Well, over the last few months, it sure felt like Halloween was NEVER gonna get here! But we made it! Tomorrow is the big day we've all be waiting for....
Happy Halloween to all my faithful followers.... and I know you're busy flying around trying to get the last of the cobwebs in place, cleaning the dungeon while the cauldrons are simmering, and putting the finishing touches on the devilishly good boo-fet....but I don't want you to forget why we do all this....to have fun!
So I'm putting one of my magic spells on you, to have a fabulous, fun, and festive Halloween! No need to fret, I'm sure what you've done is perfect... and if it's not.... you're the only one who knows! So enjoy!
Be sure to send me any pics that you may want to share, and have a safe and Happy Halloween!
And remember, only 365 more days until we have to be ready for next year!
If I can give you any of my Halloweenie wisdom this week, I'd say.... use the "KISS" method. Keep It Simple, Silly. Those are great words to remember when it comes to party planning. Especially for kids.....
Think traditional Halloween colors, lots of great visual stimulation (decorations and funny props) and fun food! (Think finger food and even a candy station!) You know kidslove to play with their food! So, make it extra fun for Halloween, try something "simple" like this scary, monster pizza.
Yes, pizza! Pizza is always great for a kids party....so easy to make (just add your own favorite veggie toppings) the kids can serve themselves, and clean up is so quick and easy! (And usually not too messy) You can make large ones or personal ones, even mini monster pizzas (perfect for little goblin hands) Be sure to make a pizza station on your decorated table, and watch the little monsters go bonkers! Here's a few ideas to inspire your pizza-creativity....
Here's a fun recipe for the kids to gobble up before trick or treating..... or for your party guests to "ooh" and "aaahhhh" over.
Here's what you'll need: ~1 package Habarnero Lime Flour Bright Orange Tortillas ~1 tablespoon olive oil ~1 yellow onion, chopped ~2 garlic cloves, minced ~1 15-ounce can pure pumpkin ~1 15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed ~2 cooked boneless chicken breasts, shredded ~Juice of one lime ~1 teaspoon adobo sauce from a can of chipotle peppers (or to taste) ~1 teaspoon salt ~2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
Here's what you'll do: Use a pumpkin shaped cookie cutter to cut tortillas into small pumpkin shapes (You can get 3 pumpkins per tortilla). Carve faces into half the pumpkins.
Heat olive oil over medium high heat in a large nonstick skillet. Add onion and sautee for 5 to 7 minutes or until tender; add garlic and cook one additional minute. Add pumpkin, black beans, shredded chicken, lime juice, adobo sauce, and salt to the pan and stir until smooth and heated through.
Preheat broiler. Place non-carved pumpkin shaped tortillas on a large greased cookie sheet. Spread filling evenly on top of the pumpkins, and top evenly with cheese. Place carved pumpkin tortillas on top and broil for 2 to 5 minutes or until cheese is melted and quesadillas are heated through. Makes 5 servings (of 3 pumpkin quesadillas each).
I have a feeling that not only will everyone be so impressed with how clever you are, but this will definitely win you the title of the perfect Halloween Hostess!
This is the busiest week around the Manor, and I'm sure it is for you too! So here's a few pre-party checklists to help you breeze through your week. Hop on the old broomstick and let's get going....
Food and Drink
Candy and loot bags.
Set out glass jars loaded with different types of candies and mini scoops, and let guests fill their own goodie bags to take home. Go to candywarehouse.com to stock up on a variety of treats, from gross gummy body parts (feet, ears, and eyeballs) to classics like Pixy Stix and Bazooka.
No Halloween party would be complete without a spooky punch. Serve one that’s blood-red, ghoulish green, putrid purple, orange, or black and use dry ice to create an eerie mist.
Napkins, plates, utensils, and tablecloths.
Keep a stash of these essentials in colors and patterns that match your scheme. A festive covering will make your everyday tables party-ready in an instant. Party-stores have a wide selection of Halloween-themed goods, along with supplies in basic colors, so make a quick trip to see what they've got in stock.
