Ideas for a low-key and creepy Halloween party

Animatronic zombies, peeled grape eyeballs, fake blood stains on your carpet: some Halloween parties can require an almost overwhelming amount of planning and clean-up. Not the way we like to throw them, though. 

This year, use one of our low-stress party ideas to host a casual Halloween get-together that’s perfectly you—but a little bit spookier.

Netflix and Thrill

There’s nothing easier, or more delightful than hosting a virtual scary movie night, especially with the help of Netflix Party. It’s the same amount of work as your regular Friday night in, but with more friends, fun, and frights. (And let’s be honest: it’s what you were going to do on Halloween anyway). Just pick a classic from The Criterion Collection’s Scary Movie List, or poll your friends in advance to decide on a freaky flick. 

If you’re feeling festive, send your guests a pre-party package with popcorn and mini bottles of alcohol with a coordinating cocktail recipe like the “Redrum” made with rum, tonic, and grenadine.

Devilish dinner party

If you’re the kind of host who enjoys cooking, Halloween is the time to throw the dinner party of your screams. No need to reinvent the hearse or the wheel. Pick your favorite dishes to cook, pair them with a glass of the bloodiest red you can find, and add a few scary details to keep the evening on-theme: a slasher apron, black taper candles, and, for ambiance, a copy of Salvador Dalí’s surreal cookbook, Dalí: Les Dîners de Gala. Featured card: “Skeleton with Drink” by John Derian.

Bloody Mary brunch party

If you want to enjoy the festivities, but don’t want to be up until the witching hour freezing in an uncomfortable costume, throw a Halloween brunch the morning of. Serve up your favorite traditional brunch dishes and, of course, Mary’s namesake cocktails, which guests can customize with their own garnishes. Once your guests are enjoying her titular beverage, it’s time to try to conjure Mary in a mirror. Party in the bathroom! Featured card: “A Bloody Good Time” by Paperless Post.

Halloweenie dog costume contest

Coming up with a unique Halloween costume for yourself is an expensive weeks-long project. However, putting your dachshund in a hot dog outfit takes about two seconds and is much more adorable. Have your fellow pup-owners gather their pooches for snacks (both human and canine) and play photographer for a furry, frightening photoshoot. The best-dressed dog owner takes home a prize, and everyone gets to post photos that will keep you smiling until next Halloween. Featured card: “Howlin’ Halloween” by Paperless Post.

Picnic after dark

Why spend a scary amount of money and an entire day decorating for a party when you can set your party against an already perfect Halloween setting: the dark night sky? Meet up just around sunset and enjoy the last of this year’s beautiful fall weather in your backyard. Pack a fully-equipped picnic basket and a thermos of cider, play games like Ouija, and pass around The Complete Stories and Poems of Edgar Allen Poe. If your space allows, light a fire for even more ambiance and not-so-sinister s’mores. Featured card: “Graveyard Scene” by John Derian.


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Browse our entire collection of spooky and sweet Halloween invitations.