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Boo! Let loose and plan a spooky, scary Halloween get-together with friends and family

Costume party
Photo credit: fotostorm/Getty Images

For the true Halloween enthusiast, there’s nothing better than transforming your home and yard into a spooky and scary Halloween wonderland to be avoided by all but the bravest souls.

If you spend months searching out the oh-so-perfect costume and planning the ultimate Halloween bash with the best of decor, food, fun and games, we have some tips to help.

We’ve gathered some of the very best spooky Halloween ideas to turn this Halloween into one that will be remembered for years.

MORE: What is Samhain – and how is it different from Halloween? Samhain’s spooky origins and history

Costumes

You’ve been anticipating this moment since last Halloween. You’ve mentally filed away ideas all year long. You’ve spent, in all likelihood, too much time designing and redesigning the perfect Halloween costume in your imagination.

Allow us, if you will, to provide you with a little more food for thought when it comes to creating the ultimate, budget-friendly, make-my-friends-green-with-envy Halloween costume:

Unleash the undead

If gore is your thing — and you’re good with a makeup brush– then consider the grotesque zombie look.

Check out some of the numerous online tutorials for a costume that is sure to make your party guests wonder if they should check you for a heartbeat.

A special specimen

How about the old “head in a jar” costume? Classic, timeless and, most importantly, impressive.

A large jar, some skill with a camera and photo editing software and a trenchcoat are about all you need for a costume that will definitely cause people to do a double-take as you pass by.

Hello, dolly

Any costume with the words “dead” and “doll” in it are surefire spookfest faves that will provide some party-goers with nightmares for weeks to come.

Circus scaries

Ask ten adults what they were afraid of when they were kids (and probably still afraid of) and at least nine will say, “scary clowns”. Here’s your chance to make their worst fears a reality with a sinister clown costume.

Check out your local thrift store for clown clothing and add ghoulish makeup to make it as creepy as possible.

A match made in hell

If you and your better half are looking for the perfect creepy costume for couples, head back to your local thrift store for everything you’ll need for zombie bride and groom costumes.

If you’re lucky, you’ll find a donated wedding dress — but even a prom-like dress will suffice.

A pair of slacks, button up shirt and jacket for the groom, fake blood for the clothes and some makeup to make you look especially dead are all you’ll need for a costume that will have everyone hoping they do not get an invitation to your wedding.

MORE: 10 Chillingly creepy Halloween cocktails for your big boonanza

Eco-friendly decor

While we may be a little gaga over Halloween, we are also sensitive to impact after October 31. We want to have the coolest decor on the block while also helping the environment.

We think you’ll approve of these awe-inspiring Halloween decorations that won’t add to the landfills.

Are these FDA approved?

Don’t throw away those empty salad dressing, olive oil or other glass jars. To add a spooky Halloween vibe to the inside of your home, repurpose those bottles to create a creepy apothecary arrangement.

A little bit of black, brown or grey paint lightly covering the jar will give it an old feel. Print out some old-fashioned looking apothecary labels for the jars and arrange them on a table or mantlepiece for a slightly sinister feel.

Ghosts can’t read anyway

For a less-than-welcoming Halloween wreath, head to your bookshelf and find an old book — yellowed, fraying edges are a bonus — that you don’t mind completely dismantling.

Remove the binding so the pages are all separated. Roll the pages, tie them with twine and attach them to a wreath base.

Add some creepy spiders or icky bats to complete the look. Perfect for your front door or on your mantel!

Easy on the formaldehyde

We love the old head in a jar gag so much we’re mentioning it again for a decoration!

Find the biggest glass jar you can, put your photo editing skills to work and stick your head in the jar. Or, at least a picture of your head.

Don’t want to use your own image? No doubt you’ll have a family member that will be happy to play along.

Look sharp

Got an old ceiling fan lying in the attic just waiting to be tossed? Disassemble it and use those blades to create some scary ghosts to greet your trick-or-treaters.

All you need is some black paint and a paintbrush to give your ghosts their perfectly spooky faces. Place them around your house or on your front porch for a recycled decoration that can be used year after year.

Casting shadows

Head on back to that thrift store where you found your costume, only this time you’re in the market for an old-fashioned chandelier.

