9 Creative Halloween Party Themes That Are So Good, It's Scary

Ditch tacky decor this year and opt for one of these elevated Halloween themes—they'll really bring the wow factor, trust us.

Halloween Party Theme Candy Cart with flowers and skeletons
Photo: Zan Passante / Sugar and Charm

If you're planning to host a Halloween bash this year, why not think a little outside the box? Sure, change can be scary, but that's what the holiday is all about, right? Skip the traditional orange and black color scheme, and get inspired by one of these creative Halloween party themes. If you want to go the eerie route, try a "Cabinet of Curiosities" party theme by displaying mysterious items (think skulls, taxidermy-inspired pieces, and branches) down the center of your dining table. If you cringe at the sight of cobwebs and faux eyeballs, embrace the sweeter side of Halloween with a cute candy cart theme. And you don't have to start prepping these ideas weeks in advance—some of them can even be pulled off with a few basic supplies from the local party store. No matter which Halloween party theme you choose, it's sure to be an evening your guests won't soon forget.

01 of 09

Eerie Yet Elegant Dinner Party

Halloween dinner party with black candles and flowers
Kate LeSueur / Camille Styles

For a Halloween dinner party that's dark and dreamy, follow Chanel Dror for Camille Style's lead. A black tablecloth layered with black ceramic dishware creates a monochromatic base. Next, place autumn flowers and greenery with lots of texture in vintage bottles and scatter them down the center of the table, intermingled with old books and a couple faded photographs. The vibe is eerie and vintage-inspired, yet shockingly gorgeous. Want a treat that matches the decor? Whip up some Halloween-themed chocolate bark, following Camille's recipe.

02 of 09

A Pumpkin-Carving Party

Halloween Party Theme Pumpkin Carving
Bridget Pizzo / Kitchn

You probably attended a pumpkin-carving party or two as a kid, but now that you're an adult, getting messy with pumpkin pulp is still just as fun. Invite a small group of close friends, and host the event in the backyard to make cleanup easier. Then, set out craft paper and extra towels you won't mind getting a little dirty. Bring out the ice cream scoops and spoons, plus an array of serrated knives for carving intricate details. To create the low-effort party shown, the editors at Kitchn recommend that the host provides the tools and that each guest brings their own pumpkin so you don't have to do the hauling yourself. Brilliant! Visit their post to learn how to roast the pumpkin seeds as a party snack.

03 of 09

A Spooktacular Pet Party

Halloween Party Themes, two Boston terriers in costumes
Genevieve Morrison/Getty Images

If your town doesn't host an annual pet Halloween parade, go ahead and plan your own! Invite all of the dogs on the block (plus any agreeable cats) and tell their owners to dress them up in their best costume. Keep plenty of treats on hand and instruct owners to keep their pets on their leashes for safety. This party is about the pets, but don't forget snacks and sweets for the human guests, too! The Boston terrier bats and corgi butterflies will provide endless fodder for the attendee's Instagram feeds.

04 of 09

A Sweet Candy Cart Party

Halloween Party Theme Candy Cart with flowers and skeletons
Zan Passante / Sugar and Charm

Want a party that's more about the treats than the tricks? Grab your rolling bar cart or storage cart and transform it into a Halloween candy cart, like Sugar and Charm did. Decant gummy candies and small wrapped chocolates into clear glass apothecary jars and clean scientific beakers. Then add cobwebs and skeletons for an eerie touch, and pretty fall flowers for some eye candy. This confectionery-focused party is equal parts pretty, spooky, and sweet.

05 of 09

A Fortune-Telling Soiree

Halloween Party Themes, woman reading Tarot Cards
Natalie_magic/Getty Images

Buy a pack of tarot cards and start brushing up on your palm-reading skills—this future-forward party is sure to be a hit. You can either hire a local fortune-teller or play the role yourself, then keep the food and decor on-theme. Moon pies and star-shaped cookies? Check! Serve each guest a cup of tea so they can try their hand at reading their tea leaves. Decorate the table with crystals and star-shaped paper cutouts. We see an unforgettable party in your future.

06 of 09

Classic Black and White

Classic Black and White
Courtesy of Abby Larson

If elegant and understated is more your style than something over-the-top scary, pick a classic black and white color palette for your Halloween bash. "We went with a simple black and white theme for a couple of reasons, the most obvious being that it translates into a super chic look for Halloween," says Abby Larson of Style Me Pretty. "But more than that, sticking with a streamlined palette means that shopping and executing a party that feels really wow-worthy is far easier than a more layered palette." She draped the table in a black tablecloth, put white candles in empty wine bottles, and added peach-hued florals.

07 of 09

A Classic All Hallow's Eve Dinner Party

A Classic All Hallow's Eve Dinner Party with cobweb tablecloth and candles

If you love all of the classic cues of Halloween–cobwebs, spiders, and skulls, oh my!—but you want to create a grownup vibe for your Halloween bash, take a tip from Pizzazzerie's stunning Halloween dinner party decor. To set the scene, start by draping your table in faux spiderwebs. Then, add elegant taper candles in the classic colors of Halloween, orange and black. Use black chargers and napkins that fit the color palette. Extra credit: Look for black wine bottles and black plastic wine glasses to match your decor. This tablescape screams Halloween, yet is sophisticated enough for a grownups-only dinner party.

08 of 09

Cabinet of Curiosities

Cabinet of Curiosities
Courtesy of David Stark

Dating back as far as the 16th century, a cabinet of curiosities was created by collectors to display interesting items, mostly of the natural history variety (think skulls, taxidermy, bones, and other curious objets). Here, event planner and designer David Stark brings that eerie, spooky idea onto a tablescape. "Gather your favorite items from nature: seed pods, sea shells, dried leaves and branches, and pair them with old books, glass cloches, and interesting items you craft by hand," he says. "Don't be afraid to get a little weird here, it is Halloween after all—skulls and bones are appropriate and encouraged." Layer items down your table (or mantel, if it's not a seated affair). It doesn't have to be neat or styled perfectly since it's supposed to look like things have been collected over time.

09 of 09


Glamorous Table
Courtesy of Tara Guérard

Whether it's for a seated dinner party or a cocktail gathering, opt for something that really shines (literally) over something gloomy. This idea is perfect if you're hosting a more formal, adults-only party. Event planner Tara Guérard spray-painted pumpkins of various sizes in metallic silver and white to display all over the table. "Using a mixture of sizes and varying colors in the same shade gives a nice depth to the tabletop," she says. As a base, she placed a black tablecloth that touched the floor for a dramatic effect. Mini white pumpkins are used as place card holders (with seating and menu cards adorned with elegant calligraphy), and plenty of candles are placed in the center of the table to create a warm glow (and make the metallic pumpkins sparkle).

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