Count your platters beforehand to make sure you have enough space for all your party treats. Make a list or label each dish with a Post-it note or masking tape to keep track of which food goes with which platter.
Beverages and cups.
If you’re serving alcoholic drinks, plan on three to four cocktails per guest for a two- to three-hour party. And don’t forget to include something alcohol-free and fun for the teetotalers and kids in your group. Make sure to have heatproof cups on hand if you’re serving anything hot, like mulled cider.
Serve plenty of savory items to balance out all that Halloween sugar. For less stress, make as many items ahead of time as you can.
Cupcakes and cookies are easy for guests to eat and fun to decorate for Halloween (for example: cookies shaped like ghosts and cats and cupcakes topped with orange frosting or mini pumpkin candies). For even more holiday spirit, make pumpkin cupcakes and decorate them with candy corn. Or try using Halloween candy in creative ways: Serve a Twix cheesecake pie or make chocolate bark decorated with candy corn.
Setting the Scene
Greet guests with a lineup of these lighted hosts on your stoop or porch.
Pumpkins and decorative gourds.
Display these in clusters around your home. Try different ways of dressing up your pumpkins—spray them with metallic paint for a golden glow or use chalkboard paint to make faces or write messages (a great project for the kids).
Fake cobwebs and spiders, paper bats, balloons, and other decorations.
Hang cobwebs and spiders in the corners of your room, let bats and banners dangle from the ceiling, and go all-out with festive or frightening décor to create the right atmosphere. Shop for supplies from OrientalTrading.com, which has a wide selection of creepy goods—bags of bones, ghosts, and tombstones. Halloween is one holiday when it’s OK to be over-the-top.
Scatter lots of votives throughout your party and group pillars of varying heights and sizes together. Display a candelabra for dramatic flair. Please don't forget, if you'll have little kiddos at the party, please keep all candles out of reach!
Put together a playful playlist of favorite songs, such as The Doors’ “People Are Strange” and Michael Jackson’s “Thriller,” or invest in a soundtrack of creepy sound effects. Try Martha Stewart Living’s Spooky Scary Sounds (which includes knives being sharpened, thumping heartbeats, and howling winds) or Halloween Horrorscapes, which features tracks titled “Blood Hunt” and “Alone at the Cabin” (including thunder, screams, snarling monsters, and chainsaws–definitely not for the faint of heart).
Play classic horror films in the background (on mute if you don’t want the sound to be distracting) to get guests in the mood, such as Friday the 13th, The Exorcist, or, naturally, Halloween. For less frightening movies that still set the tone, try The Addams Family, Beetlejuice, or—the best feel-good Halloween flick ever—It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.
Whether you’re hosting a costume party or not, it’s always fun to have some extra dress-up items around. Set out some masks and wigs, plastic fangs, hats, a cape, a tiara, a feather boa—whatever suits your fancy—and let your guests get creative.
Don’t forget to charge your phone/camera (or recharge your batteries and clear space on your memory card) before your Halloween bash. Designate a friend or family member as the party photographer so you’ll have one less thing to worry about.
And for more great, last minute ideas check out Real Simple!
Accessories for Halloween come in all shapes, sizes and colors.... so you shouldn't have a problem finding what you want, to decorate. But maybe you want to try something different this year....
Tired of black and orange? Maybe something a bit more classy? How about silver? It's pretty and creepy, when it's paired with the right decorations. But if you're having a hard time finding something in silver, why not use that spray paint technique I taught you? It's simple, fast, and you can transform any object into a real show stopper!
All you'll need are a few pumpkins, maybe some skulls, and candle sticks. You could group them all together, or have one large piece, be a focal point. You can do this.... you're amazing!
Not only do you have to worry about planning the party, and decorating the house.... but did you forget about your costume? Or has everyone at work decided this week "it would be fun to have an office Halloween party!" Now what are you gonna do?
