PHOTOS: How to host a spooktacular Halloween party

Oct 1, 2014 at 9:25 a.m. ET

As Halloween approaches, there's no need to be scared off from hosting a truly spooktacular party.

Follow these simple steps as inspiration for creating a simply chic party in your own home.

1. Choose a vibrant color palette or exciting theme. If you're using colors to set the scene, stick to a palette of three colors max. We used traditional pumpkin orange, white and black as tribute to the holiday's popular color combo, but don't be shy to try something unexpected like purples or greens. If you prefer your party revolve around your favorite Halloween flick, there are endless ideas for spooky elements as a tribute to The Birds or Batman. For an extra dash of fun, send invitations in advance that correspond to your palette or theme.

2. Get creative with decor! There is no better holiday to put a twist on items you already have at home. We displayed white branch-like candle holders as a subtle nod to an "eerie forest" and faux orange branches in a large copper vase. Basic linen napkins become festive when wrapped with inexpensive spider or bat rings, and mini pumpkins scattered throughout the table serve as a reminder Halloween is here.

3. Serve one signature cocktail. If possible, greet guests at the door with a smile and cocktail in hand to set a welcoming tone. Or, set up a self-serve bar including wine, liquors, garnishes and cocktail picks so guests can help themselves (And, bonus, this will free you up from refilling glasses all night.)

Jack o'lantern cocktail

  • 1 ounce bourbon
  • 1-1/2 ounces orange juice
  • 1/2 ounce bubbly (prosecco, Champagne, sparkling cider or ginger ale)
  • Orange wheel for garnish

Combine orange juice and bourbon in a cocktail shaker. Pour into a glass over ice. Top with bubbly and garnish with a large orange wheel.

4. Brew up stress-free recipes before guests arrive. Create a simple menu so you spend more time mingling and less time in the kitchen. Tasty appetizers like dips and meat/fruit/cheese plates or desserts like homemade popcorn and cupcakes (with a few pieces of candy corn to incorporate the holiday's most iconic treat) can be made ahead of time causing less stress during the party.

5. Send guests home with a memorable favor. Delicious treats can take less than two minutes each to make, but will remind guests of the great evening they had long after the party ends. Keep it simple by filling a mini glass jar with candy corn or purchase inexpensive sweet treats and tie a ribbon around them for guests to grab on their way out the door.

But don't be shy to brew up other new creative ideas of your own. After all, this is the holiday to go a little "batty."

Disclosure: This post is part of a collaboration with Marie Callender's and SheKnows.