Simply Celebrate Life!
One of our favorite parties to Host is our Annual Gala Gals Halloween Party… and this is a flashback to our ‘FIRST!!’ The one that started it all!
We consider our first ‘Gala Gals’ event to be a Halloween Party hosted in 2008! This was actually Patty’s and my third Halloween Party, but the first with our fun details and real planning. It was soon after this party that we conceived and planned ‘The Gala Gals’ and sharing our ideas with you.
We’ve learned a lot since then about photographing the details to share, and these pics were really just for our own personal use. So I very regretfully don’t have the detailed pictures that I wish I had to share, but decided I would still like to share our first Gala and some of our fun ideas to create your own Haunted Luau.
The idea behind this party was a Luau, but making it haunted, a little more creepy for Halloween. Think less tropical florals, and more creepy Tiki masks!
The best part of our theme was the timing in the planning. We started planning in about August which was just in time for us to take advantage of end of summer clearance sales for Luau party supplies!! And still enough time to create some of our own creepy Tiki creations! Patty handpainted these large tiki masks on cardboard which graced our family room windows.
This is one of my favorite Invitations, we used the idea of a Message in a Bottle. And, for Patty and I, the Invitation is actually one of our favorite parts of any Halloween Party. We all have our own traditions… here is one of ours. Every year we make sure the Invite is one of a kind, to really set the mood for the party and get people excited about it. But our favorite part is that we always deliver it a little bit later in the evening, when it’s dark, and we “Ding Dong Ditch Delliver” the Invites. We take turns driving and dropping and always end up hysterical. You haven’t seen anything until you’ve seen Patty running in the dark and ducking into a bush to hide from the door, or speeding away down the street laughing hysterically. It’s my favorite Halloween tradition!
It’s always important to create or set the mood for the party, beginning with the entrance. Naturally, this was much spookier after the sun went down, but we lined the walkway to my home with tiki torches which let guests know exactly what they were in for, the moment they pulled up to the house. I have a friend that still jokes she’d rather find my house in the dark of night lit by Tiki torches!
I wish I had better, closer, more detailed photos, but you’ll have to just follow along with my explanations of our vision.
We decided to divide each main area of my house by a different vision or element of our Island theme, including our Tiki Lounge, Witch Doctor’s Hut, Haunted Beach, Tiki Bar, and Luau Feast!
The living room at the entrance to my home (seen in the background of this Picture) was our Tiki lounge. It was casual and comfy, with minimal deco, and some black lights. We incorporated traditional island decor with traditional Halloween elements, for example, bamboo and cobwebs! One of our unifying elements was our grass/thatch accents.
One of my favorite rooms was our Witch Doctor’s hut. We transformed my traditional dining room into a space worthy of an island Witch Doctor. I emptied my hutch and refilled it with unified colors, and added spiders, bats, creepy labeled bottles, bones, etc… My plain white porcelain became more creepy after dark when lit by a haze of purple light. For a little extra island flair, use a tropical print fabric as a loose gathered runner topped with bones and bottles. Then we hung a bamboo windchime from the chandelier. It was a space that was a little classy, a little kitschy, and a lot of fun!
The Tiki Bar
I think the most fun space at the party was in the heart of the kitchen where we created our Tiki Bar! Set with a simple bamboo mat, a Tiki Bar sign, some fresh fruit, and a Blender… we lined my Kitchen Island with our homemade grass skirt and we were ready to party!
As you may begin to notice, we had “grass skirt” lining all our doorways and windows and many of our space openings. It was our unifying and favorite element of our decorations. And it’s completely genius! All we did was get a large stack of paper grocery sacks, then with a couple pair of scissors, we cut strips into them (not cutting all the way to the opposite edge) to create our long strips of grass/thatch. We made a ton and lined it all over to really create a fun Island space.
We used Dollar Store tiki cutouts to create a Tiki Pole, and you can see here some more of our favorite ‘thatch’ along with the edge of prepped and ready Luau Feast! And what Island is complete without a Pirate!?
Again, little fun elements and ideas in different spaces created a party that moved and evolved and always captured someone’s attention. We used Hibiscus plates topped with Tiki shot glasses and Tiki candle holders along the wall separating my kitchen and family room for some fun and whimsy and loaded them up with snacks, candy, and treats! It is Halloween afterall.
The main area in my house is large and a little harder to decorate all of it cohesively, so we had some more traditional Halloween elements in here, but the main theme came in those back windows with our large Tiki masks and more thatch… and became a very loose interpretation of our Haunted Beach.
The decorations are fun and set the mood, but everyone knows our parties are always all about the food! And what food is more fun, yummy, and creative than Polynesian Island food?!
As you can see, we created our food serving area with great Island print fabric for backdrop, topped with lot’s of wood and bamboo serving pieces.
While Patty and I always make a lot of food, we let everyone help with this one. We had a Potluck! To help guide the menu closer to our vision, we’ve shared the Theme, given a few ideas, and maybe a couple specific assignments. But with any potluck, it’s always fun to see what we get, and it almost always comes together perfectly!
The Main Menu included many items you’d find at a typical Island Luau, and a few extras that are just yummy!!
Sweet and Sour Meatballs
Spinach Artichoke Dip
Grilled Huli Chicken
Beef and Chicken Skewers with a Trio of Dipping Sauces
Coconut Shrimp with Mango Dipping Sauce
Brown Sugar Glazed Pineapple
Pineapple Upside Down Cake
Coconut Cream Cake
and much more!!
I’m not a drinker, but I LOVE fun glasses and have a great collection! Is there a better way to use my fun glasses than to host our own Tiki Bar? People often think stemware has to be expensive and fancy, but it really doesn’t. For a fun casual party like this, I rounded out some of my collection with glass shapes that are classic and simple like Margarita, Hurricane, and even Iced Tea. You can find great glasses everywhere, and I love to find deals at TJMaxx, Ross, and even the Dollar Store. So for those of you who don’t have or don’t think you can afford some nice glasses, go shopping, you might be surprised what you find!!
We had the glasses ready for our guests to fill with their creative concoctions. As an added touch, I attached little labels to the glasses with plastic Halloween ring skulls. They could label their glass with their name so they would never lose it while they refilled it all night long!
We had our very own Create Your Own Mocktail Tiki Bar… We included a menu with suggested traditional Island favorites … Mai Tai, Pina Colada, Hawaiian Sunrise, and of course Sex on the Beach!
And beyond that, we provided a variety of juices, sodas, fruits, sherberts, lot’s of ice and fun garnishes and let our favorite Mixologist and guests get creative and crazy!! It was a huge hit!
We’ve set the mood, the ambiance, and the food… now it’s time for some fun!!
Here are some of our neighbors and friends enjoying our fabulous Island feast!
Here are a few of our more scary friends and family 😉
For entertainment, since we had a mixed group of friends and family, we planned a “Newlywed” style game so everyone could get to know each other better and have some fun in the process.
Chris was a very funny Game Host! Chris is the party pooper in the family and always gives me such a hard time whenever I plan any party, but he always has a great time at the actual party and is a pretty good host himself!
Hostesses with the Mostesses
This was Patty’s and my Third Annual Halloween party as Co-Hosts, but I think we both consider this our first real “Gala!” And if I remember correctly, it was as we were cleaning up this party that we first talked of starting the “Gala Gals” … and as they say, the rest is History!
Have a Happy Hulaween!