I hosted a little (okay, not so little) Halloween party for the neighborhood kids today, it was a lot of work but so much fun to do! We had all sorts of themed foods, most of the ideas coming from FamilyFun.com. Some of them, like the worm bowl, were a little too convincing...they're just sliced hotdogs boiled in water to make them curl, but most of the kids wouldn't touch them! Even my own children, who love hotdogs, repeatedly declined even trying them...I guess they were a little too real to be appetizing.
Don't they look disgustingly great?
The dish that the worms are in is a trifle bowl...makes you want to dig right in, no?
They were served with Blood Sauce (ketchup) on the side in a separate little bowl.
These bones were made from the refrigerated breadstick dough you can buy at any supermarket. I pulled at each dough section gently, made slits at either end and then rolled/formed the rounded bone ends until they looked right. I sprinkled the tops with a little garlic salt/parsley combo.
Next time I'll butter the tops of the dough a little bit before sprinkling the seasoning on.
The store-bought dough wasn't as tasty as homemade, but with an entire haunted menu to deal with, I was very grateful for the convenience of the dough-in-a-can!
Here are my tiered plates all loaded up with gross goodies...cheese stick witches fingers, cracker spiders, and monster mouths.
These were the most time-consuming project on the menu, but so much fun! Each mozzerella cheese stick was cut in half, with a place for the olive fingernail carved out of the curved end of the cheese. The knuckle creases were carefully carved out as well. The olives were sliced twice lengthwise to create 4 sections, and a small portion of each quarter was cut off the bottom. The "nails" were attached to the cheese with a touch of cream cheese. Note: in retrospect, it would have been better if I had placed the cut olive pieces on paper towel prior to putting on cheese, as it would have absorbed some extra moisture (thus making it adhere better to cream cheese and cheese stick).
I made little peanut butter sandwich tombstones, and piped chocolate frosting on them. My kids didn't really get the whole RIP thing, even after I told them what it stood for. The edge of this dish was embellished with a crepe paper "skirt" made by folding up a section of crepe paper, then cutting the fringe along one edge. I then wrapped a narrow black ribbon around the top, but since the edge of the plate was curved and at a slight angle, the ribbon didn't want to cooperate very well, even with lots of bitty pieces of double-rolled tape to hold it in place.
I had a great time finding ways to elevate the dishes; it has such a great "fancy shmancy" effect, and it makes the table display much more interesting...not to mention the extra opportunity for more ribbons!!
The spider cake is sporting another version of the crepe paper fringe + ribbon.
The wormy spider brew was a big hit - the kids loved the taste of it as much as they loved the spiders and worms in it! It's very simple to make: I used a packet of strawberry Kool-Aid, a half-cup of sugar (instead of the a whole cup like it says on the packet), added about a quart of water and a container of frozen lemonade concentrate and stirred until the lemonade dissolved. Then came about a liter of 7-Up, a bunch of ice and more water until it tasted right. Not too sweet, and with a fun kick from the carbonation and lemonade!
You can't really tell from this photo, but I didn't actually use a punchbowl. It's an inverted lid to one of those chip/dip and/or cake platter combos (I was using the other half as an elevated graveyard for the tombstones) and I have it resting on another bowl with ribbons sticking out all over from beneath the glass dish. A very versatile piece of dishware - I have used mine in so many ways.
No kid's party is complete without cupcakes. I got lazy and just used some little toothpick cupcake decorations I bought at Walmart.
I know, you're probably disappointed in me (and you thought I was such a purist) but hey - efficiency and convenience has to take precedence sometimes.
Speaking of Walmart, that's where I got these darling little paper bags. (and the tablecloth, and the paper plates and napkins...) There's nothing in them (much to the disappointment of the kiddos), but they really brightened up the table. To form the larger square ones, I put a square glass vase inside temporarily until I was able to fold the top down crisply like a present, then I removed the vase and carefully taped it shut and added a ribbon (of course). The smaller one is just folded over twice with holes punched in the top to thread the ribbon through.
This spiderweb cake is just a single 8 inch layer of cake. I froze it, and made a quick icing with a bit of soft butter, about 2 cups powdered sugar, vanilla, and milk (sorry, I didn't measure so I can't give exact portions). The consistency wasn't extremely thin, but it wasn't as stiff as normal icing either. I dumped the whole little bowl of icing onto the middle of the frozen cake, and it slowly oozed its way down the sides (with a little bit of encouragement with a spoon). The cold temperature of the cake resolidified the butter in the icing so it set up pretty quickly. Then I just swirled some chocolate icing on the white icing and used a butterknife to make the lines distort a little bit, retracing the knife marks with more chocolate icing. Very quick and easy!
I almost forgot the Monster Mouths! After cutting the wedges of apple, I placed them in a solution of lemon juice and water (the acid prevents the cut apples from browning) for about a minute. Again, no specific measurements; I think it was about one part lemon juice to 4 parts water. The almond slivers kept breaking when I'd try to shove them into the apple, so I took a butter knife and poked it into the flesh of the apple to make grooves for the almond slices. That technique worked much better!
Here's my good friend Andrea helping the kids with the most popular item (!), the punch. People think we're sisters, and sometimes get us confused because they can't tell us apart, which is very funny to both of us.
Since it's almost midnight yet again, I think I'd better call it a night and post the games portion of the party tomorrow. I hope you were able to find something fun to treat your kids to on or before the big trick-or-treating excursion! Children get so excited about fun and creative ways to make themed food, and it's really not that hard to do. So go make some bones, worms, or brains for your kids and have a Happy Halloween!