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Manners for a Modern Girl | Halloween Edition

Lizzie answers our Halloween-related queries about party-throwing, party-going, dressing up & more!


For the first installment of Manners for a Modern Girl, our resident etiquette guru Lizzie Post answers our Couturists questions on properly celebrating Halloween. Find out what’s on our readers’ minds and learn the correct way to deal with uncertain situations:

Q 1. “I’ve been planning on dressing up for Halloween, but most of the people I’ve talked to aren’t and we’re all going to the same party. What if I show up and I’m the only one dressed up?”

Most Halloween parties are costume parties, so unless your host has indicated costumes are optional, there’s no reason not to dress up. I say, dress up! You’ll be the outgoing person at the party who is festive and my bet is, you’ll look like you’re the fun one. Enjoy dressing up and have fun! Even if you’re THE ONLY ONE wear it with pride.

Q 2. I don’t have time to put a costume together but I still want to celebrate the holiday…is it rude to show up to a costume party if you’re not wearing a costume?”  

Yes, in my opinion you should wear a costume. Costumes don’t have to be extravagant, purchased or perfect. For example, grab some scrubs from a friend who’s a nurse or doctor, a simple face mask, or even just a little bit of exaggerated makeup and an outfit that’s not your normal attire can make for a quick and easy costume in a pinch. My advice is to try to pull something together so that you’re participating. Remember a roll of toilet paper = instant mummy!

Q 3. “Is party hopping on Halloween ok? I was invited to four parties that different friends are hosting and I want to RSVP to all of them. Is it rude to stop by and leave if I’m going to someone else’s party?”

You are awesome for RSVPing! Halloween is one of those rare nights where bouncing from party to party is perfectly acceptable, and let’s face it, the more costumes you see the better! When you RSVP to your hosts let them know that you’ll be making the rounds on Halloween, that you’re excited to see them and about what time you’ll be able to make it. Do your best to spend as much time at each party as possible, and ALWAYS be sure to say, “Hello,” and “Good-bye,” to your host.

Q 4. “I’m having a party at my house on Halloween night and I’m beginning to get worried that it could get out of hand. How do I politely ask someone to leave if they’re out of control?”

You can always hire someone from a local bar or club to serve as a bouncer. If not, safety first: always keep the number of a cab service handy. Determine if you should send this person on their way, or offer them a place to stay for the night. When in doubt, offer to let them crash. If they aren’t too out of control, you can always speak with them privately and give them a choice. Say something like, “Ryan, you’ve either got to reign it in and be more in control, or leave.”

Q 5. “This is the first Halloween that my roommate and I are living on our own and we aren’t sure if kids will go trick or treating in our apartment building. We’ll both be out that night — should we leave a bowl of candy at the door?”

You most certainly can, and it’s really thoughtful to the neighborhood kids to do so. But be sure to leave a bowl you don’t care about getting ruined, just in case it gets knocked over. Some people decide to put the candy into individual little bags so that it’s clear how much each trick-or-treater should take.

Additionally, Lizzie offered some great suggestions for getting the party going.

“Have fun with the drinks – mix up some cocktails in extravagant colors and give them creepy names:

  • Blood Martinis – cosmopolitan (add a little red food dye)
  • Eyeball Gimlets
  • Long Intestine Iced Teas

Festive and fun food ideas include:

  • Smoked Salmon: Filleted Skin
  • Olives: Eyeballs, or Livers, or Kidney Stones
  • Queso Dip: Warmed Earwax Dip
  • Guacamole: Lizard Mash
  • Walnuts & Pecans: Shriveled/Shrunken Brains

…Try to avoid vomit and excrement in the food titles though!”

Next month Lizzie’s delving in to solve our Thanksgiving queries: Are you hosting a dinner party on your own for the very first time? Are you curious about the proper protocol for going home to visit family? Will this be the first holiday you spend with your boyfriend’s family? We want to hear what you’re unsure about — submit your questions below in the comments section. Lizzie will pick five to answer next month.


Photos compliments of Lizzie Post, 7layerdesignsthefoodfairy, and the