Halloween Help

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So.  This Saturday, I am hosting a Halloween blow-out.  We’re talking 40+ people.  Maybe 50, depending on how many people bring dates.  I’m excited, but I’m also feeling a bit panicky, because all I’ve done to prepare is borrow my in-laws’ box of Halloween decorations (I am so not the woman who keeps boxes of decorations in my attic – but I want to be).  The decorations are still in my garage.  Gulp. 


Anyway, I need your help. 

spider-cake-desserts-1009-de spider cupcakes

My friends always bring over potluck dishes to every party, but I’d like to offer a decent spread myself, too.  I’d love some suggestions for Halloween-themed foods (like these awesome cakes from Country Living; however, let’s face it, I’m not that crafty).  So stick with simple suggestions, please.


Well, I lie – I have planned out some stuff for the party.  Like a costume contest (prize = bag of Trader Joe’s goodies… because who doesn’t like that?), a flip cup competition (guests may play with water, of course), and a pumpkin beer tasting.  But that’s it.  And all of these plans are just that – plans.  I have no supplies.  Guess I know what I’ll be up to tomorrow…



  • Alicia October 25, 2012, 7:56 pm

    Bobbing for apples! It’s so much more fun as adults 🙂
    For a spread, crockpot dips are always easy because you don’t have to do a lot of work-you could do something seasonal with butternut squash or pumpkin or stick to something else like pizza dip or spinach artichoke.

    • Caitlin October 25, 2012, 7:57 pm

      PIZZA DIP?!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!??!?!? Mind. Blown.

      • Abby W. October 25, 2012, 10:17 pm

        I am not a fan of bobbing for apples if people don’t know it’s coming. They will have their hair done, have makeup on, have costumes… it’s just too much mess.

      • Whitney October 26, 2012, 10:04 am

        I make pizza dip for almost every party I go to and it’s always a big hit! Def. recommend it and it’s very simple! Have fun 🙂

  • Tonyne October 25, 2012, 7:59 pm

    We did a mummy wrapping contest with toilet paper one year, was so much fun! Each team of 2 got two rolls if toilet paper and we have them 90 seconds who ever had the most wrapped mummy won!

    • Caitlin October 25, 2012, 8:03 pm

      omg, totally doing. after a few drinks.

  • Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat October 25, 2012, 8:02 pm

    I second the bobbing for apples idea! Maybe for savoury things you could do a pumpkin or butternut squash hummus? If you don’t have time to get the fancy web thinggies for the cakes, you could do regular cupcakes and ice them with orange frosting, then do different pumpkin faces on them.. hmmm…. now I want to have a Halloween potluck too!

    • Katie October 26, 2012, 9:10 am

      You can always do the “hungry-girl style” cupcakes, take a box of mix and instead of oil or eggs add a can of pumpkin! Yay fiber! (and yummy taste!)

  • Lyn @ Life Lyn Style October 25, 2012, 8:09 pm
  • Evan Thomas October 25, 2012, 8:13 pm

    My friends really liked it when I made them these. Easy if you already have the cookie cutter http://www.thewannabechef.net/2012/10/03/homemade-peanut-butter-pumpkins/

  • Karen October 25, 2012, 8:14 pm

    OMG, search Pinterest for Halloween treat/food ideas. There are TONS!

  • Kristin October 25, 2012, 8:15 pm

    I saw some cute halloween spider cupcakes that looked so crafty but can’t be that hard to make. They were chocolate with a thin layer of chocolate frosting, and then the tops were all dunked in chocolate sprinkles. Then they used strands of black licorice for the legs, and wilton brand candy eyeballs where the “face” should be. I might make these for work!

  • Alisa October 25, 2012, 8:25 pm

    How convenient…Serious Eats just posted this: http://www.seriouseats.com/2012/10/halloween-party-entertaining-food-recipes.html?ref=title

    Also, not sure if you watch Modern Family, but Claire had a non-sexy Bo Peep costume for last night’s episode.

  • KaraHadley October 25, 2012, 8:30 pm

    My stepmom helps with the my sister’s PTA Halloween party every year and the best thing I’ve ever seen is someone cut Halloween shapes (using cookie cutters) out of tortillas and then turned them into chips.

