October 29th, 2018
Spooky Bloodied Eye Punch
Recently, I attended a SPOOKY book club which was beautifully organized by a mom from our school. “How did you do all this, Mini”, everyone asked. Mini wasn’t secretive about how she was able to create such a fabulous buffet while being a working mom…. she outsourced everything!
As a hostess who loves to outsource myself, I always keep an eye out for great places to contact when I am throwing my own shindig. Mini contacted Straub’s, which is a local supermarket that specializes in gourmet food. The book we discussed was Educated by Tara Westover, which is a wonderful book… I highly recommend it! But I have to admit, the highlight to my evening was the beautiful way Mini entertained her room full of guests and the delicious accompaniments to the wonderful book discussion.
I loved the stuffed mushrooms and the melted cheese with chutney. The chicken skewers were also easy to eat and delicious. However, my favorite part of the appetizer buffet was the Bloody Eye Punch. It was a mixture of juices topped of with a little champagne.
October 23rd, 2018
Halloween Party Buffet
My friend Maureen, is a party genius! She throws many beautiful parties for all sorts of occasions, but her Halloween parties are simply SPOOCTACULAR!!! Unfortunately, I arrived a bit late to photograph the buffet before other guests arrived, so you are seeing things which have already been enjoyed. But I think you can get some fun ideas and inspirations if you are planning your own Halloween party. One of the things that I loved is she set-up this entire spread on her pool table. This gave her plenty of room to have a large buffet without having to put two tables together or take up extra room with more set-up.
I think Maureen included almost every Halloween recipe. The puking pumpkin, hot dog wrapped mummies, witchs’ fingers, pumpkins, skeletons, green dips, white dips, cakes, chips, pizza… I can go on and on!
Kudos to Maureen for all her fun ideas. It was a real treat for everyone who attended!
October 22nd, 2018
Two of the moms who made the party possible!
As some of you may know, Halloween is my FAVORITE time of year. I love Christmas and Thanksgiving, but Halloween…. OH… it just gives me so many more opportunities to be creative! Plus, I also love seeing how creative other people can be and this is why I spend way more time than I should on Pinterest and Instagram looking for fun and innovative recipes for my Halloween parties. Each year, I throw a Halloween bash (or what I like to call a Halloween Taste Testing) every Friday for the entire month of October. I invite my friends, my sons’ friends and their parents, and anyone who wants to come! I ask everyone to bring a Halloween dish they love and we set it out on the buffet. Then, we all try what was created and talk about our favorites.
The below goodies were created by the many parents who attended and were considered the favorites of the taste testing! Enjoy!
Delicious Rice Krispie Treat Monsters.
The above Halloween Rice Krispie Treat Monsters are made just like any Rice Krispie treats. However, I also dipped the top portion in candy melts and my son decorated them with various sprinkles and candy eyes. They came out adorable.
Yummy vegetable jack-o-lanterns filled with healthy vegetables.
My friend Rhae brought these healthy jack-o-lantern pepper snacks. A wonderful and healthy addition to the table!
Halloween Cheese and pretzel broom sticks… so CLEVER!
This pretzel and mozzarella stick broomsticks are ADORABLE. I love the presentation as well. Just two ingredients and a wonderful salty addition to a sweet buffet! Way to go, Carrie!
Candy Corn Rice Krispie Treats
One of the moms brought these Halloween Candy Corn Rice Krispie treats. I love how she packaged them (many kids took one home as a favor), brought them in a basket, and even displayed the recipe for anyone else who wants to try making them. So thoughtful!!
Halloween Skeleton Slow Cooked Weenies (A.K.A. Guts)
Halloween Skeleton Weenies (A.K.A. Guts)
Helping herself to some Skeleton Guts!
