Halloween parties can feel like more of a trick than a treat. Apple bobbing and spaghetti brains are more foolish than ghoulish, but scary movies and decorations can kill the fun. Finding that middle ground between juvenile and terrifying isn’t easy, but it’s key to throwing an adult Halloween party for all guests to enjoy—even the most fear intolerant.

As the Addams family taught us, horror isn’t just creepy; it’s kooky. Center your party around an original, kooky theme to avoid making your guests suffer from tired Halloween tropes.

scary christmas
Did you ever think ceramic Santa Clauses looked more scary than jolly? Hunt for some of those at an antique mall, add some fake cobwebs to your Christmas tree, and add a witch hat on your stuffed snowman to create a Christmas/Halloween mashup your guests won’t forget.

boos & brews
Just about any occasion is a good excuse for a cocktail party. Serve punch from a cauldron with eerie dry ice fog. For a witchy drinking game, tie ribbon around vials to create potion bottles. Fill them with different kinds of liquor, and have your guests guess what’s inside.

lazy costume party
As a host, you want your guests to dress up for Halloween, but there’s always someone who throws a costume together at the last minute or doesn’t try at all. Instead of fighting the five-minute Clark Kent getups, embrace them by making lazy costumes the dress code. Reward the guest who puts in the least effort with an equally lazy newspaper crown.

pumpkin patch party
Instead of going out to a pumpkin patch, bring it to your guests. Fill your home with scarecrows, pumpkins and fall leaves. If you’re not too keen on pumpkins rotting in your house, allow your guests to take some home with them as a unique party favor.

Unless you live in an old, creepy manor, your home needs some work to get Halloween ready. Focus on adding a few touches of spooky elegance to avoid turning your home into a craft store nightmare.

  • Spider webs can make any nook or cranny a little creepier … if they don’t tear or clump. Ditch those plastic bags of flimsy white webs for a roll of glistening web-patterned mesh or tulle to drape across mantle pieces or tables.
  • A festive entranceway will get guests in the Halloween mood before they even walk through the door. For an easy DIY project, buy several plastic jack o’lantern candy buckets. Place stones in two of the buckets to form your two bases. Then, stack the buckets high on either side of your front doors, gluing them together with a strong craft adhesive.
  • There’s no shortage of skull glassware on the market this time of year. Besides being perfect for serving Halloween-themed cocktails, these glasses can serve as tealight candle holders throughout your home. If you use real candles, be sure to clean thoroughly before drinking from them.

Your theme has enticed your guests to your home, and your decorations enchanted them right from the front door. Now it’s time to entertain them with a night full of activities.

Bring back the childhood joy of decorating pumpkins with a competitive twist. Hand each person the name of a guest. Everyone must then decorate a pumpkin to represent that guest. Then, each guest will try and find the pumpkin that was decorated for them. The glitter and Sharpie covered gourds are sure to have party-goers laughing the night away.

Halloween and murder mysteries go hand in hand. Enlist the help of a local murder mystery party planner to create a crime that fits in with your party theme. For a more budget-friendly option, select from one of the many murder mystery party kits at board game stores.

Use chocolate bars for a sweet take on Jenga. After the chocolate tower is up, your guests will take turns removing a bar and putting it on the top. Set up the tower on a plate or some paper towels, so the chocolate is still good to eat once the tower falls.