Party Planning 101
BY Lara Shriftman
Planning parties for Hollywood's hottest stars has been my job for nearly 20 years, so when it came to celebrate Halloween for the first time with my baby, Lucas, you can imagine how excited I was and how seriously I took the task at hand.
I always over-invite because I know some people will cancel. I invited 15 to 20 guests.
The invitation is a teaser for the party so I like to personalize mine. I bought an affordable box set, wrote out the copy and decorated the envelopes with cute Halloween stickers.
Everyone is watching their budget, but that doesn't mean you should stop throwing parties. I made a list of what I wanted for décor, what I would serve and party gifts. I found everything I needed a Target, in one stop-spending only $150.
My shopping list included
➻Orange paper napkins
➻Black tumblers with skulls
➻Mini-pumpkin metal pails
➻A paper skeleton
➻Inexpensive sheets to cut holes in for eyes so the kids could play ghostly games
➻Candy, of course
LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION
Choosing the right venue can make or break a great party. I chose to have Lucas' party in my backyard, but some other great location ideas for a kids' Halloween party are a pumpkin patch or local park.
I found his baby bat costume in the One Step Ahead catalog and decided he wouldn’t be the only one dressed up. His dog, Lulu Flynn, was a spider. Some other spots for great Halloween costumes are Pottery Barn Kids, Teeny Tiny Tots Kiddie Catalog, Target and buycostumes.com.
The best part about a costume party is the guests become the décor! The rest of the room should play to the theme, but don’t overdo it. I found great Halloween-inspired tableware from Pottery Barn Kids. For my overall color scheme I chose orange, white and black and carried it through the invites, food, balloons, tablecloths and cupcakes.
➻Make your home party-friendly and childproof. Move anything breakable
to another room.
➻Arrange the furniture to create a lounge for the parents.
➻Create a separate play area for the kids.
➻Buy your smaller décor items—such as Halloween plates, napkins and
candy—closer to the day of the event. They always go on sale.
THE ACTIVITIES I love to marry my party theme with fun activities, such as a haunted house, a costume contest, scary storytelling or putting on a Halloweencartoon DVD.
FOOD & DRINK
Guests will always enjoy themselves at a party if they are sipping lovely drinks and eating delicious food. Theme parties are no exception.
Food and drink ideas for little and big guests
➻Orange and black popcorn from The Popcorn Factory
➻PB&J finger sandwiches
➻Crumbs Bake Shop cupcakes (sticking with the color
➻A vodka punch for the adults
➻Pumpkin dog treats for Lulu’s friends
The most important tip I can give any host is to have fun. Do all of the necessary preparations ahead of time, so when the big day comes, you can participate as a guest at your own party. Halloween is now Lucas’ favorite holiday—at least until Christmas. For more party-planning tips, visit partyconfidential.com
PHOTOGRAPHS BY AMY GRAVES
Fashion shoot: December 2013 issue of Los Angeles Confidential magazine.