Oh my gourd, it’s Halloween! 2020 has taken a lot of things from us, but Team Greetabl is flat out refusing to let it steal Halloween. It’s non-negotiable. We may not be able to trick-or-treat in the ways we usually do, have office costume contests in person, or attend that annual giant Halloween bash, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have (virtual) Halloween parties! You’ve been practicing your Zoom virtual happy hours since March and by now you’ve, hopefully, mastered the mute button. So we know you’re ready to take your ghost with the most party planning skills into the virtual world!
In the virtual world, there’s technically no “host”, but there’s certainly the person who takes point. If you’re reading this, that’s you. Congratulations, we’ve selected YOU as the virtual party planner for your people! Because if you’re not going to step up, who is? Don’t wait around for someone else to throw the event. People waste their moments away waiting for another person to make all the moves.
But don’t worry, friend. Even if video calls are starting to feel stale and mundane, and you just aren’t sure how to level up, you can still be the PERFECT virtual Halloween party host with a few simple tips. That’s why we called in our friend Amanda Wilens, a jack-of-all-trades event planner, to share her ultimate secret weapons for hosting a virtual Halloween party to remember. She’s prepared a beautiful tablescape, delicious recipe, and printables to inspire ideas for a Halloween party of your own.
So relax and check out these 7 simple ideas to host an unforgettable virtual Halloween party:
1. Send Invitations
You can rely on our friends at Paperless Post or Evite to create a virtual invitation for your virtual event. But if you’d like to make as much of your Halloween party to be in the three-dimensional, we’re here to help.
A Greetabl gift is perfect to hype your friends for the evening’s festivities! Greetabl is a point of instant, tangible connection. After all, you want your attendees excited for what is to come, not sad for what is missing. Include pictures from past Halloweens in one of our many fall-themed Greetabl designs and a small treat to get your guests excited. We’re not science-y people, but there’s definitely a magic chemical in your brain that gets released when you open a Greetabl gift. Leverage it!
Browse our Halloween gift guides here and here to get inspired.
2. Set the Scene
Take a page (or seven) from Amanda’s book. Encouraging your attendees to set a tablescape will create the atmosphere that is lacking in a video call. Plus, changing up your scenery is good for your mental health. We know it sounds a bit daunting, but check out Amanda’s tips to execute the perfect tablescape for your quarantine Halloween party.
Aside from the tactical execution, remember this is something you “get to do” vs “have to do”. Play music while decorating for your at-home party. Remember the magic of getting ready for hosting an event? The smells of clean sheets, freshly baked cookies, candles burning, and the feeling of the crisp cross-breeze to waft away traces of bleach in the air. We’re choosing to remember the hours leading up to an event in a positive way. AKA: we’re avoiding remembering running around like a chicken with our head cut off to hide our overflowing laundry hamper. C’mon, we all have “the chair” in our bedrooms. You know, the one that holds your stack of clothes? That’s the one. We challenge you to do the cleaning anyway – you’ll feel much lighter and clearer with a cleaned up space.
Bonus points if you share these tips with all your guests and plan a cohesive color palette for your boo crew! It will be aaalllmooost like you’re all in one place.
3. Prepare a Recipe
What is a Halloween party without food? As the amazing virtual host you are, send out a recipe in advance for everyone to make in their respective kitchens. And guess what? You don’t have to play Martha Stewart on this. Amanda already has you covered with these incredible black velvet cupcakes. We told you she is a Halloween queen. Is your mouth watering… or just ours?
4. Change Out of Your Quarantine Uniform
We are passionate about this one. Get in a Halloween costume, even if it feels a bit ridiculous. To really encourage further bonding, choose a theme and participate in a group costume. Here are some group costume ideas from the experts at Good Housekeeping to get you started. The more we think about this idea, the more we love it.
But if for whatever reason we cannot talk you into getting into a costume, at least get dressed. Change out of your sweats and put on some jeans. Wear something that makes you feel good about yourself. Put on shoes. Do your hair and makeup (if that’s your thing!) – and not the watered-down, quarantined version. Get ready as if you were going somewhere. We promise it will change your headspace.
5. Play a Game
Remember Madlibs? Designate your creative, witty friend to make a Halloween-themed party game. You can even customize it to the group, complete with funny memories, experiences, and blasts from your pasts.
You can check out our downloadables:
If games don’t feel right for your group, we recommend considering a Secret Santa-style Halloween gift exchange.
6. Make Room at Your “Table”
While we cherish intimate gatherings, consider widening your pool of invitees. Stating the obvious, a pandemic is a difficult time to make new friends. If you know someone who recently moved, onboarded onto a remote team, or has had a particularly challenging year, invite them! The beautiful thing about virtual get-togethers is no one is stuck in the “overflow space”. You don’t have to put anyone at the wobbly makeshift table in the corner or worry if there will be enough food. Encourage your friends to bring along one other person – getting to know someone new is something we’re missing extra these days!
With this recommendation, we’re obligated to also state the (should-be) obvious: Make sure to cater the event to be inclusive of new people. If you broaden your guest list, Halloween madlibs should be kept generic to avoid potential moments of guests feeling left out. Leave inside jokes and memories for another time.
7. Create an Icebreaker
Icebreakers only work if everyone participates. Avoid the crickets and uncomfy stares by telling people ahead of time to come prepared. Ask your attendees to share a bit about themselves (if you’ll be including people not everyone knows on a personal level). You can create a game or list of questions to get to know one another. Quick tip: make sure to appoint a few people to keep the conversation flowing if there is a lull. Chatty Cathies who don’t know a stranger, we need you here!
If you’re keeping the event limited to your besties, we totally get that too! We’ll lend you a St. Louis Halloween tradition to kick off conversation: Halloween jokes. We’re so serious – this is a real thing. If you’re into a little competition, the Halloween jokes should be put to an anonymous vote and the best one should be crowned the King (and maybe get a prize more substantial than bragging rights, but you do you boo!).
Do what you can to make it a little bit more special than every other socially distanced day.
If you’ve been staying home and keeping distanced this year, then doing just a few small things to break up the “keep watching” on Netflix routine will go a long way! Do what makes sense for your crew and you’ll be sure to give ‘em pumpkin to talk about.
Remember to share on social and tag @greetabl and @amanda.wilens with your yummy treats and beautiful table settings. And if you’re still looking for something to do with your roommates, family, or quaranteam, check out our guide to throw a Halloween Scavenger Hunt.
Amanda Wilens is a professional event planner, published photographer and stylist, and recipe developer. She’s expanded from her events background to styling, recipe development, workshops, photography, and social media. Amanda is also an editor on the feedfeed for the Sprinkle Feed, a contributor to LaurenConrad.com, contributor and influencer for LC Lauren Conrad, as well as The Little Market.