Planning and hosting a children’s Halloween party – either in tandem with or instead of trick-or-treating – can be fun for everyone. Here are a few ideas to get you started.
Match scary to size. If the party features a younger bunch – under eight – keep the spooky to a minimum. Older ones look forward to being scared.
Take a look at the two very different Halloween tables below. One is for the littlest bunch, with non-threatening pumpkins and unrealistic gummy worms. The main goal at these parties is to maximize the fun and minimize the crying. Activities such as decorating their own fake pumpkins with plenty of glitter glue, a trick-or-treat adventure inside the house by having them go to every door – including closets if possible – and picking up different candies and prizes given by adults or older children, and pinning the broom on the witch are good ways to make the party special.
Now let’s consider the older ones – ten years old through pre-teen. These children are hoping to be scared silly. This is the time to pull out the jars of peeled grapes as eyeballs, oily spaghetti as people innards, and any other combinations you and your kids can discover. Ghost stories are always a hit, and go wild with your Halloween table. Blood soup with more realistic gummy worms combined with a real-looking non-alcoholic Bloody Mary provides snacks that can make them shiver.
Once they hit the teen years, it’s pretty hard to scare them. You might want to organize a trip to one of the local haunted houses and leave the frights to the professionals. Hand out several digital cameras, or encourage photos with their camera phones. Then round them up and bring them back for some hearty late-night munchies and a chance to laugh and compare notes on the experience and the photos.
Whatever the age, be sure to include a nice variety of Halloween candy – you’re never too young or too old to enjoy the tricks and treats of Halloween.
Would you like to be the perfect hosts for a Halloween party this year? Here are a few tips to help ensure that everyone has a spooky fun time.
Costume ideas: Consider asking for a specific theme for costumes. Often people will be particularly imaginative if you give them a defined starting point. For example, you could ask people to come as television or film characters. Or how about suggesting that everyone remember their childhood dreams and come as what they once wanted to be when they grew up?
Décor & lighting: Be creative with your Halloween theme. Candles set the stage, but consider glow sticks and battery-operated LED lights to tuck a glow where it is least expected. Store-bought spider webbing can add an edge to your buffet and lamps. It’s better to make a strong statement in one area such as the entryway or the buffet table than to scatter decorations over the entire house, although you might want to make the bathroom a bit spooky – how about one of those motion-activated skeletons ready to startle anyone who walks in?
Food: Although you want to have some substantive choices, stick with a Halloween or at least an Autumn theme. A butternut squash soup provides a warm taste of the season, or how about pumpkin bread? Be sure to add a few seasonal touches such as the spider web design in sour cream in the photo to the right, Visit the food network’s website or google Halloween food for a host of Halloween-themed appetizers and desserts.
And finally, even though this party is for adults, be sure to include some bite-sized Halloween candy. After all, we are all still kids at heart.
As with every holiday – foods add personality and spice to Halloween. Apples are a treat made for fall, but you can turn them into holiday specials by coating them in caramel and then adding Halloween sprinkles instead of – or in addition to – nuts. Place on a bed of candy corn and pumpkins and you have captured the spirit of the season.
To get in the Halloween mood while staying away from sweets, how about this open-face mummy snack? Cover the bread with either strips of roasted pepper or a marinara sauce and then position strips of mozzarella cheese to look like mummy wrappings. Two olive slices add eyes to finish the effect. Toast until the treat is warm and the cheese starts to melt. Your little goblin will love this!
Halloween cookies can be fun for the whole family. Cookie cutters are available in a variety of scary shapes and regular sugar cookie or gingerbread cookie dough will make cut-outs easy. You can even buy cookie dough mixes to make it simpler.
White, orange and black frostings provide everything you need to make a bevy of Halloween cookies. If you want, look for special Halloween decorations such as sugar bones and pumpkins. You can even get small candy bloodshot eyes!
For cut-outs such as the Jack-o-lantern in the photo, place the pumpkin shape on a piece of parchment paper before making the cuts. Afterwards, the cookie can be moved still on the paper to a baking sheet, to avoid the distortion of trying to lift it with a spatula.
Have fun and experiment, with no fear. The failures will taste just as good as the successes. Make your Halloween even more exciting with a few food items that may start a new tradition with your family.