Every 31st October in the United States and the United Kingdom, Halloween, the scariest night of the year, is celebrated. The term seems to be derived from ‘All Hallow’s Eve’, which is how the Eve of All Saints was referred to in Old English.
Other sources instead link the origin of Halloween to the Celtic celebration of Semhain, during which the end of summer was celebrated. For the ancient Irish, on this night it was possible to communicate with the realm of the dead, making it an ideal time to honour them.
There is probably some truth in both origins and over the years their fusion with other functions – religious and secular – has given rise to the current tradition.
One thing is certain: throughout the Anglo-Saxon world, 31st October is the ideal time to throw a spooky party, and over the last decade the rest of Europe has begun to embrace this festive occasion.
Here, then, are a few tips if you are thinking of organising a Halloween party at home.
1. Choose subdued lighting
The flames from your fireplace, a few candles, the flame inside your hollowed out pumpkin: fire is an ideal way to quickly create the right atmosphere. In the rest of the house, opt for low-luminosity lamps, preferably with lampshades in warm colours such as red or orange, or dark ones such as purple or midnight blue.
2. Use music to create the right atmosphere
The evening’s playlist can be the ace up your sleeve or your worst nightmare: choose it carefully. The genre can obviously range according to your taste but try to keep a connection to the theme of horror.
With Michael Jackson’s Thriller you really can’t go wrong.
3. Keep the theme consistent throughout your party space
To organise an Instagram-worthy party you need to make sure that all the elements, from colour to objects, blend well together. The most popular palettes are orange (inspired by pumpkins), purple (for witches) and black (for bats). Once you have identified your colour scheme, create or purchase your decorations accordingly.
4. Offer Halloween-themed cocktails and snacks
Crisps and olives are always good, but if you want to throw an unforgettable Halloween party, you have to go a step further. Fortunately, it takes very little to turn a simple platter of cold cuts or puff pastry finger food into something spooky (but not overly so!)
Black olives are a passepartout: you can use them to create eyes, legs and much more besides. Similarly, pancarrè or white sliced bread are very easy to cut, perhaps using a biscuit cutter.
For cocktails, you can indulge yourself: great classics such as Negroni, Americano, Bloody Mary or Campari Spritz are ideal because of their vivid red colour. If, on the other hand, you want to try darker alternatives, you can head for drinks with liquorice, kahlua (coffee liqueur) or blueberries.
So to sum up, to organise a perfect Halloween party you need two things above all: a theme and lots of imagination!