23 September 2011

Tara's Tips for Halloween

 As a celebration expert for Party City, I get to really run wild with my imagination in their stores.  I always pre-shop the store for inspiration and constantly look for items that I can use in unexpected ways.  I'm a huge fan of their party packs which I like to break up and use throughout the house, not just in one space. 
One challenge that most hosts face is how to keep guests out of unwanted areas, like a staircase.  Putting up signs, that read "Do not enter" or "Stay out,"is not very festive.  So, I try to block stairs or rooms using lanterns, candles and tea lights.  Try using a mass of colored Halloween lights instead of candles on the stairs to block guests from walking up them. 
Fans made to hang from the ceiling, decorate a wall
Purple lights from Party City

Halloween Assorted Paper Fan Pack 6ct $7.99 from Party City
Assorted Paper Lanterns 8ct $8.99
 More of my tips on eHow.com...
By Laurie Fox, Contributor
updated September 09, 2011

Halloween Party Decorating: Scream 101

Putting the Thrill Into Halloween

Let out your creativity at Halloween.(photo: Hemera Technologies/Photos.com/Getty Images)
It’s like going to the grocery store hungry; you can’t go to a party store and expect to find inspiration.
— Marley Majcher, event planner
Like a chilly wind, Halloween sneaks in every year. Although virtually every corner store is stocked with ghoulish decor before Labor Day, the bewitching hour still creeps up on us, forcing panic mode and, too often, a thrown-together party.
Halloween is big business. National retail experts estimate that it is second only to Christmas in the amount of money spent on decorating, costumes, trick-or-treat candy and party planning. But professional event planners say you don’t have to succumb to a mad dash through the party store to ensure that your party is a thrill. In fact, with a little thoughtful planning, you can actually save money and still set your party apart from the norm.
“The best Halloween party planner is the one who is clever, not the one who spent the most money,” said California event planner Marley Majcher, aka “The Party Goddess.”

Pick a Theme & Work It

Keep your color scheme consistent and simple for major impact. (photo: Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)
The tricky thing about Halloween, Majcher says, is that it’s a theme all by itself.
And, she says, people often get caught up trying to incorporate all of the many facets of the holiday into one party.
“You have to look for a creative theme within that Halloween theme,” she said. “You have to keep your eyes open and have a direction. That’s crucial.”
Majcher says she trolls for Halloween party themes year-round by photographing things she sees, browsing blogs and magazines, and brainstorming. She often starts by considering a specific color theme or by using only certain textures. She has built themes off pumpkins and gourds or used only items made of wood as a primary starting point.
“You have to get focused,” she said. “Start with a backdrop of one theme and then augment it with what you can find at the party store. It’s like going to the grocery store hungry; you can’t go to a party store and expect to find inspiration.”
Home stylist Tara Riceberg orchestrated a Halloween party by using an “antebellum gothic” theme that incorporated elements of "Gone With the Wind."
“It was sort of a 'Sunset Boulevard,' grand-home-gone-to-decay idea,” she said. “There was jute wrapped around columns, Spanish moss on bookcases and banisters, cobwebs strategically strewn around. You can have a sophisticated, elegant air to Halloween and still have a spooky effect.”
Riceberg says that people try to bring too many ideas into their party and end up forcing a theme. “You can just have one or two good ideas if you execute them well,” she said.

Repurpose: Shop Your Home

Part of making a party truly ghoulish isn’t about overwhelming guests with skeletons, mummies, bats and corpses, planners say. Using household items that don’t seem like obvious decorations are what catch people off guard, says Majcher. You can always add in some well-placed cobwebs in doorways and skeleton bones in a planter.
“Save those broken teacups, burned-down candles, dead plants or tarnished candelabras. Those become your go-to items for displays,” Majcher said. “If you want a party that’s not like anyone else’s, you have to draw from more than one source.” She suggests going to the florist and asking for the flowers that will be thrown out. Dry them and spray paint them with silver glitter. Display them in old wine bottles with candle wax dripped down the side. Other decorators advise using other low-key options like draping muslin or other fabric in a doorway or hallway as a way to carry a theme in a subtle way.
“Don’t be seduced by too much of any one element,” Majcher cautioned. “Most people don’t edit well. Halloween can be best made simple.”
Riceberg recommends setting aside a spot that you can decorate with a traditional Halloween scheme of pumpkins and jack-o'-lanterns for indoor trick-or-treating or a photo backdrop.
“Embrace it,” Riceberg said. “Everyone wants candy and photos of themselves and their kids.”

