Halloween is a great time to host a party.One of the most enjoyable aspects of Halloween is the food. There are hundreds of recipes that have been specifically created for this spooky holiday. Keep the food simple and familiar but with a twist. Rename favorites in the Halloween theme. Use food coloring in blues, greens, and browns to alter the way a dish looks. Or use familiar food in unfamiliar ways.
Serve a minimum of sweet treats. You don’t want your guests suffering from ‘sugar overload’ during the party. To celebrate the occasion, serve chicken fingers with a blood (any red dipping sauce.) If you prepare them from scratch, it’s not hard to make them resemble the more human variety. Add a sliced almond for the fingernail for a realistic approach.
Mummies – Heat oven to 375°F.Unroll dough; separate into 4 rectangles. Press perforations and seams together to seal. Cut each dough rectangle into 10 lengthwise strips.Place 1 Singles strip on each frank, then wrap with 4 dough strips to resemble mummy as shown in photo. Place on baking sheet; spray lightly with cooking spray.Bake 13 to 17 min. or until franks are heated through and dough is golden brown. Add mustard to each for the eyes and mouth.
Food Faces – Create scary, silly, or jack-o-lantern faces using meat, cheese and vegetables pieces on round foods such as pizzas, cheese crisps, quesadilla or tostadas. You can use homemade pizzas or frozen cheese pizzas. Use pepperoni and black olives as eyes, red pepper pieces to form a nose or diced onions to create teeth. If using cheese crisps, use black olives for eyes shredded lettuce for a mouth, salsa or sour cream for noses and/or mouths. Be creative.
Bagel Monsters – Slice bagel in half. Spread on cream cheese fill with meat and use a piece of ham to make a tongue coming out of center of the bagel hole. Attach black olive or pepperoni eyes with cream cheese put lettuce leaves as hair and a carrot nose.
Bloody Bones – Spareribs with your favorite barbecue sauce. Arrange ribs to resemble a human rib cage. Place a half of a red pepper or tomato in the middle as the heart and put a real knife or a fake knife into the heart.
Bloody Brains – Any type of cooked spaghetti or spiral pasta with red sauce.
Snakes in the Swamp – add equal parts red, blue, and yellow food color to spaghetti after it’s been cooked so it turns an ugly brownish color. Serve with a green pesto sauce.
Make goofy eyeball meatballs. Shape seasoned ground meat into an oval with a flat top and bottom, bake until done. Cut a round circle out of mozzarella cheese about the size of a half dollar or one inch in diameter. Next, cut grape tomatoes or cherry tomatoes into three slices. Finally, cut the black olives in half. Assemble the goofy eyeballs by placing a slice of cheese on the meatball, then a slice of tomato on the cheese and top with a black olive half. Vary the placement of the toppings so the eyeballs are looking in different directions.
Mini Spider and Mummy pizzas – Take refrigerated biscuits and add a layer of pizza sauce. Then, use shredded and string mozzarella to design a spider web or bandages on top of the sauce. Bake at 350F for 15 minutes or until dough is golden brown, then use olives to create spiders and eyes.
Spooky Spiders – Spread peanut butter or process cheese spread onto round butter crackers then place four chow mien noodles or small pretzel sticks on each side of the cracker making eight spider legs then stack a cracker on top making a sandwich then dip raisins into peanut butter or cheese spread and place on top as spider eyes. Peanut butter makes a great glue.
Yummy Eyeballs – Slice carrots, cucumbers or radishes in bite size circles. Put a dab of cream cheese on top and then put 1/2 a pitted black or green olive on top.
Fingers and Dip – Peel and slice carrots lengthwise into finger size pieces. Attach almond slices or plain potato chips pieces onto one end of the carrots with cream cheese as the fingernail. Use the same idea using pretzel rods. Supply your favorite dip.
If you will be serving punch, why not serve the ghoulish variety? Simply make your favorite punch and add a few ghoul hands. To make these hands, fill non-powdered rubber gloves with cranberry or other red juice. (Don’t overfill, the fingers of the glove should still move easily.)
Close gloves tightly with rubber bands and freeze flat on cookie sheets, which have been lined with paper towels. When ready to serve, open gloves with scissors and add to punch. You may want to break off one or two fingers and add them separately.
A fun punch can be with one quart of lime drink, one quart of lemon lime soda and one cup of lime sherbet. The sherbet should be added right before serving. Stir so the sherbet foams up a bit with the soda. Dust the foam lightly with cocoa powder to resemble dirt.
It’s not a good idea to use dry ice in your punch to make it smoke. Curious hands may try to touch the dry ice resulting in freezer burn. Instead place the dry ice in containers out of reach, such as the back of a table and you’ll still have the atmosphere of the smoky fog without the worry of accidents.
Plastic Spiders in Ice Cubes Wash plastic spiders in soapy water and rinse well. Place one spider in each ice cube section. Freeze. Another alternative is to buy bigger spiders. Wash and rinse. Fill a round quart-size container half full of ice cubes. Place three or four spiders on top of the ice cubes. Fill with water to the top of the ice cubes. Freeze. Then fill to the top of the container with more ice cubes and water. Freeze again. This keeps the spiders from floating to the top. Place the ice cubes in glasses or the large ice cube in a punch bowl.
