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Hosting a Killer Halloween Party
Food is Critical
In my opinion, no party or gathering is worth it if the food is not excellent, well thought out and creative.
Don't freak out on me yet. Hear me out. I am not Martha Stewart. I am not the next Food Network star... not even close. And there are plenty of times we have friends over and either order pizza or grill burgers. There is nothing wrong with keeping it intentionally simple.
My opening statement refers more to the amount of thought you put into it. I never want my guests to feel like they caught me off guard and I wasn't prepared for them. To me, that kind of says "I don't care at all about you or this party. I didn't want you here in the first place." And I never want a friend to feel that way. So, I tend to go more overboard than is probably necessary.
Food Doesn't Have to be Difficult
One thing I love about large parties, like our Boo Bash, is that most people are milling around socializing. There is no sit-down dinner. And I absolutely LOVE to prepare finger foods. They are especially excellent for trying out new recipes.
The first year we hosted the Boo Bash, I actually made Sloppy Joes (which I called Dead Freds) for 40 people. That was a TON of meat. And I learned that night that people did not want to sit down to eat them. So my crew ate Dead Freds for the next week. Ugh. I will not make that mistake again.
Have fun with the presentation of your finger foods. I love making little food tags to show what all the items are... and at the Halloween party, I got somewhat creative with the names for some of the items. Last year, we used the coffin to serve food out of (the year before it was lined with plastic and used as a giant cooler). It was definitely a show stopper. I think everyone laughed and freaked out when they walked into the house and saw it sitting on our dining room table. This really helped kick out party up a notch.
Obviously not everyone has a six foot coffin. And you don't need one. Name your food, create little tags for the names. And set your table with dark colors and creepy little details. We hung up white sheets in the garage and house to cover things we couldn't get rid of. A few days before the party, I laid the sheets out in the driveway and had the kids help me splatter red paint on them. When they were dry and hung, they looked like awesome bloody sheets. I fill the tables with food and Halloween nicknacks I've collected throughout the years.
The Menu - It's to Die for...
Time for pictures and recipes!
For my Boo Bash, because so much is going on all over the place, I really like to keep the menu simple. Most of these don't even need actual recipes. I will share with you any tricks I learned about them. And I'll share the recipes for the stuff you can't wing from the photo.
These are pretty self explanatory. Cut each banana in half. Use little chocolate chips for the eyes.
My hints: don't make these too early. The bananas turn brown if they're prepared too many hours in advance. You can literally put a tray of these together in 5 minutes, so my advice is to do them right before you head to your party, or as the first guests are arriving.
Get your kids involved! Have on child peel the bananas, you can cut them in half (if you aren't comfortable giving your LO a dull knife), and another child can place the eyes on.
If you click on the URL link, you'll notice that the people I got this idea from used two different sized chips. As you can see, either works.
I am a sucker for cheese...my cholesterol is not, but I am. And any excuse to make a cheese ball is right up my alley.
For the Boo Bash we made two. One shaped like a pumpkin and the other was shaped in a plastic brain mold. The molds can be found at loads of different stores (Target, Walmart, Michaels, etc). They are cheap. I think the overall effect is nice.
Below is our recipe for my grandma's cheeseball.
- 2 - 8 oz Cream Cheese, softened
- 1 - 5 oz jar Old English Cheese
- 1 - 5 oz jar Roka Cheese
- Garlic salt, (to taste)
- Onion salt, (to taste)
- 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- Chopped pecans, (optional)
- Soften cream cheese and mix with other cheeses.
- Add garlic salt, onion salt and Worcestershire sauce. Mix well.
- Shape into a ball (or put in your mold) and chill.
- If desired: roll in chopped pecans before serving.
My son has food allergies, and he loves Publix glazed donuts. So we have a dozen at just about every gathering we host (and sometimes I bring them to other parties).
I saw this on Pinterest one year and thought they were way too cute not to make. I did totally forget the chocolate chip eyes, but none of the kids seemed to mind at all.
These are an absolute must.
You'll need a hotdogs and crescent rolls. There is no specific instruction needed... wrap your hotdogs in the crescent rolls. Pop them in the oven according to the roll instructions.
If you are going to do mustard eyes, make sure the mummies are cool. If they are fresh out of the oven or still really warm, the mustard will basically disappear after a few minutes.
These things are good to sit for a few hours on your buffet. People will grab, munch and wander around. You can have a little ketchup around for "bloody" dipping if you'd like it.
Eggs of the Devil
Deviled eggs are so delicious. I mix my yolks with Light Miracle Whip, mustard and sweet relish. All to taste.
For the Boo Bash I thought it'd be fun to mix the yolk and make it a creepy color. I made a sample batch a few weeks prior to Halloween. I really wanted orange or purple, but I didn't like the way either of those turned out. So we went with the green. My suggestion is to play around with your eggs and yolks ahead of time.
(sorry for the fuzzy photo, I didn't think about this article last year at the party)
Do you have any good, creepy recipes to share? I'm always on the hunt for new ones.