Hi everyone and welcome to the final post in my Halloween Heaven guest bloggers series by the amazing Melissa of Season & Serve. You might remember this lovely lady from a previous guest post on my blog that showed you all of the fixings for a perfect fall themed dinner party. This time around, Melissa is here to wrap up my series with a how to guide to creating a spooky chic Halloween bash – costume ideas not included! Check it out and enjoy:
Tricks & Treats! Season & Serve Style Halloween Bash
Ghosts, ghouls, and goblins galore! Halloween is just around the corner and I cannot wait to celebrate! This year, I am hosting a spooky soirée at our apartment and I am bringing a few elegant touches and a fabulously retro menu to my Halloween party to set the perfect mood. Read on to see how you can throw a classy yet spooky Halloween party of your own… if you dare! Mwahaha!
This year, I decided to aim for a more elegant vibe for my Halloween party in terms of decor. If you remember back to when you were a kid, Halloween was all about the blood, guts, and gore. While I can definitely appreciate gory decorations on Halloween, it is a bit more fitting to do this outside of your home since it can be complicated and messy (I mean fake blood is cool and all, but I don’t want to be scrubbing it off of my walls and mirrors the next day!). But what we are lacking in blood and guts, we are making up with some classy, yet scary Halloween decor. I used a combination of every day decor pieces that I had around my home, and tied them together with some cheap (But reusable!) dollar store items that I found. I then did a wonderfully simple DIY that you can keep in storage for next year’s bash. So, without further adieu, here is what I did:
For my table, I decided to decorate with mainly black pieces (Because obviously black is the color for Halloween and is timelessly elegant.) along with some gold and silver accents for a bit of shine. I used my everyday black dinner table as the base (You can always throw a black tablecloth over your table if it is not black.) and added a few tasteful pieces for decoration. I anchored the left corner of my table with my thrifted gold candlestick holders in which I placed some tall black candles… because obviously we need some spooky candlelight for Halloween!
On the opposite side, I wanted another tall piece to balance the table out, so I went for a nice, tall vase of sunflowers. These sunflowers had a dark orange color on the flowers and leaves that were almost purple – something that is not typical of this cheery flower. I found out that the florist that I went to actually made the sunflowers this darker orange color by keeping them in a tub of water mixed with red dye. If you have red food coloring, you can simply add it to your vase of regular yellow sunflowers and in two days, you will have these delightfully dark sunflowers for your table. I loved the deep moody vibe that it brought to the table scape! I also went ahead and placed my white “Casper” pumpkin next to my candles along with my dark green Kabocha squash for a bit of color.
Next, I added my serving-ware. I placed my wooden cake pedestal to the center/back of the table to give my food some height (I’m all about varying heights on buffet-style tables.) and then placed a round, brushed gold tray and silver place mat in front of the pedestal. I loved the silver place mat for Halloween – it totally reminded me of a spider web! And, of course, where there is a spider web, there are spiders! So I picked up some sparkly plastic black spiders from the Dollar Store and placed them all over my table. I also added a few sparkly black pumpkins to the table, as well (Another great reuseable Dollar Store find!), to fill in the empty spaces.
I also discovered these fabulously cool, yet elegant black glass skull cups from Homesense (A home goods store in Canada.) that I knew needed to be a part of my Halloween table scape. I added these to the table and made sure to back-light them with some tea lights to make them look extra creepy for when my guests arrived. I originally placed the tea lights in short glass jars (For safety reasons.), but I found these plain jars to be fairly boring, so I did a quick and easy DIY! I simply wrapped each glass jar with black lacey ribbon and used a hot glue gun to secure the lace around the jar. I love the sexy, sultry look that it brought to the table – perfectly elegant and spooky, if you ask me!
Now for the good stuff… THE FOOD! When I was planning this Halloween party, I was thinking of a combination of elegant, retro, and (Of course!) spooky. Kind of like something from around the 1920’s to the 1950’s – so I decided to borrow some throw back food ideas from those eras to fit this theme and give it a Halloween twist. I chose to stick to appetizers and small snacks that people can nibble on throughout the party while they mingle. I also opted to make the majority of the recipes myself, but also improvised with some store-bought foods just to make things a bit easier for the host (Because hey, you gotta get your Halloween costume on too!). And, of course, as every good host knows, one of the key tricks to entertaining is to not make everything yourself!
