Every year I hold a Halloween party to celebrate the spooky holiday with my friends and family. Now I shouldn't say every year, but for the past 9 years on some Saturday in October I throw a dinner and some other activity to bring everyone together.
When this tradition first started I was back in college, coming back from a Saturday swim meet where we were all starving on the bus and looking forward our next hot meal...but it was also Halloween and none of us had plans (you don't really want to hit the NYC Halloween parade looking like a swimming zombie...or maybe you do?). We started talking about all the food we wanted to eat and how to make it Halloween themed and voila! The beginning of my Halloween party tradition began!
Scary Halloween Food?
I know what you're thinking - how do you make food scary? Well, you make it gross. That first year we started with a mashed potatoes shaped like a brain, Ikea gravy dyed with red food coloring, deviled eggs, a parasite pork loin, a pudding graveyard, and a host of other odd things. It was delicious...but not the most appealing...even for gross food.
Who could resist a meal like this right? Well, give us some concessions, we were college students (and starving after a swim meet as well.) We topped off the night watching some horror movie like Halloween or Poltergeist and called it a night!
In the following 7 years, the tradition continued. The food changed slightly, the people attending did as well, and the activities alongside the dinner developed as I became a "grown-up." Some times it was scary movies, some times it was pumpkin carving, and last year I went really big and created a whole murder mystery dinner (and simultaneously decided to never do that again).
My murder mystery was my most organized and fancy dinner of them yet, I actually set the table! I couldn't follow up that with a simple build your own plate dinner and movie night, so enter Halloween Planning in July.
Creative Halloween Parties
When you search that term on Google. the amount of creativity you get is, well, not much. So one Sunday, board in church and knowing my friends lives yet real busy come fall, it was time for Halloween party planning. When Google and Pinterest turned up flat, I turned to traditional Halloween themes that go back...decades? And landed on the full moon!
The full moon can be used with so many things related to Halloween: witches, werewolves, ghost stories - almost everything surrounding Halloween has some connection to the full moon. So the theme was planned, a location was picked (some dear friends in Hull, MA live right across the beach) and planning commenced.
Unfortunately, if you want a full moon party in 2019, you've missed your opportunity (that's the downside of a full moon party, it only happens once a month!), but if you're reading this in any subsequent year, hopefully timing is on your side!
Full Moon Halloween Party Plan
The night looked like this: a dining table full of food for people to begin munching on as they filed in the door starting at 6pm. Every eat, drink, and be merry. Then we headed onto the beach, where, earlier in the day, I had made a pentagram out of rocks and placed LED candles (controlled by remote) on each corner and in the middle.
We all set around the pentagram and candles, either on chairs or blankets, bundled up in the fall ocean breeze and told ghost stories. Spooky music played
in the background as we heard waves crash, and as we heard true stories and tales of fiction from (fewer than I would have liked) party attendees. I should not - everyone was asked to come with a story to tell!
Halloween Party Menu
Now for the most important part - what did I serve? Here was the night's menu:
- Meatloaf Human Face
- Mashed Potato Brains
- Ikea Blood Gravy
- Ant-infested Green Beans + Sweet Potatoes (the "ants" are black sesame seeds)
- Witches Stew (a Panera chicken and wild rice copycat)
- Rotten Deviled Eggs (hard boiled eggs dyed black and filled with typical deviled egg mix using avocado)
- Bone Bread Sticks (not gluten free)
- Poison Caramel Apples
- Poisoned Candied Apples (dairy free)
- Monster Puppy Chow
- Murder Mirror Cheesecake
- Ghost Gingerbread Cookies
- Ghost Pumpkin Cookies
- Spider Rice Crispies
- Poisoned Apple Cider with Pomegranate Juice (hot and cold)
While this menu is terribly complicated, it is made complicated by some dietary restrictions that come along with it. Over the years I have developed friendships with people who have severe allergies or sensitivities and all of them combined make for a very involved dinner.
I was working with a roommate who cannot eat gluten, a friend who can't have potatoes in any form (she just avoided the brains and blood altogether), and another friend who is allergic to peanuts, eggs, dairy, and shellfish (thankfully the latter has never been involved).
Can we take a minute to talk about the Meatloaf face that sadly looks like a monkey? That's never happened to me before!
Do you have a Halloween tradition? Do you know an awesome recipe or have an idea for "scary" food? Let me know in the comments below!