Several of my Halloweenies have been begging for the best (and easiest) get-it-done-quick costumes. I know I've done this before.... but here we go again.....
I've been getting lots of e-mails about homemade Halloween costumes. It seems that a lot of us out there aren't real fans of the store bought costumes. And not everyone wants to be a sexy maid or devil, am I right? Or maybe you don't have a lot of spare time to sew or craft a Martha Stewart-worthy costume.
Remember when making your own costume was fun? After all...we just want to get a few oohs and aahhs when we walk in to the party.
Ok, so I'm gonna help you out. Here are my "Top 10 To-The-Rescue Costume Ideas":
Hit by Lightning Just wear jeans and a sweatshirt. Make a with large yellow felt zigzag pinned or sewn to the back, blackened zigzag tears here and there, hair gelled to stand straight up, black burnt marks on cheeks. Another idea: Be a “Jogger Hit By Lightning” by wearing a sweat suit or running shorts instead of jeans.
Fairy Godfather You can buy cheap fairy wings and a wand and that’s all! Ok guys, just wear a pair of jeans, a black or white tee shirt and a baseball cap. Put on the wings and carry a cigar, and put your magic wand in your back pocket! I have to admit, The Count has even used this costume a few times, and it was a hit!
Bag of Trash This is one of the "fastest" costumes you can make in no time...and be out the door to the party. Make two leg holes is a large sized trash bag. Then step into the bag, then add balls of crumpled newspaper to hold a round shape. Make two armholes in each side and secure around the neck.
Tourist Just dig in the closet for a few things. A Hawaiian shirt or other loud clothes, camera, hat with pins all over it, maps sticking out of pockets, sunglasses. Easy. Good as a couples costume, too.
Titanic Survivor or Passenger Pin plastic seaweed and fake aquarium plants to your clothes and wear long strands in your hair. Shred the arms and pockets of an old shirt, overlay with a shredded vest and wear over tattered trousers or a long skirt with a torn hem. Wet look fabric is a bonus. Make a long necklace or belt from a thick length of hemp rope; unravel the rope ends for best effect, and attach a toy sailboat. Hot glue polished pennies or fake gold coins (bags of gold chocolate coins are great) in strategic places. A fake fish or two sticking out of a pocket completes the ensemble. To be a Titanic Passenger: Wear the costume described above, but add ghost or skeleton face makeup.
Miss. America Finally! A use for those brides maids dresses! Use a old bridesmaid or formal dress, add a pair of gloves, a tiara, some over sized jewelry, and heels. For the banner, use a piece of wide ribbon, and write "Miss. America" in glitter with glue. And with a few rips and tears in your dress.... and some scary make up, you could turn this into a zombie costume, if you wanted!
A Spy For this quick Halloween costume, wear a trench coat, dark glasses and a hat pulled down over your eyes. Carry a small camera and pretend to take pictures surreptitiously. How fun and you’ll get lots of great party pictures!
The Birds This one you might need to be a bit crafty....but not too much. Just go to your favorite thrift store, get a jacket and skirt. Then head over to the craft store and buy a few black birds. Attach the birds to the outfit with hot glue and a glue gun (or sew them on for added strength) Put on some torn nylons and a pair of pumps. Add a bird to your hair with some bobby pins and put some fake blood on your cheek, your knee and splash some on your suit! If you add a blond wig.....you could be Melanie from “The Birds”!
Pizza Delivery Driver Wear a matching color hat and tee shirt and carry a pizza box. So easy, it’s not even funny..... If you have time, make a pizza logo out of felt for your hat and shirt, and attach with fabric glue.
Butcher All you need for this is a few props you probably have around the house. Wear a white tee shirt and jeans, get a white apron, and splash some red paint on the apron. Carry a meat cleaver (be sure to tape off the blade with gray duct tape.... to be safe) and maybe a string of sausages around your neck. (But don’t be out too late, you might start to get smelly!)
Now that you can breathe a sigh of relief, make yourself a cup of tea and relax... we got this covered!
