We LOVE a good party! Planning and even attending a party can cause anxiety and stress. Today we are here to help you with the planning part.

FIRST, Let it go! Let go of your insecurities and choose to be fun! For me my insecurities have mostly to do with my house. It doesn’t look how I want it to look. We are looking forward to a major kitchen remodel. We just moved in a few months ago. We have TONS of projects in the works. WE LITERALLY HAVE GIANT HOLES IN THE WALLS! WE HAVE A RIPPED UP WALLPAPER BORDER WITH TWO DIFFERENT COLORS OF PAINT in the breakfast nook! We still have boxes and unpacked, stacked up artwork in the corners.


When you visit someone’s home, are you super observant and judgey about their holes in the wall and boxes in the corner? NO! Because you are a nice person, as are they. They aren’t going to judge you either. I’m just happy to get to know other people and always so grateful that someone thought to invite me. Maybe that’s how others feel too.

SO, if you are like me, and haven’t fixed the drywall in your new house yet, then hang some pretty fabric that has to do with your theme over the holes, or incorporate it into you decor another way. OR heck, just leave it as it is! Who cares?!

We incorporated the holes into our Halloween theme with some cobwebs and caution tape.

OK, Now that you’ve let go of your insecurities LET’S PLAN A PARTY!

Step ONE – Make an invitation and invite EVERYONE!

I highly suggest EVITE. Get the app if you haven’t already. Not only can you create awesome invitations there, but they are free and easy to send out, collect RSVP’s and send out mass messages to your guests regarding any changes to the venue or time etc.

I do not pay for this app and have used it for years. They have thousands of templates and ideas.
Look through their holiday evites for great ideas on a theme!

We were hosting a party for teenagers. I doubt that most, if any, do not have the Evite app. But that’s OK! Whenever one of my teens are hosting a party, we create the invite, then I just send it to their phone via text. Then they can text it out to all their friends! If your party is for teens do not expect a lot of RSVPs. For example, I got 4 RSVPs for this Halloween party, but 30-40 people came.

Invite EVERYONE! For this kind of party, the numbers weren’t really limited. We weren’t doing a sit-down dinner or an activity that limited the number of guests in some way. First, in this context, you do not want anyone to feel excluded. My kids are always very wary of this. They are nervous about their church friends interacting with their theater friends, and their soccer team interacting with their friends from band etc etc etc. This conversation always happens, every time I help one of my kids host a party.

Always remember that a party like this is way more fun with the more people that show up. That means more socializing and less boredom. If you invite 50 people about 30 will come. There are always time conflicts and other reasons people can’t make it. So do not invite just one friend group. Invite them all.

Last night I saw the perfect example of this! One of my son’s friends who we go to church with, and they play Magic the Gathering together, showed up in a bear costume. He is so sweet, shy and small, and one of my son’s “nerdy” friends. Another friend came. He’s at least 6 feet, super loud and extroverted. He is my son’s scene partner in theater. He came dressed as a French Maid. When these two saw each other, they were SO excited and couldn’t believe they were both there. They had been great friends as little boys and forgot that Harrison knew them both. This is why we invite everyone!

Harrison, my son, is far right with two of his friends.

STEP TWO – SET UP 2-3 different party/social areas.

For this party we planned on the living room, family room and backyard. The kitchen also became a gathering place. I was hanging in there, and we had the Alexa going with music the hole time, and many of the teens hung out in there at different times. I LOVED it! I was keeping the food refilled and drink bucket stocked up. They hung out dancing, singing and talking to me and each other.

STEP THREE – Plan a little bit, but do not over plan!

There is a fine line here. I like to plan one activity or purpose for each of the social areas. For this Halloween party we had 2 large group party games planned for the living room. Movies in the family room and s’mores with firepit set up in the backyard.

For games we chose Werewolf . Our family highly suggests this game! It’s a great one to have on hand for large gatherings. It is a game a lot of people can play, and you don’t have to know each well in order to play.

The other game was “The Celebrity Game.” At least that’s what we call it.

