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How to host a Halloween-themed potluck

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OCTOBER 24, 2022

Halloween is right around the corner, which means most of us are getting last-minute costumes and planning where we’ll be going out for Hallo-weekend. For those of you who may want to spend a fun night with your friends, consider throwing a Halloween-themed potluck. You can never go wrong with good food and friends! Here’s a guide to successfully hosting a Halloween-themed potluck.

Delegate dishes

Whether someone is working away in the kitchen to make a dish from scratch or running to the store at the last second to buy a prepared meal, everyone should be bringing something to the table. One thing I can’t emphasize enough when it comes to planning and hosting a potluck is communication! Make sure everyone communicates what they’re bringing and that there are no repeats. The worst thing that could happen is a table full of the same two dishes. While pumpkin pie and pigs in a blanket are great, you can only eat so much. Ask your friends what kind of dishes they want to bring, but don’t be afraid to kindly delegate if some items are missing or if there’s too much of the same thing – you want to make sure there’s a main dish, snacks, desserts and drinks for everyone! 

I recently had a Halloween potluck with my friends and our favorite simple main dish was the Autumnal Harvest Soup from Trader Joe’s with some ciabatta rolls heated up in the oven. Another fun orange-colored main dish to stick with the Halloween theme is butternut squash or pumpkin pasta! For appetizers, have a friend bring a childhood favorite snack – I personally love Boo Chips and dip! For desserts, you can never go wrong with a simple pumpkin pie. For those of you who may want to step it up a notch, a friend of mine made us a delicious pumpkin spice bread pudding that we paired with some vanilla ice cream that another friend brought along. I still dream about this bread pudding! For drinks, anything cider is great.

Check your tableware

I can’t emphasize enough how many times college potlucks have come short on tableware. We forget we only have two to six sets of dishes and utensils, which may be enough for us on a regular day but definitely not for a potluck. From personal experience, I’d recommend using recyclable tableware. Not only will it save you the hassle of having to wash all those dishes, but you also won’t risk having to deal with any broken plates or cups. Potlucks can be busy and there’s a lot of movement, so recyclable dishes and tableware are definitely your safest bet. If you end up having extra, just save it for the next potluck! 

Prep a playlist

Nobody likes awkward pauses of silence, so make sure to prepare a playlist. You can go the classic route and curate a playlist filled with childhood favorites. Personally, I’d throw “Monster Mash,” “Spooky Scary Skeletons” and “This Is Halloween” into the mix for nostalgia. If you’re crunched for time, Spotify has some great Halloween playlists to choose from! If you’ve got a musically inclined friend attending, you can also ask them if they’d like to create a playlist.

Plan activities

Food and friends are fun but so are activities! If everyone wants a relaxing night in, then fill up your plates with food, crash on the couch or floor and watch a Halloween movie together. You can never go wrong with a movie night. Whether you’re watching a horror movie or a Halloween classic (we love “Halloweentown”), it’s sure to make everyone happy. For a more active night, consider planning a costume contest or a murder mystery game amongst your friends. If you’ve got an outdoor space it might be fun to set up a pumpkin carving challenge or even pumpkin bowling. Trust me, there are plenty of fun gourd-eous games! 

Be prepared for leftovers

There are always a ton of leftovers at potlucks. Ask everyone to take their own dishes home or ask everyone to bring a to-go container so they can take a plate of food home. It makes the cleanup so much easier if all the food is already taken care of. If by chance you have any unopened food and it’s too much for you or your friends to finish, consider donating it to a local shelter or food drive. With the holiday season coming up, I’m sure they’ll be more than happy to take food donations!

I hope these tips encourage you all to host a Halloween-themed potluck with your friends. While going out is definitely fun, spending a night in with your friends after partying can be a great way to relax. Enjoy the spooky season and have a happy Halloween!

Contact Veerle deJong at 


OCTOBER 24, 2022