Eeek, Drink and Be Merry
Halloween has crept up on New Year's Eve replacing it as the number one adult party. Since no one really outgrows Halloween, get into the spirit and stage a spooktacular throwdown.
From ghoulish themed adult dinners to relaxed zombie open house gatherings, Halloween is a good thing. Even Martha Stewart’s usual good things are taunted each October as wickedly bad. But beyond Martha there are plenty of ideas that will make make your home and Halloween menu spook-tacular without taking tons of time or a coffin of cash.
“Jack O'Lantern’s are nice but they’re not scary. We’re into scary, ” said Jim Kelly, co-owner of Creepyworld and the Darkness Haunted House who with partner Larry Kirchner has made a living creating spooktacular haunted houses renown for frightening thousands each Halloween season. “ People like to be scared. Of course, it’s all about having fun. And while we work hard to scare you to death we work just as hard to keep everything safe for our visitors.”
Safety is the first concern when creating any haunted display, especially those designed for your home. Before shopping the Halloween store think about the space you plan to decorate/haunt. Consider the pros and cons the space and those elements that can contribute or detract from your display. For example, are there electrical outlets for rigging up extra lighting or fog machines? According to Kelly one can never have too many fog machines. Lighting is another easy way to create eerie effects.
“Lighting sets the mood. Just think about it - how scary would a haunted house be if the lights weren’t dim,” said Kelly.
Dim the lights and break out the candles. Tea lights or battery powered tea lights are a favorite to illuminate and cast a ghostly glow. Besides slipping tea lights into a Jack-o-lantern drop them into mason jars or position then in apples, mini pumpkins or gourds that a have a niche carved out to accommodate them or a taper candle.
Linens can add a slightly creepy touch to the table décor by simply mixing and mismatching what you have on hand. Cheap white sheets draped or splashed with red paint can make a great table cover.
For inexpensive centerpieces, scatter fall leaves and branches from the backyard to decorate tabletops or mantles. Add a few dime-store decorations as fake spiders, skeletons or orange ribbons for a finishing touch.
When setting the table bring out the family silver but don’t polish it. Tarnished flatware and chipped dishes provide a delightfully creepy touch to table settings.
After the decorations are set, plan the menu. Get creative. For example cut coffin shapes from bread and fill with pimento cheese or PB& J, add thinly sliced bananas in memory of Elvis. Use ketchup, jelly or piping gel and write R.I.P. on the top of each coffin sandwich.
Rename the recipes you plan to serve with more spirited titles as Creatures of the Deep (shrimp) or Gates of Hell Bat Wings (hot chicken wings). Just remember to make menu title cards to I.D. the devilishly delights on your table.
Don’t forget to have guests pick their poison. Offer a vairety of drinks and consider including a signature Halloween drink – perhaps a Bloody Mary or something trendy as the Black Cat Martini.
Halloween menus should offer a mix sweet and savory. My menu includes those I developed for past Halloween haunts as well as a few treats from Pillsbury, Nestle, Pernod and HINT Essence Water. All are designed to deliver a frightfully fabulous Halloween.