Monday, October 15, 2012


Throw This Party: Halloween

From time immemorial, my mother has been telling me spooOOooky tales of Halloween parties with bowls full of eyeballs and brains. The ol’ peeled grapes-and-spaghetti noodles tricks, folks, and I’m not sure why my mom told me that every year, but it's all to say that Halloween parties have been woven into the fabric of my psyche, and one day, goddammit, I am going to peel those freaking grapes. How does one even peel a grape, anyway?!

Grapes and pasta aside, you should definitely throw yourself a Halloween party. There are many advantages: not having to trek about in various temps and weather conditions in questionable ensembles, no drunk driving or cabbing or subwaying, fewer strangers with whom you might consort (in the Biblical fashion), dranks is FREEEE (or cheaper), no extravagant party ticket prices, etc., etc. There is literally no downside. Okay, maybe the prep and mess, but the pros far outweigh the cons.

You all know I'm a low-maintenance hostess (I cannot be bothered to peel a grape), so let’s keep the effort to a minimum. Stock up on some pumpkin ale and giant bags of candy corn, because it's the only acceptable time of the year to eat it, so get your kicks in now, and tint your signature punch — blood red with cranberry juice or red food coloring. And of course, Martha’s got you covered on wacky ideas to convert pumpkins into beverage cooling devices that are festive yet functional (more on these to come). Festive and functional is the name of the game in holiday hosting, so maybe invest in some gummi shot glasses?

Or make your own? Although if you ever find me stirring a bubbling cauldron of melted gummi worms, please call the men in the white jackets. And for a truly horrifying experience, make these meat shot glasses

Remember that the first half of this party is going to be your friends putting on their costumes at your house, so it’d be nice to have things like scissors and black eyeliners available, because those bitches is gonna borrow them anyway. Just give up your bathroom; it’s gone. If you or someone else has no costume, I'll let you have my tried and true Halloween-costume-in-30-minutes-or-less — it has two components: fake blood and a shower curtain. That’s right, it’s “Psycho”! Just wrap yourself in the curtain and douse yourself in fake blood. Or fashion it into a cute little dress! Use the grommets to make a halter top. Yes, I wore this out and about the New York City streets. Dear reader, I must be stopped. With a tranquilizer gun!

So your party’s in full swing! Take some gummi and meat shots, though please, not together! Don’t forget to include your favorite Halloween viral videos. Mine are Werewolf Bar MitzvahDancing Pumpkin Man, and "Anything Can Happen on Halloween," featuring Tim Curry. In my dream Halloween party scenario, there’s a giant screen playing a looping YouTube Playlist. I also think it’s a good idea to have a classic horror movie on the TV or giant projector to set the mood. Suspiria is great because it’s got stunning, colorful visuals and a score by Goblinn that'll crawl inside of your soul and never leave.

If this is a pre-party and you have a destination like a bigger party in your sights, be forceful in rallying your troops to leave and get to said destination. If this is your evening's only destination, have a costume contest with a human applause-o-meter, and reward your winners with something silly like a keg stand or goody bag of Halloween junk, or a makeout. Halloween is for sloppy people! This is our pagan holiday to let our demons and gender-bending and heebie jeebies out so we don’t lose our minds during the rest of the year. So let ‘em out!!! In the safety of your own home, where you don’t have to travel far after you wake up in a puddle of candy corn vomit. (No, don't do that!)

POLL: Hairpin Readers: What should I be for Halloween?

a) Slutty Tony Montana from Scarface.
b) Hatchetface from Crybaby.
c) Liza Minelli from Cabaret.

Previously: Movie Night.

Katie Walsh lives in Los Angeles, where she throws and goes to a fair amount of parties.

Photo via Flickr/sevenmarie

43 Comments / Post A Comment




@SBGBlogs I may or may not have many feelings about the movie Crybaby...


So cute :) good job!! @m


From what I've learned from We Need To Talk About Kevin, lychees also make acceptable imitation eyeballs instead of grapes. (Kevin chews on one graphically after having poured bleach into his 8 year old sister's eye, leading to the little girl losing it permanently)

Katie Walsh

@Lyesmith Plus, no peeling required! Done and done!


@Lyesmith And that is why I'm glad I never did end up watching that movie.






@SarahP Liza Minelli in Arrested Development? All you need is a red blazer and a case of the dizzies.

J Walter Weatherman

@Decca And in the morning you can force people to refer to your hangover as "OUR hangover"!

Jolie Kerr

I love you and I want to crawl up your shower curtain. And also I vote slutty Tony Montana.

Katie Walsh

@Jolie Kerr Yes, you are so right. So so right.

Edith Zimmerman

@Jolie Kerr Seconded.

Jolie Kerr

@Edith Zimmerman It's getting crowded in this shower curtain.




I'm having a Halloween party! Pretty sure I'm just going to have booze and tortilla chips, though. My roommate has a sweet projector so I might try to project a horror movie or something.

Katie Walsh

@Ellie What are you going to project?? Troll 2 is on Netflix Instant, just sayin.


@Katie Walsh Haha awesome! I don't know what I would project! I am very open to this and further suggestions, though.

