Halloween Special - Parties

Halloween Special - Parties

Spooky delights

If ever there was an excuse for slipping into bad fancy dress and watching a run of slasher flicks, then it’s Hallow’s Eve. Zaineb Al Hassani reveals how to get your freak on this party season

In the background, Jamie Lee Curtis is having trouble with some guy called Michael, toffee apples litter the floor, and the smell of rotting pumpkin fills the air. All hail Halloween, the one night of the year when it is acceptable to dress as a walking shower or a six-foot bat and gorge yourself on a feast of horror movies, food and gore. First up is décor, and there is always an abundance of spooky toys and creepy ornaments in shops at this time of year. Use black and orange as the main colours and instantly turn your home from cosy retreat into evil hovel. Glasgow’s Art Shop (0141 221 1101) has coloured crepe paper, and the local greengrocer should sort you out with a pumpkin to carve into a lantern. To further authenticate the look, visit Halloween Yard Haunter (www.yard haunter.com) to browse a selection of cobwebs-in-a-can, stretchable cobwebs and several other variations on the cobweb theme. Next, scatter plastic spiders liberally around the house in the hope that at least one person will develop an irrational fear of spiders afterwards. As for costumes, we predict a run of Sarah Palin lookalikes turning up at Halloween bashes this year, but if you prefer to keep politics and partying separate, take inspiration from Italian giallo-horror films of the 70s, Tim Burton’s darkly brilliant back catalogue, brat-pack vampire flick The Lost Boys or any one of the Garbage Pail Kids.

For drinks, fridges are very 2007, but bathtubs filled with ice, drinks, and the dramatic top half of a dummy are definitely the look du jour. Place the dummy at one end of the tub, hands placed upwards in fear, bottles wedged all around, then splatter fake blood everywhere. For extra charm, place bottle openers in your floating dead guest’s upturned palm. In keeping with the gruesome theme, keep all foodstuffs as dark as possible, and give an evil twist to innocent desserts by adding black food dye to ice-cream and jelly. Monkey nuts, mini Mars bars and jelly sweets may be useful to have too, in case local guisers decide to crash your party. For a finishing touch, hire a friend to dress up as Death and scare unsuspecting guests. Last but not least, for games, go retro with pin-the-wart-on-the-witch, apple dunking and ‘drink-a-shot-for-every-scary-moment-in-The Shining’.

Finally, remember to smile as you offer your guest a drink, then laugh manically as they notice the gooey eyeball winking at them from the bottom of their glass (pick one up from Tam Shepherd’s Trick Shop).