Halloween is a time for letting go of inhibitions, wearing costumes, and allowing our inner children out to play. Each year I dress up my house for the holiday. My yard becomes a neighborhood graveyard; purple and orange lights adorn my front porch; ghouls, ghosts, and giant spiders crowd together to greet guests as they enter the house.
Dress the House
The executive treatment extends inside as well. Bats, rats, and ravens cut from black paper add background touches to walls draped with spider webbing. I drape “blood” soaked gauze (cheese cloth splattered with red food coloring) over furniture. Spooky lanterns bookend arrangements of dried flowers on my fireplace mantle.
I decorate for Halloween every year, party or no, but while dressing up my house is fun, what is more fun than throwing a costumes-required party for a few close friends? Don’t have a costume when you arrive? No problem. Last year I kept a supply of fake noses, vampire teeth, wax lips, and silly glasses in a cauldron by the front door. The costume-less shopped around, but no one entered the party without a costume! ‘Tis the season, after all.
Food and Drink Are Where the Hostess Shines
Array your favorite drink mixings; cranberry or tomato juice creates that sanguine look. Don’t forget the eyes, ahem, olives! Pimento stuffed olives make great Halloween drink decor. Or line olive slices at the bottom of ice cube trays before you fill them, adding a drop of food coloring for the bloodshot look. Place the cubes in an ice bucket and guests can have eye-cube drink garnishes.
“Dirt and worms” is one of my favorite Halloween dishes. Make your favorite black bean dip recipe, boil thin slices of hotdog so they curl, then toss your “worms” into the dirt. If you prefer creepy crawlies, stuff pitted dates with blue cheese and thyme leaves. Scatter a plate with fake bugs and the dates to present your dish of edible roaches! Cheese sticks cut rounded at the ends and dotted with food coloring create excellent “finger food.” Class it up by using hearts of palm instead of cheese. Serve two racks of ribs with sausage links wound around between presenting an internal organs buffet. Let a “severed head” serve as your table centerpiece: wrap a decorative plastic skull in slices of cured meat with olive eyes, of course, and enjoy the awe of your table presence
Kitty Litter Cake is a sweet, easy-to-make treat with a disgusting twist that is always a dessert hit at my Halloween bash. Just be sure to serve it with a litter scoop for more dramatic effect.
A Halloween party doesn’t have to be fancy, but “fancy dress” — in the British sense of the phrase — is a must. Enjoy the season and most importantly enjoy your party!