Vintage Halloween party ideas: A collection of over 100 years of festive fun

Vintage Halloween party ideas A collection of over 100 years of festive fun

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Take a look to the past for cool vintage Halloween party ideas

Whether you’re just curious about Halloween parties of yore or seeking some useful tips for hosting your own authentic throwback activities, this collection of vintage Halloween party ideas spanning over a century should satisfy you in that quest!

Long before there were animatronic goblins and ghouls available at your neighborhood Spirit Halloween store, our parents, grandparents and beyond were surprisingly creative and sophisticated with their scare tactics. Check out these ideas for a haunting Halloween celebration.

Old-fashioned Halloween party fun from 1961

ALSO SEE: How did Halloween start? The strange history of Halloween

Over 100 years of clever vintage Halloween party ideas

A vintage Halloween party in 1944

Vintage Halloween party in 1944

Also see: These 15 vintage Halloween cards for kids were super cute ways to say boo!

Meet ‘n Treat retro Halloween party: An extra fun ’70s alternative to trick or treat

This wholesome retro Halloween party idea from 1973 is a family-friendly way to celebrate the spookiest night of the year! Below, you’ll find that these party-perfect Halloween recipes and games have stood the test of time.

Have a sweet meet ‘n Treat retro Halloween party instead of trick-or-treat (1973)

Witches, goblins, costumes, pumpkins — they’re all part of the spooky excitement that makes for traditional Halloween fun on a brisk October night.

But there’s been a trend in recent years to emphasize the “trick” part of Halloween, taking away some of the fun of the treating tradition.

By substituting the “trick” with a “Meet ‘n Treat” approach, this year’s Halloween can become a time for sharing the fun with family and neighbors in a spirit of friendship, as the day was meant to be.

Have a safe, kid-friendly Meet 'n Treat retro Halloween party - 1976

The invention of a Meet ‘n Treat retro Halloween party

Proposed by the National Confectioners Association, this new Meet ‘n Treat idea suggests that parents accompany their children on the door-to-door treating rounds and visit neighbors as a family.

In this way, families can renew acquaintances and can also get to know new neighbors with a short introduction and a friendly visit.

When the treating rounds are over, families can gather in the evening for a neighborhood party and carry on the spirit of the day. There, they can share the treats collected during the day and participate in family-oriented games, such as a contest for the best family costumes or dunking for apples as a family team.

With this Meet ‘n Treat approach, the positive aspects of Halloween can be preserved and enjoyed in a meaningful way. It can also remove the apprehension of some families who, in previous years, may have been concerned about alleged Halloween incidents of tampered treats that have been reported in the press.

Studies conducted last year by the National Confectioners Association through interviews with police across the country indicate, however, that the vast majority of these reported incidents, when investigated, were actually hoaxes.

Removing the stigma caused by such hoaxes takes time, but can be enhanced when entire families use the opportunity a day like Halloween offers to promote friendship and trust.

The giving and receiving of treats — a basic part of Halloween — can allow neighbors, both young and old, to share in the goodwill of the day.

MORE: Super-cute ways to say boo: 15 vintage Halloween cards for kids from the ’70s & ’80s

Have a safe, kid-friendly Meet 'n Treat retro Halloween party - 1973

Retro Halloween party recipes & menu

Costumes and candy connote only one holiday — Halloween. This year, why not surprise the youngsters with an extra-special autumn treat? Invite them in from the cold to a “Meet ‘n Treat” retro Halloween Party.

“Meet ‘n Treat” is a program that originated four years ago to revive the wholesome fun traditionally associated with Halloween.

The innovative plan encourages family and community involvement in Halloween. The program calls for parents to accompany their children on “treating” rounds, thus enabling the adults to renew acquaintances with old neighbors and to meet and greet new ones. Following pedestrian safety rules established by the National Safety Council is also stressed.

A “Meet ‘n Treat” further suggests post-“treating” parties following treating rounds to be held in the home, school, church, or community center.

Planning and hosting a sweet Meet ‘n Treat retro Halloween party at home for neighboring youngsters can be enjoyable for both children and their parents. Here are some decorating, recipe, and entertainment ideas that are sure winners.

1971 Plastic halloween pumpkin lamps jack o lanterns for a Meet 'n Treat retro Halloween party

No Halloween party is worthy of the name without orange and black crepe streamers and luminous paper ghosts, witches, and skeletons decorating the darkened room. All of these spooky specters are readily and inexpensively available at variety or discount stores.

The focal point of the party — the “treat” table — should likewise be decorated with an orange and black tablecloth and napkins.

How about a styrofoam cone centerpiece filled with colorful lollipops and place cards made from chocolate bars, trimmed with panned cinnamon candies to spell out the names? At each child’s place, also put a nut cup filled with a variety of small candies so popular at Halloween.

A “Meet ‘n Treat” box for all the children to dip into might contain apples, small bags of jelly beans, candy corn, peanuts, nutty popcorn balls, and individually-wrapped candies.

One of the highlights of any children’s party is, of course, the food and drink. The following recipes make simple and festive Halloween treats.

MORE: Revisit dozens of creepy & spooky vintage Halloween TV specials (and other retro horror on television)

Have a safe, kid-friendly Meet 'n Treat retro Halloween party - 1973

Retro Halloween party recipes

This delightful drink is frothy and light. Older persons will also enjoy its delicate candy flavor.

