Kelly Carnes liked throwing Halloween parties so much that she went pro. Her business, Carnes & Co., is partially a party-planning venture, and Carnes is legendary among her friends for throwing massive Halloween parties at her house in the H Street corridor. You can try to reach her level of success with a few simple techniques. And glow sticks.
Set an accessible theme. “It’s really a tool to provide people with somewhat of a structure,” Carnes says. “This year we’re doing ‘Where the Wild Things Are,’ which is essentially a pajama party. You can go all out and create something super-elaborate and monster-y, or you can wear a pair of onesie pajamas if elaborate’s not your thing.”
Don’t limit yourself to Party City. “I get a lot [of decorations] from T.J. Maxx, Marshalls and Ross,” Carnes says. “They have Halloween decor; you can get those decorations that are going to be around a lot longer” than a cardboard skeleton or fake spider webs. And you don’t need to put them away come November. “All year round we have a skeleton hanging over the closet,” she says. “It’s just kind of been incorporated into our daily lives.”
Think outside the living room. Last year, Carnes and her roommates turned their yard into another room. “We brought home eight hay bales and set them up in a seating arrangement so there was a space outside.” They also scattered pumpkins around, for that extra-autumnal look.
Make them look up. “If you hang a ton of s— from the ceiling, no matter how cheesy it is, people will feel like they’re in a different space,” Carnes says.
Let your light shine. “If you change the lighting, that changes the space and makes it feel immersive,” Carnes says. She recommends twinkling Christmas lights, but “you can even just get glow sticks. They give you a lot of options in terms of different lighting for different spaces.”
How to make an easy decoration that will scare your optometrist
What you need: Mason jars, plastic eyeballs, water, glow sticks
1. Get some Mason jars from the store or your hipster friends.
2. Fill them with plastic eyeballs and water (spiders, fingers and other spooky things are also acceptable).
3. Crack a glow stick (or three) and shove it into the middle of the jar to give the decoration an eerie glow.