Light, Sound & Beyond

When it comes to setting a haunting mood, there are equally subtle ways to chill your partygoers without overwhelming them. Don’t forget the obvious: lighting and sound. State-of-the art fog machines can dispense a spooky haze, and lighting devices can be purchased or rented that will flicker, crack and strobe to music.
“There are some very distinctive devices that can really add to your Halloween party,” said Patrick O’Gorman of Magic Etc. Fort Worth Costume in Fort Worth, Texas. The store caters year-round to the theatrical crowd. He says savvy Halloween party planners snap up specialty props, dry ice, strobe lights, mirror balls and sound machines from the store to add a dramatic flair to their events.
Majcher says that music and lighting can take a party to another level and should be considered early on in planning. She recommends that clients work up their music playlists and blend it with their lighting scheme, which she says should be low lights or candlelight (battery-powered tea lights are best in high-traffic areas). The occasional strobe or color-highlighted cobweb also makes an impression.
Ghoulish touches like draping strips of cheesecloth painted blood red around vases, dripping red candle wax over white candlesticks or fashioning a bowl of “chunky blood” out of Jello make a big impact without being too complex, Majcher suggests. She likes getting kids in on the decorating act, too, by making “bloody” handprints on windows using washable paint or having them write scary messages on mirrors in the hallway or bathroom with red lipstick.
“Halloween is all about fantasy,” O’Gorman said. “Your options are wide open. Just pick a vision and stick with it.”

From Mommy Goggles.com...

