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eat, drink 
be eerie

how to throw a fabulous 
halloween party
by Yee-Fan Sun
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Just this past weekend I spied a big pile of pumpkins at a local supermarket and did a little inner dance of joy: Halloween season has begun. With October just arrived, I'm already dreaming of costume ideas and spooky decorations, as I make party plans for one of my favorite holidays of the year.

It wasn't always that way. As a kid I'd loved the opportunity to dress up and roam the neighborhood amassing sugary sweets. But sometime during middle school trick-or-treating became uncool. And for the next decade-plus of my life, Halloween was just another ho-hum night like any other, with a slightly increased dangerous potential for egged cars and toilet-papered shrubbery, that is. It wasn't until I moved to Tucson to be with my grad student boy that I rediscovered Halloween. Five years ago I experienced my friend Eileen's legendary Halloween bash. And a love for the crazy costumes, sweet treats and general debauchery that have come to define my quasi-adult notion of the holiday was born.

When Eileen moved away from Tucson two years ago, she passed the party tradition to me and the boy. Last year's fete marked the first official Halloween Costume Party at our little pink house. The party was such a blast, attracting a crowd way larger than we ever could have imagined we could squeeze into our little abode, that as soon as September hit this year, we began getting the inevitable question, "So are you guys doing the Halloween party this year?" The answer, of course, was an eager, "Hell, yeah!"

Thinking of throwing a Halloween bash of your own? Check out our advice on how to throw the party of the year…

Let people know early if you're planning on throwing a Halloween party. With the spookily spectacular holiday falling on a Friday this year, you can bet that plenty of other folks will be throwing a fabulous fete that very evening as well. You don't want to send out your invites only to find out that every person you know has already committed to going to someone else's soiree. If this is your first time throwing a Halloween party, especially, make sure to spread the word early. Then send out the official invitation 3-4 weeks before the party, to give folks plenty of time to start thinking about costumes. This can be a paper invitation, if you're feeling particularly schmancy; alternatively, a web invite works dandy. I generally design a Halloween-themed image, save it as a jpeg, upload it to my server, then send an email directing everyone to the proper URL. For those who are less web and graphics savvy, try an online invitation service like Evite.com. One thing you should make absolutely clear: this is a Halloween party, so guests should arrive in costume! Offer prizes for the best costumes as an incentive.

One week before the party, send out a second email. This serves two purposes: (1) you can give people specific directions on how to get to your pad and where to park their vehicles, and (2) you can remind everyone that your party's coming up soon.

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