    • Alli October 25, 2012, 11:55 pm

      LovE this!

  • Laurel October 25, 2012, 8:31 pm

    I love making spooky black bean hummus: http://blog.fatfreevegan.com/2008/10/spooky-black-bean-hummus.html. The color is so fun and the olive spider’s adorable.

  • jen October 25, 2012, 8:33 pm

    even if you skip theme food, if you put it in some halloween dishes, it’ll look festive. pumpkin or skull bowls. marshalls and target has some cool stuff. and TJ has halloween cookies and tons of pumpkin based goodies right now.

    going along with the bobbing for apples, after they bob, how about a decorate your own candy apple bar? smear on PB or cookie butter or icing or caramel and have a variety of toppings? candy corn, crushed cookies, mini m&ms?

  • Kim October 25, 2012, 8:44 pm

    This weekend I’m working on making Nutterbutter ghost cookies for my students. I’m soooo not crafty, but they will love them. Nutterbutter cookie dipped in white chocolate with mini chocolate chips for eyes and a nose. Have fun this weekend!

  • Kandie October 25, 2012, 8:47 pm

    You could bake a simple cake and decorate with a sprinkling of powdered sugar. Just trace a cute shape–pumpkin, or spider, or cat–onto some wax paper, cut it out, then dust with the powdered sugar and carefully remove the wax paper. As long as the food is good people won’t care what it looks like! 🙂

  • Caitlin October 25, 2012, 8:48 pm

    I like the plans you have because they’re loose plans- like, people can mingle and hang out and do the beer tasting as they get there, instead of everyone having to sit down in a circle and participate together. And as others have said, Pinterest your heart out! I made our table center piece taking a vase I already had and filling it with the mini pumpkins from the store and then putting fake black roses in it and centering the vase on a black felt spider web. All sorts of cuteness on Pinterest!

  • Kristy October 25, 2012, 9:02 pm

    Candy corn jello shots. Orange jello, then yellow, then some whipped cream for the white top!

    • Caitlin October 25, 2012, 9:18 pm

      Okay I can totally do that.

  • stacey October 25, 2012, 9:02 pm

    One easy but festive thing I would do when we used to host an annual Halloween party was to make 5 layer taco dip in a pumpkin shaped tray and create a pumpkin face with olives.

  • Katie @ Talk Less, Say More October 25, 2012, 9:02 pm

    I’ve seen a few fall trail mixes or candy corn popcorn balls around the interwebs lately…those may be fun goodies!

  • Sarah October 25, 2012, 9:06 pm

    I second bobbing for apples and want to add eating donuts from strings – no hands allowed! My neighborhood hosted crazy Halloween parties when I was a kid and I swear these would be just as fun for adults!

    Other fun Halloween foods include banana ghosts (cut bananas in half, dip in melted white chocolate, add eyes out of choc. chips and freeze!) and those chinese noodle spider things (http://www.yummly.com/recipes/spider-cookies-chinese-noodles). Also if you have punch, freeze water inside a plastic glove for the ice cube!

  • meagan October 25, 2012, 9:12 pm

    Cinnamon sugar pecans are always a crowd pleaser and can be made ahead. 1 lb. pecans (cashews and almonds also work well). 1 egg white, whipped till frothy. 1 c. sugar. 1-2 tsp. cinnamon. Add the sugar and cinnamon to the egg white, then fold in the nuts. Bake for an hour at 200, stirring every 15 minutes. Seriously, it’ll make your house smell awesome and they’ll be gobbled up fast.

    I also like dips with plenty of dippers (brie baked w/ jam or compote and cookies, sweet crackers, fruit; spinach artichoke dip with vegetables and crackers). Olives and cornichons in a nice bowl are the easiest and cost efficient. A tray of roasted vegetables–butternut squash, turnips, rutabagas, potatoes–with a dip of some kind could be good for those who are vegan or non-dairy. For sweets, I just came across the best chocolate chip cookie (gluten free, can be dairy free) at HEAB here: http://heathereatsalmondbutter.com/2012/09/08/dinner-for-eight/

    ^^The above is one of the best cookie recipes I’ve ever had. The only difference is that I let it chill for about two hours instead of just 30 minutes.

