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Witches. Warlocks. Voodoo. Satan.

Some refuse to participate in Halloween-connoted activities and even loathe its’ existence due to its’ negative association with horror, the dark arts and the underworld.

However, the history of Halloween goes far beyond fake vampire teeth and candy corn.

In Mexico, it’s Dia de Muertos (Day of the Dead).

In Egypt, it’s the mummification process and other funerary customs.

Around the Globe, Christians reserve ‘Good Friday’ as a day to commemorate the crucifixion (and resurrection) of Jesus Christ and His ultimate sacrifice for the World.

Whether it’s a time of the year, a singular day or a moment of reflection, one thing is certain: various cultures, as diverse as they are, all find unique methods of eulogizing, extoling and remembering those who have passed on.

For Western Christianity and the Roman Catholic Church, All Saint’s Day (also known as All Hallow’s Day), celebrated on November 1st, is a festival reserved to honor those who have faithfully departed. ‘Halloween’ (also known as All Hallow’s Eve or All Saint’s Eve) was once utilized in copious regions as a time of the year dedicated to remembering martyrs and saints. In today’s society, ‘Halloween’ is widely known as a time to dress up as a creature, animal or known character to party, trick-or-treat or cause mischief within the neighborhood.

Truth: no matter the holiday, some party planners and party goers are STILL clueless on how to decorate, what to serve and/or how to dress for their upcoming festivities. This week, we’re taking the guesswork out of your Hallow's Eve with 10 practical ways you can take your Halloween celebration to the next level!

HACK #10

It’s What’s On the OUTSIDE That Counts

Decorating outside your home is a great strategy for both event hosts and those who just want to startle innocent by-passers and by-standers. Anyone can buy fake spider webs and orange/black streamers. Who said garland was only for Christmas? How can you use tools you already have (your hands, feet, etc.) to make a dramatic effect?

Finding creative methods to embellish the exterior of your home is a sure way to make your door, porch or deck stand out!

HACK #9

Looks like Hallow’s Eve…

Decorating indoors is a fab way to get into the Halloween vibe and impress your guests. Stray away from tacky, typical décor.

For those unimpressed with the Halloween jive, decorating for the fall season in lieu of specifically decorating for Halloween not only allows you to tap into your creative side but gives you the biggest bang for your buck: the decorations will last well into the end of November.

For those interested in decorating for the cause, ditch the white sheets and strive towards fresh ideas to awaken any barren hallway, empty wall space, simple stairway or vacant ceiling.

HACK #8

SWITCH IT UP!

Classic activities include carving pumpkins, bobbing for apples and putting up scarecrows.

Bored yet?

Step it up a notch by introducing surprising twists to simple traditions, décor and games (like rolls of tissue-as-pins for bowling and tear pong).

HACK #7

Would you do me a FAVOR?

When it comes to take-home gifts for your guests or take-away treats for motivated children banging on your door, think outside the box to make your favor COUNT! Easy tasks include gloved candy, fluffy popcorn (be easy on the butter) or crispy chips.

HACK #6

Frighteningly Delicious…

Making themed treats doesn’t mean you have to travail before your event.

Imaginative ideas on how to present your spread takes creativity and effort, not muscles.

HACK #5

Make-It-Up As You Go Along!

Designating makeup as the highlight of your “costume” is only cost effective, but innovative and easy as 1-2-3.

Using YouTube tutorial videos and step-by-step images is a great way to achieve a costumed-face!

Sometimes, the costume can be derived from your God-given traits.

How?

If you’re a natural-ista like me, a cat or lion face with your crown of curls is a sure show-stopper.

Into comic books? Take a page out of one of the classic editions and use red dots with stark lines to “theme” your face as a blond bombshell.

Have distinct features? Select a known character you share physical traits with and then choose how to fill in the blanks. A friend of mine, who I call Ivory, has long, luscious black hair and creamy ivory skin. She used her physical traits to her advantage and dressed up as 'Wednesday' from The Addams Family.

