Don’t get spooked this year by Halloween. Instead, throw a monster bash that will leave your werewolves howling happily. Halloween parties run the gamut from sophisticated spooky to playful kitsch. But just because you want to throw a monstrous bash doesn’t mean you have to spend lots of time, effort and money. It is frighteningly easy to create a bash that your guests will remember far longer than a candy hoard will last.
How to Throw a Kids’ Halloween Party
Keep it devilishly simple.
You can throw a monstrous bash without much effort. Simplify prep time using pre-printed invites and by picking up food and baked goods from your local market. The fun of ghouls, goblins and princesses running around will be what people remember … not intricate details.
Don’t make it too scary.
While it’s great fun to transform your home into a ghoulish place to set the mood, keep in mind the age of the youngest party guests. Overly macabre decorations will frighten little ones and ruin the evening for them and their parents.
Decorate with dreadful decorations.
Transform your home into a haunted house with artificial spider webs, candelabras and fake tombstones. Black lights and glow-in-the-dark trinkets will make your abode a Halloween super-fright-site. A bonfire complete with hay bale benches and marshmallows to roast will incorporate your yard into the spooky soiree. For a not-so-spooky atmosphere, orange butcher paper and cutesy Halloween-themed knick-knacks make great tablescapes.
Prepare a selection of spooky treats.
Don’t let the little werewolves go home hungry. Design a meal with a Halloween theme. Tasty appetizers that are oozy, look like a body part or have a spooky name fit the bill perfectly. “Spider” PB and J sandwiches, “Skeleton” rib bones and “Mummy” hot dogs will be a hit for trick-or-treaters of all ages. Wash it all down with “Worm” Punch or apple cider with cinnamon sticks. (See Monster Bash recipes for Spider Sandwiches, Mummy Dogs and Worm Punch below.)
Play wickedly fun games.
Your guests will have a monstrously fun time with Halloween-inspired activities that are a cinch to organize. Broomstick relay races, bowling with pumpkins and bobbing for apples will provide lots of entertainment and giggles. Younger children may enjoy crafts like decorating baby pumpkins with stickers or making ghosts from lollipops, tissues and pipe cleaners.
Send your guests home with ghastly favors.
Don’t let your guests leave your Halloween party without a little something to enjoy at home. Bags of Halloween favorites like candy corns will be enjoyed by all. Top the sack with bats or ghosts made from construction paper for a holiday touch. Candied apples also make a nice treat. At your front door, set a large bowl of candy for your guests to “trick-or-treat” from as they leave.
Monster Bash recipes for Spider Sandwiches, Mummy Dogs and Worm Punch
24 slices wheat sandwich bread
2 cups creamy peanut butter
1 ½ cups grape or strawberry jelly
2 cups Cheetos
Using a 3-inch round cookie cutter, cut a circle from each bread slice. Discard the edges. Spread about 2 tablespoons peanut butter and 1 tablespoon jelly on half of the bread rounds. Lay three Cheeto “legs” on each side of the bread rounds. Top with the remaining bread slices. Make two small indentions on the top of each sandwich for the “eyes.” Press a raisin into each.
1 can (11 oz.) refrigerated bread sticks
10 hot dogs
Mustard or ketchup, if desired
Heat oven to 375° F. Unroll the dough. Using 1 dough strip for each, wrap hot dogs to look like mummies. Place on ungreased baking sheet. Press two capers on each for “eyes.” Bake 12 to 15 minutes or until a light golden brown. Serve warm or at room temperature.
1 0.13-oz. package lemon-lime Kool-Aid
1 cup sugar
8 cups water
1 6-oz. can frozen orange juice concentrate, defrosted
4 cups ginger ale
Worm cubes (ice cubes with gummy worms frozen inside)
Empty the Kool-Aid package into a punch bowl. Add the sugar, then the water and stir until dissolved. Stir in the orange juice. Just before serving, add the ginger ale and worm cubes. Garnish each cup with a gummy worm.
Adult variation: Add vodka to taste to turn this worm-infested beverage into a grown-up libation.
We were lucky to catch Jennifer right now, because she is busy putting the finishing touches on her fourth cookbook, The Southern Pantry Cookbook! Until this new one comes out in 2014, check out her other three: www.cookingwithjennifer.com