Reginal T. Squirge

Nosferatu, obvs. Then you can still play your favorite spooky music underneath.

Gef the Talking Mongoose

@Ellie : There is only one answer. HOUSE.





The best Halloween party I ever threw was in the middle of nowhere, Poland, in July of 2004. I was teaching English there as part of this weird pro-America camp thing, and apparently a yearly Halloween party was traditional, even though it was mid-July. And I was in charge! And there were 120 people and very limited supplies!
Here is what we did:
- bowls of spaghetti, peeled grapes, etc
- mummy relay races (the only toilet paper available in the necessary quantities was recycled-paper brown, so dirty mummy races, really)
- fortune-telling
- face painting
- jack-o-lantern pinatas (making these was a challenge as a remarkable number of cheap Polish newspapers include topless women, and my pinata-making team was comprised entirely of 12-year old boys)
Anyway, best halloween party ever, even though essentially a kids' party. Still, some of these things are fun even if you're (marginally) a grownup?


@cherrispryte Ahhhhhhh Soviet-style toilet paper. I do not miss you. But I miss many other things about Poland and Russia like the food. Do they not trick-or-treat in Poland because they do not want to give away their delicious doughnuts? Because I will pay for them!

As Americans I kind of feel like we owe it to other countries to go all out for Halloween when abroad, if only to encourage associations like Americans: Oddly Willing to Wear Costumes in Public instead of Americas: War Mongers.


@highjump I don't actually know if they trick-or-treat? For all the time I've lived in Poland, I've never been there for an October.
I have, however, been there for Paczki Thursday, where you literally cannot go anywhere without being given a delicious doughnut. So I would not necessarily assume stinginess when it comes to doughnut dispersal! :)


@cherrispryte OMG When exactly is this blessed day? I ate so many pretzels in Krakow, super wastefully because they were so cheap. I would buy one and then eat like a third of it. Then like two hours later I would see ones that had rosemary or cheese or something else novel and the cycle would begin again. So what I am saying is I love carbs, but next time I would like to focus my energies more on sweets.


@highjump The Thursday before Ash Wednesday, because Mardi Gras is too mainstream. Were they pretzels in Krakow or those gigantic proto-bagels? Cause those were the best, too.


@cherrispryte Oooh some of Chicago still celebrates this, the Polish bakeries run out though so you have to be organized and put in your paczki order early. Paczkis for everyone!


Liza Minelli in Cabaret, but only because I recently saw it on the big screen and realized, for the first time in my life, that all of the Kit Kat Club dancers have BEDAZZLED MERKINS on their shorts, and I think everyone should have an opportunity to bedazzle their crotch area.

Speaking of Halloween, does anyone know where I can buy some cute kitty ears for not a lot of $$? I don't want anything too anime-y or basic, but I also don't want to spend like $40 on a pair from etsy. ASOS had some really cute ones with rhinestones, but they are all sold out!

sudden but inevitable betrayal

@sophi Bedazzled. Merkins.

And with those two little words, you have changed my life entirely.

maybe partying will help

I think I will just make Jolie's hand pies and watch The Craft.

ALSO, obviously Slutty Tony Montana!


You can't be Liza Minelli in Cabaret, I'M being Liza Minelli in Cabaret.


@mysteriousandsneaky I was Liza in Cabaret last year! (hope this link works - I made it public)



I'm sorry, but I hate hate HATE those Halloween cookies that look like witch fingers. WHY WOULD I WANT TO EAT A FINGER. And the fingernail and everything!! Every Girl Guides Halloween party was scarring because of those.

("Looks like a dead baby's finger - eerrnngh!")


@lora.bee bonus points if the finger nail is extra crunchy. y'know what I mean? I can picture it, I'm like biting into it and it's making a kind of snapping noise?




@lora.bee I KNOW, I'M A MONSTER. i blame the time of year

tea tray in the sky.

Slutty Tony Montana, x a million.


So, I'm late to this, and I LOVE this, but things that don't quite jibe: "let’s keep the effort to a minimum... tint your signature punch..."

Are we all supposed to have signature punches now? How do you make punch?! And do I really want a "signature"? I'm not sure I'm okay with being pigeonholed like that.

Of course, if there were a "Hairpin punch" I think it would be Qream in a bowl with some ice.


@alliepants I have a default cocktail-made-in-big-batches-for-parties, which I suppose could be declared "signature". (It's from a recipe from the internet, though, so it will never really feel like mine?)

It became my default, though, because it's super-easy (and tasty) to make in large batches, and it gets easier every time I make it. So, it is my lazy person's option. Of course, it's nowhere near red, and I'm not sure how I even would make it red. (Yeah, yeah, food coloring, but... red dye no. 40 is never my fave, I guess?)

Katie Walsh

@alliepants I was sort of referring to the champagne punch I talked about in the Throw This Party: Garden Party. Should have been more clear!


Katie! I am beyond thrilled that Dancing Pumpkin Man made it onto your top videos. It's clearly just about that time again where I email him to you.



Post a Comment

You must be logged-in to post a comment.

Login To Your Account