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Food,  Halloween,  Healthy Living

5 Themes for Your Adult Halloween Party

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A Halloween party doesn’t really need a theme. However, if you’d like something a little different this year, here are some themed Halloween parties that might be just the ticket.

1. Famous Couples Halloween Party

Ask your guests to come as a famous couple. Suggestions include Adam and Eve, Bonnie and Clyde, Frankenstein and his bride, Cleopatra and Anthony, Guinevere and Sir Lancelot, and Beauty and the Beast. But don’t stop there, other famous duos include Little Red Riding Hood and the Wolf, Good and Evil, Heart and Soul, Devil and Angel, and Queen Bee and Worker Bee.

Pair up Your Food Selections

Your foods can be classic paired foods to follow the theme. Examples include peanut butter and jelly, mac and cheese, chicken and dumplings, cheese and crackers, and bacon and eggs.

Peanut Butter and Jelly

Up the gourmet scale with freshly-made peanut butter and raspberry jelly on toasted artesian bread. Make these a day or so ahead, wrap in a ziplock bag and refrigerate.

Mac and Cheese

So we’ve all had the little blue box of Mac and Cheese; however, that’s not what we’re talking about here. Cook a batch of pasta until it’s almost done. You’ll need four cups of pasta. Combine 1 cup half-and-half with 1 tablespoon flour. Heat until the mixture thickens and barely comes to a boil.  Stir for two minutes so the flour loses its raw taste.

Add ½ cup of shredded cheese and stir until the cheese melts entirely. Combine the pasta and cheese sauce. Add ½ cup of diced ham. Spread in a baking pan and top with panko bread crumbs and more cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes. Everything is cooked, it just needs to be heated through before the party.

Bacon and Eggs

You might think of bacon and eggs as the classic breakfast pairing and it is, but it also is a great combo for deviled eggs. A trick to keeping the yolks centered in the whites is to stir the pan every few minutes so the eggs whirl around in a circle.

Use your favorite deviled egg recipe or try this one. Remove the yolks from the 6 hardboiled eggs by cutting the eggs lengthwise. Mash the yolks with two tablespoons of mayonnaise ad 1 teaspoon of mustard. Add 4 strips of crumbled bacon. Stuff the egg white with the yolk mixture.  Sprinkle a bit of paprika for color.

Fruit and Cheese

Fruit and cheese are a natural duo but so is crackers and cheese. Why not have a platter that features all three, sort of a foodie ménage à trois? Place the fruit platter in the middle and the crackers and cheese on either side.

Chicken and Dumplings

Chicken and dumplings is a down-home dish that isn’t difficult to make. Make your favorite chicken and gravy. For the dumplings combine 1 cup of flour with one egg and ¼ cup of water – more or less. The consistency of the batter should be thicker than pancake batter but not as heavy as biscuit batter.

Bring a big pot of salted water to the boil. Drop spoonsful of the batter into the water. Let the dumplings boil for 10 minutes, then remove. Stir in a tablespoon of butter to keep the dumplings from sticking. Combine the chicken, gravy, and dumplings and heat before serving.

Other food duos include spaghetti and meatballs, fish and chips, and burgers and fries.

Keep Halloween Party Decorations Simple

You shouldn’t need a lot of decoration for this party as the guests’ costumes provide most of the color. Decorate the party area in traditional black and orange with pumpkins, skeletons, and black cats.

2. Halloween Party: A Period in Time

Sometimes it’s more fun to choose a time period as the theme for a Halloween Party than to rely on ghosts, witches, and goblins. Think of the gorgeous dresses of the Victorian age, the poodle skirts of the 1950s and the Roaring 20s. Of course, you could choose other time periods as well such as the Roman Empire or the flower power of the 60s.

While the costumes of a time period aren’t a challenge, the food and decorations might be. Think hamburgers, fries, and milkshakes for a 50s menu. But what would you serve for the Roaring 20s or a Roman banquet?

Pick a Color Scheme

One solution is to pick a color scheme related to Halloween such as purple and black. Keep everything classic and incorporate the color scheme into everything — including the food!

Decor Suggestions for a Purple Party

  • Use a black lace tablecloth laid across a purple sheet. Serve the food on purple plates and flatware. Place spray-painted black baby’s breath in black vases.
  • Create a “graveyard” with black tombstones nestled in cheesecloth you’ve dyed black or use black netting.
  • Outline windows in purple LED lights.

What’s On the Menu?

Food isn’t normally purple, but you do have a few options. For example, use purple (red) cabbage to make coleslaw. Or hollow out the cabbage and use it to hold dip.

Purple Potato Salad

Make potato salad with purple potatoes. They hold their color when cooked. Combine one pound of cooked potatoes with ½ cup each of diced celery, red onions, chopped hardboiled eggs an mayonnaise. Salt and pepper to taste.

Purple Fruits and Veggies for Dipping

Purple fruits include plums, grapes, blackberries, figs, and blueberries. Similarly colored vegetables include purple cauliflower, sweet pepper, asparagus, eggplant, carrots, endive, and tomatoes.

