{reader style} A Very Lively Halloween Party

Happy Halloween everyone!

I am very excited to be celebrating Halloween today by featuring a fantastic party that Scott and I (and Beckett) were fortunate to attend at this time last year. Our dear friends, Mark and Josh Lively, are the ultimate hosts, and last year they threw the classiest of Halloween affairs.  Halloween is Mark's favorite holiday - and it shows! The party was so amazing that I felt it needed to be shared, so I interviewed Mark to get you all the details, along with some of his best tips for Halloween decorating and hosting.

First, let me introduce you to Mark.  Besides being the creative mind behind all of the elaborate and inspiring Halloween party decor featured here, Mark is also a great friend and a critically acclaimed singer and actor.

So without further ado, here's my interview with Mark, together with lots of photos of last year's awe inspiring Halloween party.  The decor photos were taken by Mark, and the party photos were taken by Matthew Gale Photography.

Tell me a bit about the Halloween Party. Did it have a specific theme? 

In order to get my brain ticking, I always start with a theme that keeps me on track each year, plus it gives my guests a place to start when they are pondering what they are going to wear. For last year’s party, I went with "Black & Orange" as the theme. Something easy and simple, yet open ended that made it fun to see what people came up with. It was a tad-bit selfish because I just wanted to look over my staircase and see an amazing display of Halloween color.

Did you decorate just one room or area of your home for the party, or did the entire house get the Halloween treatment?

When I decorate for Halloween, I try to sprinkle it throughout the house. It makes it more fun! Not everything is adorned in the style that I use to decorate the main floor.

But I enjoy it when people wander around and see visual surprises that keep the Halloween festivities going.

Do you decorate this elaborately for Halloween every year, or was this decor specifically for the party?

I will admit it.... I DO! Every year, I love just LOVE decorating! I look forward to my husband each year when he walks in our place on October 1st and the room is filled with loose decor/clutter everywhere, and he says... "It's time for Halloween."

{Or as Mark put it in his Facebook status about one month ago: "Halloween is one of my favorite times of the year.... I am so grateful that I have a such a wonderful husband that understands my passion for decorating and allowing me to blast my creativity all over our Haunted Manor. WHY DO I SAY THIS... Well, I'm hoping he reads this before he gets home because the place looks like bomb went off."}

Now would I say that I just leave everything in its same place for a party? No. I move a lot of things around, and of course the challenge for the food table is always a full evening in itself, creating levels on the table and making the house up in such a way that people won't knock anything over or get burned by a candle.

Tell me more about some of your very favorite Halloween decor details!

I have built my collection of Halloween decor over many, many years. Whenever I go out shopping I always keep it tucked in the back of my mind, from finding the perfect tassel, to something fun and whimsical, to something that with a little paint can be an excellent new addition.

One of my favorite things to set out each year are my pumpkins, because they were created with so much love... I took scrapbook paper and covered and painted them... and when you look inside the pumpkin they have vintage Halloween card designs on the inside. 

One of my big things when I decorate is expecting people to not see everything at once, so that when they really walk up to the design and look deeply at it, they keep seeing something new.

I really enjoyed putting together my new Tribute to Edgar Allen Poe as well - a classy yet spooky idea. I have to admit it only got better for this Halloween, adding antiques around the book, really setting the scene for this macabre writer.

What was on the menu for the party? And what about the drinks? Were there any special Halloween cocktails?

I always let my husband, Josh, plan the menu, and he does a great job! He looks online for spooky ideas and playful Halloween treats that you still want to eat. You have to be careful not to make the food too creepy or you end up with a lot of leftovers.

My favorite thing is planning the cocktails. That is when Josh and I have our own party and taste and design playful drinks with fun surprises. Last year, we did three different Halloween martinis (martinis have turned into our signature party item). We did a Halloween Lively Martini - a mango and citron vodka martini that we designed for our wedding, but, to make it spooky, we had black vodka that floated on top of the orange martini, keeping with the Black & Orange theme. We also had a chocolate martini made from Halloween candy bars that we called "The Trick-or-Treat," and a Blue Witches Brew martini that had pop rocks around the edge and dry-ice to make it more playful.

I say, if you are having a party with more than 15, hire someone to work your bar… it is the hardest job of the night!

What are your best Halloween decorating tips? How about tips for throwing a memorable Halloween party? 

Have fun... be creative! Halloween is about making the unexpected come to life, and make it your own. Halloween has so much to it, and you can go from super scary to super swanky, it is up to you.

I love putting a lot of myself into my parties. I want people to come in and say, "This is so Mark," and then enjoy walking around in my crazy world.

I think I am the most excited when I see a couple give a loving nudge, a sweet hug to an old friend, or take a martini and toast to each other... it makes me feel like all the work I put in was so worth it, because I was able to make one moment in their lives absolutely perfect.

The Livelys: Josh is on the left, Mark on the right.

Scott, Beckett and I were privileged to be guests at this amazing party last year, and besides being awed by every detail of the decor, we had a wonderful time catching up with old friends and meeting some new friends!

Thanks to Mark (and Josh) for allowing me to feature their amazing Orange & Black party!  It was absolutely a memorable affair that embodied the true spirit of Halloween!

If you are looking for even more seasonal inspiration, you might be interested in these fall and Halloween projects:

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