27 October 2014

The day we made 2014 Halloween Fun! (Year 2)

[Ryan and I dressed up for Halloween]

Before you ask, there is no year 1. We had a party on year 1, but there was no blog about it.  Exactly a year ago I found out my old boss sold his practice.  I put blogging on hold while I looked for a new job (especially since I blogged about work a lot, and I knew it was a bit unprofessional...)

Here are some of my favorite photos from our first annual Halloween party:

And now for year 2.  We had a house now, so it had to be super legit.  We sent out "save the dates" because we wanted to get the date out there so people would be sure to plan activities on other nights and come to our party. 

Here's the save-the-date.  I needed this picture for the party.


Although, our pic from last year was way better:

After getting the word out, we decided on a theme and some Trivia.  Trivia always pulls a party together.  Plus, you get to give out cool prizes, and I don't know about you, but I love winning things. 

And I also gave out some lame-o prizes for 2nd place to encourage people to try harder and win next year so they don't have to win a sorry 2nd place prize. 

Then we decided on some entertainment aspects of the party.  Clearly, entertainment starts with some beverages: I decided to make my signature sangria, because that's my favorite.  I picked a fall sangria and adapted the recipe a bit:

Base: 3 cups Trader Joe's White boxed wine (a white Chardonnay)
Juice: 2 cup Trader Joe's Unfiltered Apple Cider
          1 cup Trader Joe's Sparkling Water

1/4 teaspoon Cinnamon (super finely ground Cinnamon) 
1 Honeycrisp apple
1/4 pear
2 Shots of Brandy

I threw this all in a pitcher and then put extra wine, juice, and chopped fruit in the fridge.  That made it super easy to "Refill" the sangria through the party. 

I made an ENAB (Equally attractive non-alcoholic beverage) by using the recipe above, but subbing in 2 cups of sparkling grape juice, also found at Trader Joe's.  Just in case you have any friends that are pregnant, or nursing, or designated drivers, or prefer not to drink.  Gotta be a good hostess.

On to games: We learned early on that Trivia is a crowd favorite.  People love to prove that they know the most useless, trivial details about certain subjects.  This year's trivia centered on Halloween and Disney (gotta stick with a theme).  I created it in my down-time, and tested it against Ryan.  He got about half right.  You have to walk a fine line between "Hard" and "Impossible" because you want people to have fun, but you only want one winner.

This year we passed out a 1 page (front/back) paper of trivia questions.  Everyone was in teams of 2.  We called out the questions and answers. 

The winners clearly spent a lot of time watching the Disney channel and Disney movies.  They were 2 girls in their early-20s.  They got 21/25 questions correct.  The person closest behind them only had 18/25 questions right.  I was pretty impressed with the skill level of trivia participants.  If I had to do trivia again, we would probably try to hook up the TV like we did last year, because in the end, that was a lot more fun then having me call out all the trivia questions.  We just didn't have enough room around the TV this year.

We also wanted some "lawn games" people could do outside so we could maximize our time in the beautiful Texas Fall weather.  Also, its fun to play mindless yard games as you mingle. It gets extra fun as the night gets later and people have to play in the dark.

We owned no lawn games.  So we turned to friends to see what we could borrow.  We were able to borrow cornhole (bean bag toss), ladder golf, and a circular saw.

We used the circular saw to cut some 2x4s into Giant Jenga pieces.  And by we, I mean Ryan.

Ryan did a fantastic job cutting.  And then did an even more fantastic (and labor-intensive) job sanding.  We thought about painting the pieces, but in the end we ran out of time and I worried about the colors being stacked in a terrible pattern because it would hurt my head.  

While Ryan cut, I painted.  And made costumes.

We decided to be Beauty and the Beast.  I already had a gold corset.  And I knew how to sew.  We just had to buy some fabric, a wolf mask, and a blazer for Ryan.  I found the blazer for 10 dollars.  


I made the skirt and a shirt to sit under the corset.  And I added gold to Ryan's jacket.

And then I got crazy.  I found a "gravestone" for 2 dollars at Wal-Mart so I turned it into Cogsworth.  And then I wanted a Lumiere. (which was almost a candelabra with skulls on it painted gold, but I was worried the skulls would make it look lame)  And The Rose.

I stopped just short of looking for a Mrs. Potts and Chip.  They just felt too difficult to re-create.

I did paint a beautiful sign for the front:

So, that's entertainment and costumes, now onto decor!

I saw a scary shower-curtain at Michaels when I was looking for a candle or candelabra to play Lumiere. I also found a scary picture.  I added some blood to a towel.

I hope no one freaked out. I didn't notice anyone passed out in the bathroom, so I guess that's a good sign.

We had a bunch of decor left over from last year, which we gladly re-used.

I painted pumpkins:

We dressed up! We made costumes mandatory, and they had to follow a Disney theme. I have a few ideas for next year already!

Fun was had by all!

We had a lot of fantastic costumes.  I tried to get photos of everyone, but we hit a point around 7:30 when we were grilling meat, greeting guests, and getting ready for Trivia where I got lost with the photos.  We did get a fantastic group photo, which was awesome!

The winner was Tonto from The Lone Ranger.  We gave 2nd place to the Polar Bear because well, it was a cool costume.  It would have been awesome if Disney owned Coke like they own Marvel and ESPN.

Whew!  Next year we will buy more ice, start the grill a bit sooner, and start the party a little bit later.  No one, even the parents with young kids, came right at 4.  

Our neighbors pulled together costumes in 2 hours and brought us ice, which was awesome!  They also made us baby Jenga pieces decorated for display! Super cute!

If you haven't picked out a costume for Friday, get moving. Or start planning ahead for next year! And it's not too late to throw your own Halloween party next weekend :)

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