There are many ways to decorate for a Halloween party. You can go scary, ghostly, or with a theme like Game of Thrones. Or—you can choose to emphasize the “happy” in the Happy Halloween greeting. This is the décor approach I took this year: celebrating Halloween with a Happy Hour that your friends will “love you to death” for throwing.
This approach is all of the fun and none of the stress. I wanted all of my friends to feel welcome and not stay at home if they didn’t have a costume (as many people do). Wouldn’t you agree, it’s the best to get an invitation to a Halloween party that is simply fun and costume optional?
To throw a truly HAPPY Halloween party means the décor should feel lighter. You can add traditional Halloween elements that give just a nod to scary or ghostly… but just a few. Work them in, in a way that feels right to you. The goal is to keep the vibe light and “magical.” Going this direction allows for unexpected creativity, which brings us to the food and décor that will help set the perfect tone.
In the spirit of keeping it happy and fun, I went to west elm for my inspiration and decor needs. If you love this look, here is how you can recreate it or use it as inspiration for your own style.
Photography, Creative Direction, Prop sourcing & styling & recipe by Christiann Koepke; written by: Christiann Koepke & Tonja Brown
First, the food. Why not show off your appetizer and bar skills? There are several options that will satisfy and surprise your guests. My recipe for Pumpkin Ale & Cider Gruyere Fondue (recipe below!) is super easy and absolutely delicious, best served with small toasts and/or apples.
As we all know, sweets are a must on Halloween. Get your favorites! I love Ghirardelli chocolate squares and Williams Sonoma has this bourbon almond brittle that’s perfect for the season and looks magical with the spread.
If you want to go even sweeter, make a rich, dark chocolate cake. Red velvet cupcakes can also provide a pop of color and it helps that they are blood red. Caramel apples or pears are always delicious.
The perfect starting place is setting up your bar. I’m such a fan of this Mid-Century Bar Cart. It’s easy to assemble and you can roll it right over to your party area.
Given all the work you will put into your apps and décor, you have my permission to keep the drinks simple. Grab a pre-mixed cocktail mixer from Williams Sonoma, put out your choice spirit(s), glassware (like this Metallic Base Decanter and Glassware Set) and let guests mix up their own. I chose this Apple Ginger Moscow Mule Cocktail Mix – sooo delish. This Skinny Williams Sonoma Blood Orange Mandarin Cocktail Mix is also perfect for the theme. Or even better – get a trio! This Cocktail Mixer Caddy has something for everyone to enjoy.
An instant way to liven up your bar is to utilize dry ice to add a creepy vibe. Simply follow this easy 3 step dry ice tutorial to elevate a punch bowl or any individual cocktail. You can even use dry ice to amp up sparkling cider and various non-alcoholic drinks.
Set up your party area by a live fire if you have one. Whether electric or real, the glow adds a perfect vibe and lends itself to the overall theme.
Candles are a must and I love this Metal Loop Candelabra paired with dark tapers.
Add a strand of battery powered lights to elevate your tray or bar cart to make it glow. Glitter is also super fun.
The unexpected addition of this Honeycomb Studio Waxing Moon Bottle set lends to the vibe in a classy way.
A rich, dark floral bouquet of your seasonal favorite varieties helps lift the strong dark and moody vibe. The rich pop of color pairs perfectly with the Half Circle Metal Trays.
Now you are ready for a HAPPY Halloween party!
Have fun and send me pictures! If you have questions feel free to reach out via IG or my website. Share your party shots on social media by tagging @westelm and @christiannkoepke! Also be sure to check out Christiann Koepke’s post for more!
Pumpkin Ale & Cider Gruyere Fondue
Fondue should be an everyday thing. It’s the easiest appetizer to make and perfect for hosting. This Autumn version combines hard, crisp apple cider and pumpkin ale for a seasonal twist. If you haven’t already, make sure to invest in a fondue pot that you can reuse time and time again.
- 2 pounds Gruyère cheese, coarsely grated
1 pound Babybel cheese, grated
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1, 16 oz bottle pumpkin ale beer
¼ cup hard apple cider
1 ½ tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1. Toss cheese and cornstarch in large bowl to coat.
2. In medium saucepan over medium heat, bring beer, hard cider and vinegar just to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium low (liquid should be barely simmering).
3. Add a handful of cheese to the simmering liquid. Using a wooden spoon or silicone coated whisk, stir until cheese is melted. Add remaining cheese 1 handful at a time, stirring until melted between additions.
4. Increase heat to medium and cook until fondue begins to bubble, stirring constantly.
5. Remove from heat. Add salt to taste.
6. Transfer fondue to fondue pot. Set fondue pot atop stand; light candle or canned heat burner.
7. Serve with apple slices and/or baguette toasts!