So those are the tricks… here are the treats! First up on the menu is Blue Cheese and Walnut Stuffed Cockroaches… I mean dates. The look of dates always freaked me out as a kid because I thought that they looked like cockroaches. But once you get past their questionable appearance and take a bite, you will fall in love with their sweet and soft taste. It’s almost like eating candy! The recipe for Blue Cheese and Walnut Stuffed Dates is a play on the retro recipe, Devils On Horseback, which is traditionally made with prunes stuffed with blue cheese and wrapped in bacon. I wanted to go for a healthier, vegetarian recipe so I swapped out the prunes for the dates and the bacon for a toasted walnut. And do they ever look spooky! Oh, and if the thought of blue cheese in this recipe is enough to scare you alone, simply change it out for a smoked cheddar or Gouda. These cheeses also taste delicious with dates and walnuts!
Now, with it being Halloween, there are going to be many vampires around, so we are going to keep them at bay with my homemade French Onion Dip. This recipe is inspired by the old school French Onion dip made from those French Onion soup packets and sour cream. Super retro, right!? Rather than using a soup packet, you can make this dip yourself, and it won’t have any nasty preservatives or additives in it! You simply have to fry onions and garlic until they are nice and caramelized, then toss them with sour cream and Greek yogurt as well as a few other secret ingredients to lighten it up. Serve with classic ruffled potato chips or fancy vegetable chips and you have got yourself a great party dip!
My next recipe is a play on the classic tea sandwich: Mrs. Frankenstein’s Tea Sandwiches. In other words, Cucumber-Dill Tea Sandwiches. This is definitely an old school dish, because it has been served at many fancy tea parties over the past century or so. You simply layer butter, an elevated homemade cream cheese spread, and slices of cucumber on top of pumpernickel bread and slice it into wedges. I really like the fresh, cool cucumber and dill in this recipe as many appetizers can be heavy, but this one is light and refreshing (And it will freshen up your breath from the French Onion Dip!). If you can make a sandwich, you can easily make these Cucumber-Dill Tea Sandwiches for your party!
My final savory appetizer that I made for this party was inspired by the retro pinwheel sandwiches made with tortilla wraps and deli meat/cheese. I never really liked these as a kid (I found them to get super soggy and gross). But I took this idea and made it much better with my recipe for Roasted Red Pepper and Cheddar Pinwheels. Rather than using tortilla wraps to hold everything in, I used a sheet of store-bought puff pastry. All you need to do is sprinkle it with the roasted red peppers and cheese, roll it up, slice it up, and bake! It’s so simple and easy – and it looks impressive, too! Your guests will think that you spent hours making these!
Now, onto my favorite course: dessert. As we all know, with Halloween comes tons of sugary candy and chocolates, which is a great treat in small doses. But rather than making an overly sugary dessert or placing a bunch of candy on the table, I decided to keep things more on the healthier side with a Healthy Dessert Board. On this dessert board, I mixed store-bought and homemade treats. From the store, I picked up some maple flavored mixed nuts, coconut macaroons (I thought they looked like little ghosts.), and some crazy spooky Moon Drop grapes. I loved the deep purple color of the grapes and the elongated shape (Almost like fingers!).
The homemade treats that I made are simple and can likely be made with ingredients that you have in your pantry right now! Bonus! First up, I made my Autumn-Inspired White Chocolate Bark. What’s a dessert board without some chocolate? I made it a bit healthier by adding vitamin rich cranberries and apricots and oil-rich walnuts and pumpkin seeds. Just the colors alone look gorgeous. It’s truly perfect for fall/Halloween!
Last but not least, I had to made something with Pumpkin Spice. And what’s a better treat than Pumpkin Spice Energy Balls?!? The basic white girl inside of me literally can’t even right now. You have all of the delicious warm flavors of pumpkin spice combined with healthy dates, almonds, and oats – such a great and healthy treat!
And there you have it ghosts and ghouls! A fully planned and designed Halloween party. All you need is some spooky music and a great costume and you will be ready to have an amazing time! For all of the recipes featured in this post, simply click on the links or head over to my blog!
Happy Halloween, everyone!
^^^ Yum, yum, freaking YUM! Many thanks to Melissa for concluding my Halloween Heaven guest bloggers series by sharing such amazing party recipes, tricks, and treats with my readers! Which recipes from this post are you going to try out? Where do you go for the best seasonal decor? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah