Saturday, July 7, 2012

Party Planning Part 1: List-O-Mania Realities

picture source: TheMetaPicture

I am a lover of lists. Lists rule! Lists are what make my dark little heart skip a beat. Sonnets should be written about lists.  The only thing better than making lists is crossing things off of lists. Oh yes, I looooooooove my lists!

Every Halloween party starts out with a list. My parties start out with a notebook of lists. First I conjure up  the party theme or if I already have a costume in mind I match the the theme to it. Then a list for the decor which leads to lists regarding staging, construction, purchases and gathering from my ever-growing stash.

There's an invite so I have a list of potential designs and details. Costumes for me and the hub means another lists of ideas and designs plus purchases and construction.

Naturally I have a list of possible menu items with links to their recipes which when whittled down leads to a grocery list and a list of appropriate tableware. This, in turn, leads to a list of menu staging items for the buffet.

Let's not forget the scavenger hunt. We are known for our hunts so this is serious stuff. Another list of teams, clues, destinations plus design and delivery.

Among all of these lists are what I refer to as mini-lists. Little scraps and sticky tabs that get scribbled on as ideas come when I'm away from my notebook.

Whew! That's a lot of lists, but lists are the easy part. Just because you have a list full of wonderful plans don't think for one second that everything on that list will be accomplished. Quite the contrary. My lists demonstrate what I would be capable of completing if I were cloned or if I had a Martha Stewart size staff. If there's one thing I can be certain of it's that there will always be something on the list left undone. So be it. Knowing that is half the battle.

Remember no one will know your original plan for your party. The fact that you did not complete your animated Frankenstein with Jacob's ladder prop will have no bearing on how enjoyable your guests find your party. You sulking around because you did not finish Frank will, however, make for a miserable evening for all.

Prioritize. If you've spent all your time crafting our Frank example but forget something essential, like cups and plates, that's just going to stress you out. Get the must haves done first and well in advance, everything else is just icing on the cake.

Here's another dirty secret. That prop/decoration/display that you worked late into the night for weeks on end? Often those go without fanfare while the last minute thrown together idea steals the show.

Also, let's try to avoid comparing our yard/decorations to the professional haunt, the online haunt that's been running since 1998 or the next door neighbor. Your haunt/party is yours and unique to you which is what makes it great.

You do not have to have a block buster budget to pull this together. My goal for this party is to use items from my stash as much as possible. Keep in mind I've been a Halloween retailer for over a decade, hosted Halloween parties for 15 years and I've accumulated a bunch of of haunted goodness. (I'm not a good example if you're just starting out.)

Two new things I'm shooting for this year. One is to be realistic and keep the construction list to a minimum as I know damn good and well most of it likely ain't gonna happen. Case in point: I have pink foam destined for tombstones that's been taking up space in the garage for years. It will still be there come 2013.

I'm also adding a save-the-date video which will go out mid-July. I'm happy to report that job has been completed.

I'm going to show parts of my list as we go along on this journey and you will see what doesn't get done and what morphs into something else. But, here's the thing, parties are meant to be fun. As the host if you aren't having fun why bother? Make your lists but don't be a slave to them.


  1. Great post. List making is essential to all kinds of success in life.


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