Strategies for your best-ever Halloween party
Because kids are especially hopped up on candy and the sanctioned naughtiness of the holiday, you need to plan your Halloween party carefully or you, too, might turn into a monster.
Consider the ages of the kids--one child's thrilling haunted house is another's chilling nightmare. If you will be hosting a mix of ages, be sure to set up the scariest events out of sight of the main party. A mad scientist's lab, for example, can be set up in a spare room so that younger kids can pass on the pleasure of watching others touch "brains" (cold spaghetti).
Plan more events than you think you need (and plan for bad weather, too). In addition to major games such as Zombie Tag and Slime Pit, prepare easy backups: bobbing for apples, painting glow-in-the-dark murals, or marching in a costume parade.
If your party is in lieu of trick-or-treating, you can be more liberal with the sweets, but you still want to get something in your guests' stomachs besides candy. pizza mummies, sandwiches (worms on a bun) and tomato soup (with goop)--all easy and irresistible--are standouts.
Don't go overboard--mood lighting, creepy music and a few well-placed, homemade decorations (clothespin bats , spiders and webs ) will amply set the scene. Pass on anything with a flame, and keep in mind that kids are clumsy in their costumes—anything fragile or sharp should be well out of the way.