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Tricks, Treats & Monster Bash
By Martina Bexte, October, 2005

Does the very idea of throwing a spoooooktacular Halloween party for friends and neighbours send shivers down your spine? Never fear. There are plenty of books available to help you create a howl-of-a-time!

Cindy Fuller's Haunt Your House for Halloween: Decorating Tricks & Party Treats offers all levels of easy-to-make Halloween décor. 101 Spooktacular Party Ideas by Linda Sadler showcases everything from outdoor displays and party favors to make-ahead treats, with a bag full of games and tricks to keep everyone in stitches. Donata Maggipinto's Halloween Treats: Recipes and Crafts for the Whole Family - a fun-filled guide to making such treats as cocoa cobweb cupcakes and black cat cookies - offers numerous activities and decorating ideas for your Halloween bash.

Halloween: The Best of Martha Stewart Living collects holiday ideas from Stewart's popular magazine and brims over with food, music, decorating and costume suggestions for the whole family. In Halloween Crafts: Eerily Elegant Decor, Kasey Rogers and Mark Wood offer recipes (including punch) and step by step instructions for unique decorations. And in A Halloween How-To: Costumes, Parties, Decorations, and Destinations, Lesley Pratt Bannatyne covers Halloween trends, treats, costumes and parties from the past to the present, and even discusses must-see Halloween destinations.

What's a Halloween bash without spooky, spine-tingling toooooones? Here are a few ghoulish mood music suggestions: Andrew Gold's Halloween Howls; Halloween Hootenanny and Monster Bop (both arranged by various artists); Vampyre of the Harpsichord/Phantom of the Organ by Verne Langdon and Halloween Spooktacular/Poe With Pipes, in which John Carradine narrates some of Edgar Alan Poe's greatest works to the accompaniment of a grand pipe organ.

Once the last guests have capered off into the night and you discover you're too wired to sleep here's spooky midnight reading to help you nod off, or at least keep you company. In Agatha Christie's Hallowe'en Party, a little girl witnesses a murder and it's up to Hercule Poirot to find the culprit. Douglas Clegg's The Halloween Man tells how a young man learns the shocking truth about his birth. And the vampire theme of Donald Harstad's Code 61 makes it a timely treat for mystery readers during this spooky season.

If you prefer shorter fare, then try October Dreams: A Celebration of Halloween, a hefty and enjoyable collection of short stories by some of the genre's most distinguished fright masters: Dean Koontz, F. Paul Wilson, Dennis Etchison, Poppy Z. Brite, and Ray Bradbury, to name just a few. Many of the authors also discuss their 'Favorite Halloween Memories'. Paula Guran offers a 'Short History of Halloween' and Gary Braunbeck includes an 'Overview of Halloween Films'.

Finally, here's one you can listen to as you doze off on Halloween night - Little Evil Things: Vols 1-5 by Frank Macchia & Tracy London delivers a strong dose of nostalgic campfire horror stories. Enjoy your Monster Bash, and have a Happy Halloween!!
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