Students don't generally need much of an excuse to party, but Halloween is a pretty good excuse so it'd be rude not to get into the spirit of things! However, after purchasing all the necessary books and supplies, and getting a bit too carried away during Fresher's Week, you may be finding that your loan isn't stretching as far as you need it to. But fear not; throwing a Halloween party for your fellow students needn't cost a (severed and bloody) arm and a leg.
We've come up with your ultimate guide to throwing an amazing Halloween party on a student budget, and we go into a lot more detail below, but if you're short on time here's a quick summary...
Send invitations via email, SMS, Facebook, WhatsApp etc
Make your own decorations or buy from the pound shop
Use a Spotify playlist and show old horror films for ambience
Ask people to bring food to the party, or make simple, budget snacks
Ask guests to bring their own drinks, but provide the mixers for them
Embrace the Halloween fun with a fancy dress competition
When you're a child it's fun to give out paper invitations to your friends when you're throwing a party; and likewise as a post-grad adult you'd expect a proper invitation to things like weddings, engagement parties, birthday parties, and maybe even Halloween parties.
However, when you're a student it's much easier and cheaper to send a group WhatsApp or Facebook message and receive instant RSVPs to your invitations. If you want to get a bit fancier and embrace the Halloween spirit right through to your party invitations then use appropriate emojis in your messages, or send a customised email template.
A website like evite.com lets you create free customised party invitations that can be emailed out to as many people as you like. Simply pick a design you like, edit the necessary fields, then send it on to your contact list and await the replies...
When it comes to throwing a Halloween party, it's all about creating the right atmosphere; and the best way to do that is with decorations. Larger supermarkets tend to stock a good selection of Halloween decorations, and you'll also find a good range in most pound shops and discount stores on the high street.
If you're feeling particularly crafty and creative there are plenty of cheap things you can make using stuff that you might have around the house already, like these fun ideas that we found via Pinterest:
If you've given yourself a few weeks to plan your Halloween party you can start to save up old toilet roll tubes, empty cereal boxes, empty glass jars etc. Use the toilet roll tubes to make hanging bats and ghosts, and paint the cereal boxes and turn them into eerie tombstones. The empty glass jars can be wrapped with white gauze or netting – you can buy this cheaply from most haberdashers or on eBay – and attach some plastic spiders; then pop a tealight candle in the jar to add some spooky yet ambient lighting.
You'll want to make your Halloween party as spooky as possible, but that doesn't mean you need to spend money in order to do so. If you can't get your hands on a spooky fog machine, you can still create an eerie ambience with little effort and no cost.
Set up the television in the living room to play classic Halloween films such as ‘Night of the Living Dead', ‘Halloween', ‘House on Haunted Hill', and ‘Frankenstein' among a plethora of other classics. This will both enhance the spooky ambience of your party and provide some entertainment for your guests.
As for music, it's a good idea to have a mixture of spooky classics like Michael Jackson's ‘Thriller', Bobby Pickett's ‘Monster Mash', The Cranberries' ‘Zombie', and Ray Parker Jr's ‘Ghostbusters', and well as more modern eerie tunes such as Rihanna's ‘Disturbia', Talking Heads' ‘Psycho Killer', and Rob Zombie's ‘Living Dead Girl'.
Whether you choose to put your own playlist together on your iPod or via Spotify, or use one of Spotify's pre-assembled Halloween playlists, the music that you play at your spooky party can really make a big difference to the overall ambience.
If your student budget barely stretches enough for you to feed yourself most days, you certainly won't have a very big budget for catering for your party guests! One of the most cost-effective ways of throwing a party and ensuring no one goes hungry is to ask each guest to bring an item of food. It can be a good idea to allocate different things to different people though so that you don't end up with 18 tubes of Pringles, 12 bags of Doritos, and nothing to dip them in! You could have a competition for the most spooky and creative item of food to encourage your guests to bring Halloween themed treats.
If you do want to provide the food yourself rather than asking guests then here are a couple of low-cost, easy-to-prepare eerie edibles that we found on Pinterest:
It's a student Halloween party, so of course you'll want to serve alcohol to your party guests! However, alcohol is pretty expensive, so it's a good idea to ask your party guests to bring their own booze... you could even make it Halloween themed and ask them to bring their own boos!
Mixers like cola, lemonade, and orange juice are fairly cheap to pick up so it's nice, as the party host, to provide your guests with at least something to add their cheap vodka to!
Another option is to create a signature cocktail or punch to serve to your party guests. You could mix a wicked concoction of drinks in a large bowl, call it a ‘witches brew' and add things like eyeballs aka grapes, and worms aka gummy sweets. Provide some plastic glasses and a ladle and invite guests to serve themselves from the cauldron.
Image via Pinterest
You could even decorate glasses or old glass jars with Halloween-y things and make them a part of the overall decorations. If your budget will stretch to it, consider purchasing some of these eyeball ice cubes to add a spooky twist to any drink!
You can decorate your house as Halloween-y as you like, and serve the most gruesome foods and ghastly drinks, but if you and your guests aren't in fancy dress then is it even a Halloween party?! One of the best parts of Halloween is being able to don a scary outfit and play dress-up for the evening!
You can either opt for the theme to be Halloween, or allow guests to come in any fancy dress that they choose. Either way, wearing fancy dress costumes increases the fun of a Halloween party like 100 fold (don't quote us on that statistic, but we're sure we're right!)
Ensure that your guests put in maximum effort with their costumes by offering a prize for the best dressed. It can be something simple like a box of chocolates; the prize is usually unimportant, most people just like winning things!
Image via Pinterest