Happy Halloween, everyone! This season, we decided to share with you the Halloween party we hosted a couple of weeks ago. Every year, both Diane and I — whether together or not — try to host a Halloween party. This year, since we now live within an hour of each other, we decided to host a party together with some close friends in Southern California.
Since budget-friendly living is a core value of Smoosh, we wanted to try and prepare a party at as low of a cost as possible to demonstrate that someone can host a fun Halloween party without shelling out a ton of money on food, drinks, and decor. I’m no budget guru, and living frugally is still something I am learning, so I was excited to exercise my ability to still have fun and do something I love (hosting people, decorating, and planning parties!) while not spending an exorbitant amount.
In order to prepare for the party, both Diane and I regularly visited the Dollar Store and 99 Cents Only store to look for decorations. Diane’s Dollar Store ended up having a lot more cute stuff than mine did, so she was able to find a bowl, tray, tablecloths, eyeballs, and cups. We actually went to the 99 Cent store together and found a few decorative items as well as shot glasses.
While shopping at discount stores, I try to examine the products before I buy them to make sure they seem at least somewhat durable and sturdy. Although it’s a Dollar Store item, I want to find products that could potentially be used for a few years. I haven’t had the chance to start building up a collection of seasonal items until I moved into my current apartment, and I don’t want it to be something I have to start from scratch every year.
My favorite 99 Cent store find was a silver spider candy dish. Even though it’s made out of heavy-duty plastic, it surprisingly looks like metal. It’s simple and blends in well while still giving a spooky vibe when someone actually notices it’s a spider.
My favorite seasonal items I purchased — which I will also use for Thanksgiving — are three fabric pumpkins I got from Target. The display cost about $19 for all three, and it’s something both my fiance and I really love. We’re happy we can keep them out for a few months!
I also got these cute Halloween towels from Kohls for $7. My fiance and I have now started a tradition of getting new holiday dog towels, since we had already bought Christmas ones. As I’m sure you’ll eventually notice, we really love dogs.
I also purchased a few extra masks and headbands for guests who didn’t have time to put together a costume. The 99 Cent store actually had an excellent collection of masks and costume items. We highly recommend anyone who needs a last-minute or budget costume to check it out!
Diane also found an awesome Headless Horseman statue (pictured below) at Ross for $14.99! It lights up and just takes a few AA batteries. She definitely plans to use it again!
Food & Drinks
Our menu consisted of lots of Halloween treats, including cupcakes, Muddy Buddies, ghost cupcakes, and chocolate-covered Oreos. Another personal Halloween holiday tradition for me is making ghost cupcakes with a molded cupcake pan that I grew up with and inherited from my Mom when I moved out of my childhood home. The cupcake pan makes cute ghosts with chubby bellies. On a trip to Big Lots, I found some cinnamon cake mix for $1.60 and thought it would be fun to have a seasonal flavor for my ghosts.
We also decided to make the Muddy Buddies more Halloween-themed by mixing in Reese’s Pieces and pretzels to add some holiday flare. The Oreos we decided to cover with white chocolate and decorate like mummies and monsters. I already had the eye sprinkles, which are not very pleasant to eat but are so cute and add a lot of personality to the cookies! We also used food coloring to make the green monster Oreos.
For drinks, we tried to come up with some fun “themed” cocktails. To save on cost, we prepared a few classic cocktails with silly Halloween names. These included Vodka “Cranbloodies” (Vodka Cranberry), “Bloody” Margaritas (Watermelon Margaritas), and “Jack the Ripper” & Cokes. By just creating cute themed names, we were mostly able to use alcohol we already had and just had to buy a few mixers. Saving money!
So we weren’t only eating sweets (although honestly, we pretty much were). We had some chips and salsa and used a coupon I had been saving to order a few pizzas (are you seeing all these savings???). We also got all the makings for a salad, but after a few cocktails, the pizza was devoured before we even remembered to put the salad together.
One of my favorite Halloween-themed videos on YouTube (or probably just my favorite video ever) is Spookin’ in the Wrong Neighborhood. (Warning: There’s lots of cursing, so it's not family-friendly, but it will change your life for the better.) So this year, I decided to be my idol so I could dance the night away. All I had to do was get a black turtleneck and pumpkin head that I purchased from Amazon. I ended up getting a long tunic turtleneck dress ($16.99) with the hopes that I could wear it again for the Christmas season. I also found that it’s surprisingly hard to find a pumpkin mask that isn’t, let’s say, demonic? While my pumpkin is probably a little overly joyful, it at least wasn’t horrifying ($9.99).
Diane went as a hipster Esmeralda from The Hunchback of Notre Dame. All she needed was purple shorts (which were only $10.99 on Amazon, and she plans on wearing them in her regular life!) and fortunately already owned everything else — simple and affordable! She pulled the look off perfectly, and everyone knew who she was. My fiance, Zach, posed as her hunchback. Enjoy a few photos of us and our friends in costume!
Overall, we had a great time and enjoyed the hunt for affordable party decor, food, and costumes. While there may have been room for improvement, I think we did well, and everyone seemed to have a great time. We are already planning for our Halloween party next year! And, as Halloween ends, we are gearing up for even more holiday festivities with Thanksgiving and Christmas just around the corner.
P.S. If you haven’t already seen it, I’m going to link this wonderful Halloween sketch that SNL did this year. Don’t forget to turn up the volume and enjoy. xo
Love and ghouls,