Lights, Camera, Action -- Plan a Movie-Themed Halloween Party

(ARA) - Frightful food, dreadful decorations and menacing movies. Not exactly the makings of a great party -- unless it’s a Halloween party. Why not invite your favorite ghosts, goblins and ghouls for an evening of fun, fright and film?

Planning a party with a movie theme is a good way to start. Think of all the great films to choose from -- everything from the timeless Hollywood horror classics of Alfred Hitchcock to more modern scares like “Scream.” If you’re throwing a party for kids or if they might be nearby, you may want to consider Halloween cartoons. Here are some party planning tips for a fearfully good Halloween party.

For the Grownups

Some adults love getting dressed up for Halloween; others hate it. Figure out which camp your friends fall into and decide whether you want to ask guests to come in costume. If you decide on a costume party, stay with the movie theme and ask people to come dressed as their favorite character from a scary film. Consider giving a prize for the best costume.

Decorating should be fun and easy. A trip to your local party store will supply you with everything you need, from spooky plates, napkins and tablecloths to CDs of eerie music to greet your guests at the door. You can be as elaborate or bare bones as you like. Set the mood by tacking up fake cobwebs in your doorways; carve sinister jack-o-lanterns; and turn off the lights and use candles instead.

When planning your party menu, you can go one of two ways with your food -- either sophisticated or Halloween kitschy. A sophisticated fall menu might consist of hearty soup served in hollowed out pumpkin bowls with a nice fall salad and fresh-baked French bread. If you go the kitsch route, your menu might feature “deviled eyeball” hors d’oeuvres -- deviled eggs topped with a slice of black or green olive and a main course of “guts and eyeballs” (your famous spaghetti and meatballs). You get the idea. Here again, let your guest list be your guide.

Have fun picking the movies for your party. Choose some old favorites, or if you need some suggestions, consider these picks from James Rocchi, film critic for Netflix, the online DVD rental service. Here are his top five Halloween films:

* Frankenstein (1931) -- the Karloff classic

* Halloween (1978) -- retro-flavored slasher that launched a thousand imitators

* Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978) -- one of my favorite horror films

* Them! (1954) -- a giant insect monster movie with ‘50s camp and timeless scares

* Rosemary’s Baby (1968) -- the urban-Satanism nightmare that still chills

For the Kids

While the adults are having the pants scared off them, the kids can enjoy their own, tamer version of a Halloween movie party downstairs. For the kids, Rocchi recommends “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown;” “SpongeBob SquarePants: Halloween;” and “The Worst Witch: A Mean Halloween.”

Since kids love to dress up, costumes are a natural part of their party. Have plenty of prizes on hand so that every child wins in a different costume category. Depending on the number of kids, you may have to get creative. Consider scariest, funniest, most colorful, most elaborate, best animal, etc.

The kids will love gross Halloween treats. Gummy worms can crawl in and out of the dip; chicken strips become witch’s fingers when you add dagger-like fingernails made of pimientos. Serve with green ketchup for the finishing touch.

For dessert, serve up mud cups: chocolate pudding topped with crushed Oreo cookies and more gummy worms.

Netflix makes getting movies for your party simple. With more than 15,000 titles to choose from, you’re sure to find just the right ones to set the Halloween mood. And because you can keep the DVDs for as long as you want, you can get them ahead of time and forgo a last minute dash to the video store where you are likely to be out of luck. With Netflix, movies are mailed directly to your door, another time-saver. The number of DVDs you can have at any given time depends on your membership level; the most popular choice costs $19.95 per month and gives you access to unlimited DVDs, with three out at a time. Once the party’s over, returning the movies is simple -- just put the DVDs in the envelope provided by Netflix and drop them in any U.S. mailbox.

-Courtesy of ARA Content


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