Ghouls Just Gotta Have Fun

If your Halloween costume this year involves any version of the word “sexy” (see: sexy pirate, sexy football player, sexy army man), this article may not be for you.

Of course, nothing’s wrong with donning a few sheaths of green and brown fabric, calling yourself a sexy tree, and certainly, nothing’s wrong with shaking your newly sprouted sexy leaves at a sexy bar downtown. But for those looking to plan a more sophisticated Halloween gathering, a limited-clothes-wearing night on the town may not be on the agenda.

While the words “sophisticated” and “Halloween” may not always seem to go hand in hand, the duo are, in fact, quite possible to pull off together, and with about as much ease as those planning a sexy football player and cheerleader combo with their best friend.

Some party planning extraordinaires recommend picking a central theme first, and working in several complementary details along the way.

If you’re thinking “Halloween” counts as a theme, think again. You have lots of ways to go about planning a theme that doesn’t shout: “Tacky plastic Halloween, here we come!”

For example, instead of the usual black-and-orange affair often associated with the holiday that’s not really a holiday, try planning a theme around a few other colors, and stick with them.

Throw an all-black or all-white get-together, or mix the two colors together to create a unique and eye-pleasing social event. Guests also can forgo the usual last-minute scramble to find a suitable Halloween costume, and instead deck themselves out in black and white to match the decor.

As well, an all-black or all-white Halloween event doesn’t—and shouldn’t—require buying lots of bone-white skeletons and a herd of black cats to swamp your front yard and living space. A simple black-and-white dining set could create the right mood, and other tasteful black and white decorations could add some fun elegance to the party.

Considering that Halloween is the second-largest holiday when it comes to decoration spending, according to the National Retail Federation (NRF), finding the right set for a classy decor is becoming less and less of a hassle.

While the overly celebrated, overly decorated, overly commercialized giant that is Christmas continues to take the biggest bite out of consumer holiday decorating dollars, Halloween is making an impact, with nearly 60 percent of the population planning to celebrate it with more than $5 billion of their hard-earned cash, NRF’s 2007 survey points out. It went on to show that almost 30 percent of people plan to attend or throw a party, and nearly 50 percent plan to decorate their homes or yards.

“For many retailers, Halloween represents the big kickoff to the fourth quarter,” NRF President and CEO Tracy Mullin says. “Consumers are pulling out all of the stops when it comes to decorating their homes and yards, and wearing elaborate costumes, making Halloween an important holiday for retailers.”

With Halloween consumption figures rising, retailers surely have taken note, and saturated the market with a lot more than the usual plastic pumpkins and skulls.

If you still think finding just the right amount of simple and tasteful black-and-white Halloween decorations is too much work, consider switching the entire color palette, lavishing your pad with oranges, browns, and yellows. While not the traditionally scary colors Halloween has become attached to, the October holiday comes at the start of the fall season, and less than a month from America’s next beloved holiday, Thanksgiving. Swapping your color scheme not only may provide you with some fresh decorating ideas, but also open an often-forgotten window into Halloween done differently.

Taking this latter surprise route surely may delight and amuse your Halloween guests, but you may want to warn them what they’re getting themselves into. Tipping your guests off to the party’s color theme may ruin some of the surprise and fun, but it’s probably far better than the other option: eating dinner in a swank outfit sitting next to Dracula and Dolly Parton.

Achieving Halloween elegance is all a matter of simplicity and color choice. Avoiding a sudden loss of cash at the end of October will be not only a smart financial decision, but also a smart decor choice. Too many decorations and too many flashing lights, just like too many witches, no doubt will spoil your Halloween brew.

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