If trick-or-treating isn’t your thing, then why not throw your own Halloween party? Here are some tips to help you plan a wicked Halloween shindig, without all the scary stress.
Decide what age group your party will cater to and write the guest list. If some of the guests are very young children, be wary not to make things too scary.
Choose a Theme
If you narrow it down to a few elements, it will be easier to plan your decorations, food, games, and activities. You could have an all-black insects and animal’s party with spiders, bats, and black cats. Alternatively, your theme could be witches, ghosts, and goblins. For a less spooky event, choose fall elements like pumpkins and autumn leaves. Shop well in advance for party decorations and any art and craft materials you need for games.
Set a Date
Rather perfectly, Halloween falls on a Saturday this year!
Set a Budget
If you’re planning on hiring entertainment, remember it doesn’t come cheap, and ideally this needs to be booked a few weeks in advance.
Design and send out your invitations, incorporating elements from your theme. Your invitation should include an RSVP, the dress code, and a request to know about food allergies.
Game ideas include “mummy wrap,” wrapping guests in toilet or crepe paper like a mummy, apple bobbing, pin the wart on the witch, and build the skeleton. Don’t forget to prepare some appropriate music.
Shop for Costumes
The younger your children, the simpler the costume can be; they’ll quickly outgrow them or may not want to wear it if they’re cranky. The end of October can already be chilly, so prepare with layers of thermal clothing for underneath.
Decide on the Menu
You can serve regular food and give the dishes creative names. A plate of spaghetti with meatballs and tomato sauce might be “Witch Guts and Innards,” popcorn can be “Bat Brains,” and raisins can be “Bloated Black Ants.” Or you can go really creative and make bat shaped pizzas, severed finger hotdogs, or even a gingerbread haunted house.
Prepare whatever food you can in advance. Stock up on treats and set up several stations within your house where kids can yell “trick or treat.” Consider giving out non-sugary tokens like fake tattoos, stickers, and glow sticks. If you live in an expat compound with its own Halloween celebration, you’ll need to arm yourself with more goodies for those that come knocking.
Carve Those Pumpkins
Don’t forget to turn the flesh into a delicious pumpkin soup or pie.
Come Out and Play!
Don’t want to host your own party? No problem. Though Halloween isn’t traditionally celebrated in China, there are plenty of ways to get some ghoulish merrymaking in. For one thing, there’s our very own annual and hugely popular beijingkids and Jingkids Halloween Costume Party. Now in its ninth year, expect to be spooked and have fun with the following:
- A school-themed haunted house (enter at your own risk!)
- Lots of candies and sweets for all
- On-site trick-or-treating
- Pumpkins baskets to put all your goodies
- Real pumpkins to carve and take home
- Various games and activities for all
- Scary face painting on-site
- Costume parade with gifts for everyone
On October 25, 2015 (Sunday) from 9:30am-noon, and again from 2-4:30pm at Canadian International School of Beijing
November 1, 2015 (Sunday) from 1-5pm at Keystone Academy
For ticket bookings:
Online (WeChat Shop – Chinese interface only- scan the QR code below), phone 5934 6708, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Advanced purchase tickets only. No tickets available at the door. Special discounts are available for beijingkids Club members.
The biggest Halloween events out in Shunyi are held in villa compounds. At River Garden on Saturday, October 31 trick-or-treating takes place around the compound, and the clubhouse is transformed into a haunted house. Younger kids (up to age 6) are welcome from 4.30-5.30pm, while older kids get a spookier version of the haunted house from 6.30-8.30pm. Attendees must be invited by a River Garden resident. The full Halloween schedule will be released during the week before the party. Check back on beijing-kids.com for details.
Beijing Riviera Halloween Party also takes place on Saturday, October 31 with trick-or-treating around the compound from 4-6pm. A buffet dinner is served from 6-9pm in the clubhouse, with a movie screening at 6.30pm. Registration is required by October 29, due to limited seating for dinner. RMB 238 per adult, RMB 119 per child (ages 4-12), and kids aged 3 and under eat for free. To find out more, call 8450 6888.
Halloween High Tea at Conrad Beijing
Pastry chef Teresa Ma and her team will be busy creating ghoulish, creative, and delicious treats to celebrate the ghostly holiday. The Halloween High tea runs for the month of October, served in the lobby lounge from 1-5.30pm. RMB 198 per person (+15% service charge). To find out more, call 6584 6280.
Annual Halloween Jack-o-Lantern Carving Contest at The Schoolhouse
Saturday October 31, 2-3.30pm
Select a pumpkin and decorate or carve it. The creations will be displayed and lit up as jack-o-lanterns at the end of the day, and judged by the staff. Prizes will be awarded in two categories: children and teens (aged up to 18), and adults. The winning child or teen will receive a gift certificate for RMB 688 for purchases at The Schoolhouse. The winning adult will receive a gift certificate for a night’s stay at The Brickyard, with breakfast included, for two people. Staff will be dressed for the occasion, so why not join in the fun? To find out more, call 6162 6506.
Schoolhouse Partner’s Table Halloween Dinner
Saturday October 31, 7-9pm
Join Schoolhouse partners for cocktails at The Brickyard, and enjoy a surprise special set menu for RMB 368. Guests are asked to attend in Halloween costume.
Put Your Game Face On
Though Taobao abounds with costume options, there’s nothing quite like hunting for the perfect outfit in person. Below are a number of affordable local options, to turn your little ones into the perfect party monster.
This Shunyi toy store stocks Halloween costumes for less than RMB 200, including witches’ robes, masks, and capes. Daily 9am-7pm. 701 Pinnacle Plaza, Tianzhu Real Estate Development Zone, Shunyi District (8046 4572) 顺义区天竺房地产开发区荣祥广场701号
Tianyi Market 天意市场
Located in Fuchengmen, Tianyi Market is the largest wholesale market in Beijing. You’ll find masks, pumpkin lanterns, wigs, decorations, hats, spooky candles, full costumes (including witches’ robes) and more packed into over 11,000sqm of space and 1,550 stalls. Daily 7.30am-5.30pm. 259 Fuchengmen Waidajie, Xicheng District (6832 7607) 西城区阜成门外大街259号
Tian Le Toy Market 红桥天乐玩具市场
Located within Hongqiao Market, Tian Le has more than 300 stalls with similar offerings as Tianyi Market. Be warned; you will be overcharged unless you bargain hard. Daily 8.30am-7pm. 136 Fahuasi Jie, Chongwen District (6711 7499) 崇文区法华寺街136号
Tot to Teen 红马车儿童用品商店
This clothing store for ages 0-15 stocks Halloween costumes averaging RMB 150, including pumpkin heads, Batman, Spiderman, capes, and the Seven Dwarves. Daily 9am-7pm. 703 Pinnacle Plaza, Tianzhu Real Estate Development Zone, Shunyi District (8046 4419, email@example.com) 顺义区天竺房地产开发区荣祥广场703号
This article originally appeared on page 36-37 of the beijingkids October 2015 issue. Click here to read the issue for free on Issuu.com. To find out how you can get your own copy, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo: Liz West (flickr)