For example, purple endive leaves make perfect little dip scoopers or plop on about half a teaspoon of the dip on the leaves and arrange on a platter.

Eggplant Salad

Here are a few examples of purple or black dishes. Slice eggplants, purple peppers, tomatoes, and red onions. Toss with olive oil, snipped basil and a splash of lemon juice. Add chopped fresh garlic. Bake at 375 degrees for about 45 minutes until vegetables are cooked through.

Purple Carrot Appetizers

Scrub and peel purple carrots. Wrap a strip of bacon around each carrot. Bake at 375 degrees until bacon is crisp. You may have to turn the carrots once or twice.

Black Bean Salad

Make a black bean salad. Drain a can of black beans. Rinse well and drain again. Combine with ¼ cup each of purple bell pepper, chopped red onion and cilantro. Add a splash of lime juice and olive oil. Serve cold or at room temperature.

Other “Purple” Options

Grilled beef burgers have an almost black crust. Sere on very dark pumpernickel bread. Black sesame seeds add a crunchy coating to chicken tenders. Use them instead of panko bread crumbs. Another option is to roll cheese balls in the black sesame seeds.

Offer guests ghostly purple punch. Mix one quart of grape juice with a liter of lemon-lime soda. Add your choice of vodka or rum. Dip the rims of the glasses in lime juice and then into edible purple glitter. Use a licorice stick as a stirrer.

3. Halloween Party: Masked Ball

An elegant way to celebrate Halloween without a lot of fuss over a costume is a masked ball. Ask your guests to dress up and wear a mask rather than a costume.

Add a Little Elegance

Ditch the traditional Halloween colors of black and orange in favor of white, gold, and silver. Decorate name badges with gold and silver glitter. Continue the theme with silver and gold decorations. The Dollar Store and craft stores offer appropriately-colored Christmas decorations starting in early October. Think garlands, strands of beads, crystal drops and mini-white LED lights.

Other Decor Suggestions

  • Spray paint vases from the thrift store in gold and silver and fill with white flowers.
  • Use plain white table cloths or sheets with gold and silver stickers placed as a border. Add masks, feathers. and beads on the tables as well.
  • Spray paint old plates silver and gold and use them as charger plates under the food plates. Don’t use the painted plates to directly hold the food as the paint might be toxic. Tie gold and silver ribbons around the stem of wine glasses.

A Masked Ball Menu

Focus the menu on foods that are elegant and bite-sized. Some of the guests may be wearing full-face masks, so provide a table where they can lay their masks while they eat and drink.

Here are some suggestions for your guests

Smoked Salmon

Smoked salmon nestled on a cucumber slice topped with sour cream and a snippet of dill.

Stuffed Baby Potatoes

Cut baked baby potatoes in half then hollow them out. Mix with shredded cheese, crumbled bacon, minced scallions, and sour cream. Stuff the halves and heat in the oven right before serving. These taste good even at room temperature.

Frittatas

Frittata is an egg dish served warm or at room temperature. Think of a frittata as a baked omelet. Combine eggs with cooked shredded potatoes, chopped sweet peppers, onions, spinach, and mushrooms. Add ¼ cup of cheese for every 3 eggs. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes or until the center of the frittata is no longer wobbly. Cut into one-inch squares.

Mini-Sandwiches

Mini sandwiches become elegant when you cut the crusts off the bread. Instead of mayonnaise which can make the bread soggy, spread a thin layer of cream cheese. It’s easier to spread at room temperature.

Combinations include thinly sliced apples with prosciutto ham and goat cheese on a dinner roll; Turkey with pepper jack cheese and cranberry jelly on whole grain: and shrimp salad on sourdough.     

Appetizers and Sweets

Offer crudities of white vegetables including the inner stalks of celery, peeled cucumber slices, white asparagus, cauliflower, and parsnips.

Desserts include petite fours, cream puffs, mini eclairs, and fresh fruit.

As favors give each guest a candle wrapped in gold or silver paper that you’ve glued on. Put the candle in a cellophane bag tied with gold or silver ribbon.

4. Halloween Party: New Orleans Ghosts

What’s a better way to celebrate Halloween than with a New Orleans Ghost Party? Creepy, crawly cemeteries are above ground in New Orleans because of the high water table. Voodoo dolls and spells add to the atmosphere. And then, of course, there are the misty swamps.

Guests come in the costume of their choice, although you could emphasize ghosts and ghouls in the invitation. Give each guest strings of brightly colored beads in Mardi Gras colors of neon purple, green, and gold.

New Orleans Halloween Party Decor

Decorate with yards of black and white tulle (netting) draped over windows and doorways. Add spider webs stretched across the walls.

Make ghosts out of white plastic garbage bags. Shreds the ends of the bags so they flutter in any breeze. Use helium-filled balloons so the ghosts bob up and down.

