Thursday, October 3, 2013

Shitty Halloween Party Syndrome

We've all been to that party.

The Halloween party you spent weeks preparing the most clever costume and hardly slept a wink the night before, tingly with anticipation. This is Christmas for the rest of us. That party that you've fantasized about since this time last year only to arrive and discover it's lit like a truck stop bathroom and everything smells like the inside of a hot rubber glove.

Sad trombone.

I fear that I may be morphing into a crotchety old bitty with no sense of humor.  I have lost the desire to schmooze with sexy-oven-mitts and sexy-playground-monitors, covered in their own barf or figure out how to remove a zombie-friend's corn-syrup blood from my toilet seat. I'm probably 99% dead inside.

Between you and me, I secretly long--pine even--for a beautiful spooky party. Something classy and delirious. Something unexpected and magical.

Like some Eyes Wide Shut shit.

 We can do better, Party People. It's up to us. Don't let Shitty Halloween Party Syndrome happen to you.
Here are a few pro tips to help you kick it up a notch this Halloween.

Start at The Door. Give your guests a sneak peek of what's next by starting your decor at the front door. A lit path up to the stoop? Someone jumping out of the bushes and demanding their wallet?

It can be subtle, but it clues your friends in that you aren't messing around and this is going to be AWESOME.

Less is More. To avoid SHPS there needs to be some cohesion to your decor.  A cardboard skeleton here, a severed arm there, a precious moment pumpkin here...looks like a chimp raged through a Party Card Outlet. In fact, it's a good rule of thumb to just stay away from those places in general.

When designing parties for clients, I like to think about what would actually make sense in their home. Stick to a limited color pallet. Monochromatic schemes are particularly spooky and high impact.

Pick a theme. Stick to it. Your party will rule.

Sound Tracks are Party Psychology. Your music selections set the tone.  I've never liked CD's that are two solid hours of a door creaking and a woman screaming. I always thought those were better suited to adult book stores than Bartz. If you are playing this soundtrack, you are an angry person.

Get creative. Phillip Glass, Edith Piaf, Kronos Quartet, warped thrift store opera records, and even a fuzzy AM radio station will work beautifully to start.

For the Love of Pete Turn The Heat On. Odds are you have very sexy friends who wear very sexy costumes. I've been to parties where you could see your own breath. Unless it's a Survivor Man themed party where you're doing shots of your own pee, Turn the Heat On.

Candles. Hundreds of them. That is all.

Jump Out of a Cake. Jolt your friends out of SHPS with something unexpected. Everyone knows there's going to be gobs of cobb webby garbage. Everyone knows there's going to be a mystery anti-freeze green punch. Everyone knows there's going to be gloves full of ancient popcorn.

Show us something else. A little dry ice in the bathroom sink. A room set for a seance. A belly dancer that slips out of the closet. Fortune cookies with something vaguely threatening inside.

Body Part Food is a Never. If you have graduated from high school, there is not excuse for this abomination. No one really wants to eat a finger, but they will because they are your friends. And friends don't make friends eat fingers.

Story Time: My intense hatred of body-part food started in grade school. During a girl scout meeting, to earn some sort of sadistic badge, our troop leader made us stick our hands in cold spaghetti while describing cat entrails. Seeing that my whole body was cringing, my troop leader honed in on me by stuffing my arm into a bag of slimy peeled "eyeball" grapes. I gagged.

She then insisted on making me put one of these awful grapes in my mouth (which about twenty grimy girl-hands had touched by the way...) saying if I didn't, I wouldn't get my badge. The group turned into Lord of The Flies and chanted to torture me. "Chew it! Chew it!"

I did. All I could think about was the snap and squish of an eyeball on my tongue. I vomited in front of the group.

I haven't eaten a grape in 15 years.

The moral of the story? I don't care if you saw it in Martha Stewart Magazine:

Don't fucking serve fingers.

What are your Halloween Party plans this year? Ideas you're wanting to try? Need advice?
Have you experienced SHPS? Share your disgust. 

Wishing you all a bon fete!

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