6 Steps to Hosting a Chic Halloween Dinner Party

Summer events and dinner parties tend to get all the attention (online and otherwise), but we’d argue that fall events deserve just as much fanfare. From classic fall harvest-style soirées to full-on Halloween parties complete with costumes and spooky decor, there’s a reason why fall is such a cherished time of year. 

Of course, throwing an elevated fall dinner party requires a fresh perspective and a wellspring of decor inspo. Instead of leaning into the classic Halloween aesthetic that’s only relevant for a  week at most — i.e. bowls of candy, fake spider webs, and inexpensive props from the Halloween pop-up store on the corner — why not invest in timeless fall-inspired decor that will feel appropriate from September through Thanksgiving? 

Ahead, find our guide to throwing a chic fall dinner party, from the tablescape to the theme. 

6 Steps to Hosting a Chic Halloween Dinner Party

Step One: Decide on a location

In order to envision your dream fall gathering, first decide on a location. If you live in an area with stunning foliage and milder temps come October, for example, a backyard dinner party may be worth considering (space and weather permitting, of course). Otherwise, an indoor soiree is always a safe bet — temperature, rain, and even early snow are no longer a concern and you can easily create a moody, intimate atmosphere inside. 

Step Two: Choose your service style

This is arguably the most important step when planning any dinner party — your chosen service style will determine the kind and number of tables you need to borrow or rent, how you layout your tablescape(s), and what you print on your invites.

Generally speaking, you can opt for a sit down dinner with a single long table (great for smaller groups), or a strolling buffet or potluck dinner, which requires a large serving table (or kitchen island) plus cocktail or dining tables peppered throughout the space if you so choose (great for larger, more casual gatherings).

Step Three: Create a theme and send invitations

With the location and service style set, you can now decide on a theme and send invites. Of course, if “fall” is your theme, no further brainstorm is required.

But if you’re a diehard Halloween lover and have a group that’s up to the challenge, you can add a costume-only dress code to the invite or lean into a more specific theme, like Hocus Pocus, vampires, zombies, formal masquerade, 1920s deco, 1970s Studio 54, angels and devils, a full-on murder mystery party — the sky’s the limit. 

Step Four: Plan your menu

If you’re handling all of the food in-house, this is where the fun begins. Lean into the flavors of the season with harvest salads, apple tarts, pumpkin spiced desserts, roast chicken with root vegetables, roasted sweet potatoes, and the like.

You can even create a signature cocktail, like a spiced hot toddy, maple cider old fashioned, or spiced sangria flecked with cinnamon, apples, and pears. A fall-inspired cheese board is an easy crowd-pleasing app — just decorate the board with rosemary sprigs, apple slices, purple grapes, pears, and figs.

If you’re hosting a costume party or a themed party, you can get a bit more ghoulish with the food — think pumpkin-shaped cookies, mummy oreos, spooky charcuterie boards — the possibilities are endless. (This is especially fun if kids are invited.)

Step Five: Design your tablescape

Now for the main event. Your tablescape will set the tone and color palette for the event, so choose wisely — our Terracotta, Rust, and Turmeric linens were basically designed for Halloween events. If you’re going for a spookier affair, a moody Petrol or Lavender tablecloth will serve as a great canvas. To visualise the perfect palette, hand-select your tablecloth, placemats, and napkins using our “Build Your Own Table” feature.

As for the decor, we love the idea of using natural elements as table accents — you can easily use fallen leaves, cinnamon sticks, apples, small pumpkins, persimmon branches, roses, and colourful grapes as table setting and centerpiece accents. 

For a moodier affair, we love the idea of leaning into a darker, almost monochrome color palette — think wiry branches, skulls, black or deep purple linens, black glassware and cutlery, and a smoky dry ice purple cocktail at each place setting. No matter what your aesthetic, we’d argue that candlesticks are an essential part of any fall dinner party — more is more! Black or deep purple candlesticks in gold holders will pair well with any look. 

Step Six: Set the mood

Whether you’re hosting a beautiful fall harvest dinner or an all-out Halloween party, atmosphere is important! Curate an awesome playlist for the event and deck out your house in tasteful fall decor — tonal fall bouquets, fresh seasonal greenery, pampas grass, or even pretty dead flowers are perfect complements.

If you’re headed outside, touches like twinkle lights, floating lanterns, and tonal blankets will keep the party roaring post-sunset. If space allows, you can even stream a series of vintage horror movies on a projector to set the mood.

Liked this? Here's A Beginner's Guide to Hosting a Stress-Free Dinner Party

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