Jack-o-lanterns, rubber rats, hairy hanging spiders, fake spiderwebs, candles, orange and black garland, black bats on strings, paper skeletons, fake headstones, coffins, black fabric draped on the walls and furniture, black and orange balloons, strings of orange lights, spooky sound effect music, battery operated crawling hands and skeletons, hanging ghosts that shake, rubber snakes & cockroaches, glowing skulls, fake blood, axes, dimmed lights, shadows, urns filled with candy corn, Halloween themed paper plates/napkins/cups, punchbowl with floating eyeballs, dirt cake with gummy worms, cat litter cake, finger cookies, candy, cupcakes with spiders on them, spotlights, fog machine, candelabras, statue of the grim reaper, scythe, dry ice, music, people dressed up as monsters, witches, superheros, zombies, skeletons, pirates, vampires, historical figures, angels, fairies, werewolves, princesses, football players, rock stars, cheerleaders, animals, devils, knights, movie characters, wizards, boxes filled with spaghetti labelled 'intestines' boxes filled with peeled grapes labelled 'eyeballs', party games like spin the bottle, bobbing for apples, people dancing, chips/pretzels/candy wrappers on the floor, discarded cups/plates sitting on the TV, tables, the back of furniture, on the stairs, counter, feathers and glitter from costumes being trampled into the carpet
Recorded sound effects (howling, cackling, creaking, laughter, moaning, wind blowing, bats screeching, chains rattling etc) people laughing, the rustle of costumes, music, glasses clinking, people talking, doorbell ringing, people running up and down the stairs, yelling, shouting, screaming, squeals, howling, people talking in character/costumed voices, cheering, the hiss of a beer or pop bottle being opened
Pizza, chips, chocolate cake, buttery sweet candy corn, alcohol (if served), pop, water, sweat, chalky/greasy make up, hair spray, candle wax, smoke, Cinnamon, popcorn, perfume/cologne, hair products, stuffy air
Candy, sugar, chocolate, chips, frosting, pizza, spices, apples, water, pop, punch, alcohol, popcorn, jello shots, jelly beans, gummy worms, pudding, cookie crumb toppings, pumpkin seeds, pumpkin pie/tarts/cookies/muffins/loaf
The feel of starchy crinoline on costumes, sleek silky costume dresses and capes, the greasy feel of face make up, sweat under a hot costume, touching the fur of a dance partner's costume, sipping from a cup and trying not to get face makeup everywhere, crusty hair sprayed hair to hold form, pressing up against another dancer, bumping/nudging/rubbing against someone to pass in a hallway or to get across the room, feeling popcorn or candy underfoot, the light touch of fake spiderwebs on the neck, shivering as someone leans in close to whisper in the ear to be heard, jerking/tugging at costume to straighten it, the weight of a filled paper plate in the hand, the cool moisture of a cold drink against fingertips, an anonymous pinch/grope/elbow/grab in a packed room
--The words you choose can convey atmosphere and mood.
After taping the last strip of fishing line from the roof, I climbed down from the ladder an admired my work. With the lights turned down, no one would see the strands in the hall. One touch against the back of the neck or face and people would immediately imagine a spiderweb and freak out.
My ex friend Mandy emerged from the crowd on the dance floor, dressed in a glittery blue cheer leading costume that showed so much skin she must have bought it from the Little Miss section. Preening at every hoot and whistle, she hooked her arm through my boyfriend Jeff's. "Interesting costume, Leda," she said, giving me a bitchy smile. "Only are you Raggedy Ann, or Andy?"
--Similes and metaphors create strong imagery when used sparingly.
Example 1: (Simile)
Erma set the candy bowl on the table and waited for someone to reach in. It had a buzzer inside that would shake the moment someone crossed the motion sensor. All those gummy worms would jiggle like live maggots and she'd bet money that whoever had their hand in there would shriek at the top of their lungs.
Example 2: (Metaphor)
While everyone headed for the kitchen to bob for apples, Ben moved down the dark hall toward the bathroom. He eyed the cobwebbed-streaked doors in case one of his friends decided to jump out at him, but they stayed closed. At the end, he turned the knob and pushed on the bathroom door. High-pitched laughter washed over him in a cackling wave and he stumbled back, heart jamming against his ribs. The creaky laughter became the clanking of chains. Ben grinned, clutching at his chest. Someone rigged the door with one of those spooky mixed CDs!