Don’t forget to carve and light a pumpkin for a perfect Halloween centerpiece.

Don’t forget to carve and light a pumpkin for a perfect Halloween centerpiece.

October brings the colors of autumn, a time of harvest, and a certain ghoulish holiday. Though Halloween is known as a favorite among kids, they aren’t the only ones who have fun getting into the spirit. An empty nest may mean the end of trick-or-treating, but it also gives parents a chance to reclaim the holiday with their own adult Halloween party. Whether planning a community event or a small, at-home party, here are five steps to follow when your Halloween guest list consists of adults.

1. Costumes

A Halloween party isn’t the same if your guests don’t come in costume. Be sure that your invitations (whether online or in print) clearly say “costumes required.” As the host, you can leave the choice of costumes wide open or offer costume directions, such as requesting scary costumes or costumes based on a certain theme.

2. Decorations

There are many ways to celebrate the holiday, but most adults expect scary when going to a Halloween party. Skip the cutesy decorations you might use for a kid party and set the mood with spooky decor. Your local party store will have all the basics from fake spiderwebs to creepy skeletons. Glow sticks and necklaces can be worn by guests or used as decorations, and you can even replace your lightbulbs with green, orange, purple, or blue party lights.

3. Food

Planning a menu consistent with your spooky theme will keep your guests in the right party mood. There are several cookbooks that offer creative holiday meal ideas, and each fall a variety of magazines run Halloween specials that feature fun (and gruesome) recipes. Don’t forget to plan some creepy drinks, both “spirited” and non-alcoholic.

4. Music

When looking for party music, check out Halloween CDs that incorporate spooky sound effects. If you can’t find a CD you like, or you just want to add more variety to the mix, create your own party playlist. Look for songs that keep with the Halloween theme like "Thriller" by Michael Jackson, "Witchy Woman" by The Eagles, "Spooky" by Imogen Heap, or "The Devil Went Down to Georgia" by Charlie Daniels.

5. Activities

Adults generally know how to entertain themselves at a party. If you offer a spooky atmosphere, fun food, and good music, your guests will be happy to talk and dance on their own. However, a few activities can help make memories. A costume contest, complete with a trophy or ribbon for the winner(s), will get everyone in the spirit. You can also bring in other party activities like Karaoke or charades, but remember to give them a Halloween twist.

When Halloween rolls around, don’t let an empty nest make you miss out on this fun holiday. Gather some friends for a get-together or help plan a community event. You’ll be glad to let loose and have a spooky good time.