So as you may have come to realise from my some of blog posts that, whilst Halloween is not too big in South Africa (yet), it certainly is big in our house. Granted I may be the source of it all- in fact, I may be just a leeeeetle bit like Claire (Modern Family) about Halloween…
Fortunately, hubby loves me enough to just go along with it, and helps make it fun as well.
I mean nothing trumps Christmas, right – like ever…but Halloween? Like I said here before (read that post here), Halloween certainly gets me excited about all the fun stuff you can do with food, cakes, costumes…you name it! And I’ve been throwing Halloween parties for years now, even well before we had own kids.
Thats because I have like a dozen nieces and nephews that are simply the funnest bunch on this planet, and so always make for a fun time and a good reason to have these dress-up parties. So, Ive decided to share some of our party ideas we’ve had in the past with you here today, and hopefully inspire you too! Hope you enjoy!
Whilst its easy to go to town with all the freakin’ Halloween bric’a’brac you spot, I prefer to go with a simple yet focused feel. Mostly, in the past, I’ve gone with the creepy house effect. Also because the décor can get pretty pricey here in SA, I like to focus on an area in the house that will make the most impact.
Like say, the entrance! Because, when the trick or treaters come a-knocking, it’s the entrance that they’re going to see- that would be one focus area. I usually go for spiderwebs, laced with a few spiders in between. Normally that is enough. Also Mr. Skeleton usually hangs on the door to greet the kiddies (not pictured), before I (or hubby) open up the door with my bubbling cauldron full of treats to hand out.
Graveyard stroll: The walk to the door of the “creepy” house needed to be fitting as well. so back in 2008, Mike made some make-shift tombstones, that he just quickly spray-canned for us the night before using some old cupboard racks.
DIY Tombstones: In 2012, however, I simply bought some wood at Builders Warehouse for seriously decent price and had them cut it to size, and then spray-canned it myself to resemble tombstones. I was going to shape them into more elaborate tombstone shapes, but then I got real and remembered I had a life outside of this whole Halloween prepping bidniz.
Cardies and King Cake however do stock some decent versions of a tombstone –the prices in the past however, have not been so decent though. Worth a shot, if you prefer the non-DIY route.
Wicked Silhouettes: In our old home, we could easily decorate due to the space. So Silhouettes of bats , and witches, that I cut out of black cardstock, using my own hand-drawn template was a pretty easy and economical means of decorating the walls.
I also picked a creepy wall decal (or as I have also previously used it as, a curtain decal) of this friendly fellow at King Cake those years already. They have since really grown their Halloween offering and have much to select from.
Mummy lights: For easy DIY tealights or candle holders, try wrapping a glass with gauze that has been soaked in glue. Stick on some googly eyes, and bob’s your uncle!
(as seen at the Halloween Party Mike and I were invited to last year.)
Ghostly glow:Or for an even easier lighting option, try using a cleaned out milk or juice bottle, draw on your spooky face with a sharpy, and drop a glowstick in – you’re done! (Cape Union Mart has some
Table settings: I like to bring home the theme of any party right there on the party table. Obviously, depending on the age group you’re catering for your choices would vary. With my nieces and nephews at the time, the majority were old enough to want something a little scarier than the cookie monster. So if that’s what you’re catering for, think spider webs, rats, skulls, dripping candles and spiders.
As per usual, I try to keep things simple, not over doing anything, but just putting a Halloween spin on a few things. Here below are a few things I’ve made and done for Halloween over the past few years:
So whilst the first year of Halloween may seem quite sad and poor shot at it(it was my first time, and with two jobs, ok ), there was a killer of a themed treat that had everyone shaking in their boots to eat it: The witches fingers!
I sculpted witches fingers out of marzipan that were each wrapped over a Kitkat finger. I used a knife to score in finger creases. The nails were made out of almonds that were dipped in red food colouring. The overall impact of the pale coloured marzipan, that was cool to the touch, with the wrinkled, bloody nails were enough to gross out my nieces and nephews(and me) – the exact desired effect! Once we got passed the icky-ness,however, those fingers weren’t too bad actually – and Im NOT even a fan of marzipan!
I don’t have a close up of it, however if you look closely on the table you’d spot them on the table:
Deliciously Baked witches fingers:The following year I decided to make the witches fingers a little easier on the psyche and went for a cookie-version instead. For that recipe, watch this space. These turned out delicious and ended up being quite hit.
I’ve also done variations on that recipe (read: “screwed it up somehow”) and ended up with a goopier dough that ended up looking more like Troll fingers– and so it was!
Scary face marie’s– also from our very first Halloween party: I came home from work and got straight into it, meaning I didn’t have a whole lot of time before the trick-or-treaters or our party guests came. So marie biscuits to the rescue: I covered them in buttercream icing, and decorated them with jelly beans to make the “scream” face. Not exactly wow, but good enough.
Jack-o-lantern sweets– These were so freakin simple, Ive always wanted to do it when I first saw this sweet back as a kid! Not kidding. I just used black edible pen/squeezable icing tubes to make the face on each of these apricot sweet cuties that you could get in most stores’ sweet isles.
Drinky Drinks – Pick your poison
I’ve discovered that kids don’t need much to get their imaginations going –also another reason to ensure your parties are age-appropriate in activities and decor. Case in point, I took regular soda and dropped in some food colouring and named it Monster’s blood on the fly- lots of my nephews were absolutely taken by this, wanting to know the entire backstory of this monsters blood, that I also had to make up on the fly. Needless to say, they ordered Monster’s blood all night. And can you believe it, to this day, as grown as they are now, they still refer to monster’s blood!! Talk about making an impact! lol
Mad scientist potion – Woolworths, once upon a time had stocked Halloween candy in these potion-like containers for Halloween. So I basically emptied the jellybeans out and served drinks in it – and all the mad scientists day’s were made!
Bottle labels: This was one of my best Halloween finds on the interwebs: free soda bottle labels! And I don’t just like ’em cause they are free, but, because they actually turned out so cool. Thanks to the creative genuis who created them and then shared them!Have a look!
To download your very own labels, go check out this cool site over here:
For the more savoury side of things, we also had a few really easy snacks:
Mummy rolls – using just viennas and pastry, and some tube squeezable icing for the eyes.
Burgers – with carved out jack-o-lantern face.
Pizza’s – with Jack-o-Lantern face using olives.
(Our pizza not pictured here, but this is the general idea. For more ideas from that source, see here.)
There’s nothing like fun food and treats to give that party feeling, but as is with any of our gatherings, it’s truly the people that make it super special. The fact that they are wearing silly costumes with you just makes them even more super-duper special. So be sure above all the fun and silliness of the day, see this as another opportunity to gather with loved ones, spending time quality together, celebrating life and all its laughs.
Stay tuned for more Halloween ideas coming your way!
Happy trick or treating! X