Welcome to the first ever How To Fangirl!
i'm soooooo excited and not just because it's my inaugural post but because the focus of said post is HALLOWEEN!!! Which is my all-time fave holiday! And i want to make it your all-time fave holiday too! So let's throw an amazing, spooktacular Halloween party--- fangirl-style!
First, we must begin at the beginning...
They may seem like mere sheets of paper filled out for the sole purpose of mailing to friends and family to read, comprehend and promptly throw away but invitations are much more than that.
Invitations are the first impression to your party. They set the tone for what your guests can expect from you as a hostess.
i.e. awesome invitation= awesome party i'd love to attend.
bad, half-assed invitation= bad, half-assed party i'll feign illness to avoid.
Trust me, you don't want that second one, pal.
So, Step 1 is to find stationery that fits the theme of your party. Step 2, come up with something clever to write. Can't come up with something clever? Google that shizz!
Because people on the Internet are smarter than you!
Don't feel bad, they're smarter than me too. In fact...
Confession Time: i, ahem, borrowed a few phrases from various invites i found online to make my own invitations.
And speaking of my invitations, take a look:
Fangirl Pro Tip #59:
When making invitations via the computer, play with different fonts and colors until you find something you really like.
If you're filling out invitations the old-fashioned way (that's with a card and a pen, kids) then try using a colored gel pen instead of a boring old Bic. i like using silver for Halloween. It instantly adds a little pizazz. And who doesn't like pizazz?
Finally, since it is Halloween, i like to add a little something extra. So after folding up the invitation, i sprinkled in a bit of Halloween confetti. Think of it as a little "trick" before the "treat" that is your party!
Note From The Fangirl:
Kids LOVE this fun surprise. Adults? Not so much. A piece of the spider confetti fell out on my cousin's shoe and she nearly peed in her pants. But it's Halloween! You get a pass on all your trickery, right?
You want to mail out your invitations 2 weeks before your party (maybe even sooner if you have out of town guests or if you've tacked on an RSVP.)
i suggest telling your guests about your party months in advance, whether by phone, email or in person. Just to give them a little heads up. Especially if you want them to dress up. This gives them enough time to come up with a costume idea and make it happen.
Now that the invitations are sent, let's move on to the fun stuff.
These are very important for the success of any party. A good use of decorations can transform any space from ordinary to extraordinary!
And we're in luck because Halloween is quite possibly THE BEST holiday for decorating! There are sooooo many possibilities. You can make your own haunted house, go for a witchy theme, or pull inspiration from any number of horror movie classics. Or you can combine all that shizz together for a smorgasbord of Halloweeny goodness. i personally like to go for the combo because there are too many a-mah-zing Halloween themes that i really like and i refuse to Sophie's Choice it.
So before i show you my Halloween party monster mash-up (see what i did there?), here are a few Fangirl Pro Tips especially for decorating:
Fangirl Decorating Pro Tip #1:
Party planning may seem like all fun and games, but it's actually really hard work. So you'll want to start the process as soon as humanly possible. Those toilets aren't gonna clean themselves.
Fangirl Decorating Pro Tip #2:
Take advantage of what you've already got.
Because with party planning, much like with life, the best things are FREE. So search your house high and low for anything that'll fit your theme. Search the homes of your non-greedy friends and family too. You never know who might have some creepy shizz in their attic that they don't mind you borrowing.
i already own a Ouija board and a Tarot deck (doesn't everyone) so i used them and the Tarot deck guide book, plus my Dictionary of Superstition book for decoration.
This is my evil old lady picture. i bought her on sale AFTER Halloween a few years ago. She's a hologram so depending on where you stand she's either a kind, grandmotherly-looking gal or a horrible monster. It's motion-censored too so when you walk by it her eyes glow red and she gives you her spiel about how she's trapped and it's so dark and she's so cold.
i also used various bottles and jars. And that with the skull in it is a cheese thing. What are they called? Not a cheese tray, really. More like a cheese dome? Is there such a thing as a cheese dome? 100 points to any Gryffindor that can tell me what the hell that thing is. Anyhoosies, the point is it's a regular kitchen item but when you add a skull, a spider and some moss it becomes spooktacular! Use what ya got, peeps!
Fangirl Decorating Pro Tip #3:
Think outside of the box.
