Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Last minute Halloween Party Food Ideas

Here are a few of my all time favorite Halloween party food ideas complete with instructions. These easy to make treats are the perfect last minute additions to a great night of fun. Wishing everyone a Happy Halloween full of great costumes, endless trick or treaters and small children with sugar rushes. 
Mini Mummies. Cut hot dog in half and roll in crescent roll dough. Bake in oven until lightly browned. Use mustard to make eyes using a toothpick. 

Pumpkin Drink Chiller. Hallow out a pumpkin and place a metal or glass bowl inside. Fill with Halloween Jones soda bottles available at Target or Whole Foods. Add ice right before party. 

Hallow out a small pumpkin and add a small bowl. Fill bowl with dipping sauce and surround with cut veggies. 

Scary Knife cupcakes. Bake regular cupcakes or buy pre made ones from the bakery. Mix corn syrup with red food coloring and drizzle blood like liquid over cupcakes. You can make the knives out of taffy or find plastic eyeballs at a party store. 

String cheese and pretzel broomsticks. 

Reeces chocolate cups turned upside down with pretzel stick tops for another version of witch's broom sticks. 

Severed fingers. Cut strips of white flour tortillas in long pieces. Cut hot dogs in finger sized proportion. At the finger nail part scoop out a small amount to create a nail bed. Fasten the tortilla strips to the hot dogs using toothpicks. Cook until slightly browned on the oven. Remove toothpick and add ketchup to the nails. 

Ghost krispies. Shape ghosts out of rice krispie treats and use small candies in fall colors for eyes and mouth. 

Wrap juice box's in white tape. Hot glue googly eyes and chill before serving. 

Buy pre made sugar cookies and 2 icing decorators tubes in the baking section at the grocery store. Add some white icing and pipe them using the decorative tubes. 

Pick up wine glass from the dollar store and add some paint. Check out detailed instructions here. 

Freeze some plastic spiders inside of ice cubes. 

Create a giant pumpkin face using mini carrots, dipping sauce in small bowls or plastic take out containers from fast food places. Use broccoli at the stem and cut cucumbers as the mouth. 

Monday, October 29, 2012

Outdoor Halloween Decorations - Simple, Easy & Cheap

I can't wait for Halloween. I usually spend the days leading up to it decorating the outside of the house to be the most anticipated house on the street. How do you know if you did a superb job decking out the house? You run out of candy. Here are some of my favorite simple DIY ideas with step by step instructions. Enjoy. 
Create a spooky entrance by cutting up black trash bags into thin pieces. You can use a tension rod (used for hanging drapery) for the base. Or use your shower rod and attach the bag around the rod to create a curtain effect. Make sure the strips are uneven and long. Gather some brooms to lean around the door and use a softer porch light.
 Create window silhouettes by cutting out figures from cardboard. Find boxes and piece them together to make a person sized rectangle. Have someone lay on the cardboard and trace them. Using a box cutter, cut out the outline. Place the outline inside the window and adhere either to the window or the wall so it won't move. Attach yellow tissue paper to cover the entire window (taping onto the wall and not the window so you don't see the edges). Light from behind using a lamp minus the shade. 
Get the glowing scary effect on the front porch or steps by breaking apart glow sticks. Do this relatively close to dark. Use these mummie candles to line the stairway. Simply buy cheesecloth (in the kitchen supply section at grocery stores) and a case of mason jars (either at grocery store, goodwill or Target/Wal Mart). Find googly eyes from a craft store and a box of votive or ti light candles. Wrap the jars with cheese cloth and hot glue to glass (glue rubs off glass so you can reuse). Add some water to the base of the jar so overflow wax won't get on the jar and create a mess for cleaning. Glue eyes on and scatter around entrance. 
Make these giant eyes for a tree using beach balls covered in white fabric. Use a cheap white sheet from a thrift store and paint large black circles directly on to it. Use some rope to tie around the back side of the knotted fabric and then tie to the branch. 
This is a fun effect to hang from trees. Using women's stocking, place a water balloon with a glow stick inside the stocking and hang from trees. Hot glue black spiders to create a spider's nest. 
Hot glue spiders or paper bats to front door by gluing magnets on them. 
You could also use snakes and worms.
Make a monster door with construction paper cut outs.
Fill a wheel barrel with skeleton bones and dirt. Place near the front door and illuminate with candle light or lit pumpkins. 