All haunted houses need a sinister light fixture or two (or ten).

Some black spray paint, black fabric to drape from the chandelier and perhaps a crow that looks especially evil attached to the top, and you’ll have a creepy decoration to hang in your home, from your porch or even from a tree in the yard.

Doll DIY

Bet you never thought you could use your old box of Barbie dolls to make a nightmare-inducing Halloween decoration.

If you’re willing to turn those lovely ladies into possessed spirits by ripping their perfect clothing, giving them makeup jobs unlike any Barbie has had before, some fake blood and crazy hair… bingo! A gang of Barbie zombies!

Stick those in your front yard and sit back and watch the neighbors recoil.

Clang, bang

We know you have some large tin cans lying around just waiting to be turned into ghost windsocks.

Paint those babies white, give them spooky ghost faces, perhaps some white fabric dangling from the can and strong string tied in drilled holes and let those spirits fly.

They’ll haunt the night as they hang from trees in your front yard or along your porch.

Food and Drink

Your costume? Enviable. Your decor? Impressive. What’s left? Why, only the food and games that will top off your Halloween bash, of course.

Let’s get this party started with some choice Halloween food and drink that will make your party the place to be.

MORE: Halloween vodka Jell-O Shots

Eye see you

A couple of adult Halloween inspired cocktails should get your party off to a good start. How to make it especially tasty? With a fake eyeball floating in your Halloween concoction! Toss one into any drink and suddenly it’s just that much more fun.

Gourd-geous

For something slightly less ghoulish, mix your favorite orange colored drink and float an orange wheel on top with a wedge of lime placed in the middle. Instant pumpkin drink for your porch sitting! Perfectly festive and fun.

Only the jalapenos bite

For a dish that will make your guests look twice at each bite they take, how about creating some spiderweb nachos?

Layer the ingredients on a round plate, bake to melt the cheese and, using a cake decorating bag or plastic baggy with the corner cut off, spread sour cream over the entire top of the nachos in the shape of your very best spider web.

You might have to convince your guests it’s okay to actually eat this.

Bonus if it glows

Who doesn’t love mac and cheese, no matter how old you are?

Use your favorite recipe to make a big batch, only this time add some green food coloring to make it resemble something that might be found in a nuclear waste facility. Sounds yummy, right?

Your guests might be hesitant to dig right in, but once they get past the green color, they’ll be glad they did.

Someone needs a manicure

With some almond slices on the top and paprika on the bottom, you can easily turn an asparagus appetizer into a plate of severed fingers. Maybe create an award for the first brave soul to try these.

I vant to suck your…marshmallows?

And, of course, what Halloween party is complete without the vampire mouth made with two slices of apple, each spread with peanut butter and mini marshmallows for teeth. Adorable — and healthy to boot.

Games

Drinks have been drunk and spooky finger foods have been enjoyed. All that’s left are some Halloween games for even the most mature partygoers.

Bobbing for apples

Put an adult spin on this old classic by tossing some mini bottles of alcohol into the mix. Be sure to have towels on hand and the car keys of the players that choose to enjoy their prize immediately.

Scavenger hunt

Scavengers hunts never get old and this is a great game to get your guests up and moving. Even better if you have them draw names and team up with someone other than the person they may have arrived with.

Provide a list of items they need to find such as mini drink bottles and scary Halloween decorations you’ve hidden. No points deducted if the drink bottles return empty!

Guess the villain

As your guests arrive, tape the name of a villain to their backs. As they walk around and talk to people, they can ask only yes or no questions to help them guess who they are.

This is a great way to get your guests to mingle.

Wrap a mummy

Here’s another game where it’s fun to mix up the couples and increase mingling.

Give each pair of guests a roll of toilet paper. They decide who is the “roller” and who is the mummy. The roller wraps the mummy in toilet paper and creates the best mummy they can. Winning pair gets a prize.

Halloween charades

Using blank note cards or popsicle sticks write down the names of all things Halloween related, such as movie titles, types of candy or famous villains, and play a good old-fashioned game of charades.

The crazy gestures are sure to get your guests laughing uncontrollably.

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