Each Fall my husband and I go all out on a big All Hallow’s Eve dinner party. We have been throwing this party for nearly a decade, and every year on the blog we show the photos from the previous year’s dinner. This year’s bash was last weekend, and if you follow us on Instagram you might have caught some sneak peeks. We are still washing up all the dishes, but I’m taking a quick break so I can share these photos from last year’s Mad Laboratory themed party.
We begin the party with a cocktail hour as guests trickle in we invite them to mix up their own drinks. We don’t drink alcohol so our bar included all the ingredients of a classic Italian Soda. For our Mad Laboratory Mixology Drinks we had a beverage dispenser filled with “Reanimation Soda” — equal parts Club Soda and Tonic Water, which contains quinine and glows under a black light. Vaseline glass contains small amounts of uranium and glows under a blacklight, so we used serving pieces and found glass chunks to give our table a radioactive glow.
We hung a dry erase board as a backdrop for the table and wrote on a simple equation to remind guests how to mix their sodas. We also mounted black light tubes on either side. We didn’t even try to hide the lights’ cords since they just added to the industrial, lab look.
We froze some ice cubes made from the Reanimation Soda so we also had glowing ice!
Aimée created an oversized, black poster version of her Periodic Table Worksheet, and I printed the periodic table poster as a 36×48-inch engineering print at Staples for just $8. I mounted it on a dowel just like we did here. This year Pottery Barn is selling a Black Periodic Table, and they also have some Mad Scientist party ideas of their own, which we thought was super funny given this — I guess great minds really do think alike.
After drinks we sat down for dinner at a 36-foot table lined with over 80 taper candles. It’s such a breathtaking sight, and we have used the drippy candles as the centerpiece for every Halloween party… no one is sick of it yet. I often get asked about where I found all candlesticks. Our very first party was quite a bit smaller, and I had just collected all the candles I had in the house together. Then over the years I’ve picked up many more candleholders at garage sales and thrift stores. I only buy candlesticks that are glass or silver and less than $2 each.
Our dinner menu tells guests all the disgusting delicacies they’ll be served, and it coordinates with the party invitations. Both featured “radioactive drips” which are really just the ink extracted from a highlighter that we dripped on with a pipette.
Intermixed with the candles we had jars of creepy specimens. We collected all our decorative apothecary jars including these glass Reagent bottles.
Each one was filled with water and then we added food coloring and one of the blacklight-glowing substances — highlighter ink (glows yellow) or tonic water (glows blue). It was easiest to mix the coloring into the water before putting the vegetable “specimens” in the jar. We also added a pinch of sand to some of the jars to create debris at the bottom of the jar that gave a more aged appearance. Label the jars last after drying them off completely.
Our free printable specimens label template includes recommendations of which vegetables to use for which item. For example the Orangutan Spleen is really just fingerling potatoes, but don’t they look so spooky?
Of course we also offered our guests H20.
Superdad used the frosted glass door off an old Ikea cabinet and some 2x4s to create this DIY Light Box. To make X-rays I used some images we had from my husband’s face injury, but I also wanted images of other body parts so I did a Google image search for x-ray images. I emailed the files to my local Staples and had them print them on transparencies, like the kind you’d normally use for an overhead projector.
We sent our guests home with a test tube full of “Crystallized Tears.” It is just chunky sea salt that I picked up at the grocery store, and our free printable label hints to guests that it’s safe to use in their “culinary experiments.” Our free printable template also includes a stripe pattern page which can be cut into strips to use as seals for the party favor test tubes or anything else.
I’m excited to hear what you think! Please leave a comment below and let me know which of the party details was your favorite??
About the author
Bettijo is the founder and designer of Paging Supermom where she shares what she's dreamed up for family fun. Known for practical and kid-friendly activities, free printables and simple ideas for holidays. She is a single mom of three girls and one boy. Bettijo was a guest on the Martha Stewart Show and has frequently appeared on local television. Her work has also been featured in national magazines including Real Simple, O, Redbook, Parents, Family Circle, and Health. During quieter moments, she enjoys art, retro-modern design, photography and making new things. Bettijo lives with her four kiddos in Phoenix, Arizona.