Other Suggestions to Make It Creepy

  • Cheesecloth ghosts are another alternative. Form a mold from a Styrofoam ball on top of a cone. Drape the cheesecloth over the mold. Spray with clothes starch to stiffen the ghost.
  • Collect dolls in various sizes. Remove the heads. Pop-out the eyes. Place an LED votive light in the head. Turn it on before the party, then replace the head on the doll.   
  • Fog machines are not cheap even when you rent them. Dry ice mimics the same effect when placed in a container of water. The fog rolls downward instead of upwards. Place the dry ice containers where guests can’t reach them. Touching dry ice immediately results in a painful “burn.”
  • Spray paint watermelons black. Remove most of the flesh but leave a layer of red flesh. Carve out a ghost or skeleton face. When the watermelon is lit the red flesh almost glows.
  • You might not think of eggplants as Halloween decoration but they come in shapes and sizes perfect for decorating a table when carved. Be extra gentle when hollowing out the eggplant. Carve bigger facial features rather than detailed complicated designs. Light with votive candles.

With all of the netting and cheesecloth, it’s safer to use LED candles rather than real ones because of the fire hazards.

A New Orleans Menu

A New Orleans menu is straight forward: dirty rice, crusty rolls, and a choice of seafood jambalaya and chicken and sausage gumbo for those who don’t like seafood or can’t eat it. Make the dishes mild – without a lot of spicy heat. Offer several kinds of hot sauce, red pepper flakes, Cajun seasoning, minced fresh hot peppers, and pickled hot peppers so guests can “hot up” their dishes as they like. 

A Take on Bananas Foster

The original bananas foster is a bit complicated for a party with the flames and all. However, you can recreate the flavors with banana foster sundaes. Combine bananas, brown sugar, pecans, and butter, and heat until the sugar has dissolved and the bananas are almost mushy. Serve the sauce hot over vanilla, pecan, or even chocolate ice cream.

Closing the Halloween Party Out

Offer a coffee bar with several selections of gourmet coffees along with cream, whipped cream, flavored syrups like chocolate, hazelnut, and pumpkin spice, and condiments such as chocolate chips, white chocolate chips, peppermints, cinnamon sticks, orange slices, brown sugar, honey, and maple syrups.

5. Halloween Party: Day of the Dead

Technically Day of the Dead is celebrated on November 1st or 2nd. But that doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate on Halloween. Skeletons, skulls, and bright colors are the order of the day.

Contrary to what you might think Day of the Dead is a happy celebration of relatives and friends who have passed away. Their favorite foods and drinks are served along with traditional fare. Skulls made of molded sugar are decorated with brightly colored flowers and designs. Buy the skulls online or make them yourself with a sugar mold.

Day of the Dead Decor

  • Use serapes as tablecloths. Another option is to buy a few yards each of pink, green, yellow, orange and black fabric and layer the cloth in strips across the table. The black makes the other colors pop.
  • Create giant crepe paper flowers. Cut a six-inch wide strip across the entire length of the crepe paper package. Gather the ends to create a ruffle. Fasten the ends of the ruffle with a rubber band. Attach to a sturdy stem with floral tape. Arrange the huge carnation-looking flower in vases around the room.
  • Candles give the room a soft glow. Use as many as you safely can.
  • Create luminaries out of plastic jugs used to hold water or milk. Make sure you remove the labels. Fill with water dyed green, blue, orange and red. Put a LED flashlight face down into the neck of the jug. Tape so it stays secure. The jugs glow in the colors of the water.

Mexican Treats Are on the Menu

The food served at this type of party is Mexican. Tamales are sold by the dozen in the freezer section of your grocery store.

Seven-Layer Dip

A seven-layer dip is as pretty to look at as it’s tasty to eat. Fill a glass bowl with straight sides if possible with a layer of shredded lettuce at the bottom. Add layers of refried beans, diced tomatoes mixed with minced jalapenos and chopped cilantro, guacamole, scallions, shredded cheddar cheese and topped with sour cream.

Food to Nibble On

Add a tray of crudities such as cucumbers radishes, baby carrots, red, orange, and yellow bell peppers. If you can find jicama – it’s a crunchy tuber looking vegetable with brown skin, add that to your tray as well. Jicama ranges in size from an orange to a large grapefruit. Peel and slice into sticks. It has a mild sweet taste. Serve the veggies with a spicy dip such as yogurt, lime juice, cumin, and chipotle peppers.

A Taco Bar

Nearly everyone likes tacos so serve a taco bar. Arrange sliced cooked chicken, beef and cooked ground beef on a serving platter. Offer crunchy corn tacos as well as street-size soft flour tacos. Now comes the fun part- the condiments. Let your guests choose from shredded sharp cheddar cheese, onions, tomatoes, jalapenos, cilantro, green peppers, sour cream, guacamole, Fritos, pickled carrots and onions, Fresca cheese, black beans, refried beans, red rice, and of course salsas. 

Dessert Choices for a Day of the Death Halloween Party

Dessert could be the traditional flan, Mexican pastries, chocolates, and fresh fruit.

I hope these give you some great ideas for your Halloween party this year! Have fun!

Loving Life — The Reboot!

Dominique

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