Tired of the green witches, carved pumpkins and sheets made to look like ghosts? Don’t worry. Hollywood is coming to your rescue this Halloween. Instead of throwing a run-of-the-mill Halloween party this year, bring your favorite movies and television shows to life for one night. With so many fun and spooky pop-culture themes around us, planning a Halloween party has never been easier or more fun. From kid-friendly themes like Hocus Pocus or Nightmare Before Christmas to some scarier, just-for-adults Halloween parties with themes like American Horror Story and The Walking Dead, these ideas will spice up your Halloween-party game this year with a theme everyone can get into.
Be warned: People have been known to immediately begin planning a party after looking through these themes because they’re sure to spur some creativity. Prepare your Pinterest board and plan out your budget accordingly (although we won’t blame your for going overboard with excitement).
With Season 2 of Stranger Things premiering on Netflix on Oct. 27, this is just about the hippest and most happening Halloween theme of the season. There are a couple of things that will make your Stranger Things Halloween party a success: tacky Christmas lights and Eggo waffles. Without those, you’re doomed. Luckily, it’s pretty inexpensive.
Of course, we also recommend you have someone wandering around the party dressed up like a Demogorgon. And of course, it wouldn’t hurt if you added in a vintage ’80s phone and an adorable character banner from the show.
2. American Horror Story
With seven seasons to its name — including Cult, which is currently airing — there is plenty of American Horror Story material to make your party a smash hit. Have a season in every room or blend them all together in the perfect horror mashup. You could start by creating a carnival photo booth inspired by Season 4 of the show to give your guests an eerie but fun entrance to the party. You can also add some belts to the chairs for an Asylum-themed flair.
For food, why not make a vampire-friendly cake that would impress The Countess (aka Lady Gaga, who starred in Season 5). Finally, if you’re feeling especially spooky, preserve some fake organs to place around the house. This craft is admittedly a little more complicated and for the artist in the family, but the results are worthy of goose bumps.
3. Harry Potter
For the inner kid in all of us, Harry Potter is the magical Halloween theme everyone will love. Plus, with seven books and eight movies, there is so much material to work with that crafting and prepping for the party will be a breeze. Make wands using only paper, hot glue and some paint. Serve adult butterbeer with only three easy ingredients. You can even create a Platform 9 3/4 with this plastic brick backdrop.
Worry not; there are dozens more ideas where that came from too. Turn beer pong into a game of Quidditch (you definitely don’t even need the excuse of a themed party to have this one around the house). Hang floating candles from your ceiling to create a Great Hall in your own home. Set up a character photo booth with these printables. You can even have a Moaning Myrtle in your bathroom (again, you really don’t even need the party excuse for this one).
4. The Walking Dead
Though this theme is probably more suited for the adults given all the gore in the show, that just means it’ll be a gory good time. There is plenty of party mischief to be had with The Walking Dead. Create a “Don’t Open, Dead Inside” drape. Place it in front of high-traffic areas like the bathroom or even the front door so guests must, in fact, enter the danger zone. You can also use wax paper to make a bloody mess and cover windows around the house. Guests will feel like they’re trapped inside while the dead lurk beyond.
This one is almost too much, but I’m pretty sure that’s what makes it a Walking Dead party must-have. Serve food out of a corpse-shaped table display. All you need is the food and clothing to shape around it. If you want to give the form some added fluff, use grocery bags or old newspapers.
Oh, and don’t forget the zombies. The more zombies you have lurking around the house the better.
5. Hocus Pocus
Sure to delight partygoers young and old, you can’t go wrong with a Hocus Pocus theme. To start, you can use a piece of wood to craft an easy “Come Little Children” sign, which can usher guests into the house. You can also make a black flame candle and place it in a prominent position at the party. You can even leave a lighter nearby so guests can take turns lighting it. Brownie points if there’s a virgin in the group who can do the honors of reawakening the Sanderson sisters.
Put a spell on your guests with an “I Put A Spell on You” sign. You can even download the whole track to play at the party. Finally, use two broomsticks and a vacuum as entryway decor (Mary got the short end of that stick). After all, as Winnie Sanderson said, “We fly!”
6. The Nightmare Before Christmas
Finally, it’s time for a Halloween classic: The Nightmare Before Christmas. If you choose this theme, then your party is sure to be an absolute hit. Use a black and white color scheme to create the look and definitely have the movie’s soundtrack on hand to play throughout the night. “This is Halloween, everybody make a scene!”
Make a Zero the Ghost Dog chandelier with some simple items around the house, like a pillowcase and a wire hanger to make the ears. Also, if you’re handy with some icing, cookies take on a whole new level of awesome when they have Jack’s face painted on them.
Maybe the best decoration out of the bunch: Use burlap and glow-in-the-dark paint to create a scary Oogie Boogie. And if you wanna keep things extra spooky, there is even a Jack face free printout that would be the perfect addition to any door or wall.