How to Throw a Halloween Party for Teens

Halloween makeup turns a simple costume into a scary statement.
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The drift of fog emitting from the fog machine, the spooky music from inside, a buffet of scary foods and a crowd of costumed teenagers make a spooktacular party event. Too old to go trick-or-treating and too young for nightclubs, teens enjoy a scarily fun atmosphere at a Halloween party. When you send out the invitations, encourage your guests to dress up as their favorite book, TV or movie character -- and remind them that you will award prizes for the best or scariest costumes.

1 Decorate for the Party

Hang ragged sheets around the perimeter of the porch or in the windows. Replace the light bulbs in the fixtures with red or orange bulbs for a spooky entrance. Red or orange rope lights indicate the walk to the house, and a fog machine adds a mysterious fog to the garden and entry while a scary music CD plays. Inside, black plastic lines the walls of the party room, and orange twinkle lights strung overhead provide light. Set aside a place for a dance floor, and hire a DJ to provide music once the party starts. Don't forget a spooky corner with classic Frankenstein and Dracula cutouts or blowups for selfies with the teens' BFFs.

2 Halloween Games and More

A makeup artist set up in the dining room enhances costumes with scary makeup as the guests arrive. Set up a treasure hunt in the backyard, with bags of gold-wrapped chocolate coins and favorite candy bars as prizes. Each teen receives a map with clues, but make each map different so the prizes are fairly distributed among the guests. Alternately, set up a haunted house in the backyard, dividing the "rooms" with reed fencing covered with black plastic. Several adults should be on hand to help with the scary activities and monitor the teens' activities while touring the haunted house. Before the evening ends, give out prizes for the best costumes.

3 A Spooky Spread

Cover the buffet table with black plastic tablecloths for easy cleanup. Add serving platters for mozzarella and olive "eyeballs," pretzel "fingers," spider cookies and a large dirt cake, complete with gummy worms wiggling out of the cookie crumb topping. Use chafing dishes for hot dog "fingers," meatballs, chicken drummettes and other finger foods. Serve a red fruit punch with red and orange-tinted ice cubes, and provide plastic glasses trimmed with dribbles of red-tinted corn syrup for the extra-creepy effect. Also provide bottled water and sparkling fruit juices for the teens and plenty of hot coffee for adult chaperones.

4 Control of the Party

While a teen Halloween party is all about the fun, maintaining control of the party is essential to its success. Encourage the chaperones to dress up in costume or wear glow-in-the-dark T-shirts and have their faces painted before the party starts. Pumpkin flashlights help find missing jewelry and flash into dark corners unexpectedly, keeping everyone on their toes. Once the music starts and while the DJ plays Michael Jackson's "Thriller," encourage the adults to line up and start the zombie dance to get the teens up and dancing. A selection of novelty tunes gives the teens a chance to try out "The Monster Mash" or "The Mummy's Bracelet" with the chaperones teaching the teens the steps.

With degrees in fine and commercial art and Spanish, Ruth de Jauregui is an old-school graphic artist, book designer and published author. De Jauregui authored 50 Fabulous Tomatoes for Your Garden, available as an ebook. She enthusiastically pursues creative and community interests, including gardening, home improvement and social issues.