Light the pathway to the door with brown lunch bags cut out with eyes and mouth. Be sure to contain the candle inside a glass that is taller than the flame so the bag can not catch fire. Be sure to extinguish them at end of the night and not go inside and have a neighbor tell you the driveway is on fire. 
Yep, that was our Halloween 07. Have some fun. Get the kids involved and remember that even though this takes a little work and time, you only get so many Halloweens with the kids. Make it special. 

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) Party

What is Day of the Dead? It's sort of like Mexican Halloween but with way better colors. Officially Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Day) is held each year on All Saints' Day and All Souls' Day (Nov 1 & 2). This date is no coincidence and is very telling of the conflicting history of this holiday. The Spaniards thought the celebration to be sacrilegious. and to make it more "Christian" moved it to All Saints' Day. 
The celebration is basically a party to remember the dead. People create altars in their homes dedicated to a family member that has passed away. The surround the altar with the deceased favorite foods and light candles. A sugar skeleton had the name of the dead written on it and a family member eats it in remembrance. In other countries loved one's spend the entire day at the cemetery, decorating the headstone with marigolds and candles. They spend the day gathered around headstones eating and drinking. Gifts like toys for children or tequila bottles for adults are left at grave sites for the departed. 
The celebration originated some 3000 years ago by the Aztecs who believed in celebrating death. They believed life to be only a dream and death to be the time you were really awake. Instead of fearing death, they embraced it through celebration. 
This all can seem a little morbid. The only time I ever talk about death was wearing all black and speaking very softly. I never saw it as this brightly colorful celebration of life. But that is in fact what we can learn from the Aztecs. 
I like the idea of remembering lost loved ones through a beautiful celebration full of great food, vibrant decorations and lots of candlelight. It sure beats crying alone. I think the dead would appreciate such a celebration way more than the whole behind closed doors mourning thing. 
So this year consider changing things up a little and hosting a Day of the Dead Party. It definitely would be interesting and who knows, maybe the Aztecs knew something about combining parties and grief that we don't. Some photos courtesy of Kara's Party Ideas

Monday, October 22, 2012

Creating a rustic dessert station

I have been to my fair share of barn weddings and parties. Having been born in Texas it is not uncommon to attend an outdoor/dance hall/ barn/arena event. They are charming and simple and pay homage to their natural surroundings. Today's post is all about creating a rustic styled dessert station that would work in a natural/outdoorsy setting. Most dessert stations are a bit flashy these days, but creating a more rustic one is possible with the right components. 
Paper decor. Use lots of paper accents. It is natural and simple and can really bring in the details and colors of your event.  
Find beautiful serving pieces. Think depression glass and flea markets. Nothing needs to match. Something borrowed, something blue could be the theme of a bridal dessert station full of loaned family serving pieces and borrowed recipes. Use unusual containers and be sure to plan ahead what dessert will go on what dish. 

Consider serving a specialty drink like raspberry lemonade out of glass bottles wrapped in natural paper and twine. You can even stamp the date or the name of the drink to the paper. Paper straws are another way to bring in color. Twine is a great accent for hanging lanterns or wrapping napkins. The hanging backdrop is created solely from paper. Be sure to create a backdrop for a dessert station so it is framed in and the details are on display. Natural branches like the one above provide a great foundation for creating a backdrop. 
Bring in color where ever you can. Cupcake wrappers, toppers, signage, icing colors or flavored drinks are just a few ways to really allow your colors to show up.   Don't be afraid to use variations of the same tone. Not everything has to be matchy matchy. Get creative.
Consider alternate ways of serving desserts. These mini mason jars blueberry crumb pies are the perfect size and keep the dessert bar looking good so nobody is shoveling spoons or leaving traces of pie crumbs everywhere. The dessert station has to be functional but still look good. Be sure to think of how guests will serve themselves and be sure to consider new or different ways to do so. 
Now go design your very own natural dessert station. 

