Spooky Soiree

We’ve already featured a ton of inspiring Halloween parties from many creative & talented people this year, so I wanted to do a different sort of Halloween post myself… one that highlights several different DIY food & styling ideas that could be utilized in any Halloween themed celebration (large or small), and really focuses on the “how to” behind each of them.

So, below you’ll find 11 such ideas – from food & drinks to decor. I’ll break down the “idea table” pictured above with make-it-yourself details and links to all of the recipes, which also happen to be low in sugar (GASP!). I figure we all know how to get our hands on Halloween sugar at this point. ;) So whether you’re hosting a big party or just looking to make a festive Halloween snack at home, I hope you can have some fun with these!

And as a quick side note on how this project came about – I was asked to do a super last minute Halloween segment on a local news station last week, so I started designing & shopping for this table at 6pm on Wednesday evening, and had it at the news station at 8:30am Thursday morning. Needless to say I didn’t sleep much that night, but the takeaway is that if Sonny and I can pull all of this together in one night, there’s definitely still time for you to use some of these ideas before Halloween on Thursday! 

1. Creepy Potion Jars

It’s easy to make creepy “potion ingredients” from simple items and colored water. Here, cauliflower + black water = “Zombie Brains”, plastic snake + black water = “Snake Venom”, and sand = “Bone Dust”.  Add decorative labels and tint the water black to make the ingredients even creepier! I bought the apothecary jars at HomeGoods several years ago and this is probably the zillionth time they’ve been used… they are SUCH a great party staple to keep on hand. (They still carry them!)

2. Bat Bites

These little pesto-cheese creatures are adorable and so easy to make! Get the recipe here. I think the ingredients used in the recipe make this more of a grown-up treat, but you could follow this same styling method with sweet ingredients to make them kid-friendly. I’m thinking of something like a sweet cream cheese or cake ball mixture rolled in crushed Oreos with cookies and cinnamon chips or thin wafer cookies for the “wings”. :)


3. Paper Details {Spells & Potions}

If you’ve followed HWTM for a while, you probably know that paper details are my thing. ;)  They are just such an easy way to add personality to any celebration!

I used our Spells and Potions collection in the purple/orange colorway for this shoot. We offer this collection in Printed format at Hostess INK or in {Instant Download} DIY Printable format in our Etsy shop… and since Halloween 2013 is only a few days away – printable is the way to go right now! The BEWARE banner and party circles are available now but not up in the shop yet, so just message us on Etsy if you’re interested in them.

4. “Freestanding” Paper Skeleton

Make a fast, cheap, and high impact statement with a decorative paper skeleton that’s “freestanding” instead of stuck to the wall. I found this cool vintage looking skeleton (Martha Steward brand) on clearance at Michaels, then used glue dots and a dowel rod to prop him up on the table. I filled a coke bottle with sand to anchor the dowel rod “spine” + more glue dots to arrange and stretch out his arms and legs in specific ways on the table.


5. Salty Bones with Blood Dip {in Push Pops!}

These “Salty Bones” are so easy to make using store-bought breadstick dough… and even more fun served with marinara “Blood Dip”! Use push pop containers to display them in a unique, outside-the-box way. Since each container only holds one breadstick, make sure to have a tray of extra “bones” nearby that guests (or family members) can grab as they please.

6. Tombstone Sandwiches

This is one of my favorite Halloween food ideas because it’s so easy & versatile! Cut finger sandwiches into tombstone shapes using a cookie cutter – or just by free-handing it like Sonny did here. Display the sandwiches on a kale “graveyard”.

I used a ziploc back with a tiny hole cut from one end to pipe “RIP” on top of the tombstones in mustard, which worked well for these Reduced-Fat Smoky Cheddar Tombstone sandwiches. You can switch up the piping ingredient depending on the recipe though – for example, use red jelly for PB&J “tombstones”! 


7. Olive Spiders

If you REALLY want to creep someone out, toss an edible “Olive Spider” in their martini or salad! This recipe is very simple & easy to follow, but also a little tedious because of how tiny the rosemary “leg” pieces are – so grab a friend to help you make them or put on a good show to keep you company while you work.


8. Dangerous Drinks

Use creepy, cautionary Halloween stickers to dress up your drinks. The cool vintage looking “potion labels” I used here were also purchased on clearance at Michaels. Another super easy idea that always looks great is to hook plastic spider rings around the base of stemware. For the drink itself, serve a blood-red punch or cocktail!


9. Speared Eyeballs {Drink Garnish}

You know the “dangerous drinks” mentioned above? Well – they get even CREEPIER with a bloody “speared eyeball” garnish. GROSS – I know… but that’s the point! These are actually made from lychee fruit, raspberry jam, and a blueberry… so they taste a lot better than they look. ;) Use them in sweet cocktails or any fruit based punch.


10. Rotten Eyeballs

I’m realizing that eyeballs are really going through the wringer in this post. ;)  For an easy Halloween treat that’s also on the healthier side – serve black grapes with sugar free berry jello and dub them “Rotten Eyeballs”. This is a fun snack for special Halloween lunches too.


11. Witch Cauldron Garland

This easy & inexpensive DIY garland ended up being one of my very favorite elements of the shoot! I’ve had a bunch of these little plastic cauldrons sitting in my Halloween storage bins for a couple years (they were left over from a Harry Potter party a while back). You can always find them around Halloween time, but I’ve yet to actually use them for Halloween until now…

I embellished each one with sequin trim then simply strung them on some twine. They all kind of slid to the middle at first, so I secured each handle with a little piece of twine to keep them in place, which worked like a charm! You could really have fun with the embellishments on this one… have plastic snakes or gummy frogs peeking out of each cauldron, rim them with “candy drips” first, etc.