    Also, I think the Barefoot Contessa has great party ideas. They’re usually very simple, very efficient, but elegant nonethless.

    So…yeah! I hope that helps! I love throwing parties 🙂 I’m also a major procrastinator, so I definitely know the Thursday-night-before-Saturday-party feeling!

  • Jennifer October 25, 2012, 9:14 pm

    Deviled eyeballs. Make deviled eggs as usual. Plop an olive in the middle to make it look like an eye. You can apply hot sauce with a toothpick or small paint brush to the egg white to make them look blood shot. Creepy, easy and tasty!

  • Vicki October 25, 2012, 9:15 pm

    We are hosting a get-together too, albeit smaller, earlier in the day and more kiddo centered. We will have guests who are vegan, paleo, and gluten free, so it’s a bit of a challenge to make sure everyone has some food to enjoy. So far, our menu includes cheese and crackers for apps, vegetarian chili, apple-stuffed acorn squash (each adult gets a half-squash), pie-pops (mini pies on lollipop sticks – info in recent Parenting mag) with vegan pie crust, green salad, paleo/vegan/gf berry cobbler in the slow cooker, and a cupcake decorating station.

    One year our friends made “worms in dirt” – chocolate pudding in clear plastic cups, mixed with crumbled chocolate cookies and gummi worms stick in them. Gross looking and tasty. 🙂

    Jello shots – always awesome.

    For games, in the past we have done pumpkin bowling (super fun – pumpkins and filled 2-liter bottles), bobbing for apples, guess-the-pumpkin-weight, 2-person apple eating contest (hang apples on a string, all hung from a rope between two trees, then each team of two has to eat the apple without their hands – fastest team wins), and others I can’t remember.

    I usually put in Halloween movies on the TV with the sound off – at the end of the night everyone is usually gathered around watching whatever’s on, LOL.

    If you’re drinking, don’t forget to pump and dump. Recently I went to an Oktoberfest celebration (yay Sierra Nevada!) and did not pump n dump for 6 hrs – totally screwed up my supply for nearly a week!

  • Amy October 25, 2012, 9:16 pm

    I think these witch hat cookies are super cute (and I love those fudge cookies!) http://barbschram.blogspot.com/2009/07/witch-way-justrite-way.html

    I also usually makes two pans of five layer dip for our halloween party, and it’s always gone at the end of the night. I just use canned refried beans, salsa, guacamole, sour cream, and shredded mexican cheese. It’s really easy because you just pile the ingredients on top of each other! I make a vegan version sometimes too with just beans, salsa, and guac.

  • Amanda October 25, 2012, 9:21 pm

    I think pb fingers had a great looking pumpkin dip. You could serve in a hollowed out little pumpkin! Also, maybe caramel apples/make your own caramel apples? One more … For my fiancées bday this year I made him dirt cake with gummy worms and it was such a hit! You could do w Halloween gummies?

  • Krista October 25, 2012, 9:23 pm

    Cute printables and idea on http://www.thepartydress.net/blog/. Have fun 🙂

  • Tammy Root October 25, 2012, 9:44 pm


    P.S. You are one brave woman! I think Marea would be the biggest fuss bucket if I had that many people over. 🙁

  • Michelle October 25, 2012, 9:45 pm

    These cookies

    Also, get a very large pumpkin, hollow it out, put ice in it, then add bottled beverages -> drink cooler!

  • J October 25, 2012, 9:50 pm

    This might be totally obvious, but it’s good to have some themed music and there are a couple Halloween type songs that have dances associated with them. Like Thriller, Time Warp, Monster Mash.

    You could also play one of those kind of creepy, kind of corny murder mystery games. You might have too many people for that, but they can be kind of fun.

    • J October 25, 2012, 9:54 pm

      Also maybe delegate to some of your closer friends in case you or your husband have to step out with Henry for a bit. Like make sure someone knows how to control the music, someone can open the door and direct people on parking, etc.

      • Reenie October 26, 2012, 7:50 am

        Reminds me of a Seinfield episode where they all go to a party ~ and their friend delegates each of them to do something ~ ~ haha!!!