OOOOHHHH… SOOOO GROSS!!! But it’s Halloween… RIGHT??!! My friend Gina (not the one pictured above), is super creative and brought the ULTIMATE snack to the party! She needed some extra space and set-up time, but this incredible treat was a SHOW STOPPER!!! The kids loved it. She dressed up a skeleton and inserted a slow-cooker inside his chest filled with BBQ mini hotdogs or cocktail smoked sausages. She also brought Hawaiian buns to pair with the mini hotdogs. The kids (and adults) had a treat scooping the “guts” or hot dogs on to their plate. I know… I know… not for the faint of heart, but it’s HALLOWEEN!!!
Yummy cookie pizza
You can’t go wrong with a cookie pizza and this dessert was a fun treat for our guests. Loved this creative idea from one of our moms!
These adorable brownie monsters made everyone smile! They are simple brownies with candied eyes and a gummy worm as a tongue! Another dessert winner on the buffet!
Mini Chocolate Bar Robots for Halloween
This dessert was such a fun idea Simply take any mini chocolate bar, insert pieces of pretzels for the legs and arms, and decorate with candy sprinkles on the body. You can make them look like anything, monster, spiders, and in this case, robots!
Halloween Candy ghosts
Hate trying to make your cake pops look perfect? Here’s the answer! These wonderful cake pops did not have to be perfectly round to be winners. Once they were dipped in candy melts, they simply were allowed to free form. After the candy melts set a bit, the mom carved in some faces, which also did not need to be perfect. Two thumbs up for this fun and creative dessert!
I love how these adorable desserts looked together!
My Halloween flowers. I love how some stores dye their flowers black during Halloween. It gives me so many ideas for arrangements. I also love the background of the skeleton. Sort of reminds me of a grave! Okay, now I’m getting a bit gory!
Adorable Halloween guests.
Halloween Orange Jack-O-Lanterns filled with fruit salad.
I always give two thumbs up to anyone who brings healthy desserts. This mom went all out and created these fun Halloween orange Jack-O-Lanterns. She filled them with fruit salad and voila!
October 16th, 2018
Pumpkin cake I ordered at Sam’s
As you may or may not know, I love to throw my two sons Halloween parties. I invite tons of kids and their parents and it becomes a fun potluck. I ask the parents to bring one Halloween dish they would love to showcase and they NEVER disappoint. Here are some of the fun and easy Halloween dishes the parents brought to the party.
Healthy monster jaws.
I love these delicious apple, peanut butter, and marshmallow treats made to look like monster jaws. The mom also added a fruit roll-up as the tongue. This was a fun treat for the kids.
Monster, ghost, and pumpkin cookies from Sam’s
If you know me, you know that I outsource as much as I can, especially baked goods. When it comes to my annual Halloween parties, my favorite place to outsource from is Sam’s. I order my Halloween cakes from there as well as any thematic cookies. I would imagine Costco has the same fun desserts, but either way, buying in bulk is always a great thing for parties, so I highly recommend it! Best of all, these cookies were a fraction of what I would pay for custom designed cookies.
Dirt n’ Worms
You cannot help but fall in love with this adorable dessert created by my friend Zalina. Dirt n’ Worms! I love how she used fun black kettle containers. Needless to say, I don’t think we had any left over!! They are filled with chocolate mousse (or you can use pudding), crumbled Oreo cookes, and gummy bears.
Monster Eye Cake Pops
My friend Tara did NOT disappoint with these fun and funny Monster Eye Cake Pops! We all know how hard it is to make cake pops look perfect… well, with this theme, the more imperfect the eye is, the better! She made a regular cake pop mixture, rolled it, and dipped it in candy melts. Last but not least, she popped a candy eye on top and VOILA!!!
Fruit ghosts and pumpkins
Seriously… can these be any cuter? My friend Jenna created these adorable tangerine pumpkins and banana ghosts. Adorable and healthy!!
Spider Web Dip
I’ve made spider web dips before, but mine NEVER came out so cute! This was a delicious seven layer dip created by my friend who is an incredible entertainer. This Halloween dip was a HIT and was the perfect savory accompaniment to all the sweet items on the buffet. DELICIOUS!!
Some of the kids enjoying the Halloween buffet.
