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It’s almost time for Halloween, which means planning for Halloween parties! But what to do when you want to have a more literary bent to your party? One need not go the full Phantom of the Opera and kidnap someone, throw a chandelier at the rest of your guests, and then act like you’re the victim, here (though I suppose you could). Here are some easy and fun ways to bring your literary love into your costume soiree.

 

Iron Mask Making

Who doesn’t love the Three Musketeers (even though there’s four of them, and they mainly use swords)? Alexandre Dumas’s classic The Man In The Iron Mask, set thirty years after the original Three Musketeers, finds Athos, Porthos, Aramis and D’artangan in the midst of a scheme to replace the king with a twin, who has been kept in an iron mask in the Bastille. Make your own “iron masks” out of cardboard, paper mache and aluminum foil, and then figure out which one is the true ruler of France!

 

Bury Fortunato

In Edgar Allen Poe’s short story A Cask of Amontillado, Montressor leads the foolish Fortunato to the cellar, where he proceeded to bury him behind a wall, to perish forgotten. You don’t need to be a mason for this party game, just a collection of tin cans, milk cartons, or small boxes painted to look bricks. Set it up in the corner, and lure each unsuspecting guest to be to “buried” as you stack the fake bricks around them. Allow them to break out, if you don’t mind a non-canon ending.

 

Feed Beloved Beanbag Toss

The titular ghost in Toni Morrison’s Beloved destroys the lives of Sethe and Denver, in part due to her all consuming greed and hunger. Make your own Beloved out of a cardboard box with a wide mouth cut into it, and take turns throwing bean bags into her gaping maw. Of course, Beloved, like our own trauma and guilt, is never satisfied, so be sure to have many bean bags handy!

 

One Ring Donut Eating Race

J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings speaks not just of one ring, but 20: “Three Rings for the Elven-kings under the sky, seven for the Dwarf-lords in their halls of stone, nine for Mortal Men doomed to die, one for the Dark Lord on his dark throne.” But how can you figure out which ring is the One Ring, the one to rule them all? Which ever gets eaten the fastest, of course! Suspend golden donuts by strings at about face height, and have your guests see who can eat a donut the fastest. Whoever wins has taken the One Ring inside of them, and can only be killed in the fires of Mount Doom.

 

It Piñata

As we all learned from the recent film adaption of Stephen King’s IT, if a malevolent spirit as old as time itself has one weakness, it’s a bunch of kids willing to lay on a beatdown. What better way to pay tribute than with a piñata made to look like Pennywise the Dancing Clown itself? Or, due to Pennywise’s shape-changing abilities, you can have the piñata look like anything and say it’s Pennywise. If you want to stay true to source material, instead of beating the piñata, you can open it with a vague, arcane ritual and a group sex party, and then do the same thing all over again in 27 years.


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Jared Axelrod

Jared Axelrod is an author, an illustrator, and a world changer. Throughout her eventful life she has also been a circus performer, a puppeteer, a graphic designer, a sculptor, a costume designer, a podcaster and quite a few other things that she’s lost track of but will no doubt remember when the situation calls for it. She is the writer and producer of “The Voice Of Free Planet X” podcast, were she interviews stranded time-travelers, low-rent superheroes, unrepentant monsters and other such creature of sci-fi and fantasy, as well as the podcasts “Aliens You Will Meet” and “Fables Of The Flying City.” The story started in “Fables Of The Flying City” is concluded in The Battle Of Blood & Ink, a graphic novel published by Tor. She is not domestic, she is a luxury, and in that sense, necessary.