Halloween is coming, and the pressure’s on. Whether you’re known for hosting legendary parties or you’d like to be, here are five Halloween party ideas guaranteed to conjure thrills and chills from the geek set.
Geeks know zombies. We loved zombies before it was cool. This is going to be a big year for zombie Halloween parties. The undead are everywhere you look these days, and a lot of us are still suffering from the vampire backlash of the last five years or so. The Resident Evil games and movies just keep going strong. Beloved novel World War Z is coming to a theater near you next year, starring Brad Pitt. Video games like Left 4 Dead and Dead Island have further the zombie takeover. Even casual games have gotten in on the action (hi there, Plants vs. Zombies). But really, the recent rise of the zombie in pop culture ultimately springs from a little TV show — based on a bestselling comic book — you may have heard of. It’s called The Walking Dead.
Thanks to all that explosive popularity, there are no shortage of zombie items to stuff your party to the gills with. Decorations, zombie-themed food items, party favors, and games — you name it, it exists. You could tell your friends that the best zombie costume/makeup will get a special prize. There are even zombie survival kits you can buy to spice things up. Is this the year of the Zombie Halloween?
There’s never been a better time.
If you’re looking to buck the trend, there’s no better way to thumb your nose at the zombie lovers than by throwing the ultimate vampire party. Sparkly bloodsuckers aside, vampires are still a classic of the horror genre. All the cool kids are fighting them these days. A former Doctor Who went to war with them last year, and Abraham Lincoln defended the nation from vamps this Summer. Buffy the Vampire Slayer is still a much-loved TV icon — and could enjoy a renewed public interest thanks to the recent success of its creator, Joss Whedon. And then there’s HBO’s homage to every form of debauchery known to man, True Blood.
For vampires, it’s all about the blood, so mix up your best red drinks to get your guests in on the action. To help create the mood, hang up some red or black drapes, dim the lights, and light lots of candles. Vampires are also charming and seductive, so how about a game of Spin-the-Bottle? Or make it more vampire-themed by turning it into Spin-the-Wooden-Stake? And of course, candy fangs make the perfect party favor.
If you really want to get into the spirit of Halloween, there’s no substitute for the all-time classic: ghosts. Fortunately for us, ghosts can be geeky too. There’s no shortage of material to draw inspiration from. If you want to forgo the thrills and opt for fun instead, then break out the jumpsuits and have yourself a Ghostbusters party. If you want to go to the other extreme and scare your guests into crapping their pants, look no further than the Paranormal Activity films: turn down the lights, set up video cameras all over the place, and encourage party-goers to try and catch some ghosts on film themselves. (And have someone dress up in a black robe and scare everyone.)
Or you could go with the old standby: skip the party pleasantries altogether and lead a tour through your very own, jump-out-and-grab-you haunted house.
While extraterrestrials are generally associated with science fiction movies and TV shows, there’s always something about the thought of an advanced alien race observing us from the darkness, planning to strike at any moment that’s inherently terrifying. Especially when a story involves an alien that wants to not only kill you, but take over or violate your body, too, like the Xenomorphs impregnation of humans in the Alien films. Signs showed us a perfect example of aliens who hide in the dark, while the classic Predator gave us a monstrous alien creature that killed humans for sport. Even on television, aliens can be terrifying, such as Doctor Who‘s Weeping Angels, which take the form of concrete statues when you’re looking at them — and try to get you when you’re not.
Aliens can be silly or they can be terrifying. If you opt for the latter, then you could party like it’s the end of the world in a no-holds-barred bash where anything goes. Or encourage party-ers to go all out with costumes, dressing up as their favorite movie or TV alien.
What’s that? You don’t think robots are scary? Well then clearly you’ve never heard of a little movie called The Terminator. Or the robots-in-sexy-human-bodies from Battlestar Galactica, the Cylons. But why stop there? Any form of artificial intelligence can be creepy, like 2001‘s unnervingly calm HAL, or Michael Fassbender’s David, the android in Prometheus (arguably HAL’s spiritual descendant). There’s Portal‘s matter-of-fact killer, GLaDOS. And who can forget the machines that tried to wipe out the entire human race in The Matrix, or their lead A.I. villain, Agent Smith? (Not to mention those octopus-like robots, the Sentinels.) Robots can be warm and fuzzy, but for every Data, there’s also a Lore. They’re also big on taking over human bodies, like Star Trek‘s Borg or Doctor Who‘s Cybermen.
I can already hear your protests. “Robots are cold, calculating, ruthless, and utterly devoid of compassion. That’s a totally counter-intuitive theme for having a fun party, right?”
Only if you’re not willing to be creative. String up a row of green lights and cover the walls in tinfoil to give your place that “tech” look. For games, you could challenge your guests to carve the best “scary robot” face into a pumpkin. Play Terminator 2 or Battlestar Galactica in the background to set the mood for a robot apocalypse. And for food, make yourself a cube-shaped Borg cake!