The calm before the storm. This was early on in the party when just a few kids arrived. I typically have fifteen or more people hanging out in my kitchen which include adults and children. When the party starts, everything is so well organized and displayed. By the end of the party…. it’s not a pretty site!
Halloween Bat Wings
My friend created these fun Halloween Bat Wings from Reece’s Peanut Butter Cups, Oreo Cookies, and candy eyes. They are ADORABLE!
October 12th, 2018
My collection of easy Pin Push Pumpkins.
I loved this segment I did with Better Kansas City on super easy pin push spray-painted pumpkins. I also made them two-sided, which means I made one side Halloween themed and the other was Thanksgiving themed. I also made some universal designs which can be displayed during Halloween and Thanksgiving.
Halloween Rock Stud Pumpkin
This is a black pumpkin which I designed to look like the Valentino “rock-stud” collection. It is a fun and colorful way to bring a little influence of fashion into your pumpkin decor. This was the “Thanksgiving” side, the other side was a Halloween side which had pins made into a web. Check out the previous photo. It’s the black pumpkin on the right.
Halloween side of all the pumpkins.
This is the Halloween Side. Each pumpkin has a Halloween theme. The silver one has a silhouette of a witch on a broom. The white has silver pins saying “Boo” and the black one has the spider web.
Thanksgiving side of the pumpkins
This is the “Thanksgiving” side with the silver pumpkin having a turkey, white pumpkin having a wood-grain theme, the black pumpkin having the “Valentino Rock-Stud” look. I also love my silver and gold thumb-tack pumpkins. Be warned, they take HOURS to create. I started in September pushing in the thumbtacks while watching TV with my husband. They are time consuming but are well worth the time. I also used a real pumpkin stalk as a finishing touch. The stalks last for years and years, so you don’t have to worry about them rotting.
October 10th, 2018
Loving this beautiful Halloween Cake with Green and purple witches fingers.
I have thrown fun Halloween parties for many years. I usually throw a party every week in October… yes, every Friday, I will have some sort of a Halloween party. I like to call them “taste testing parties” since the guests are bombarded with fun Halloween goodies and they get to choose their favorites. Sometimes I create all the items for the buffet, but most of the time, other parents bring their creations and we all just watch the kids devour their favorites. It has become one of my most fun and exciting events which I look forward to. As you will see, I try not to do anything super scary, although I have been known to create some gory dishes on occasion (like my severed fingers hot dogs, which is a Pinterest favorite!).
Here are some fun photos from one of my parties, which I like to call Purple Witch’s Finger Cake (shown above). You may say… “Why Arina, I had no idea you were a cake baker!” Well, rest assured… I AM NOT!!! If you know me, you know that I am well aware of my limits. Throwing a party for 60 children means I do as much outsourcing as possible. This cake was ordered from Sam’s and I simply chose it from one of their cake catalogs, available in the bakery section.. It came with the purple, green, and white frosting, clouds and bats. The cake bakers did a great job making a two tiered cake. There were times when I would order the three tiered ones, but they always came out crooked, so I stick with the two tiered cakes.
To customize it to be a Witch’s Cake, I went to Michael’s and purchased the fingers and witch silhouettes separately. I have NO idea how the colors came out so perfectly, but even if they didn’t match, … my motto is and will always be… kids don’t care! I was very happy with the cake and so was everyone else. Oh, and it was soooo affordable, only $40!
Cake with fun Halloween plates, my friend Heidi gifts me with every year.
My sons’ decorations.
Buffet set-up for Halloween Party
I typically do a buffet set-up and provide the cake and a few other dishes. Then, the parents of the guests bring their favorites. Parents are always invited to the parties and are encouraged to stay and enjoy the festivities.
Here are some of the fun and creative Halloween inspired desserts created by my guests’ parents.
Adorable cupcake ghosts created by my friend Deborah.
Cheese Stick Ghosts… so clever and easy!
