Turning Your Garden into a Skin-Crawling Halloween Haven
It’s that time of year again — mornings are cooling off and frosts are threatening to creep in. Yard work is less about weeding and mowing and more about digging up bulbs and getting the delicate babies inside for winter.
Being quick in the first weeks of fall means you’re prepared for winter, and there’s a lower chance of having to coax plants out of mud if you’ve got all your digging done before the rains come. Shuttering your garden too soon, though, means you miss out on the creativity and expression of fall gardens — and what better way to celebrate the harvest, and Halloween, than with a creepy, crawly, and ever-so-chic carnival?
It’s easier than you think to turn your outdoor escape into a Halloween haven, so grab your trowel, get your creativity on, and squeeze the festive feelings out of every last fall evening.
Prep Your Patio
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If you’re going to have a garden party, you’re going to need an on-point garden. Planting a few fall-blooming plants can create a seasonally appropriate look that’s easy to complement with decorations.
If you’re looking for Halloween-inspired plants, consider introducing night-blooming flowers. Evening primrose and night phlox open their buds during the evening hours and close them during daylight hours, making your garden a treat at nighttime. Bleeding hearts and foxglove add to the atmosphere.
To truly embrace the Halloween spirit, tuck pumpkins and gourds among shrubs and along paths. You can protect your garden from wayward feet by creatively roping off the beds and keeping guests safe with solar lanterns or strung lights. Colorful fallen leaves and mossy branches and stones can add to the overall ambiance. Your garden naturally provides more decorations than you may realize, and you can complement the look with upcycled decorations and eco-friendly elements that respect the health of your garden.
Plan Your Event
While preparing your garden is essential for hosting a successful outdoor event, there’s a lot more that goes into planning a party. To keep your theme on point and accommodate all of your guests, spend some time brainstorming your theme, entertainment, and food.
First things first: if you’re going to throw a fall garden party, you need a theme. Even with Halloween at the center, the event can go several ways. You could keep it cozy and homey, decorate with scarecrows and gourds, and celebrate the harvest. You could also throw bright colors up, go all out on costumes, and have a goofy, light-hearted dress-up event. Or, embrace the natural look of fall decay and have a spooky celebration of the darker side of Halloween. If you’re feeling especially ambitious, try a play-themed party, complete with character costumes and period-appropriate food.
When you’re considering your theme, you’ll want to take your guests into account. Throwing a party for adults gives you more leeway than an all-ages party will. Having kids around can certainly bring the party to life, but you’ll want to dial back on scary elements to create a more welcoming environment. Whatever you decide on, make sure your guests will have fun. You might love the idea of a Macbeth-themed Halloween, but if your friends aren’t literary buffs or there are kids coming, your efforts may go unappreciated.
Depending on who’s coming, there are a few ways to entertain your guests. If you’ll have children around, you might want to have kid-friendly activities available. Word searches, mazes, and simple crafts can keep kids occupied while the grown-ups chat, and pumpkin painting is a great outdoor activity (just be sure to put down a dropcloth). If you’ve got an older crowd attending, you could do full-on pumpkin carving or have holiday-themed trivia. No matter how old your guests are, yard games like ladder ball and cornhole are easy to put a Halloween spin on, and they get people outside to enjoy the garden.
Food and Drink
Finally, don’t forget about the food. You’ll definitely need a witch’s brew punch to get everyone in the mood, and the rest can be dependent on theme. A harvest party means roast, squash, pie, savory dishes, and lots and lots of warming spices. Hot apple cider (or hot toddies) complement the flavors of dinner. If you’re going spooky, skip the dinner course and do light appetizer fare focusing on Halloween-themed food. If you’ll have children in attendance (and even if you don’t), you can’t forget dessert. Bake up some cookies or make worms in the dirt for a fun fall experience.
With your fall plants at the ready, decorations on the table, and delicious desserts in the oven, it’s time for the best part: the party! Once it’s all said and done, the planning will be worth it, and you’ll love having taken advantage of your outdoor space for one last event. Who knows, maybe you’ll be inspired to host Thanksgiving at a farm table on the patio or grouped around fire pits. Before you know it, you’ll be hosting outdoor events year-round. Okay, maybe not, but it’s a nice idea.