Sure, some things are obvious: "Oh, i'll totally carve a pumpkin! That's sooooo Halloween!" But try looking at things more creatively. Simple glass bottles can be transformed into potions just by adding colored water. Skim your shelves for books with a Halloweeny look to them or make some creeptacular book covers and change Lola and the Boy Next Door to The Book of Shadows! Then you can just put your books out on a coffee table or side table for an instant, easy, witchy look.
Fangirl Decorating Pro Tip #4:
Any store with the word "Dollar" in it, is your friend.
Now, here's a look at my party pics with info on how you can steal the look and make it your own!
The makeshift graveyard is one of my faves. It's atmospheric and creepy, sure, but it's also cheap and easy! You can purchase these headstones from pretty much anywhere. i got mine from the Dollar Tree! Because why pay $10 when you can pay $1!
Most people set these bad boys up in their front yards. That's totally fine. But i like to make a fake cemetery in my backyard because you can see it from the window in my dining room which is where the food is, thus where most of my guests congregate.
To make my graveyard even creepier, i borrowed some angel statuary from my mom and added tealights in front of the headstones so they would be illuminated.
Add a sign for a lil' something extra. You can find these pretty much anywhere too.
If you wanna get super fangirly though, you can always make your own. All it takes is styrofoam, spray paint and a little imagination!
i totally stole this idea because i'm a sneaky little thief with very loose morals. Pinterest is basically my crime den. Anyhoo, this is super simple. And, once again, CHEAP! All you need is paper towel or toilet paper rolls (which i'm assuming (and hoping) you've already got) and some glow sticks (hit up the Dollar Tree, y'all!) i would suggest that you get the stubby little fat sticks as opposed to the thinner ones. Oh and you also need some tape (i used packing tape.)
All you have to do is save up your paper towel or toilet paper rolls, cup out various eye hole patterns in them (i used an exacto knife for this part. it's much easier than using scissors but it's also much more dangerous. so BE CAREFUL.) then on the day of your party (you'll need to do this particular decoration about an hour or 30 minutes before your party because the glow sticks won't keep their glow for more than about 5 hours and you want your spooky eyes to be their most vibrant when your guests start to arrive) snap your glow sticks like the package instructs you to do, then tape them on the inside of your tp rolls with your packing tape. The last step is placing them throughout your hedges for a creepy, your-being-watched feel.
This is the first year that i've brought the nightmarish fun to my bathroom! i don't know why it's taken me so long. i mean, the bathroom is part of the party so why should the ambiance stop in the hallway? Answer: it shouldn't. So since this year would be my first year, i decided to go all out. i went for a Psycho/Dexter/Mad Scientist's Medicine Cabinet vibe. i'm most proud of my shower curtain!
Pretty awesome, huh? Well, you can make it too! And for under $5!!!
Add these items to your Dollar Tree shopping list: 1 plain white shower curtain liner. 1 plain black plastic tablecloth. You'll also need a clear plastic shower curtain which my Dollar Tree did not carry but i bought one at Wal-Mart for a dollar and some change. You'll also need double-sided tape or glue and some red craft paint.
To achieve this sick look all you have to do is tape the black tablecloth to a wall, have a friend pose in front of it wielding a knife, then shine light on the tablecloth in order to create a silhouette of your friend, take a white gel pen or a piece of chalk and outline your friend's body. Then all you have to do is cut it out and either use double-sided tape (that's what i did) or glue to adhere the silhouette to the white shower curtain liner. Now use your red paint to make bloody handprints, blood splatter, splotches, and slashes. Let it dry completely. Then hang the liner with the silhouette and place the clear plastic shower curtain over it and voila! Bloody mess of a shower curtain!
The bathmat below it is also one of my creations. You can make that one too. Also for under $5! i found a cheap bathmat at Wal-Mart for around $3. The mat and red paint is all you need for this one. All you have to do is paint the bottoms of your feet and step on the mat. Then just add some drips and drops of paint, let it dry and bam! You're done.
To complete my gory bathroom look, i made over my medicine cabinet using different sized bottles and adding Halloween labels that i found at a craft store. i finished it off with a few creepy touches like fake crows, a glittery skull and spider, and some bloody gel clings.
i stuck a few bloody clings to my mirror for good measure too. And i added a skeleton rubber duckie for a touch of whimsy.
Then i threw in a little jokey touch.
Get it? It's a hand towel!
