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Host a wicked Halloween party

By Rachel Aguiar
North by Northwestern

In the national college party landscape, Halloween is the holiday of bitchin’ parties. Unsurprisingly, a good Halloween party at NU remains hard to find.

Deciding that this was entirely unacceptable, I decided last year to throw my own Halloween bash. Like any good party host, I tried to get a ton of different ideas together to make my party as kickass as possible. After attempting to search for some good ideas on the Internet for over an hour, all I found were lame party ideas for kids and geriatrics, or stories about college Halloween parties that the cops busted in less than 10 minutes. Not helpful.

So here are a few tips from me to you on how to throw a great party this All Hallow’s Eve. Use these suggestions, or build off them to create your own. The bottom line is that, hopefully, NU students will have a lot more Halloween parties to choose from this year. Whether you trick or treat your guests is up to you; just make sure they have a great time!

For the Tricksters:

Halloween is the one time of the year where the more tricks you pull on your partygoers, the more they will love you for it. Here are a few ideas to set a mischievous mood at your All Hallow’s Eve bash.

• Have a scary movie playing on the TV. My favorites are the classics, such as The Exorcist or Psycho. If you want to be particularly naughty, put on any of the Chucky movies and place creepy looking dolls around the room. It will give everyone the chills.

• Feigning a murder is easy by creating body outlines on the floor. All you need is some masking tape and a friend to trace!

• Music does not have to be the standby “ghostly” noises anymore. Pick some music from your iTunes that people can dance to, but still have a creepier undertone. For example, last year I used Franz Ferdinand’s “Shopping for Blood” at my Halloween party. Still a great song, but it also gets the “spooky” point across.

• Though stereotypical, cobwebs are one of the best ways to set an eerie atmosphere. They guarantee an instant transition from crappy college apartment to scary, haunted, crappy college apartment. Fortunately, this time of year you can find ridiculously cheap fake cobwebs at any grocery store. Another quick thematic element you can create are tomb stones with disturbing epitaphs — especially if they represent people you know will be at the party.

• Lighting will also establish the vibe of your Halloween scene. Easy lighting tricks include putting a dark cloth or paper over your normal lights. Putting a dark cloth over a lamp will instantly transform the room; just make sure it won’t catch on fire. Speaking of fire, though candles are a great mood-setter, fire is not a great idea around hordes of drunken people. To imitate this candle-lit ambiance, buy battery-operated candles. Another option, although pricer, is to buy black lights. Your partiers will be frightened by all the lint they will now be able to see.

• Now for the most important element of any college Halloween party: the hooch.

  1. Orange liqueur, though more expensive, would definitely give that Halloween vibe. Curaçao, Grand Marnier or Cointreau would do the trick.
  2. If you wanted to be particularly impressive, you could adopt this idea I found in a Rachael Ray magazine (though she’d cringe if she saw what this Rachel planned to do). Cut the top of a pumpkin just wide enough to fit a bowl inside of it. Instead of filling it with chocolate fondue, as Rachael Ray suggested, fill it with liquor instead and let your party guests have at it!
  3. Creating orange Jell-o shots is a much easier (and cheaper) way to get this same point across. You’ll see rows and rows of these fading into the frat row horizon at any decent frat party.
  4. Along this note: orange jungle juice. Not too hard to make; just mix orange soda with alcohol (either vodka or Everclear).
  5. If you’re having a smaller party, drink Bloody Marys and see who has the guts to say the name three times in front of a mirror. (Bloody Mary, Bloody Mary… yeah, I’m not finishing that.)
  6. The best way to really have an awesome party is to have a costume contest, with a bottle of your chosen booze as the prize. Make sure to let your guests know in advance and watch with amazement what people will wear to get free alcohol.

For the Treaters:

In this land of drunken debauchery, those who treat are few and far between. However, here are a few treat-filled tips (with really yummy eats).

• To celebrate pumpkin-carving day last year, I made these cute little treats for a few of my friends. All you need are some oranges, candy in the shape of a stick (I used Nestle Stixx), ice cream and a permanent marker. Cut the top of your orange off like you would a pumpkin, and hollow out the inside. Cut a small hole in the “pumpkin” top to put in the candy stick or “pumpkin stem.” Fill your empty orange with ice cream of your choice and draw on a pumpkin face. Your friends will think it’s the cutest thing ever.

• You can make spooky desserts with some every day snacks. All you need are mini powdered donuts, Gummi lifesavers and chocolate chips, and you’ve got menacing, but oh-so-delicious eyes. Put the Gummis in the middle of the donut and place the chocolate chip upside down in the center of the Gummi life saver to create a pupil. Creepy!

• Just because you like to treat your friends doesn’t mean you can’t have some spine-chilling drinks! Make a beverage of your choice and add some dry ice to give a ghostly effect. Here’s a recipe called “Witch’s Brew.” I found it on Britta, Webmistress of the Dark’s website, which also has a lot of other Halloween recipes.

500 ml (5 parts) Midori
800 ml (8 parts) vodka
2 liters (20 parts) ginger ale
200 ml (2 parts) water
All measurements are approximate. Adjust to your own taste.
Mix well. Pour into your cauldron, preferably with chunks of dry ice to create the bubbling steam effect. (Be careful NOT to drink or eat or in any way come in direct contact with any chunks of dry ice — you can get burned by the extreme cold!)

Happy Halloween!

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