Haunting Halloween Decorations
Easy and Cheap Decorations
Play spooky music. Music or spooky sounds can only add to your parties. If you don’t have a Halloween CD, then download scary sounds from the internet.
Dry ice put in containers or in hollowed out pumpkins is great fun. Just add water and watch the fog start rolling in. Kids are amazed by it. Keep it where the kids can’t touch it because the ice itself can give you a bad burn if touched with bare hands. The ice is so cold it freezes skin. Buy the dry ice only an hour or two before the party or when you expect trick or treaters to arrive. Keep in your freezer.
Stuff white tulle to form a ghostly shape and hang it up where the breeze can make it flutter. Hang up several ghosts and hide a rotating fan out of sight to blow on them.
Black tulle draped over furniture gives an eerie effect. White tulle draped gives a ghostly effect.
Easy, peasy and cheap as in almost free. Remove the labels from empty gallon containers of milk or water. Draw on ghost faces on the containers in black using paint or markers. Fill with a layer of clear or white pebbles to weight the containers down so they won’t blow away. Stop there or add a touch of lights. Wrap small flashlights with beige or white masking tape so that they don’t stand out. Widen the opening of the gallon container so the flashlight barely fits in with the light shining down and the switch at the top. Use a bit more masking tape to fasten the flashlight securely. Or fill the containers with Christmas mini lights on a white cord (a green cord shows through the container and ruins the effect.
Egg Carton Bats Spray paint cardboard egg cartons black – inside and out. Cut a section that has three egg depressions. Turn upside down. The middle hump (was an egg depression when right-side up is the head of the bat. Glue two googly eyes in the middle of the hump. The humps on each side are the bat wings. Hot glue fishing wire to the back of the head.
Lollypop Ghost These are so easy and cheap you could hand them out as treats on Halloween. Use round ball-shaped lollipops. Cut two squares of white paper or cloth about 4 inches square. Place the squares on top of the lollipop. Tie with black ribbon right under the lollipop. Draw a ghost face with a black marker. You’re done.
Balloon Spider Web Blow up the balloons. Spray with adhesive or paint with white glue. Wrap the balloons in white string crisscrossing but leaving lots of space between the string to resemble a spider web. Spray or paint again with glue. Let thoroughly dry. Pop the balloon. The string web should remain in place. Glue several spiders to the outside of the web.
Spooky indoor Decorations
Ghost Balloons – For a party, use helium balloons for the ghost head. Drape one layer of tulle over the balloon, gather it then tie it closed. Tie the balloon strings to the back of furniture so the helium balloon ghost won’t float away. Helium will only last for the evening so save this tip for party time.
Creepy Wedding Alter
- Create a creepy wedding alter. Tack large black garbage bags on a wall. Drape the bags over an arch. Ask your grocer’s floral department to save you red roses that they were going to throw out. Dry the roses. Red roses turn an ugly black. Place in spray painted black vases on either side of the arch. For your bride use any long white dress, preferably with long sleeves. Drape the dress from the ceiling with fishing wire so it looks like a ghost. Add a skeleton head and a veil made from tulle. Blow up white latex gloves and place in the long sleeves.
- Bales of hay look great and provide extra seating. Fog machine, strobe lights, and black lights provide more eerie effects. When using black lights try to have them in an area that has no other light source. If possible, designate a room where the door can be shut, it highlights the effect.
- Glow in the dark paint also works well with a black light. Paint butcher or brown wrapping paper and tack that up on the walls, rather than painting the walls themselves.
Decorating the Outside
Here are a few creative ideas for outdoor decorations.
Ghost Yard Stakes
First, cut ghost shapes out of quarter inch plywood with a jigsaw. Then screw in a painted stake to the back of the cut out, be sure your screws are screwed in from the front of ghost. Paint white then use black paint to make eyes and mouth and push into the ground. Using the same idea cut out shapes of a tombstone and use spray paint with a faux stone finish in grey. Let dry, then paint RIP with black paint. Foam board can be used instead of plywood, but it won’t last more than one season. The plywood will last for several years and since it’s flat it doesn’t take up much storage space. Place a skeleton hand on each side of the tombstone on the “grave” as if the dead person was coming out.
Make a headless man using an old pair of jeans, shoes, gloves, shirt and jacket. Stuff jeans with rolled towels, newspaper or plastic grocery bags. Arrange jeans “legs” on a chair that has a back support or on a bench up against a wall. Then stuff the T-shirt and stuff the arms. Place the shoes and gloves where they should be. To arrange the limbs sometimes takes some finessing. Use fake blood or ketchup around the neck and you’re finished. Have your headless man hold a jack-o-lantern as his head. On Halloween night or party time, spread raw hamburger where the neck should be and use ketchup for more blood.
Trim your trees and save branches from 5 to 7 feet long. Spray paint black. You could also use dead tree branches as well. When dry place upright along the sidewalk up to your door to create an eerie forest. These could also be used inside. For an added touch hang cobwebs from branch to branch.