Ok, now that i've shown you how to decorate your yard and your bathroom, let's get on to the main event! i'm, of course, talking about whatever room you plan on having your party in. For me it's the living room/dining room.
i positioned a photo op area so the first thing my guests can do is get their pic taken in front of a cool backdrop. i got two wall murals (from the Dollar Tree, natch) and taped them side-by-side.
i think, as the hostess with the mostess, that a nice thing to do is take pictures of all your guests in their costumes as soon as they arrive. Then later you can upload the pics, find a website that offers free borders, choose one that correlates with your theme and then print out specially-made pics to send to your friends and family along with your thank you notes (more on those in a minute.)
Another good idea is to purchase a small laundry basket (they sell some at the Dollar Tree!) and fill it with costume bits. What are "costume bits," you ask? Costume bits are bits of costumes that can be worn by the dreaded non-participators. So, for example, you could throw in some glasses with a fake nose, or giant clown sunglasses, or a sombrero, or various masks, or a firefighter hat, police badges, really anything that could be worn as a costume in a pinch. (P.S. all the items i just referred to can be found... you guessed it!... at the Dollar Tree! For a dollar!)
You can print out a sign to tie to the basket with something like "you have no excuse" written on it. (Can you tell that i abhor people that don't dress up?)
Pick Your Poison:
In the last few years, stores have started selling drink labels with fun, Halloween-type names on them. i highly suggest picking up a pack or two of these. This way you can dress up your drinks and actually use them as part of your decor as opposed to hiding them in the kitchen with the giant trash bag.
You can also print out a "Pick Your Poison" sign. Just add a little glitter because everything looks better with a little glitter and pop it in a frame. Done!
And don't forget to jazz up your ice situation. Yet another thing that can look blah if you don't do your fangirl best.
i decided to go a little, um, dark with this one. i got an ice chest, covered it in caution tape (Dollar Tree! Holla!), then i poured in the ice and added fake body parts to top it off (also a Dollar Tree find.) It's good because not only does my ice station look completely amazeballs but it's also fully functioning! Just grab a cup and scoop you some ice!
Lastly, let's decorate the table!
You'll want your treats to be the main focus of the table so i suggest doing minimal decorating there. Just use some cute tableware, like a plastic cauldron or a child's trick or treat bucket for chips and crackers and silver platters for veggies, cheese cubes, and dip. And definitely get a Halloween tablecloth or a piece of Halloween fabric to drape over your tabletop for an instant table makeover. Add a few taper candles (i used black but you could also rock orange, purple, green or blood red) and, of course, your food and then your done.
Another important part of any party. i mean, a girl's gotta eat, right?
For Halloween parties i like to think it's all about the sugar! i mean, Halloween is a holiday in which you gorge yourself on candy NOT vegetables. So i like baking cookies and cupcakes and putting out sweets.
But you also have to realize that your party isn't just about you. So, as not to seem selfish, i added some chips and dip, some peanuts and pretzels and some veggies for those weirdos that expect there to be carrots at a Halloween party.
Now i'll let you in on a little secret. Something you may not know about Evil Eva: she's a gourmet chef. This is, in fact, a complete and utter lie.
However, bitch can make a mean grilled cheese.
Anyway, there's really only one thing that i can make (other than grilled cheese) and that is desserts. Which is great for my taste buds but pretty shitty for my health. But i digress.
i will now teach you how to make something so super easy that you don't even have to know how to turn your oven on in order to make it! It's my super easy Halloweeny treat mix! Huzzah!
Evil Eva's Super Easy Halloweeny Treat Mix:
First you take a box of Crunch n Munch (or you can substitute Cracker Jacks, Fiddle Faddle, or some other ridiculously named popcorny treat) and pour the whole box into a large bowl. Then you add some pretzel sticks to the bowl. Next you take a bag of festive fall-colored M & M's and dump about half the bag in. Then you throw in a couple of handfuls of candy corn (i like the mix that includes the brown ones and the little pumpkins.) Then you add as many assorted nuts as your little heart desires. Put saran wrap over your bowl and shake the shit out of it. This should thoroughly mix things up. Whenever your mix looks most appealing to you, stop fucking shaking it. And that's it! Now you have your own batch of Evil Eva's Super Easy Halloweeny Treat Mix! Put it in a cute bowl (i used the clear pumpkin bucket in the picture above) and enjoy!