  • Split into two teams. Every person on both teams takes 3-5 slips of paper and writes one name on each slip. Names of people that everyone playing will most likely know. They can be real or fictional. Examples – Santa Claus, Harry Potter, Donald Trump, Joe Biden, Captain America, Will Ferrell, Mark Zuckerberg etc.
  • Fold each slip in half ONCE and put them all in a bowl.
  • There will be 3 rounds. The first round is like Catchphrase. You can talk as much as you want without saying any part of the name on the slip till your team guesses correctly. The second round is like Taboo. You can say ONE word only. If they can’t guess it, put the slip back and move to a different one. The third round is Charades. Time to act it out. Get your team to guess the name using only your acting skills.
  • Go back and forth. Each team gets one minute at a time to get as many names as possible. Set them aside as you go so you can put them all back in the bowl before the next round. Someone on each team will use the time on their phone to keep time for the other team.
  • When you are nearing the end of a round have the names ready to be thrown back in during the persons turn so they can move to the next round midturn.
The Celebrity Game requires little prep. I set up all that was needed in the corner, so it was ready to. They ended up not playing, but that’s ok. It’s good to be prepared for another game if needed.

In the family room we had movies playing. Choose movies that most everyone has probably seen. That way people can still chat during it or come in and out without feeling like they’ve missed it. We chose ahead of time Hocus Pocus and Ghostbusters with the female cast. That room was full every time I looked in and with mostly different kids each time. I just tried to be aware as to when the first movie was ending so I could start the second one. Some kids wanted to start a scary horror movie. I wanted to keep some control and wanted movies that were more appropriate and that everyone would like to watch. Not everyone likes horror films.

We set up the backyard by lighting the fire pit and putting out all the possible fixings for s’mores. Kids also hung out a bit on the trampoline. We had doors and windows open so the sounds of the movie and music pouring out.

Other activities we have planned in the past that have been great –

  • A room with Karaoke set up.
  • Making food in the kitchen. One of my “go to’s” is to make or buy a ton of pizza dough and sauce. Set up a buffet of all the pizza fixings you can think of. Let everyone make their own little pizzas. Huge hit for all ages, every time! Or set up sugar cookies to decorate or cupcakes to decorate. They have to put together their own treat to eat.
  • Put together a small craft/project or even service project in one of the areas. Like Christmas cards for soldiers. Or stuff to make an ornament, or ugly Christmas sweater.
  • Have a room for dancing. A great playlist and some good mood lighting with enough open space can make for a lot of fun!
  • Make a group TikTok or Reel. Maybe all learn some easy choreography to All I Want for Christmas by Mariah Carrey or learn the Thriller dance together then film it.
  • White elephant. This can be played any time of year, not just Christmas. Do the original version or maybe change it up. Everyone can bring “their favorite thing” wrapped up to fight over. Or all can bring a cool pair of socks wrapped up, or a graphic or holiday t-shirt.


This can be as easy or as hard as you want. I do a mix usually of making a few things and buying a few things.

Last night I made some Pumpkin Mac & Cheese, Seven Layer Dip, Pumpkin Bars and pigs in a blanket that looked like mummy’s I found on All Recipe’s Instagram page. Wrap little smokies with strips of crescent roll dough. Bake at 375 degrees for 12 minutes.

Don’t forget the drinks! You could go as easy as a couple cases of water bottles. For this party I have bottled water, bottled strawberry lemonade and a big variety of the mini soda cans. Thank heavens for MINI SODA cans!

I like to have at least TWO different places with food. Since this was a Halloween party, I had a table with bowls of different candy to grab. We had the s’mores stuff outside. Then we had the dining room with more “real food.” The mac & cheese, a relish tray with veggies and dip. Seven-layer dip and pigs in a blanket. I had a couple of deep-dish frozen pizzas in the freezer ready to go just in case.

Harrison at the food table in the dining room while friends are playing Werewolf.

Now is the perfect time to start planning a party. The next few months can be dark and cold. Time to plan how you can add some cheer!