Oct 29 2018
This past weekend, Seth and I threw a Halloween Housewarming at our new apartment. I'd been excited for weeks since I LOVE hosting parties, especially themed ones where I get to decorate, prepare food, and generally go all out.
Years ago, in the late nineties, Martha Stewart put out her Halloween issue and I was obsessed. The photos were enough to give you an eerie, unsettling feeling at the turn of every page. It was like, something is not quite right here, something is off. I've always thought that is the best vibe for a Halloween party – slightly creepy, very eerie, not cheesy. I hate tacky shit so you can bet I wouldn't have corny pumpkins, ghosts or other lame shit out on display.
I checked out Martha's Halloween book from the local library (link to book at the bottom of this post) and started planning the spread a few weeks in advance. Here is what we ended up serving our lovely guests:
The full spread
Once the snacks were chosen, I set out to find some simple decorations that fit into my "eerie" theme. The Dollar Tree on Western Ave is my go-to for anything party related and they didn't disappoint. I picked up all the necessities (plates, cups, napkins) there, plus some really cool silver metal serving trays that looked like something straight out of an old castle. The trays were perfect for holding the Lady Fingers, Croques and Ancient Eggs, plus the silver color added a touch of creepy-fancy to the table's vibe. I also picked up a few packages of cheese cloth, a cool alternative to those spider webs that people always use. I prefer the cheese cloth because it stays contained and it can be cut into any shape you want. I took shears and cut holes into mine for an extra spooky effect. Lastly, I picked up several paper pom pons in black simply because I thought they were cute :)
Cheese cloth layered over our swag lamp and over the tablecloth + black pom pon garland
Food table + bar cart
Close up of bar cart (yes I checked out Scary Stories from the library)
One of the biggest decor musts was candles, preferably a candelabra. We picked up the one on the table from Target for $12 (thanks, Chip and Joanna!) along with a few other solo brass candlesticks while we were in Mexico City. Tapered candles make me think of Dracula and I knew they'd add the perfect touch so I went overboard and set up 3 or 4 sets of tall candles.
The final, necessary decor element were pumpkins. Pumpkins were carved in the early days of All Hallow's Eve to protect the home from evil spirits. I knew I wanted several of these guardians at my party. Again, Target wins with a great price (they were like $3-$6 each) so I went nuts and grabbed a few white pumpkins, small pie pumpkins, and three large guys. Martha's book had this cool idea – using carrots as noses for the pumpkins! For the white ones, I used parsnips and obviously used regular orange carrots for the orange pumpkin noses. One of the small guys guarded the bathroom while the others flanked the bar.
Eerie white pumpkin guarding the bar with his parsnip nose
Speaking of the bar – what's a party without themed drinks? Martha for the win AGAIN! We chose to serve one sweet drink (spiced bourbon cider) and one savory drink (dirty gin martinis with eyeball ice cubes) in addition to the usual beer and wine. The eyeball ice cubes were a big hit and really added a creepy element to the traditional martini. Oh, and the cider went down almost too well – there was none left when the party ended.
Eyeball ice cube in Seth's dirty martini
Simmering cider with pink lady apples and cloves
Here are the recipes for the drinks we served:
Our guests loved the food, especially the Lady Fingers and Ancient Eggs. The drinks were also a huge hit. I'd say it went well enough to where I'd throw another one next year! Some final thoughts – to throw a super cool, spooky Halloween party, make sure to decorate with simple, classy items and always, always, always decorate the bathroom :)
Your hosts, signing off