Hauntingly chic Halloween party ideas and inspiration

Witch, Please” by Paperless Post

Diana Vreeland once said that life needed “a splash of bad taste.” Unfortunately, most Halloween celebrations go heavy on the sprinkling hand. It’s a shame, really, because Halloween provides the perfect atmosphere for a fabulous party. We gazed in our cut crystal ball, consulted some glamorous ghouls, and put together three themes for Halloween gatherings that are truly, madly chic.

Full mourning, full bar

Raven” by John Derian, Victorian necklace, 1837 fashion plate from World of Fashion via Los Angeles Public Library

Now’s a great time to really dig into a good sulk, and nobody knew misery like the Victorians. Pour dark clarets and wear billowing black silk to match. Take a veil, cover up in some black lace and prepare a fainting couch. Put on the greatest hits of the saddest epoch, like Barber’s “Adagio for Strings,” and really get the mourning party started.


Hitchcock Blondes have more fun

Film Still – Horizontal” by Paperless Post

Halloween is for The Birds. And Vertigo, The 39 Steps, North by Northwest, and any other Hitchcock movie you want to put on, too. The man knew scares and suspense, but he also knew style. Have your guests show up in furs, pillbox hats, and fresh peroxide’d do’s (suits for the gentlemen), sip dry martinis and other bar classics, and accessorize with a few well-placed stuffed crows. Don’t worry, they won’t move… or will they?


Ceci n’est pas un diner

Bristle Brush” by John Derian

In 1972, Marie-Helene Rothschild held a Bunuelian Surrealist Ball where guests like Audrey Hepburn and Salvador Dali showed up in mind-bending costumes to enjoy the fantastical feast. Like a great artist, you should steal some inspiration and host your own. Consider writing your guests’ names on tarot cards or old broken clocks instead of place cards; spray paint the artichokes with edible gold (don’t worry, it’s kosher); cook something from The Surrealist Dinner Cookbook. There are ground rules, but what makes this party so fun is the sheer sense of anarchy: it is truly yours to invent.


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Ready to start the seance? Browse our Halloween invitations.