If you're one of those who've waited until the last minute to decide to have a Halloween party, this year (*ahem....and you all know who you are) Well no need to fret.... The Queen is here to help!
So now let's narrow down a few theme party ideas. You've still got some time, but we need to get moving!
Here's some quick ideas to plan the props, decorations and the menu. Give your guests a theme...and the cool, crazy and creative costumes will follow!
And remember.... just because you decided to do this at the last minute, doesn't mean you can't throw a great bash! Think easy, simple, and fun. No need to plan for months.... Click on the links below to check out some of these amazing ideas from all over the web......
Check out these Bloody Shirley Temple shots! This drink is fun for the whole family.... but if you are having a grown-up-only party, these bloody syringes would make a great addition to your Halloween bar..... just add a little vodka, to taste!
If you don't have syringes on hand or you're expecting a large crowd, you can order syringes here via Amazon. But do it soon! You want to make sure they get here in time for your party!
Ingredients Sprite Grenadine
Vodka (for grown ups only!) Syringes
Instructions Pour sprite over ice and garnish with a bloody (grenadine) syringe.
With Halloween only 16 days away, many are asking about some fun and funky alternatives to the traditional Halloween Party. I've blogged about this before, but this just might be just what you had in mind....
If you're looking for something really different to do this Halloween, why not host a Cemetery Tour? These parties are springing up all over the country. It's a fun, spooky party and really easy to put together, and is a great idea for a smaller, intimate party. (I would suggest no more than 12)
There are a few things that you'll need to plan ahead of time. First of all, most cities have a historical society that host "walking tours" of local cemeteries. If your city doesn't offer that, contact a historical home or destination that has a cemetery on site, and make arrangements to rent the space including the cemetery, for the evening.
(Remember you need to go through the proper channels to be at a cemetery after hours, because that would be "trespassing"....and you don't want to do that!) And find out if anyone on site is available to be the cemetery tour guide. Most of the time, they have someone on staff who is quite the historian and knows a lot of information about the cemetery, and some of it's more popular inhabitants.
Once the arrangements have been made, this is where you get creative:
Make sure to mail each of your guests a formal invitation
Serve a spooky sit-down dinner
Rent a limo to take your guests to and from the location, after dinner
Once you return from the cemetery, cocktails are served
Have you been to your Dollar Store recently? Well, if you haven't.... you need to!
I've found that most of those types of bargain stores really have some great holiday stuff! Think of it like this.... we've all "doctored up" a burger-helper casserole, or a frozen pizza in our day.... well, this is no different!
You can go buy lots of expensive decorations, but you really don't need to. Find some cool stuff that you can "doctor up"! Add some black spray paint here, some Spanish moss there, and you've got something pretty faBOOlous!
All that was done here was some black spray paint on the brooms and skull, and it really looks like an expensive display. And it's not! Everything came from the Dollar Store!
So, be sure to make a stop by your local Dollar Store today and stock of on a few goodies that you can doctor up, and you'll be feeling better in no time! Doctor's orders.
I'm betting that you all had a busy weekend of projects, planning, and decorating for Halloween.... and you know that I'm all about spookiness and fun, but what about our little Halloweenies in training?
So, that leads me to another subject that I've gotten quite a few questions about.... what craft projects can we do with our little monsters? It seems that many of you are asking about crafts and classroom projects that you can do with the kiddos, that aren't too complicated.
Well, leave it to the professional crafty ones at The Chirping Moms.com!These moms are at the top of the list for craftiness, and they've got 30 fun Halloween projects that your little ones will just love!
Everything from making Ghost Pops, to Black Cat Masks and Yarn Spiders is all you'll need to give the kids hours of spooky crafty fun! These projects are just faBOOlous!
For step by step instructions to all 30 projects, click here!
Happy Friday Halloweenies! How would you like something devilishly sweet today? Here's a spooky twist on a favorite classic, the Boston Cream Pie! Every good Halloween Homemaker should have this recipe in their bag of tricks....