Spooky Mini Garden Paint a terracotta plant saucer black. Fill with moss, and rocks Place small succulents here and there among the rocks and moss. Add in artificial crows, a skeleton and skulls. Top the saucer with a glass lid to enclose your spooky garden. The succulents will live for a week or two without additional watering.
Pumpkins aren’t the only source for jack-o-lanterns. The suggestions below have to be carved no more than a day ahead since they won’t last. Watermelons look menacing with their outside green skin and bright red flesh inside. Scoop out the flesh but leave at least a couple of inches of red. Try small nearly rind less watermelons as well as larger melons. Another option is to carve eggplants into small demon faces. Buy the largest you can find to make carving easier. The weird shape of the eggplant adds to the fun.
Halloween Party Games
Trick or treating is the time-honored activity but that doesn’t mean you can’t create your own traditions. Here are a few ideas to get you going. Use them on the days leading up to Halloween or to keep kids occupied during a Halloween party.
- Copy off Disney or any cute characters and let children make them into scary characters.
- Make skeletons using Q-tips as bones and glue onto black paper. On black paper use white chalk to create a spider web or glue Q-tips to create a spider web.
- Make a bat by stuffing a black sock with batting, glue eyes on it and cut out bat wings from black craft foam and attach with hot glue or a stapler. Make pumpkin pots by painting the outside of a terracotta pot orange. Turn upside down and paint a jack-o-lantern face with black paint and then glue a piece of wood or stick in the drain hole as the stem.
- String hollow macaroni onto a shoelace (the plastic tip of the shoelace makes stringing easier) to make “bone” necklaces.
Halloween Party Painting
Paint your child’s palm black and stamp them on paper. For a bat place hands together with thumbs touching keeping fingers close together. For a spider keep wrists touching spread thumbs and fingers apart. Add eyes in color paint. Using this same idea paint the bottom of your child’s feet or foot white. Stamp onto black paper. Let dry. Turn paper upside down and paint black eyes and ghost mouth on the “heel” head of ghost.
One Monster, Multiple Creators
- Draw scary monsters. Give each child a sheet of paper that has four lines drawn horizontally across it. Everyone draws a head with the neck just showing beyond the first line. The paper is fold so the head is hidden and only the neck shows on the remaining ¾ of the sheet. The child passes her sheet to the child sitting to next to her. Each child then draws the body including arms/wings/tentacles to the waist of the monster. Again, the waist appears just a bit beyond the second line. The sheet is folded to hide the body. Then the sheet is passed again, and the legs are added. The sheet folded and the feet are drawn on the last one quarter of the sheet. When that’s finished, the sheet is unfolded to reveal the monsters. Here’s an example, a dragon head, a bear body, octopus legs and lizard feet.
Ghoulish Group Games
- Play pin the tail on the black cat or face onto the pumpkin. Use the idea of pin the tail on the Donkey.
- Fill a jar full of candy corn and have the kid’s guess how many candy corns are in the jar.
- Play flashlight tag in the house or around the neighborhood.
Everyone participates in making a witch’s brew. Give the children a selection of ingredients, such as fruit and vegetable juices, milk, nut milks, tea, soda, chocolate syrup and a few odd ingredients such as coffee, lemon juice, ketchup, soy sauce and so forth. Each child selects one of the ingredients to the brew, but every child has to taste the brew. So, while one child may want to add soy sauce for example, so the brew doesn’t taste good to the other kids, that child has to taste the brew as well. An adult should add the odd ingredients, so the brew doesn’t have an entire bottle of soy sauce, but just a few drops.
Creepy Common Games
- Bob for apples
- Costume contest; make sure to have a prize for everyone.
- Tell scary stories in the dark.
- Watch scary movies
Play the Feel and Guess Game/Eat and Guess Game
Blind fold the child or without the child looking have the child touch or taste each item. You can either have them guess what they think it feels like or guess what the item actually is. If you have peeled grapes to eat tell them, it is eyeballs and they have to guess that it is actually grapes or if they are feeling the grapes ask them to guess what the item is. For this it would be best to give them a list of items like eyeballs, fingernails etc. and write a number by the matching item. So, number 1 is eyeballs and so on. This game could be a little difficult to keep the children from yelling out answers and sometimes there is more than one answer. Grapes could be eyeballs or frog eggs.
Here are some items to use:
- Peeked or frozen grapes: eyeballs or frog eggs
- Spaghetti or spiral pasta: Brains
- Yogurt: Slime
- Potato chips or almond slices: finger nails
- V-8 juice: Blood
- Gummy worm: earthworms
- Sunflower Seeds: Witch’s Teeth
- Fruit roll ups cut in strips: old band aids
- Ham Cubes: cut off fingertips
- Bell peppers cut in strips: witches skinny fingers
- Raisins: shriveled spiders or boogers
- Smashed mini wheat: eyelashes
- Pretzel rods or sticks: bones
- Halved tomatoes or bell pepper: Heart
- Sausage links or hot dogs: intestines
- Cooked chicken breast: liver
- Thin round cheese slices: pieces of skin
- Peeled grapes: eyeballs
- Pepperoni slices: scabs