Spooktacular Surprises for a Merry, Not Scary Halloween

  • Party City and Tara Riceberg Share Halloween Party Trends for the Whole Family
Party City, America’s largest party specialty retailer, partnered with celebrity event and home stylist, Tara Riceberg, to help families celebrate Halloween together this year. With thousands of party supplies including one of the largest selections of customizable invitations and favors, thousands of costumes, more than one hundred in-house party themes and nearly 50 solid color tableware items, Party City is the one-stop-shop for parents across the country to shop online or in its more than 600 store locations. With a variety of Halloween items from costumes, wigs and accessories to lighting and faux spider webs, tombstones and mummies, Party City can help any frugal family stay within their budget with items ranging from 99 cents to $50.00.
Halloween is a great excuse to get the family together and invite friends over for a night of ghoulish fun. In a private home appropriately named, “The Manor,” Tara Riceberg and Party City hosted a Halloween bash for all ages. Using the home’s expansive first floor, they transformed the space from floor to ceiling creating two separate spaces – one for adults with a more sophisticated style of black cheese cloth drapes, black rose centerpieces, candlelight and blood red accents, and the other, a fun atmosphere for children to play featuring bright shades of purple, green and orange with accents of friendly ghosts and other Halloween characters. The “Monster Mash” and other traditional Halloween tunes welcomed the costumed crew, as they were fully outfitted in some of Party City’s most popular costumes. There were super heroes, Greek and Roman goddesses, pirates and even Mad Hatters. All of these festive items came from Party City and were personally delivered to each guest’s room prior to the party.
“Families looking to celebrate a spooktacular night with friends,” says Lisa Laube, president of Party City, “can purchase all of the items at Party City stores or online at PartyCity.com.” Additionally, Lisa and the Party City team along with Tara shared the following tips for chic, budget-friendly Halloween parties:
Invites that Delight:
  • Wow potential guests right from the start by sending over-the-top invitations.
  • For an adult “shocktail” party with a more sophisticated feel, send the black and white custom damask print invitations and personalize online at PartyCity.com.
  • Complete the look by sealing each envelope with an envelope wax seal kit for an eerie, yet classic look.
  • Go beyond the paper by hand delivering each invitation on a “silver platter.” Shop Party City for their faux sterling silver platters.
  • A single black fabric rose adorning the platter will also help set the tone for a sophisticated affair.
For each event that we attended, we had a special invitation themed for that event. Here is what I walked in to my room to see:
Party City Monster Ball (2)
Party City Monster Ball (3)
Party City Monster Ball (1)
Setting Boundaries:
  • Some areas of a home are certainly off limits to children, and even some adults.
  • Party City’s black scaredy cats also make the perfect barrier accessory to “scare” off anyone who dares to enter.
Party City Monster Ball (24)
In the fireplace, Tara used Hanging Electric Flame Lights, but didn’t hang them – she placed them inside so it looked like a fire in the fireplace.
Party City Monster Ball (32)
The outside of the house was amazing! In the yard, Lawn Skeleton Decorations were placed throughout.
Party City Monster Ball (19)
Party City Monster Ball (20)
Party City Monster Ball (21)
Party City Monster Ball (49)
The inside of the house was just as cool as the outside! Votive candles were throughout the windows, as well as mesh spiderweb.
Party City Monster Ball (31)
Party City Monster Ball (27)
Party City Monster Ball (53)
Mr. Pumpkin Head:
  • Be sure to include activities for children that are fun, easy to do and coordinate with the overall theme.
  • Create a pumpkin patch with either real or faux pumpkins of all sizes and let the children pick out their favorite.
  • After a pumpkin is chosen, a craft table with glue, glitter and Mr. Potato Head-inspired pieces should be arranged.
  • Shop Party City for googly eyes, spider rings for noses and glitter bat cutouts for batty lips to shape a Mr. Pumpkin Head face.
  • Include extras like little girls’ ribbons and bows in Halloween prints or even wigs and hats from Party City.
Creepy Crawlies:
  • Utilize clear glass cake stands from home as part of a creepy crawly display in the kitchen.
Party City Monster Ball (60)
  • Encase Party City’s hairy rats, zombie bats and even glitter skull spiders tastefully in each cake stand.
Party City Monster Ball (29)
  • Make sure to use a variety of cake stand sizes or elevate every other stand to provide depth to the display as well as keep the glass containers out of reach from little ones.
To hold beverages, Party City has an inflatable skeleton cooler that is a perfect addition!
Party City Monster Ball (34)
Fan Fare:
  • Using Party City’s Halloween assorted paper fan decorations, created as spooktacular wall display that delights the eyes of all guests.
In this picture, just below, are round plastic tablecloths that are cut in half and hung on the back wall.
Party City Monster Ball (33)
  • Instead of hanging the fans, affix them to the dining room wall – layering each variation next to the other until the wall is covered completely.
  • The fan wallpaper is an inexpensive way to brighten up any room while creating a artful masterpiece for guests to ponder.
When was the last time that you, as an adult, dressed up for Halloween? I haven’t dressed up since I was at least 10 years old. Well, Party City has a ton of Adult Halloween Costumes, as well as kids costumes.

I was asked to pick out my three top choices as to what I wanted to be. One, was Little Red Riding Hood.
Adult Little Red Riding Hood Costume Premier

In this little red number, bring on the big bad wolf! Our Premier Little Red Riding Hood costume features a stretch top gingham dress with attached ruffled lace skirt and cape with lace lined hood.
Adult Red Hot Riding Hood Costume Premier includes:
  • Red hooded cape
  • Apron dress
  • Attached petticoat
Price: $69.99 Online
Party City Monster Ball (4)

For more party planning tips and affordable party needs, please visit www.partycity.com.
**Portions of the above press release were taken from a press release that was published when I was on location for Party City at Hilton Head Island, SC. I used portions from the press release, as well as I included my own findings with my own images. Images copyrighted are from Mommy Goggles/Tanya Gordon’s attendance.  Any other images included that are not MG Copyrighted are courtesy of on location Party City photographers.