So, we made it through another year. Whew! For the past two weeks we’ve pretty much put everything on hold to focus on getting our home ready for our annual Carter-Young Halloween bash. Our whole family comes together and helps out making props, cleaning, cooking – it’s really a family affair and it’s an event we look forward to all year!
As with any party, you have to set the mood from the get go, which we did with our invitation. We manage most of our guest list through evite, but I always like to work up a paper invitation for those guests that are new to the party, and also to just get myself in the party mindset.
Many of our props are recycled from year to year. It’s to the point now where our returning guests associate certain props with our party and look forward to seeing them, which is so great for us! Such is the case with our jack-o-lantern archway. This was originally made in the spirit of a spooky clown archway, but we felt a clown would be a little too spooky for our younger guests, and instead went with something a little less creepy. This was handmade using an inexpensive double flat sheet from walmart and acrylic paint. I drew the face on the sheet, cut out the mouth and painted it on the floor of my garage. This is the second year for our hungry old pumpkin and so far, he’s holding up well! He is our first “hello!”
In addition to the hungry old pumpkin, our old friend, Bob, the skeleton, acts as host greeting our guests. This year he was joined by a toothy, ticket salesman in a nearby ticket booth.
Our parties usually have 50+ guests. Our home is very traditional colonial and as a result, has very little open space – it’s basically a ton of walled off rooms. The beginning of the party always starts with a bottleneck between our Den and the kitchen, where dinner is served. To get around this (as much as possible) we try to break up the party areas in to different functions. To go along with our carnival theme, we designate each room or space a carnival function as well.
This year, our
dining room room of mirrors was also our dessert room, complete with all kinds of yumminess and fun house mirrors. This room was impossible to photograph, so please, excuse the photos. I really wanted to share and did the best I could!
The mirrors were made using thin Plexiglas, mirror finish spray paint, and were affixed using scotch adhesive picture hangers. We used Styrofoam pieces to adjust the mirrors, giving us the fun house effects we were looking for.
Aluminum foil shaped as diamonds, and affixed using scotch poster strips added more shine and reflexion for little cost.
The ceiling was done using vinyl table cloths cut in to strips and draped from the center of the room. We finished off the room by using red light bulbs to give the room a further creepy feeling, The ceiling and the light bulbs reflected the red light beautifully, giving just the right effect.
The room of mirrors also was home of our snake charmer. The Snake Charmer sign was created using Word and printed off on card stock. Directions on how to create the snakes can be found here.
The dessert table was layed out with chocolate cupcakes, frosted brownies, caramel apples and sugar cookies.
The kitchen and dining area was home to our Cabinet of Curiosities, dinner and drinks! We served piping hot chili, mummy dogs, mini corn dogs and various other finger foods.
Our Cabinet of Curiosities served as a drink bar where we conjured up a hot chocolate bar, and witches brew punch. Our super simple centerpiece was right at home and the ceiling was done using white and black streamers.
Our living room was our primary seating area, as well as the room of the fortune teller.
This vintage style fortune teller was made using a lazy susan and a modified printable from etsy.
A fun bunting dressed up the fireplace and a Ferris wheel from last year’s Martha Stewart Halloween collection further highlights the carnival theme.
Our sun room had craft and cookie decorating for kids of all ages. The craft was bag decorating, where each child was encouraged to decorate a bag to take home prizes from..
Our carnival games included the ring toss, evil duck pond, knock-em down, pin the beard on the bearded lady, the ping pong ball toss and dart throwing. We also played a fun game of donut bobbing – always a HUGE hit. It never ceases to amaze me how much joy the kids get out of playing these simple games – my garage was PACKED for two hours and the games were played over and over again.
Instructions for the spinning dart board can be found here on the Martha Stewart website.
The door to the garage was left open to allow our guests to travel in and out from a fire pit area where a roaring fire was burning, keeping everyone while they enjoyed a cup of hot chocolate around the fire on a chilly night.
There were a million things we wish we’d had time for that we just didn’t get to this year, but, the way I see it, the ones I remember next year will be our additions for then. If you have any questions at all on any of the projects you’ve seen here, please, do not hesitate to email me directly. I’d be happy to share!
Everyone had a great time. Nearly all of our guests, adults and kids alike, came in costume, which was so fun. We honestly can not wait to do it all again next year!