Stir Up Some Fun at Your Halloween Party

Photo courtesy of

We asked some of our expert Event staff, students and instructors for some tips to make planning a Halloween party easier and less of a terrifying task. Here are 5 tips to ensure that your party is absolutely Spooktacular!

1. Always prepare a budget and Task Chart of what needs to be done no matter how simple an event may be to ensure things are not missed or forgotten. The other tip — if you’re in need of inspiration thank goodness for Google and Pinterest.

Andrea Hennel, BA
Manager, Specialized Services in Events and Conference Services
Mount Royal University Continuing Education

2. With a holiday such as Halloween, it makes planning much easier if you select a very specific theme as a focus for your event! Consider your venue, decorations, party food, audience, and activities when selecting the theme for your event. For example, if you are hosting a party for adults, you could go with a very horrifying theme such as a haunted hospital; whereas if you are planning for children, a happier, fun Halloween theme would work better — like a pumpkin patch theme.

Carla Thebeau
General Manager with the New Brighton Residents Association
Mount Royal University Event Management Student

3. When dealing with personal event planning, I tend to go with two schools of thought: 1) keep it simple with disposable ware and make-ahead foods or even a pot luck event. 2) If it’s a more upscale event or if you have a larger group of people, hire a server to set up, serve and clean up the event. These two suggestions will greatly take the pressure off you on the day of the event, and will leave you more time to visit with your guests instead of running around, preparing and cleaning. In most cases, you can hire a professional server for $20 per hour.

Kristen Ferguson
Catering Director, Events and Conference Services
Mount Royal University Continuing Education

4. Mentally walk through what your guests will experience as they would as they attend your event. Think of places you can add a special touch so that your attendees get that feeling of being part of a “special” event. This could be a small as a treat, specialty drink or a moment that speaks volumes of what you are trying to accomplish – for Halloween it could be creepy, scary or spooky!

Jennifer James, CSEP
Event Producer
Mount Royal University Event Management Instructor

5. Hire an event planner (spoken as a true event planner)! If this isn’t an option, accept help from a few people — who offer — that you know are organized, creative and trustworthy.

Jennifer Brading, BSc(Rec), BMgmt
Event Coordinator, Events and Conference Services
Mount Royal University Continuing Education

Good luck with your event and Happy Halloween!

Find out more about our Event Management Extension Certificate or Events and Conference Services.

The Best Teacher is Experience

RGH_blog_600x450Today is another beautiful day in Calgary. Looking out at the mountains still covered in spring snow brings feelings of nostalgia about how far Continuing Education Faculty has come since moving into the Roderick Mah Centre for Continuous Learning (RMCCL).

The Roderick Mah Centre for Continuous Learning is shared with the Faculty’s Events and Conference Services team. The Events team has been in the building since it was opened in September 2006 and has a wealth of stories to share. They have grown from a small staff to a broad and dedicated team of event professionals. They host a wide range of events all year round, from business meetings to conferences, fundraisers and galas.

Recently they blogged about their experiences growing in the events industry and all they have learned over the years. See their featured post in the Canadian University and College Conference Organizers Association blog and get 11 tips for becoming a better event organizer – no experience needed.

Things I Would Tell My Younger Self – CUCCOA blog – by Andrea Hennel, Chelsea Rule & Jennifer Brading of MRU Events & Conference Services

by Michael Poon

“Selfie” Declared 2013 Word of the Year

Meryl Streep and Hilary Clinton take a selfie

To underscore how important social media is in our modern lives, the Oxford English Dictionaries has declared “selfie” to be the 2013 word of the year. A selfie is a self-portrait taken with a smart phone and uploaded to social media sharing sites.

An excerpt from the OED blog:
“…[O]ur Word of the Year need not be a new word. However, it does need to demonstrate some kind of prominence over the preceding year or so and selfie certainly fits the bill. It seems like everyone who is anyone has posted a selfie somewhere on the Internet. If it is good enough for the Obamas or The Pope, then it is good enough for Word of the Year.”

Are you as surprised as we are that it wasn’t “twerk”?

You can learn more about social media with our certificate program.

by Karen McCarthy


Small Business Week Tips

We are happy to share these entrepreneurship tips from our instructor Judy McMillan-Evans in celebration of Small Business Week.


ce_bio_judy_evans_S13Judy McMillan-Evans
Judy is the lead instructor and designer for the Mount Royal University certificate in Entrepreneurship; a project she has led for 20 years. In 2006, Mount Royal University awarded Judy with their Distinguished Faculty/Teaching Award for instructors, based upon her excellent student engagement and program results.

Judy is a generalist in the field of business with over 30 years of business ownership. She loves to teach about entrepreneurship, business planning, human resource management, marketing, financial management and business operations. She is also a specialist in not-for-profit management and community economic development.

Holiday Party Planning Tips

IMG_0984By Kristen Ferguson, Catering Logistics Coordinator, Events and Conference Services

We’ve all done it! Lying in bed wide awake thinking “I never should have had that coffee at 3 p.m. today” and suddenly this amazing idea comes to you! “I’m going to throw a party. A great big cocktail party!” and before you know it you have pressed send on the invitation list. Most of us then realize that short and sweet initial list has turned into a great big organizational nightmare and sometimes as the day gets closer, we wonder “what the heck were we thinking!!!”

Here are some tips that will keep the planning fun and leave you actually enjoying the party instead of running around like a crazed party hating grinch.



Make very specific and easy RSVP requirements.
There will always be the last-minute responders, the no responders, the ones that say they’re coming then don’t show and the ones that show up with 10 of their closest friends. Sending out a reminder is also a great idea.

Keep it simple.
You don’t need 16 different kinds of beer or 4 vegan/gluten free/lactose free dishes “just in case”. If your guests have requirements, I promise you, they will tell you or they will come prepared. If you are having a buffet-style dinner, keep the protein options to 2 max. If you are having a cocktail party, 3-5 pieces per person is standard if your guests have already had dinner, 5-8 pieces per person if this party is considered “dinner”. Include trays of food in this average as well. Running out of food is a fear, but you will not run out using these guidelines

Keep in mind your fridge and oven space.
Sometimes the food and beverage that you would like to serve do not meet the fridge and stove space requirements. Try preparing a clean and organized space in your garage, if it’s cool.

Ask for help!
Request a dessert pot luck from your guests or delegate (bribe) your family members to pitch in.

Make a list.
Lists are great. The first item on your list should be to write a list so you have something to cross off right away. It feels good

This one is the MOST important………

Seriously. Let me break it down for you. You hire a server, they are generally $20 per hour. They serve the food, keep the house tidy, pour the drinks AND DO THE DISHES. This is standard practice, in fact the credo is to leave the place cleaner than when you found it. 3 hour minimum is $60. For less than $100 you get to participate in the fun of your own party and wake up the next day to a clean house *cue angels singing*!

Have fun out there party planners!

MRU Events and Conference Services host over 80,000 guests per year and would be happy to help you with your corporate holiday party.

10 Word Mix-Ups to Avoid


Look what we found! A Buzzfeed post about 10 common grammatical errors illustrated by adorable animals. Maybe it will make you laugh…and maybe it will be useful if you’re writing a paper or a business letter or proposal. Or a blog post.