Friday, October 19, 2012

Halloween Macaroons

I have found another excuse to buy macaroons. Yes, Halloween macaroons. 
Why you ask? 
Because macaroons are phenomenal.  

You know that question about being stranded on an island and what 1 thing would you take.  Macaroons. 
I could survive on macaroons. 

I actually had to ban myself from driving from Pasadena to Botega Louie LA (a 30 minute trip one way) just to buy these mini crack like pastries. I adore them. You should too. So please go out this weekend and find a Halloween inspired macaroon and treat yourself to their brilliance. If you are  in LA run to Botega Louie & have a rose macaroon for me. 

If you don't live in LA no need to worry. Macaroons are available online. 
These jet black and lavender blackcurrent white chocolate ganache can be ordered online from LeBonbonLA online at Etsy. They even do custom colors and flavors. Great idea for a party.

If you happen to be in NYC then head to Laduree. These stunning orange passionfruit macaroons are limited edition. They are stored in a beautiful black and gold box that you won't throw away. Ever. Laudree is the French bakery and currently has locations all over the globe.  Except in the states, where you have one option. The upper east side. 

I found these beautiful pumpkin and ghost Halloween macaroons over at poppytalk this morning. The post originated from a Japanese blog so not to sure where you can get these but I'm sure the photo can provide inspiration. I love the idea of having a day of the dead party. 
The colors are great. 

These apricot chestnut macaroons from Botega combine the richness of chestnut cream with the tart sweetness of apricot jam. 

These black licorice flavored macaroons have a bright green filling reminiscent of absinthe. How fun would these be with a witch themed dessert bar. Made to order and shipped from the LeBonbon store on etsy
These Caribbean chocolate chocolate ganache macaroons are from lette macaroons and can be ordered online as well. 
Now you have an excuse to get a macaroon. I expect nothing less than a weekend of indulging in these exceptionally beautiful and amazingly wonderful treats. 

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Halloween Designer Party on a budget

 Oh Halloween.....what a great reason you are to throw a party. 
I am loving these simple ideas to create a beautiful party. Read on to discover the how & how much for these inspiring party ideas. 
Bake a chocolate cake, frost with white icing and crumble Oreo cookies on top. Cut out black bats from card stock in various sizes and glue to silver wire (found in the floral departments or at Home Depot). Create a cake stand by hot gluing a painted candlestick to a painted pie tin or a plate. Thrift stores are the best place to find these things.  

Serve drinks in mason jars - purchase at a big box store and reuse during the holidays for dried cookie mixes for the neighbors. Using a white fine tip marker and black card stock paper, create these adorable flags. Striped straws can be purchased on Etsy for $4.50 for 25.
Make these cheesecake shot size desserts with crumbled Oreo cookies and witch hats made from black card stock. Adhere the hats to extra paper straws cut in half. 

These sugar cookies can be semi home made. Buy store bought sugar cookies from a bakery and pipe in the details with colored frosting. Always pipe the outer part first to keep a barrier for the white icing. Flood the cookie with the white icing using a plastic condiment bottle from the local dollar store. 
Make sure each color is dry before adding another one. 

Capture great photos by creating this simple photo booth. Use metal tub (that can always be converted to a drink tub for later parties). Cut out paper flags from orange and black card stock and adhere all around the base of the tub. Using a white sheet or cloth create a backdrop accented with orange and black crepe paper. Have trick or treater's pose on the tub for a great photo op. Email or mail printed versions of each guest as a thank you card. 

Create this fun paper garland using a large paper puncher from Michael's. They can be a little pricey so be sure to print out the 40% off coupon from their website that is always available. Use card stock paper or swing by Home Depot or Lowe's and stock up on some paint chips. Cut out several black and orange circles and glue them to black string or clear fishing line. 
Create this simple centerpiece by spray painting small pumpkins in white and adhering lettered labels from an office supply or craft store. You can use use stencils and paint them on. 
Make mummy juice box's using white masking tape and hot gluing googly eyes. 
Freeze plastic spiders in ice trays - super cheap & fun way to make your party ever so detailed. 
Stay tuned all month for creative party ideas, DIY costumes & all things Halloween party.