        {Jerry is assigned to watch the fish glass and to make sure no one touches it. Elaine is assigned to coats. Puddy was assigned to make sure no one touched the stereo, then George had to watch the phone.}

  • Christy October 25, 2012, 9:50 pm

    An easy appetizer is a 7 layer dip in a round bowl or plate with a sour cream spider web drawn on top!

  • Angela October 25, 2012, 10:19 pm

    Angela OhSheGlow’s Vegan rolo knockoffs……ridiculous. Make ’em.

  • Jeri October 25, 2012, 10:27 pm

    What a coincidence–I’m planning the food for my sister’s halloween party next week! I’ve been collecting ideas from the internet but the thing I am most excited about is these cute desserts: http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/tombstone-cookies-10000001534861/

    To make it easy, I will probably top chocolate pudding with crushed oreos and half a decorated milano cookie!

  • Mary October 25, 2012, 11:22 pm

    We just had one and kept it easy…sliced up apples, store bought Caramel dip, and 5 kinds of toppings (m&ms, sprinkles) = Caramel apple bar!

  • Mary October 25, 2012, 11:23 pm

    Oh! And an easy centerpiece is to carve a jack o lantern, put it on a cake stand, and pile candy corn In the mouth and onto the cake stand.

  • Ashlee October 25, 2012, 11:39 pm

    Clementines with drawn on jack o lantern faces are cute! Fitnessistas candy corn popcorn looks festive and easy! Also a caramel apple decorating station could be fun and you wouldn’t actually have to make anything!

  • Alli October 25, 2012, 11:54 pm

    I LOvE Halloween parties! More specifically-throwing them! I do chips and call them dehydrated dragon wings. Cheeto type puffs are swollen owl eyes, guacamole is melted witch, I do baby carrots with an almond sliver that has a smear of cream cheese an attach it to the carrot as “goblin fingers”. We do an ice cream bar of vanilla Ice cream as melted ghost, toppings include choc syrup as goblin goo, sunflower seeds as rat claws, choc chips as witch warts. Red punch is blood. I carved a watermelon like a brain once- that was a hit! I did “batman brownies” where I made a bat stencil and after I cut the brownies I dusted powdered sugar over the stencil. Those always turn out great. Anyways, I just buy party food and give it a fun Halloween name 🙂 have fun!

    • Alli October 25, 2012, 11:57 pm

      Almost forgot about mini marshmallows=ghost poo. Lol

  • Stephanie C October 26, 2012, 1:37 am

    I always thought this was cool 😉 never done it though.

  • CJ @ Fill the Well October 26, 2012, 2:39 am

    I saw a picture the other day of a veggie tray in the shape of a candy corn — yellow peppers, carrots, and cauliflower, I think they used? Could be cute — and EASY.

  • Amber @ Busy, Bold, Blessed October 26, 2012, 8:37 am

    My friend made little mummy pigs in a blanket, they were so cute!


  • Simply Life October 26, 2012, 8:45 am

    I loved these tips on cupcakes- so simple but completely makes it “halloween” http://www.whatmegansmaking.com/2012/10/halloween-cupcakes-part-1.html

  • Lindsay@A Healthy State of Mind October 26, 2012, 8:52 am

    I’m going to be making there! They look easy, and seriously, how cute are they?

  • Allison@commitcomplete October 26, 2012, 9:07 am

    You could have a photo booth. Just hang up a halloween-themed table cloth on the wall and have people take pictures in costume in front of it. You can also put out different props or even a small dry erase board for people to write captions on and use in the pictures.

    • Caitlin October 26, 2012, 9:43 am

      Cute idea!

  • Melissa October 26, 2012, 10:16 am

    The oreo cookie ball recipe is always a hit!! It’s super easy (3 ingredients), cheap, and absolutely delicious. http://allrecipes.com/recipe/cookie-balls/ You can easily decorate it with orange sprinkles on top.

  • SaraJoan October 26, 2012, 10:25 am

    For the Love of Cooking (http://www.fortheloveofcooking.net/) has had a couple reasonably easy ideas for Halloween food recently. And my mom was telling me the SIL made witch’s brooms for a recent party: pretzels with string cheese attached with either a chive or some fruit leather, depending on your audience.

