If you are contemplating throwing a Halloween party this season, go no further until you read these terrific tips by the illustrious Tara Starling on how to host an unforgettable Halloween party. She speaks from experience! Tara invited us to her annual Halloween party this October and we were completely spellbound with the thought and care that had gone into every minute detail. No one does Halloween the way Tara does Halloween.
- What are 3 components that go into making your Halloween party memorable?
The three components which work together to make a memorable Halloween party can be likened to the famous film adage, “ !” Having worked in film for over 15 years, I end up making a lot of film allegories in my life and business, LOL!
-Lights: Creating the ambiance, setting the stage, presenting a world your guests can completely immerse themselves in the moment they arrive. In theater and film we endeavor to create something called “suspension of disbelief,” where the audience believes for a moment they are in this fictional world, and so they get caught up emotionally in the story and with the characters. By creating a visual imaginarium with your decor utilizing the power of details, you can do the same thing for your guests and immediately give them permission to get caught up in the night’s festivities.
-Camera: Creating an extraordinary point of focus, something that not not only provides a visual centerpiece to the party, but inspires conversation and interactive wonder between the guests. For Le Grande Fete Macabre, this is definitely the food! Guests are so surprised/fascinated/frightened by what they see on the buffet, that it immediately creates excitement and conversation.
-Action: Creating connections among your guests. It’s one thing to invite a passel of people that you love. But to show them the reasons why they will love each other, and set the stage for new friendships to be born and blossom… that is where the real party magic takes place! It’s like a beautiful sort of exponential math, connecting the different truly fabulous people you know, and creating an ever-growing web of delicious friendships!
- What are some of your favorite Halloween inspired menu items?
Every year my malificent list of recipes grows a little larger, but there are a few favorites which have been on the menu since the very first year. The Zombie Brain Pate, Atrophied Cardiac Aspic, Orc Ear and Eyeball Stew, and Baked Witch Fingers are among my favorites. They combine the visual impact (some people are too freaked out by their appearance to even try them!) with fantastic flavor!
- You have a sensational collection of elegant Halloween items. Where have you collected these from over the years?
I have always been collecting items for my Halloween parties for years, and seem to get most of them from either my shop, Anastasia’s Attic, or little antique stores. I tend to enjoy a somewhat glamorous spin on Halloween, so I incorporate a lot of black lace and crushed velvet, chandelier crystals, candlesticks, apothecary jars, and little oddities. On occasions, though, I will find fabulous little gargoyle statues at the drug store, or plastic bugs and snakes at the dollar store, and snatch them right up! The key to spookilicious decorating is to think in terms of creating a “set” (again with the movie metaphors, LOL) where your guests can get lost in the “story.”
- How do you as a hostess create an environment for people to let their hair down and have fun?
The hostess sets the tone for the entire evening, and her (or his!) ultimate job is to create that festive, relaxing, memorable experience for the guests. Music is always an important detail, and will do much to create an atmosphere where guests feel comfortable letting loose and fully enjoying themselves. Often I will also choose to go barefoot — even when I am dressed formally — to create a sense of whimsy and carefree which get transferred to the guests. It’s also very fun and effective to have some sort of on-going game or activity which encourages people to interact, take photos, and get out of their comfort zone just a little. This year at Le Grande Fete Macabe we had an assortment of Venetian Masks floating around the party. Everyone had a blast trying on the different colors and designs, and taking photos. It doesn’t have to be something complicated, just fun!
- What is your fondest Halloween memory and/or costume?
My favorite was one I had chosen for me. My nephew Ashton was just 3 years old, and he decided what everyone in our family was to be: he was going to be a knight, his mom the princess, grandma the queen, grandpa the bad-guy knight, my brother the dragon, and me that castle! We had so much fun coming up with creative ways to make all the different costumes, and really bonded as a family as we made this little tiny knight’s Halloween vision a reality!
What about you? What is your most memorable Halloween party or costume?
Tara Starling is often described as The Joan d’Arc of Beauty, and is fiercely devoted to transforming women’s lives from the inside out. As an international celebrity makeup artist for the last 15 years, she has worked with some of the most famous people in the world and on some of the highest-grossing films in cinematic history.
Tara is the creator of “Star in Your Own Life,” a transformational program which breaks women free from “the ugly lies about appearance and worth,” connects them on a spirit-level with their own intrinsic beauty. As an inspirational speaker and author, she empowers women to harness the beauty and brilliance within them as they use universal laws of creation to live the fabulous life of their dreams. Check out Tara’s website, Starling True Beauty and follow Tara on Twitter @tarastarling!