1 3/4 cup(s) all-purpose flour
1/3 cup(s) unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
2 tablespoon(s) unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder, combined with above, plus more for pans
1 1/2 teaspoon(s) baking powder
1/2 teaspoon(s) baking soda
1 teaspoon(s) coarse salt
1 can(s) (15-ounce) solid-pack pumpkin
2 tablespoon(s) vegetable oil
1/3 cup(s) heavy cream
5 ounce(s) (1 stick plus 2 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened, plus more for pans
1 1/3 cup(s) sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon(s) pure vanilla extract
8 ounce(s) semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 cup(s) heavy cream
1 tablespoon(s) light corn syrup
Spiced Pastry Cream (Recipe below)
Candy spiders (optional)
Make the cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter two 8-by-2-inch round cake pans, line bottom with parchment, and butter parchment. Dust with cocoa powder, and tap out excess.
Sift flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a large bowl. Whisk pumpkin, oil, and cream in a medium bowl. Beat butter and sugar with a mixer on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, 4 to 5 minutes. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition, then add vanilla. Reduce speed to low, and add flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with pumpkin mixture, starting and ending with flour. Divide batter between pans, and spread evenly.
Bake until testers inserted into centers of cakes come out clean, 30 to 35 minutes. Let cool in pans on wire racks for 15 minutes. Invert cakes onto wire racks, remove parchment, and let cool.
Make the glaze: Place chocolate in a food processor. Bring cream and corn syrup to a simmer in a small saucepan, whisking to combine. Pour over chocolate, and process until smooth.
To assemble the cake: Trim top of 1 cake to create a flat surface. Reserve trimmings for another use. Place cake, cut side up, on a serving plate. Spread chilled pastry cream over cake, leaving a 1/2-inch border. Top with remaining cake, bottom side up, and press gently to spread pastry cream to edge. Stir chocolate glaze, then ladle over top of cake so some drips down sides. Refrigerate until chilled, at least 1 hour or, preferably, overnight. Decorate with candy spiders if desired.
Spiced Pastry Cream
3 large egg yolks
1/4 cup(s) sugar
3 tablespoon(s) cornstarch
2 tablespoon(s) all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cup(s) whole milk
1/4 teaspoon(s) coarse salt
1/2 teaspoon(s) ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon(s) ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon(s) freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon(s) pure vanilla extract
1/2 ounce(s) (1 tablespoon) unsalted butter
Whisk yolks and sugar in a small bowl. Mix cornstarch and flour in another small bowl. Bring milk, salt, and spices to a boil in a medium saucepan. Remove saucepan from heat. Whisk cornstarch mixture into yolk mixture, and then immediately whisk 2 tablespoons milk mixture into yolk mixture. Whisk in remaining milk mixture in a slow, steady stream.
Return mixture to saucepan. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until it begins to thicken and registers 160 degrees on a candy thermometer, 1 to 2 minutes.
Strain mixture through a fine sieve into a heatproof bowl, and whisk in vanilla and butter until smooth. Press a piece of plastic wrap directly on surface, and refrigerate until cold and thick, at least 1 hour (or up to 1 day).
For more spookified recipes, be sure to check out Delish.com!
Projects, projects, and more projects! I've got lots of 'em to keep you busy right up until the big day! And here's another one of my favorites...
You all know how much I love to save cans and glass jars for projects, and this is the reason why.... you can recycle all those metal cans into Halloween lanterns!
All you'll need is a bunch of cans, (washed, dried, and labels removed of course!) some spray paint, a Sharpie marker, some floral wire, a large size nail, and a hammer.
Take the cans, and using the Sharpie marker, make a dot pattern of the image you want (look at the photo above) and keep in mind, the more simple the pattern.... the easier it will be to do, (and tell what it is) so don't make it too detailed. Think simple.
