tools like pitchforks and saws dripping with “blood.” Add witches wherever possible, and hang twisted, strange-looking animal busts (you can make them with papier-mâché, too!). Play recordings of Kate the Witch torturing the farm’s inhabitants for effect, interspersed with farm animal noises. Mooooo. 

 

Left: A creepy farmhouse bar scene. Right: "Potions Class" by Paperless Post

Potions Class” by Paperless Post

 

Important little extras 

Invite guests to dress like farmers, the more authentic the better, just like the ill-fated Bell family. For drinks, serve Witches Brew (vodka, lime juice, raspberry liqueur, and Sprite) and The Good Farmer (fresh mint, lemonade, bourbon, and crushed ice) cocktails. Fitting!


How to word your Halloween invitations 

Get your guests into “the Halloween spirit” with a “bewitching” Halloween party invitation. Tell them you’re hosting an evening of “fright on the farm,” and that anyone who doesn’t RSVP on time runs the risk of being tortured by a spiteful witch named Kate. (Trust us, this technique works like a charm.) Better yet, make this night a Halloween tradition and celebrate with your friends and family for years to come. 

 

Feeling inspired by these hauntingly spooky Halloween party ideas? Browse our entire collection of killer adult Halloween invitations

 

 

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