What I Did:
We set up a "photo op" for our guests, and also held a raffle.
(Click the thumbnails below for larger views.)
A coffin lid made out of plywood was leaned against the wall, and a sign with our names and the wedding date was hung on it. It was flanked by bride and groom ghosts made out of tulle draped over a couple of balloons; the "bride" had a black tulle veil and a bouquet of black silk roses, and the "groom" had a top hat. Each guest had a polaroid picture snapped in front of the coffin. I had intended to use black-and-orange ribbon to attach each picture to a "monster hand" made out of a clear plastic glove filled with caramel corn. Unfortunately, I ran out of time and/or ambition before I got around to the gloves, so they just got the pictures.
As they arrived, each guest was given a numbered ticket. After the ceremony, we had a drawing for "prizes" (everybody got something). We got a lot of cheap and silly trinkets from Oriental Trading and Archie McPhee, including such oddities as "Space Mucus," Hindu god finger puppets, and spiderweb-shaped pasta. We also had a few things like bottles of Vampire wine and videos of classic monster movies. I drew the tickets from a cauldron, and my brand-new husband announced the prizes. It was one of the highlights of the reception, and everyone (including us) had a blast.
- In keeping with the Halloween theme, give guests popcorn balls, caramel apples, or small treat bags filled with candy.
- For a harvest theme, your favors could be miniature pumpkins with your names written in gold paint, a cornucopia with marzipan vegetables and fruits, candles shaped like autumn leaves or pumpkins, or a small bottle of wine with rusted grape leaves wrapped around the neck.
- Instead of rice, provide guests with bags of confetti in black and orange (or in the jewel tones you chose as your colors). Bubbles are also magnificent, particularly at a twilight wedding.
- Decorate a bushel basketful of different colored and scented votive candles, so guests can take a candle as they enter or leave the reception.
- If you've done some of the catering yourself, compile the recipes for the food used in your ceremony and/or reception, and make little cookbooks.
- Offer Halloween icons such as miniature brooms, witches' hats, etc., personalized with your name and wedding date.
- For a medieval theme, give guests miniature wreaths of dried flowers and herbs, parchment scrolls printed with a favorite poem and tied with ribbon, or small flasks of mead or fruit wine.
- An earth-friendly favor that also serves as a balloon weight, decoration, and centerpiece all in one is a tree seedling. The seedlings are 6 - 8 inches tall and may be decorated with Mylar tissue, curling ribbon or tulle.
- Some goth bath suppliers like Shadow Manor and Thornefolk offer unusual bath salts and skull-shaped bath fizzies. Give out mini samples to guests and full-size versions to bridesmaids.