Check out the slideshow above for pictures of other Halloween-ers who took on the challenge of using makeup to make-it-up.

HACK #4

DIY

Do-It-Yourself?

More like Dress-It-Yourself!

You’re sure to find a get-up at your local Ricky’s and Party City, but why spend money when you don’t have to?

Get into that closet of yours (or your best friend’s) and start plotting!

Sometimes strategic makeup application (see Hack #5) and a simple outfit is all you need to play the part.

HACK #3

Think OUTSIDE The Box

These days, everyone and their sister is doing something different.

If you’re planning to think outside of the box, you’ve got to COMMIT!

Work around your size, height, personality and even current physical condition (are you pregnant or nah?).

If you find yourself nervous about your costume idea, share your look with those closest to you and get their opinion and/or constructive riticism. If you can’t handle a loved one’s take on your outfit, how the heck are you going to endure the whispers and stares of strangers?

When in doubt, remember: High risk, high reward (if applicable lol).

HACK #2

PUN, Anyone?

If anyone knows me, they know how much I enjoy ‘The Office’. There are plenty of people who have viewed the show and didn’t appreciate its’ dry humor, quirky references, silent punchlines and quips created to go over viewers’ heads. If you appreciate puns, why not put your personality into your costume. Sometimes confused with being ‘corny’ or ‘cheesy’, PUN-tumes (pun costumes) are known for pushing the envelope and is a sure way to turn heads and inspire muffled giggles from those who secretly think you’re ingenious.

Can’t think of anything? Get encouraged by these suggestions:

  • IRON CHEF: Wear a chef’s hat and jacket, then put the chemistry symbol for Iron – "Fe"

  • NETFLIX & CHILL: *COUPLE ALERT* One partner wears the “N” logo, the other wears an Ice Cube costume

  • HOLY COW: Wear a cow-printed outfit with a halo and angel wings

  • OPTIMISM: Wear a T-shirt that reads “LIFE” and hold a bowl of lemons that you pretend to hand out to nearby viewers

  • LEGO’MY EGGO: *COUPLE ALERT* One partner wears a waffle as an outfit, and the other wears a full Lego toy outfit)

  • SMART COOKIE: Wear a cookie outfit with a graduation cap and glasses

  • LOOSELEAF: *FOR TRUE FANS OF ‘THE OFFICE’* Cut out 3 black circles from construction paper and tape them on one side of a white shirt/tee/button down

You get the point.

And last but not least...

HACK #1

DON’T FRET THE FARAGO

I recently coordinated a Halloween-themed brunch and seriously speaking, it had to be the best Halloween party I’ve been to.

From the creative décor to the creepy good food, I truly enjoyed myself. Personally, I was having a blast. Professionally, I couldn’t help but appreciate the Hosts’ boldness in presenting different elements within the same event to cater to their hodge-podge guest list.

For those who loved candy, there was plenty of sweet treats being both handed out and presented on nearby cocktail and end tables.

For those who were into horror, there was a marathon of scary films playing in their in-home theater.

For those who were into traditional activities, there was a barrel for bobbing apples outdoors and a table for carving pumpkins.

For trick-or-treaters, there was a well of candy gushing in the front lawn.

For parents who didn’t want their children taking candy, there was a bin full bagged veggies (i.e. carrots, sliced cucumbers, etc.) and packaged toys (great Dollar Tree finds like toy soldiers, plastic tiaras and bubbles).

I mean, they had it ALL!

It was rewarding to sit back, relax and watch the party burst as enthused guests went from one designated area to the other.

Moral of the Hacks: if you’re throwing a party: No matter how creepy, crawly, spooky, refined or traditional -- don’t be afraid to give your guests what they want.

I hope these tips allow you to hack your way through coordinating an amazing party, clever costume or decorating theme.

With the world we live in, please be safe when trick-or-treating and use caution while travelling.

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!!

Ooo---ooooo—aa---h-hhhhhhhh-aaa--a-hhhhh

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