Beyond a Monster Mash—10 Halloween Party Themes Fit for Adults

Halloween Party

For kids, Halloween is an excuse to stock up on candy and stay out past dark. For adults, it's an opportunity to spend a night as whoever you want to be, indulge in a few festive cocktails, and enjoy a bit of make-believe. While you've long traded in trick-or-treating for costume parties, if you're playing host this year, you'll want to take note of a few Halloween party themes to take your spooky soirée up a notch.

Not everyone likes a theme party, but planning your evening around one idea forces you and your guests to get a little creative (and have some fun in the process). A theme can guide the costumes, the décor, the food and drinks, or all of the above. Go for a classic murder mystery bash, plan your party around scary movies, or host an intergalactic evening that's truly out of this world.

You might be surprised by just how committed to the theme you and your friends may become, but at the end of the day, it's up to the host to set the tone for your event. Extend invites that clearly explain the theme and encourage guests to come dressed to impress. Get inspired by these 10 Halloween party themes and start planning your festive event.

Murder Mystery

Nothing says Halloween quite like a classic whodunit murder mystery party. Keep it simple and allow a murder mystery game to guide your evening or go big and commit to decorating your home according to the time period and circumstances of the crime. Take things up a notch and provide fun costume accessories for guests to wear once they learn what characters they'll be playing. The more invested in the theme, the more fun you'll have.

Landnics Handheld Magnifier $25
Murder Mystery Flexi-Party Murder at the Manor $30

Wild West

Not all Halloween theme parties have to be scary. For an evening of fun attire, plan a Wild West–themed event. Guests can sport their best Western-inspired outfits, and you can set the mood with whiskey cocktails, saloon décor, and small bites that offer a big kick of southwest flavors. Good thing Western boots aren't going out of style anytime fast.

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B-Low The Belt Bri Bri Belt $148

Scary Movies

For the ultimate scare-fest, host a scary movie themed party. Guests can dress up as characters from their favorite bone-chilling films and you can deck out your home in decorations that hint at scenes from the flicks. Think Camp Crystal Lake signs and scary writing on the bathroom mirror.

For extra points, have a classic horror film playing in the living room. Even with the sound off, it will create the creepy vibe you're looking for!

A Nightmare on Elm Street $13
Tytroy Movie Theater Style Popcorn Container Set $8


With the continuous reprisal of trends from decades past, a Halloween bash that celebrates retro fashion, décor, and music will be much appreciated by your guests. Pick from the roaring '20s, the groovy '70s, the radical '80s, or the trendy '90s then craft the perfect playlist to take your guests back in time. Take it one step further and seek out old-school snacks, quirky drinks, and vintage décor to really transform your home.

Crosley Dansette Junior Portable Record Player $220

Crime Scene

Be inspired by your favorite guilty pleasure crime scene investigation shows and plan a crime scene themed Halloween party. All you'll need is caution tape and fake blood to set the mood. Having an off-limits crime scene in your home will create the tone for an eerie evening, leaving you with plenty of time to get creative with a red food coloring and serve up food and drinks to fit the theme. 

Tapix Yellow Caution Tape $11
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Suncore Foods Organic Red Beet Natural Supercolor $14

Zombie Apocolypse

Whether you're a fan of The Walking Dead or not, zombies have been having a bit of a moment in pop culture for quite some time now. What better way to celebrate Halloween than with a spooky zombie theme party? Think finger foods (pun intended) meant to look like severed body parts, creepy cocktails, and scary costumes. Have guests choose between dressing as survivalists or the zombies themselves.

Max Brooks The Zombie Survival Guide $11
The Fussy Pup Walking Zombie Halloween Cookie Cutter $15

Fall Harvest

For something festive that won't give you such a fright, host a fall harvest Halloween party. Turn your home into a pumpkin patch full of photo ops, pumpkin-spiced foods, and seasonal décor. Think haystacks, pumpkins, candles, flowers, and anything that screams fall. Serve up some a spiced cocktail and a few pumpkin-infused treats to create the perfect seasonal setting.

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FloraCraft Straw Bales $7


Give your Halloween soirée a touch of secrecy with a speakeasy theme. Have guests enter your home through a back door or give them a special password to recite when they arrive in order to gain entry. For the decorations, go for dim lighting and vintage-looking glassware to serve up some illicit cocktails. Guests can don their best 1920s-inspired attire while they sip something strong and dance the Charleston.

Mittie Hellmich Bar Book $9
Williams sonoma Gunmetal Bar Tools Set $72

Out of This World

Transport your guests through space and time with an out of this world themed Halloween party. Encourage attendees to dress as intergalactic aliens decked out in neon and glitter or as space-traveling astronauts. You can whip up a few otherworldly cocktails, serve space-inspired bites, and decorate your home with glowing lights to mimic the star-speckled night sky.

Saturn Light Sculpture
Urban Outfitters Saturn Light Sculpture $34

Haunted House

Perhaps the original Halloween party theme, a haunted house–themed event will always delight. Adorn your home with sticky cobwebs, candelabras fitted with melting wax candles, eerie potion bottles, and glass domes filled with whatever your imagination can drum up. For the refreshments, display a bewitching cauldron filled with a batch cocktail perfect for self-serving and encourage guests to come dressed as their favorite classic Halloween characters, from witches and ghosts to monsters and mad scientists.

Honysky Metal Candelabra $23
Moonlear Glass Dome $26

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