Anatomy of a Halloween Party

My friend Kyle told me that one year he and his roommates had forgotten that Halloween meant, you know, trick-or-treaters coming to your door.  Decked out in cuteness, and asking for candy.  So when the doorbell rang and they saw a little kid in a lion costume, they dashed to the kitchen and gave him one of the only things they could find: a Pop-Tart.

I don’t know what I find more delightful about this story – the fact that instead of the standard “fun-size” Snickers the kid got a silver-packaged Pop Tart, or the fact that Kyle in his infinite nice-ness simply had to raid his kitchen so that the lion tyke would not be disappointed on Halloween.

Decorating for holidays in my childhood home was always serious business, and Halloween was no exception.  Although I don’t think I could ever rival my mother’s decorating prowess, I hope to infuse my own home with the same kind of excitement around the holidays.  We threw a dinner party yesterday, which I used as an excuse to get the house a little dolled up.  Here are some things I’ve been up to this month besides taking photos:

Pottery Barn Kids had an amazing “bat chandelier” a few years ago.  They don’t sell them anymore, but after looking at the picture online I went ahead and improvised my own using sewing frames, acrylic paint, thin sheets of compressed foam, string, fishing line, and electrical tape.

These spiderwebs are the easiest thing in the world to make, thanks to my 5th grade teacher Mr. C.  CLICK HERE to see the instructional video he made about how to do it.  He made the video in the same room I attended fifth grade in!  Fun memories.

I was too busy finishing the bat chandelier to be able to photograph the whole table before guests arrived, but here are a few details:

Brazillian Limeade deserves to be graced with a little umbrella.

A pumpkin patch of cupcakes for dessert:

The cooking aftermath (the truly scary part about the party):

My finished, carved pumpkins:

How was your Halloween?  I hope it was fantastic!

Nathan - November 1, 2010 - 12:13 am

ABSOLUTELY AMAZING – sad I wasn’t there to participate!

Warren Ceglecki - November 1, 2010 - 12:20 am

Excellent pictures! Very very impressive. Great website, Jenika.

Theresa - November 1, 2010 - 10:15 am

Oh my, Jenika. This looks delightful! All I can say for my halloween is Matt and I tandem biked to the BYU hockey game in our costumes on Saturday, but Halloween itself was nothing but baking focaccia. No costumes or decoration or even candy. I’m a little jealous of your party guests 🙂

Shara - November 1, 2010 - 10:42 am

Everything looks awesome! So glad the bat chandelier worked out – you really outdid yourself!

Adrienne - November 1, 2010 - 11:20 am

Beautifully decorated! I love the pics and decorations! You have amazing talent and creativity!

Corie - September 9, 2012 - 10:07 pm

I want to make this so bad for my sister’s Halloween party (I’ll have to transport it from Arizona to Ohio) – before I start, any pointers? This is amazing!

Jenika - September 10, 2012 - 8:44 am

I used three embroidery hoops, painted black. The hardest part is hanging the hoops from each other, and creating a way to attach it to the ceiling. I think I used fishing line to hang the hoops from each other, with three or four strings between each level. I tied the bats on with black string but used electrical tape to keep the strings in place so they wouldn’t slide. Have fun!

Kim Elliott - October 2, 2012 - 2:27 pm

I love that bat chandelier. I can’t wait to try and make one myself. I can only imagine how labor intensive that was, so it’s a testimate to your skills that I even want to attempt it. (Yea, I’m all for fast, cheap and easy when it comes to crafting!) Thanks for the great idea and sharing your fun party decorations.

Bri - October 11, 2012 - 12:36 am

Do you think you could estimate how many bats you used per level? And did you hang them at 2 or 3 different heights on each level? It’s hard to tell exactly from the pics. How large were your hoops? And last question – did you find a die cut for the bats, if so, where and what size? Looks great. Thanks so much!

Jenika - October 14, 2012 - 6:22 pm

Hi Bri! It was a very inexact science. I went to Michael’s and bought three embroidery hoops of concentric sizes. I threw away the outer part (the part of the hoop with the screw) and used only the complete inner hoop. The largest was maybe 2.5 feet across? I just worked with what looked best in the store. I painted all three black. I am sure you can find die cuts for the bats but I hand-drew a template and cut them by hand on thin foam. (Such projects relax me). I think the bats are probably 3 or 3.5 inches across. I hung them with black string, and the strings are about 2 inches apart on the hoops, and I used black electric tape to hold the strings in place (so they didn’t slide around and bunch up). As I hung them, I alternated the length of the string, so yes, they are effectively on two levels. This filled more space between hoops and also prevented overlap. I don’t know how many there were, but you could measure the circumference of each hoop and guess that you’d need one bat for about every 2 inches. I just kept cutting until it was full. Hope that helps!!

chris - July 6, 2013 - 4:20 pm

Jenika, did you do different sizes of the bats or are they all the same size? i really want to attempt to make one of these for our Halloween Party 2013. Any info would be very helpful! 🙂 it looks so awesome! Also where do i find rolls of crepe paper like your teach had? would like to try to make this but not sure where to get big sheets of this paper only small strips.

Jenika - July 6, 2013 - 4:57 pm

Yes, they’re all the same size! Have fun!

jamie - July 31, 2014 - 3:20 pm

I just watched the video on making a paper spider we and I can’t wait to make one this year. Thanks for sharing. Also I am def. Going to make the bat chandelier.

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