Party Planner Halloween Bash With Dina Manzo
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GhoulsBash1 of 13
Summon The Spirits2 of 13
Set a spooky tone early with sophisticated but scary invitations. "I recommend sending them out weeks prior to the party because holiday gatherings are abundant, and you want your guests to commit to yours first," says Manzo
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Filler Up3 of 13
For decor, Manzo suggests using seasonal squashes. "For Halloween, I fill different-size jars with gourds and mini pumpkins," she says. To kick things up a notch, try spray-painting them glittery shades of silver and gold. "A large apothecary jar with colorful or sparkling gourds and pumpkins is simply gorgeous."
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Haunted House4 of 13
Mix vintage china, crystal goblets and pieces from flea markets for a very "Old Haunted Mansion" feel, suggests Manzo. She also likes to raid her mother's cabinet for funky old pieces. "The older it looks, the better."
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Get Jiggly With It5 of 13
You can make just about anything out of Jell-O molds, according to Manzo. Add them to pomegranate martinis or to dark red sangria. "You can also add gummy worms for a fun little touch," she says.
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Creepy Crawlers6 of 13
Manzo says you can easily make spiders with a few craft store items. Try wrapping black fabric around foam and sticking in pipe cleaners to make legs. Rhinestone eyes will give them a bit of adult-like glamour.
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Heads Up7 of 13
Skulls are trendy enough that they can now be found just about anywhere. Manzo likes to jewel them up with black crystals and use them to hold votives or even bunches of toothpicks.
SHOP NOW: Glitter Skull, $10
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Mummy Dearest8 of 13
Manzo says that muslin cheesecloth is a festive alternative to regular napkins because they look like bandages. "Their raw edges look a bit spooky, but wrapping them in crystal napkin rings will offer instant sophistication."
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A Cut Above9 of 13
Transforming mini pumpkins into placeholders is one of Manzo's little tricks. She says to make a small slit on top with a knife or carving tool before firmly inserting a paper card. Alternatively, you can simply glue on the guest's initials with black rhinestones.
SHOP NOW: White Pumpkin Candle, from $24
Branching Out10 of 13
Decorating with twigs and natural elements from the backyard makes for stunning table decor. "You can actually braid the pieces together or intertwine them at the ends," says Manzo. For a similar effect, city dwellers can buy willow branches, which florists sell as filler.
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A Tangled Web11 of 13
Manzo says you should never forget what's above your head! She likes to hang cobwebs up above for an eerie touch. "Dangling from a beautiful light fixture makes them look fun rather than tacky."
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Creepy Cuisine12 of 13
For food, Manzo says she loves dishes that are tasty and elegant but not childlike. "Grilled vegetables like eggplant and onions are fun because they shrivel up like old bandages," she says. "I also like recipes with blood oranges, and meat with dark sauces."
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Trick Or Treat13 of 13
Manzo says to go for broke when it comes to candy for your Halloween party—just make sure it is placed in elegant adult serving pieces. "I like to pour candy into crystal bowls and apothecary jars so that it looks as if it's spilling out," she says.
SHOP NOW: Recycled-Glass Candy Bowl, $25
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