Customized Halloween Party

11 November 2010

My two sons have birthdays on either side of Halloween, and for 8 years, we have hosted a big Halloween birthday party. The boys invite about 40 friends and in lieu of gifts, we ask the guests to bring food for the local Thanksgiving Food Drive. One of the fun elements of the party for me is designing the invitations, address labels, thank you notes and other party necessities.

Keeping 40 kids happy and busy for 2 hours is a fresh challenge every year. Last year, we revamped the activities, grouped the kids into teams and challenged them to win the "Holler Cauldron" - inspired by the Stanley Cup! Each team worked together, moving through a series of activities. The team that had the most points at the end won the championship and the right to have their names affixed to the golden Holler Cauldron plate.

We continued the competition this year and the party was another big success. Plus, we raised $425 and 412 pounds of food for the Food Pantry!

Over the years, I have been inspired to make invitations by using all of the holiday decorations around me. I've scanned in Halloween paper plates, greeting cards, window stickers and more. This year, I didn't have a lot of time to create the invitation, so I did a search on my favorite stock website, and purchased a great mummy illustration. The images are very inexpensive, and they have a huge selection contributed by artists and photographers from all over the world. I placed the illustration on the front of the invitation and added the wording in a great font for Halloween called Hohenstaufen. Then I used Graphics-Toolbox's Irregular Frame tool and selected one of the bats and resized it for the inside cover. I created a watermark bat for behind the list on the back cover and chose another bat and pasted into Word to create the return address label. The 2008 Certificates to the team winners were easily created using the mummy image, the same Halloween font and the signature Holler Cauldron created last year. 

The cost of this whole project was about $30, including the cost of the illustration, paper and ink. 
This is a typical example of how computer users can create their own personalized invitations and coordinating elements to fit the themes of their events and save money too! The final effect looks professional, but is cheaper than generic stationary items, reflects your own style and becomes a lasting keepsake.