Halloween can be a funny sort of festival in the UK. Children love it, but adults tend to overlook October 31st, nestled as is just ahead of Bonfire Night.
However, we think this is something of a shame, especially when we come across news and pictures of all the festivities going on across the pond in America. Our US-based cousins just can't get enough of this annual frightfest and both kids and adults alike get in on the fun.
This year, why not take a leaf out of their book and host a Halloween gathering that's strictly for grown-ups? After all, an evening of food, drink and socialising will never go amiss as the nights draw in, even if you don't want to make it too scary. Here are our best ideas on how you can go about hosting an All Hallows' Eve bash and reinvigorate this autumn festival.
Since most shop-bought invitations will tend to be for children, you might want to roll up your sleeves and make your own - and soon, if you want to get them out in good time. Either create invitations by email or social media, or get crafty and create paper masterpieces yourself.
Some black sugar paper and classy-looking stickers or shapes will do just fine as a basic design, particularly if teamed with metallic pens. Don't forget to say if dressing-up is required!
Think Halloween decor and you'll instantly conjure up something straight out of The Addams Family, but this is going to make it look too much like a children's party. Instead, go classy with coloured paper leaves, pumpkins and branches of decorative berries.
You can even make a candlescape (a running theme on the H&W blog!) using our beautiful scented candles for the table and some autumn foliage, or perhaps pumpkins carved with pretty shapes (there are lots of ideas online for motifs other than menacing faces). Add ambience with aromatic, warming scents like our Orange Spice range too, with reed diffusers a good idea if you don't want too many candles burning at once.
It may also be a good idea to get hold of some inexpensive taffeta in purple, orange and black for your dining room chairs, as this will continue the theme.
Food and drinks
We'd advise keeping the food classy and traditional, as the typical Halloween ideas (hot dog sausage 'fingers' and green jelly 'brains') aren't really going to be what adults want to eat. Soup, bruschetta and canapes will usually go down well, with olives a concession if you tell people they're eyes.
However, feel free to go a bit more outlandish for the drinks. Bowls of colourful punch, green liquors and fun cocktails will add a touch of fun to the proceedings, plus you can give them ghoulish names. Check out some recipes online for great ideas along this vein (pardon the Halloween pun).
Again, asking your guests to dress head to toe as terrifying monsters isn't ideal for a grown-up get-together, so you may want to tone down on the costumes. You could request that attendees arrive in a scary mask though, or suggest black clothing, as this gets them in the spirit (those puns just keep coming, don't they) without making them feel embarrassed or uncomfortable. As the hostess or host with the most, perhaps you could up the ante and wear a Gothic-type, Victorian lace get-up, as this is more chic yet also spooky.
You don't want to force everyone to sit in a circle and take turns bobbing for apples at this party - that always was a pretty disgusting game hygiene-wise anyway.
What you can have fun with is a murder mystery game - these are available as box sets, but you can also create your own using the ever-reliable internet if you have time.
If that seems a bit daunting, then there's always horror movie trivia, which you can tailor to suit the ages of your guests, or 'pass it on' ghost story telling, where everyone says a few lines to continue a story from a prompt.
Oh, and another nice touch is to fill a jar with sweets or something else of your choice and get everyone to guess how many it contains as they come in. At the end of the night, you'll be able to reveal the answer and bestow the lucky guest who guessed the nearest with a prize.
Why not try it and see if you can create a Halloween tradition? Have a frightfully good time!