Old Fashioned Halloween Party Ideas

Halloween GreetingVintage Halloween Greeting

These old fashioned Halloween party ideas were popular back in Grandma's day when money was scarce, and you made your own fun. And they are perfect for planning your special Halloween celebration today, since October 31st as a party night, grows more popular every year.

And why shouldn't it, since in our routine world often there's too little simple, wholesome fun? Both children and adults love the fun of Halloween because it's one night when realities can be laid aside, and everything is delightfully make-believe.

Old Fashioned Halloween Party Ideas

Mom's Recipe Scrapbooks (c. 1920s)

Just imagine throwing a Halloween party with an old fashioned theme. It's so affordable, and everybody would love its novelty. The homemade decorations are easy to make, and the traditional party games are simple and fun to play.

Use these clever old fashioned Halloween party ideas when you go to plan your next holiday get-together and create fond family memories to look back on. The ideas are adapted from a vintage magazine article published in the 1920s

Old Fashioned Halloween Party Ideas for Costumes

Old Time Halloween PartyGreat Aunt Betty's Halloween Dress-up Party, circa 1915
(Source: ©Don Bell)

Everybody who's young in heart loves to dress up, and Halloween is the perfect time to do it. In Grandma's day, you made your own Halloween costume, and to make your party fun and affordable, you could request your guests to do the same.

The simplest party becomes an event when we have special costumes to wear. They need not cost much, and with a bit of ingenuity, they can often be created for no cost at all.

Is anyone fond of sewing? There are always odd lengths of fabric to be had cheaply. An old curtain will make fun skirts for the ladies and young girls.

A stunning clown suit can be quickly run up on the sewing machine if you can find two good-sized remnants preferably black and white, and leftover gingham makes a cute Pierrot dress, cut on simple romper lines.

Children Dessed in Costumes For HalloweenChildren Dressed in Vintage Halloween Costumes
(Source: ©claire-norman/123RF)

Old clothing can offer a goldmine of costume choices, and the exploration of a basement or attic often yields rich gifts to the youngsters searching.

The clothing styles of other days are joyfully made use of by the present younger generation in their quest for odd or comic costumes.

A glance online at the pages of an old magazine of twenty or more years ago shows us a world clothed in styles now mostly forgotten that offer wonderful costume ideas for a Halloween party.

In addition, the traditional tiny black or silver face masks are very attractive, cost very little, and may be worn with any homemade costume. They add a touch of mystery very right for the occasion.

Old Fashioned Halloween Party Ideas for Decorations

Halloween Dessert Table Decorated With Owl CenterpieceVintage Halloween Table Decorations
(Source: ©Don Bell)

Real pumpkins and golden cornstalks from the farm, bright autumn leaves, pine cones, and ripened stalks of grain make realistic decorations.

Sharp scissors and black paper are all that are needed for whipping up shadowy bats, spitting black cats, and menacing owls, while yellow and orange paper livens up the mixture with mellow full moons, pumpkins, and grinning jack o' lanterns.

These fall colors form the traditional color scheme, but some silver poster paint and paper can add to the brightness. An amusing change is to have Picasso-like cubistic jack-o'-lanterns in an artsy ultramodern fashion.

These may be made from square cardboard boxes covered with bright orange tissue or crepe paper. They beautifully show up in shadowy corners of a room and add some color to the party.

Refreshments may be served cafeteria style for the sake of convenience. The food is arranged attractively, and guests serve themselves. This method is easy and adds a cheerful informality.

Spread the dessert table with a white cloth bedecked with owls, cats, and bats cut from black and silver paper.

The table centerpiece may be the last bright flowers from the garden, or field; or half a pumpkin scooped out and lined with washed fall leaves to form a bowl for apples and nuts; or any other attractive seasonable arrangement.

Polished red apples make creative candlesticks by using an apple corer to form a hole into which to thrust an orange or white colored candle. A candlelit room lends a wonderful Halloween-night atmosphere to the room.

Old Fashioned Halloween Party ideas for Ice Breakers

Eye TeasersVintage Eye Teasers Challenge
(PD Source: Calling All Girls - Oct 1945)

Games should be made ready beforehand so that there will not be any ice to break after everybody arrives. First-comers should be engaged in some simple game or silly stunt at once, and others as they come may join in.

For example, try these Halloween tongue twisters that can be printed on a card and handed out when guests arrive:

  • Jolly, Jack jokes about Jack-o'-lanterns

  • Do Big Black Bats Blow Black Bubbles

  • Pretty Polly pecks pumpkin pips

  • Six spooky spiders spread a silky sticky web

  • Pumpkin pickers are prone to pick plump pumpkins

The simple games will help guests to break the ice, and the decorations will make your party an event to be remembered — be sure to have a camera handy to record the fun.