1 quart milk
1 (10-oz.) bottle of club soda
6 (3/4-oz.) bars chocolate-covered English toffee

In blender container, combine 1 cup milk, a small amount of club soda, and broken candy bars. Blend on “chop” for 20 seconds or until candy is finely chopped. Pour remaining milk and club soda into large pitcher. Stir in candy mixture till frothy.

Serve at once. Makes about 1-1/2 quarts, enough for 6 servings of 1 cup each.

NOTE: To make without blender, finely crush candy between sheets of wax paper or foil, using a hammer.

Combine all ingredients in pitcher and beat till frothy, using a wire whisk.


Try this tasty new treat at your next Meet ‘n Treat Halloween party. Be sure to maintain a constant temperature during deep-fat frying to make fritters feather light.

1-1/4 cups buttermilk biscuit mix
1/2 cup chocolate-covered raisins
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1/4 cup milk

Fat for deep frying, at 360 F.

Combine biscuit mix, chocolate-covered raisins and sugar in mixing bowl. Stir with fork to mix. Add egg and milk. Mix with fork till dry ingredients are moistened; dough will be lumpy. Drag by rounded teaspoonfuls into hot fat (360°F.). Fry an turn fritters until golden brown on both sides, about 1-1/2 minutes.

Drain on paper towels. Serve while warm. Makes 18.

ALSO SEE: These vintage Halloween costumes based on ’70s TV shows were creepy for all the wrong reasons


These treats are packed with a surprise crunch at the bottom. The corny hair fringe is fun to do, especially if the kids get to do the decorating. Grinning Cupcakes are a good contribution to the Meet ‘n Treat Halloween party.

1 (9-oz.) pkg. yellow cake mix
1 cup buttercream frosting
Burnt candy-covered peanuts
1 egg candy corn

Prepare cake mix with water and egg as directed on package. Line muffin pan with paper cups. Fill each cup 1/2 to 2/3 full. Drop 2 burnt candy peanuts into batter in each cup. Bake as directed on package, till to of cupcake springs back when lightly touched. Cool in pan on rack for 5 minutes.

Remove cupcakes from pan and cool completely on rack at least 2 hours.

Frost tops of cupcakes with buttercream frosting. While frosting is still soft, make a fringe of candy corn around top of each cupcake for hair, sticking points of candy into frosting.

Just under fringe, place two burnt candy peanuts for eyes. Then make a curved line of four or five burnt candy peanuts for a grin. Put two pieces of candy corn at the bottom with points together to form a bowtie. Serves 12.

Turn trick or treat into a retro Halloween party


Combine two old-fashioned Halloween foods to create an exciting new one!

1 (10-1/2 oz.) pkg. miniature marshmallows
1/4 cup butter or margarine
3/4 cup crushed peanut brittle
3 quarts hot popped popcorn

In very large pot or Dutch oven, combine marshmallows and butter. Stir over low heat until just melted. Add peanut brittle; mix well. Remove from heat. Stir in popcorn and mix well.

With wet hands, shape the popcorn mixture into balls about 3 inches in diameter. Let dry for 1 hour. Wrap in plastic wrap or cellophane, if desired. Makes 12 balls.

ALSO TRY: Old-fashioned popcorn balls: 14 delicious classic recipes, plus expert popping tips

Vintage Halloween cutout decorations from the 1970s

Fun & games for kids at the Meet ‘n Treat retro Halloween party

No children’s party is complete without games. In addition to bobbing for apples and pinning the tail on the donkey, the “Meet ‘n Treat” retro Halloween party presents an opportunity for some “sweet” entertainment as well.

Prizes, including candy bars, miniature boxes of chocolates, and small toys can be displayed in a box decorated with orange and black witches.


Have the children take turns kneeling, on a chair, facing toward its back. Place a container with a small open neck approximately 5 to 7 feet away. Whoever comes closest to tossing small, wrapped candies into the container in three tries wins a favor from the prize box.

Brach's candy for Halloween 1984 for a Meet 'n Treat Halloween party


Count out a specific amount of candies and pour them into a large glass jar or bowl. Each child then guesses how many treats are in the container. Following the game, divide the candy among the youngsters and award the winner a trip to the prize box.


Here’s another game that children can eat as well as play. Using a fondue pot, melt the desired number of caramels. Provide each child with an apple and a stick and let them go to work.

After mounting the apple on the stick and dipping it into the caramel fondue, the contestants should choose from specially-provided candy decorations to make faces in their still) sticky apples. Prizes may be awarded for caramel faces that are the prettiest, scariest, funniest and ugliest.

These are but a few of the ideas that can make the Halloween “Meet ‘n Treat” party at home a festive event. A little imagination will produce countless other recipes and entertainment ideas.

This approach to the celebration of Halloween enables young and old alike to join together in a spirit of congeniality to rejuvenate one of the most fun-filled holidays of the year. Hold a “Meet ‘n Treat” Party this October 31st, and put old-fashioned fun back into Halloween.

ALSO SEE: How did Halloween start? The strange history of Halloween – including trick or treating & carving jack-o’-lanterns – goes way, way back

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