Good Cryptkeeping Throws A Party!
Whether it’s a birthday, a wedding or a bachelor bash, horror has begun to permeate lots of celebrations besides just Halloween parties. Recently a dear friend of mine had an incredible wedding ceremony where she and her groom dressed in tribute to Lydia and Beetlejuice and used a ‘sandworm’ cake topper. As this month’s Friday the 13th celebration neared, I decided what better reason to throw a soiree than to commemorate the birthday of my favorite lake-dwelling slasher, Jason Voorhees? From customized invitations (GhastlyGreetings makes some of my very favorites!) to gnarly party favors and spooky recipes, finding suitable party supplies in April wasn’t as difficult as you might imagine, and I’m here to show you the way.
The first challenge was setting the scene; my boyfriend happens to have a great house for entertaining, but it isn’t exactly ‘spooky’. A few dollars and a search online solved that problem! Used frequently in the photography and party planning industry, backdrops known as ‘scene setters’ are prevalent, and for less than $20 I was able to score one with a dense forest background. It was on a thin canvas cloth that was easy to roll or fold for storage (just remember to hang it or roll it a few days before the party to work out the wrinkles if you fold it!) and you can thumbtack it up onto any wall or surface to make a convincing backdrop. I scored a “Camp Crystal Lake” plastic sign from Amazon as well and secured it on top of the background, then added a cheap hockey mask and a bloody plastic axe. Voila; not only had I set up a fun little bit of atmosphere, but I billed it as a photobooth. (Pro tip: Partygoers LOVE anywhere they can take a good selfie, so things like this can be really fun! For an additional ‘oomph’, consider investing in an instant camera. You can grab a Polaroid or FujiFilm instant camera for less than $60 these days, and if you bring one to a party people absolutely love the novelty and are sure to strike some memorable poses. You can put out a small photo album for them to stash the photos or let the guests keep them as a souvenir. Either way, they’re definitely great conversation pieces!
The food table is the integral part of any party; whether you cater it yourself or have others contribute, you want to make sure you have a variety for everyone’s dietary needs. From veggie trays, dips and a fruit and cheese platter to hamburgers, hot dogs and s’mores, we tried to have anything ‘camper’ themed that we thought the hapless counselors at Camp Crystal Lake would munch on! We used a blood-splattered plastic tablecloth and matching balloons and napkins to keep the creepy ambiance, and I made a little centerpiece out of cheap severed limbs. We used a lightbox marquee to spell out ‘Happy Birthday Jason’; these are just fun novelty items that can be found year-round at almost any store from big-boxes like Walmart to indie boutique shops—we bought this one at Five Below for $5!
There’s no shortage of horror-themed cocktails and recipes on the menu, and the Internet is your friend in this regard. My boyfriend (Ghastly’s own Freddy Ruiz!) attempted to recreate the Jason burgers from “jason Goes to Hell”--- use a straw or skewer to puncture the holes in hamburger patties to turn them into hockey masks, and be sure to use ketchup for the ‘gore’!
We also had two special treats; an awesome company called Freakshow Treats provided us with some delicious gummy candy that was the conversation piece of the table! They do ship from the UK, but they are well worth it; the gummies were sweet and didn’t have the sticky gelatin aftertaste a lot of gummy candy does, and the shapes were all anyone could talk about. We had an assortment of eyeballs, teeth, and fingers spread out on a small tray, and people had a blast taking photos with them and munching down.
Dead Darling Boutique makes a lot of cute hair accessories and other horror-related goods, but for this party my eye was on their homemade barbecue sauce. They currently offer two varieties; one is a smoky, tangy blend based on The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and the other is a sweeter raspberry-enhanced sauce inspired by Candyman. They’re generously-sized bottles with label art corresponding with the films, and the Texas Chainsaw sauce leant the perfect zing to both burgers and chicken. Both are mild enough for even the most tame tongues, but they’re addictive and full of delicious spice and seasonings; we couldn’t stop dipping! They are currently working on a spicier Scream-themed bottle using garlic and peppers, and I can’t wait to give that one a taste too; these are finger-licking sauces that would make any horror fan’s mouth drool with delight.
There’s also a fantastic drink recipe here for a Crystal Lake Cocktail if you want to involve some alcoholic libations into your evening. (If not, you can make non-alcoholic punch; a bowl of blue water would be perfect, especially if you top it off with a little toy canoe or put a Jason action figure on the edge of the bowl!)
We screened “Jason X” and “Freddy vs Jason” for a few simple reasons. One is that they’re both ‘fun’ films; you don’t have to have seen the others in the franchise to be familiar with them, and you don’t need to actually pay much attention to see what’s going on if you walk in and out of the room. We knew that our party would involve a lot of socializing, people coming and going, and people talking during the movie so we chose light-hearted fare. That and both films are funny, which turned into a group of us basically doing our own RiffTrax during the screenings.
However you choose to celebrate your holidays, never be discouraged by the time of year or the potential lack of creepy in your neck of the woods. All in all, not counting the food, it cost me less than $50 to put together a fantastic, fun atmosphere and transform a nice clean house into our favorite camp, complete with its own ‘death curse’! In this day and age of Internet and ingenuity, it’s easier than ever to rope in some of your friends and have a great night of thrills and chills. Just make sure that some of them can run slower than you, and remember to never go off alone if you need to refill the chip bowl!