Friday, October 10, 2008

Your Guide to Everything Halloween! Part II: Halloween Party Invitations

Cheddar and our new, emergency back-up cat, Fancy, help with Halloween preparations

We are hosting a spooky Halloween party the weekend before Halloween for the kids, so that was my main focus in searching for supplies. For younger children, I recommend not scheduling your party on Halloween night unless you want to take the kids Trick or Treating in your own neighborhood during the party and it's okay with the other parents.
My kids are older than many of yours, so I knew their friends weren't planning on Trick or Treating, but I still planned for the weekend before Halloween so they could spend Halloween night with their family.

I chose a more mature theme of spooky gothic influences for our Halloween party. You may prefer to go less spooky and more friendly and fun, depending on the ages of your children.

I found stationery for our invitations at our local Walmart. It's simple computer paper with a border that appealed to me--black, thorny outlines around an orangeish frame. That's the paper I picked, on the left.

I had thought about making the invitations with stamps and card stock, but this paper made it even easier for me to create the invitations. All I had to do was print them up on the computer with plain black ink.

Next, I came up with the prose for the invitations with a little creativity. I wanted our home to seem like a haunted house that we were enticing our unwitting guests into entering.
I spent some time finding the right font (Gothic small caps, continuing with my Gothic theme) and playing around with the wording. I added some dead black roses from Photoshop. Here's a printed invitation in the picture to the right. Notice how the strikethru font, which is an easy option in Microsoft Word or Photoshop, adds to that "unwitting guests" idea. By the way, I prefer using my Mac for work like this, but our printer is hooked up to the kids Windows-based computer. What's nice is Photoshop files transfer easily between platforms.

Here's what the invitations say, in case you can't read the font in the pictures!

Grab your Ghastly Garb and Follow the Other Victims Guests!
We Invite You to Join In a Night of Ghostly Revelries at the Old Mausoleum.

Featuring Gruesome, Gory Games
Maniacal, Monstrous Movies
Horror D'Oeuvres
Beastly Beverages
Fiendish Food

October 25th
From Twilight (8:00 PM)
Until the Witching Hour (Midnight)
I also used R.I.P. down at the address and phone number, and then used strikethru to make it R.S.V.P. I'm excluding the address here since I doubt any of you will be able to make it to the party ; )

But I wasn't done with the invitations. I wanted a unique way to present them. Since the kids were handing them out at school (which, by the way, is a no-no in some elementary schools, so be careful! Mine are in middle school in high school), I needed to either dress up the envelopes or skip them altogether and save some cash.

I actually bought envelopes but came up with a better idea that fit right in with the whole gothic flavor: I folded the envelopes over and sealed them up with blood-red sealing wax!

I found a sealing wax set from Barnes and Noble that had the red wax I wanted. It came with a heart seal, not at all appropriate for a Halloween party full of tween and teenage guys! But I love stationery and sealing wax, so I had seals to substitute. I ended up with a "scribe" seal, which has an old-fashioned quill pen imprint.

I also thought of tying the invitations up with red ribbon before sealing them, but the boys thought the ribbons were too "girly." I still think that would be a great idea for those of you with daughters, though!

On the reverse side of the invitations from the seal, I wrote the names with a flourish, using a black calligraphy pen.

Oh, and to prove I am not Martha Stewart, I got the date on the invitations wrong and put the 24th! Which I realized only AFTER they were sealed. Doh! The boys are telling their friends Mom messed up, as usual. : P

I set out an invitation, sealed with wax, on top of a styrofoam tombstone, with some of my other Halloween decorations in a nice tableau for all of you, but my very floofy cat, Cheddar, decided he wanted to be in the picture, too! (We have three cats now: floofy cute Cheddar, tough guard cat Colby and emergency back-up girl cat, Fancy.) Anyway, here's the final product! Ta-da!

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