Now, let's talk cupcakes, y'all. Truth Serum Time: Cupcakes are probably my all-time favorite treat EVER! i don't know what it is about them. i prefer them over actual cake. Which is kinda weird because what are cupcakes but cakes adorable little sister. Anyhoo, there's no real rhyme or reason, i just love me some cupcakes. So whenever we have an event, i usually make them. But not this year. This year my mom took the cupcake-makin' reigns. Here's the cuteness she came up with:
Witch Leg Cupcakes:
All you have to do to achieve this delicousness is make whatever flavor cupcakes you want and ice them like you normally would. The legs are made from paper straws (i found these at Michaels craft store) and my mom free-handed the witch's boot on a piece of black scrapbook paper. You cut a little groove in the end of the straw and just slide the boots in. Stick the legs in the cupcakes and you're all done, son!
My mom also made some Vampire Bites and Reese's Pieces Polka Dots.
The Reese's Pieces Polka Dots are pretty self-explainitory. Just make a cupcake, ice it, and place Reese's Pieces on it. The Vampire Bites (which are kinda hard to see in this pic) are really easy to make too. All you have to do is, again, make a cupcake, ice it with vanilla icing, then take red decorating gel and put the tube into the top of the cupcake and squeeze the gel out until it makes little holes. Make two on each of your cupcakes and you're finished.
This is a Halloween party after all, so costumes are a definite must. And please, for the love of God, y'all, when you're invited to a COSTUME party, DRESS UP IN A COSTUME.
You don't have to spend a lot of money. You don't have to come up with some elaborate outfit. It's not rocket science. Just think and try to be creative. And if that fails, well, just hit Google.
Note From The Fangirl:
Please don't be that asshole in the "This is my costume" t-shirt. No self respecting fangirl would EVER be caught dead in something that non-jazzy.
Fangirl Pro Tip #123:
Having trouble thinking of a costume? Having trouble affording a costume? Don't wanna be dressed as the same thing you've been for the past 4 Halloweens in a row?
Have a costume swap! Get your friends together a few weeks before your party, tell your girls to bring all their old costumes, and swap! That way you get a new-to-you costume, you don't have to pay for it, and your friend feels better about buying it in the first place because now it's been worn more than once! Everyone wins!
i'm a music fanatic. i'm also pretty much the Queen of Mix Tapes. (See kids, mix tapes are the 90s version of what you would call a "playlist.") So, to me, you can't have a party without music. i personally have quite a few Halloween-themed CDs. If you don't, that's no problem. Itunes offers a butt ton of options. You can buy an entire CD or you can get crafty and mixy and make your own personal jam.
This year i used a compilation of scary noises. My fave though is called Classic Horror Films because it's got the Halloween theme music. Which is the most terrifying thing EVER.
After The Party:
i'm from the South so my Mama always taught me that whenever you have an event you ALWAYS send out thank you notes. Shoot for two days after your party as your deadline. i'll give you up to at least three but if you go over a week without sending a thanks then you're tacky and i'm gonna have to blessyourheart. (This is also a Southern thing. If you don't get it, sorry, cuz i don't even know how to begin to explain it to you.)
If you had a blast planning, executing and enjoying your party, you may want to have another one next year. The best time to plan for that shizz? Um, NOW.
If you now wanna be an annual Halloween party-thrower, a good idea is to wait until the day AFTER Halloween this year when everything is 50% and 75% and that elusive 90% off, and then rack up on things you can use NEXT year. That's called party preparedness, kids!
Fangirl Pro Tip #44:
Large plastic containers are a fangirls best friend. Well, a fangirl that throws parties, anyway. Because i'm a tad bit OCD i like to buy plastic containers, fill them with my themed party supplies and then label them as such. (Many a person has made fun of me for this quirk but when they specifically want to know where they can find a straw sombrero, well that would be in the fiesta box. And now that it was sooooo easy to find, it doesn't seem all that crazy, does it?)
Further your fangirl education by checking out these helpful links:
*The original instructions for Eyes In The Bushes via Thrifty Crafty Girl.
*How to make a pumpkin cake using a bundt pan. i really liked this idea and wanted to do it this year but, alas, it didn't work out for me. Maybe next year! (from A Merrier World.)
*You can purchase your own bloody bathroom (but you'll come out MUCH cheaper if you diy.) (from Squidoo.)
*Wanna give out ribbons for Best Costume? Here's a cute idea for making your own. (from Make It Easy Crafts.)
*And, of course, that bitch of a time-suck: Pinterest!
*And because now i have to hear it.