Old Fashioned Halloween Party Ideas for Menus

The summons to mealtime may be the loud beating of a drum or the piercing whistle — something loud and sudden to capture people's attention.

These proven party food ideas will help you stay within your food budget.

  • Classy Skyscraper Sandwiches can be served one on each guest's plate and are of several kinds, with varying sizes piled one on top of another. Here's the Halloween sandwich recipe to make them:

    The base is a sweet sandwich made of three thin slices of white bread, the two bottom ones spread with jelly. On top of the base sandwich is a smaller one made of nut bread filled with a thick layer of cream cheese, then comes a smaller one still, made of white bread or brown bread filled with chopped ham and sweet pickles. Finally, on top of this is a square of cheese and a pickle slice, or an olive.

    Beginning with the ham sandwich and finishing with the sweet one makes a meal in itself. The fillings may be varied if the order of hearty to sweet is followed.

    Skyscraper Sandwiches served with ginger ale, root beer, or homemade lemonade would be enough for most families, but you may add other novelties or even serve a complete supper.

  • Traditional apple pie may be served for dessert, each guest helping themselves by putting a spoonful of ice cream from a chilled bowl on the table, on top of the still-warm piece.

  • Warm, buttered popcorn, red apples, homemade pie, and homemade donuts play a prominent part of this night and as they are simple and low cost, they earn their popularity.

  • Freshly made ginger cookies with fruit salad is a very good combination, while coffee, hot chocolate, and lemonade are popular beverages to offer.


You'll find a good selection of Halloween party treats recipes on this site for making traditional desserts and treats for your Halloween get-together.

Old Fashioned Halloween Party Ideas for Games

Young Boy Bobbing for ApplesBoy Bobbing for Apples
(Source: ©iStock/sjlocke)

After refreshments, we shouldn't neglect trying some of the time-honored and always thrilling Halloween stunts such as apple bobbing. It's a traditional Halloween game that never grows stale.

Fill a clean washtub with fresh drinking water and paired two by two, duck for apples. Or, with hands clasped behind the back, guests attempt to bite a chunk from an apple suspended by a string.

Familiar board games like checkers, backgammon, and snakes-and-ladders are engaging and fun for all ages. The vintage board games are always popular and provide novelty to the party.

Old Fashioned Halloween Party Ideas for Outdoors

Hosting a traditional outdoor Halloween party is one idea that's hugely popular. Children of all ages will enjoy a SPOOKY party in the shadowy dusk, weather permitting.

For outdoor Halloween decorations, have pumpkin lanterns sitting on fence posts or tables and if possible, have bales of straw arranged for seating.

If not already costumed, dress each merrymaker in an old white bed sheet. Warm clothing can be worn underneath. Costumes add to the occasion and put zest into the games.

By the flickering candlelight of a jack-o'-lantern everyone bobs for apples in a tub of fresh water or tries to bite an apple suspended by a string from a tree branch.

Finally, a white sheet in a dusky corner of the yard is lifted to reveal a long table with a large basketful of tasty sandwiches, a jug of hot cocoa and one of fruit punch, and generous slices of Halloween cake with chocolate coins hid beneath them.

Or maybe a crock of homemade doughnuts and molasses cookies, apples, nuts, and those traditional molasses store-bought Halloween candies, individually wrapped in orange and black, and chewy, strewn randomly about.

The high spirits are not confined in the house, and the very essence of an old fashioned Halloween is distilled for the children who are fortunate enough to have a party planned for them. It will be a family night to remember!

Old Fashioned Halloween Party Ideas

Finally, why not make traditional candies for handing out at your party? Your guests will appreciate the novelty and taste of homemade party treats when the commercial varieties are so commonplace and predictable.

Use Grandma's Halloween candy recipes to make homemade pull taffy, chewy caramels, and popcorn balls. You'll also want to browse the large collection of old fashioned candy recipes for making chocolate fudge, peanut brittle, old time Seafoam candy, popcorn balls, and lots more.

Imagine the thrill everyone will have when they open the take-home trick-or-treat bag and discover your homemade candy treats!

Freely use these old fashioned Halloween party ideas to plan a traditional Halloween party that will become your night to remember.

1945 Halloween Party Dress StylesHalloween Party Dress Styles for Teen Girls and Boys in 1945
(PD Source: Calling All Girls - Oct 1945)

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