My friend Nina prepared these wonderful and healthy cucumber eyes made with cucumber slices, cream cheese, and black olives. She sprinkled a bit of cumin for the “red”
These wonderful Donut Monsters were created by my friend Maureen, who is incredibly creative and no stranger to wonderful Halloween parties. Apparently, they took her no time to create. She purchased ready-made donuts, then stuck fake teeth and skeleton arms inside them and some candy eyes. That’s it! The kids loved playing with the fake teeth afterwards and took them all home as favors.
Yummy and healthy pumpkin bread, prepared by my friend Dana.
This is such a wonderful and easy Halloween dessert, created by my friend Nicole. They are witch’s brooms. Two ingredients … Reece’s Peanut Butter Cups and Pretzel sticks… you’re done!
This skeleton appears in different parts of the house at every party. At this party, he’s hanging out in the sunroom!
I re-use many of my decorations at each Halloween Party. As I said, kid’s don’t care and there is really no reason for me to keep buying decorations when I have plenty stored away from my previous parties. Sometimes, I even get decorations gifted to me by other moms who’s kids may no longer be living at home. I truly believe that re-puposing and re-using, as well as borrowing is the best way to decorate for a party.
Fun table place settings
October 29th, 2015
A great blast from the past! We featured this drink in St. Louis Entertains Magazine a few years back and it has always been a Halloween favorite! This drink is delicious and a perfect addition to any Halloween bar menu or even as a signature drink!
- 1 shot Gin
- 1 shot Creme de Menthe
- Splash Pineapple Juice
- Splash Ginger Ale
Pour the two shots into a martini shaker with ice and shake well. Pour into martini glass and top with pineapple juice and Ginger Ale
October 26th, 2015
The month of October was a busy one for me! While doing research for my upcoming book, I decided to try-out some fun Halloween recipes I found on Pinterest, magazines, books, and various other sources. The goal was for me to see if some of the most popular recipes were as good as their inventors claimed they were. So, over the past four weeks, I’ve had four taste test kitchens and invited children who’s ages range from 8 to 13.
The main goal was to have these kids try some fun recipes and tell me what they REALLY thought. And that is exactly what I got!
I had various kinds of feedback… too sweet, too salty, not enough sugar, too dry… but predominantly they were all thumbs up. The sugared cookies, pictured above were by far, the most popular items. Super easy and a few ingredients, who could ask for anything more?
1 package of Pillsbury Sugar Cookie Dough
1/4 cup of flour
1 Package Betty Crocker Cookie Icing – Black
Candied Googly Eyes available at most craft stores in the baking section
Remove the Pillsbury dough from package and put in a large bowl. Add 1/4 cup of flour and knead with your hands until the dough forms. Flour your cutting board and place the dough on top. Flour your rolling pin and roll out the dough to about 1/4 inch. Remember to keep flouring your rolling pin a little bit with every roll. This dough tends to be sticky.
Get your bat cookie cutters and cut out your cookies. Repeat the step to roll out the dough with any leftovers.
Place the bat cookies in the oven and cook according to dough package direction. Keep an eye on them, the thinner the dough, the faster they tend to burn.
Once cookies are done, let them cool and harden.
Once the cookies are cooled, begin decorating them. Just snip off the tip above the second ring, massage the bag a little bit and make your outline. Then, flood the bat and add the googly eyes. Let dry 5-10 minutes and enjoy!
October 24th, 2015
Seriously, how can you not fall in love with this great idea for an appetizer? It’s easy to put together and fun for guests to nibble on. All you need are carrots, parsley, green onion, toothpicks, and hummus.
A few years ago I posted this recipe (on the bottom left) but then realized that you can use pre-cut and bagged carrots (main image) instead of cutting them yourself. Best part? The pre-cut and bagged carrots have ridges and are different shapes, a lot like pumpkins. Still yummy but now you can save a step and not have cut the carrots!!!!
- 1 pkg Hummus
- 2 carrots
- 1 green onion
- 1 bunch fresh parsley
Just slice the carrots, take some parsley leaves and attach them to the carrot with a toothpick. Slide a piece of green onion over the toothpick to have a look of a stem and arrange on a bed of hummus. Told ya it was simple! Thanks to the folks at Disney magazine for inspiring me with this recipe.