Once you have a pattern that you like, take the nail and hammer, (use the dot pattern as your guide) and lightly tap the nail on each dot, until it makes a hole through the can. (You 'll want the hole to be big enough to been seen once the candle is lit inside)
When you have the design completed, you'll want to make a hole on each side of the can, and add the floral wire, to make a handle. (Again, if you're not sure, look at the photo above)
Give each can a good coat of spray paint, let dry, then add your battery-operated votive candle. These look great hanging from trees, and you don't have to worry about them being a fire hazard!
But if you want to use actual votive candles, be sure to keep them away from children, leaves, or anything that could catch fire. Also be sure not let them burn overnight! Spooky is good, but always remember, safety first!
Now, let's get moving.... I've got lots of cans that need washed! I'll only need about 200 of these to decorate the outside of The Manor.
Yes, black is beautiful..... actually, nothing replaces black. It's classy. It's macabre.... it's all the things that you want in creating great looks for Halloween.
As you all know, I'm a huge fan of black spray paint. Flat or gloss.... black paint is the best! And every Halloween Homemaker needs to keep a hefty supply in your craft closet.
You can transform everyday objects and make cool collections, just by grouping a bunch of objects together and giving them a good coat of black spray paint.
*Remember, these are strictly for decorations only! Do not paint anything that will have any food or beverages in them!
Now if you're new to spray painting, here's a few suggestions. First of all, work in a well ventilated space anytime that you are using spray paint.... the fumes can be overwhelming, sometimes. Also read the directions, and always apply spray paint in several thin coats. You never want to spray too much in one spot, or it'll run and cause drips..... (unless of course you want to do that.... I've been known to create some pretty cool bloody pieces with red paint.... but that's for our next lesson....)
Start simple. Get a can of flat black, and a can of gloss black spray paint. Pick a few things, like some artificial pumpkins, candlesticks, old picture frames (remove the glass), maybe some old jars and books..... then spray some of the items with the flat, and some with the gloss. Let them dry, and then group the objects together. Set on a mantel always looks good..... or on a side table in the corner.
Maybe spray paint a few dried flowers, while you're at it, and put some in the jars... you get the idea.
Now you've just learned how to create a pulled-together look.... and all it took was some old junk, you had lying around the house.... and some black spray paint! You're welcome.....
I hope you all had a frightfully fantastic weekend! And I know it's back to work for most of us today, but we've still got lots of prepping and planning to do for Halloween. Since it's probably a busy Monday, here's a little something to make your life a bit easier today....
How about a good freebie? These awesome, FREEprintable apothecary labels are from the crafty fiends at the Party Planning Center blog, and they're pretty faBOOlous!
Just go to their blog, click on the link, and you can print out these super cute labels for FREE! Yes, I'll say it once again.... they're FREE!
Once you print them out, cut them to size, add them to some jars and bottles (that have been washed, and the labels removed) with some Mod Podge, and you'll have some pretty nifty decorations to add to your Halloween bag of tricks!
Well, Happy First Day of October!!
'Tis the spooky season.... and that means lots of projects and decorations to get ready for the big day! Only 29 days to go, so let's not waste a moment....
I really love those decorations that are the show-stopper of the neighborhood, like this! These window clings and silhouette are very popular for the holidays. But they also can be pretty expensive. But if you have some minimal art skills, you can pull this off, and do it on the cheap, too!
All you need is a few rolls of craft paper, some craft paints, scissors, an exacto knife, clear tape, and a pencil.
You could handle this project several ways, but let's go with the simplest one.... I suggest measure the inside of the window, and cut your craft paper to fit. Then take your pencil and draw a very simple design (it might be a good idea to use a picture as a reference) then cut it out with scissors and/or your handy-dandy exacto knife.
Then place it back in the window to check your measurements, and also check it out from the outside too, to make sure it looks the way you want it to. Then after you're happy with it, take it down and apply the craft paint. Let dry, then put up with clear tape.
Remember, when doing a project like this, the more simple the design, the better it'll look. Keep in mind, you want it to be recognizable from the street, so don't make it too fancy, think simple shapes.
This also is a fun art project for kids of all ages!