  • Samantha Angela October 26, 2012, 10:39 am

    WIlliams Sonoma just posted a Homemade Hallowe’en recipe round-up here. The popcorn ghost pops looks pretty cool.

    Also I made these Pumpkin Cupcakes with Spiced Buttercream that were quite good and not too complicated

  • Amber @ Busy, Bold, Blessed October 26, 2012, 10:42 am

    HAHAHA… just saw this and had to post! Maybe you could do it with something other than guac?


  • Jessi October 26, 2012, 10:56 am

    Last year I took mini mozzarella balls and put a slice of black olive with a pimento in the center for eyeballs. I then put toothpicks through them to hold the olive on but also make it easy for party guests to pick up. They were a hit! My mom always used to make witch broom bread sticks, meringue ghosts with mini chocolate chip eyes, and a salad with pomogranate seeds which she referred to as vampire teeth!

    Have a great time planning! Halloween parties are my favorite!

  • stephanie S October 26, 2012, 11:13 am

    Bloody Eyeballs. Just make “meat” balls and marinade and cook them in marinara sauce

  • Michele Albert October 26, 2012, 12:58 pm

    make rice krispy treats with candy corn, monster gruel (split pea soup), marinated mozzarella balls with an olive slice on the top (eyeballs), green jello in a disposable clear plastic cup with gummy worms coming out of it, jello parfaits (vanilla pudding, then a layer of orange jello, then a layer of yellow jello), dessert pizza (sugar cookie dough, white icing and then candy corn, little pumpkin candies, halloween colored M&M’s, etc as toppings), dip nutter butters in white chocolate, add two mini chips for eyes, instant ghosts, green punch with frozen peeled grapes (eyeballs!), finger sandwiches – cut the crust off of bread, roll it thin, top with your favorite spread, roll up to look like a finger, put a sliced almond at one end so it looks like a finger nail, cheese spread in the shape of a hand, ok….I will stop…..I could go on forever…..

    Have a wonderful time!

  • Jessi @ doctorate housewife October 26, 2012, 1:05 pm

    There’x always bobbing for apples or putting donuts on a clothes line and getting people to limbo to eat them. That’s fun. I did some halloween cupcakes based on other stuff I found on the web, and if I can do it, you can do it =)

  • kerry October 26, 2012, 1:46 pm

    I stumbled across this and thought it would help with your par-tay


  • Tameka October 26, 2012, 2:39 pm

    black candy apples. http://mattbites.com/2011/10/05/adams-scary-apples/
    blood punch with eyeballs and other creepy crawlers in it. pomergrante juice with seltzer or ginger ale. you can always spike it.

    decorating pumpkins. get some small pumpkins and paint and let your guess get creative and they can take them home with them.

  • Lauri October 26, 2012, 3:06 pm

    I recently made the pumpkin dip from Iowa Girl eats and served it in a small hollowed out pumpkin…

  • Amber K October 26, 2012, 3:14 pm

    I haven’t ever really hosted a party before, but I love a lot of these suggestions! I hope you have a good time.

  • Shannon October 26, 2012, 4:37 pm

    We host a lot of parties, in the fall/winter, soups are a big hit, and easy to make, you can throw the ingredients into a crockpot that morning, and it will be done in time for the party. You can hollow out some crusty rolls, to make “bread bowls” out of, or you can do something simple, like a baked potato bar, bake potatoes & then keep them warm in a crock pot, you can also make a crockpot full of chili, to use as a topper? I’m just throwing out simple ideas 🙂

  • Ali October 26, 2012, 7:11 pm

    A cute thing I saw online was making normal gingerbread cookies in the shape of little people (just a normal cookie cutter) and then piping on skelaton icing!

  • Lekki Frazier-Wood October 26, 2012, 7:30 pm

    Hollow out a pumpkin and fill with warm cheese dip (add white wine). DELICIOUS.

  • Jacky October 26, 2012, 10:56 pm

    Oh, try this 7-layer pumpkin dip http://www.jaxhouse.com/2010/10/26/full-circle/

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