Unlike weddings, Christmas parties and other events, Halloween parties are anything but serious. The best way to plan for Halloween party catering is to have a little fun while you do it. Here are some tips you can use to make your client’s Halloween a spooky good time and an unforgettable occasion:
- Consider the guests. At a Halloween party, what you serve and how you serve it has a lot to do with the guests. For example, if you are catering a kids’ Halloween party, scary food and a spooky buffet presentation will take you far. However, if you are catering a late-night Halloween party for adults, the cocktails will probably become a more important focus.
- Dress up your staff. If you will be offering full-service catering for Halloween parties, check to see whether it will be a costume party. If it is, make sure your staff dresses up so that they match the occasion.
- Decorate at the event. Offering decorating services for Halloween parties will increase the value of your catering and make it more likely that you will find customers. Use jack-o-lantern lighting, fake spider webs, bats hanging from ceilings, flying ghosts and black fishnetting and tulle around the banquette table to decorate the party area.
- Create an atmosphere. In addition to decorating with fake spider webs and other spooky items, also consider investing in or renting a fog machine and providing sound effects and special lighting, like black lights, to create a Halloween mood. Your commitment to creating the right vibe will definitely impress your clients and their guests.
- Serve “scary” and festive food. Festive Halloween snacks are part of the fun! You can make the food and beverages spooky (and gross!) or deliciously develish. It’s really up to the style of the party.
- Name the menu items. Use card holders to display the creepy names of your food and drinks. This will go a long way toward carrying the Halloween theme through to the buffet. For example, naming spaghetti “Worms and Blood” turns a common food item into a spooky dish.
- Serve Halloween-themed drinks. Serve drinks that are Halloween-themed or in Halloween colors. This includes orange or green punch, Bloody Marys, apple cider, “Black and Oranges” instead of black and tans, and any other creative drinks you can come up with. You may also want to add dry ice to the punch bowl or to a big black kettle to create a “witch’s cauldron” presentation for your beverages.
- Provide bartending. Many adults will want a bartender at their Halloween party. Offer flair bartending services for a reasonable fee. If your bartender can dress up like a ghost, vampire or devil, his or her flair bartending might be even more appreciated. If possible, use a portable bar or the client’s existing home bar area to serve the guests.
- Offer extra services. There are a variety of special services you can offer at Halloween that may not be needed on other occasions. This can include fortune telling, a DJ that plays spooky music as well as dance hits, face painting, professional pumpkin carving, complimentary rides home for intoxicated guests and other services that might create additional value for your catering package.
- Do not forget flavor. One of the most common mistakes seen at a Halloween party is that the food and drinks are more gimmicky than they are appetizing. Remember, serving spooky-looking food only works if the food still tastes good. Make sure that the flavor of your food and drinks remains a high priority.
Illustrations by the talented Roman Martinez for FSW