Welcome back to Totally Lit Parties, a feature in which Corrie shows you how to throw YA-themed parties!
R.L. Stine’s Fear Street series is like horror popcorn. The books don’t take long to read, and before you realize it, you’ve read several. They’re perfect for reading on a bench in October, when the air suddenly turns cold. Is it just the wind or a ghost?
My invitations were created with just a printer and some red craft paint. The words “You’re Invited” were printed in the Chiller font for a spooky look. Red craft paint was then drizzled along the top fold of the card and let drip down the front (and sometimes the back) to create the blood-like effect.
What to Wear
The Fear Street novels are mostly set in the '90s, so dust off some classics for this party. While some characters are described as stylish, our modern fashion senses would beg to differ. Most items should be available in department stores. And for some reason, so many pairs of spandex bicycle shorts. Here are some descriptions for inspiration:
• “Jan was wearing a chartreuse midriff top that really emphasized her figure and skintight, white spandex bicycle shorts.” -- Party Summer (p. 14)
• “He wore an oversize yellow and red Hawaiian shirt over Day-Glo orange baggies. His dark brown hair was tied back in a short ponytail. He had a diamond stud in one ear and wore silver wire-rimmed glasses.” -- Party Summer (p. 19)
• “Rena recognized the flower patterned wrap around skirt Hedy wore to rehearsals and the green midriff blouse that all the guys thought was so sexy.” -- Curtains (p. 41)
• “He was wearing a sleeveless blue T-shirt and white tennis shorts, obviously showing off his tan.” -- Haunted (p. 21)
• “…put on a red, ribbed sweater with fringe along the hem and a new pair of jeans.” -- Haunted (p. 49)
Your party-planning maven in authentic '90s fashion!
Even the clothing from the current series revival is slightly bonkers:
• “She was wearing a short shiny gray skirt over black jeans. Her parka was open, revealing a violet vest over a pale blue T-shirt. She had plastic yellow-and- blue beads around her neck that clattered when she moved.” -- Party Games (p. 56)
Alternatively, you could dress in your best spooky garb, as the books are filled with ghosts, witches, and murderers.
• Cliffhanger: Nearly every chapter ends in a cliffhanger, so do some cliff hanging of your own at an indoor climbing gym. The books never leave you hanging for long, and neither will the climbing gym. That’s what the safety equipment is for!
• Murder: An obvious choice is a murder mystery dinner party. Lots of options are available for purchase, but you can also find some excellent ideas online for free. I suggest throwing out the name of the real killer and picking someone at random. It seems to work for the books!
• Mind Tricks: Play some slumber party favorites, such as Light as a Feather, Stiff as a Board or Bloody Mary, with the lights turned down for full effect. If at any point in time you feel scared, make sure the scream catches in your throat and nothing comes out.
• Jump Scare: Some of the magic that makes horror films so creepy can be recreated by anyone who knows a few movie secrets. Check out these videos to learn basic techniques for creating a scary movie of your own!
• Tropes: Sometimes the characters in the books gave me emotional whiplash. In one moment, a girl told a guy that he was being “so sick”, and in the next, they were making out. Make a list of tropes (such as this list) that fill these books, and use them as prompts for charades or pictionary.
• Bloody Art: The Fear Street books are fairly violent (though not necessarily gory). People are routinely murdered, usually in a bloody fashion. Create your own bloody art with some red crayons and a canvas. Draw or paint an image on the canvas. (Not an artist? Try decoupage!) To frame the image with 'blood drippings', angle the canvas and melt pieces of red crayon with a hair dryer or a heat gun so that the crayon remnants drip down. If you want the crayon to drip around the image instead of over it, mask off the area with painter's tape and cover the taped-off surface with a paper bowl (like in this awesome tutorial).
• Scavenger Hunt: Create a list of trivia, tasks, and found items that tie to your favorite Fear Street books. Split into partners or teams, and send everyone out from a starting point with a time limit to gather their evidence (in both items and photos). Need a starting point? Check out this starter list. When everyone returns, tally the points and declare a winner.
• Power Trip: Many characters in the series feel like they have no control and want to gain more. In Couch of Power, that’s exactly the goal. The party is split into two teams. Each person draws the name of another player in the game. Arrange a ring of chairs around a couch, with one deliberately empty spot. Teams then take turns calling names. When the name you pulled is called, you move to the empty seat. A team wins when all of the power seats on the couch is occupied by one team. House rules and variations (like switching papers once your name has been called) can make the game trickier.
Tasty Business and Boozy Beverages
Fear Street mostly consists of high school characters, and they have typical high school parties as imagined by an adult, with cheap beer, potato chips, and cookies. If you prefer the idea of Fear Street over the reality, check out these creepy cocktails from Martha Stewart. (My favorites are the Bloodthirsty Mary, Eyeball Martinis, and the Drunken Heads in Cider.)
As for spooky food, a good presentation goes a long way.
• Use a fake skull as a bowl.
• Have meat and cheese spilling out of a skeleton chest cavity.
• Use dry ice to engulf everything in fog.
Your dessert is a chance for one final, creepy reveal. Try individual lava cakes with oozing centers. These are always crowd pleasers and easy to make. For something more portable, jam-filled cupcakes are great alternatives. Once the cupcakes have cooled, cut out a center core and use a homemade piping bag (read: baggie with the corner cut) to add the filling. After the cupcakes have been frosted, no one will see the hole. Either way, you have one final surprise for your guests, just like Stine always has for his readers.
Do you have any other Fear Street-themed party ideas? Let us know in the comments!
Corrie Golando lives in Winslow, Arizona, with her husband and two greyhounds. She spent 10 years as a middle school/high school English teacher, and her students gave her a love for all things YA. When she's not working at the high school library, she is writing fanfiction and doing something crafty. She has a love of all things coated in glitter, much to her husband's horror.