I’m shining the spotlight on my friend Rachel again. Rachel is no stranger to fabulous parties, she organizes fun events which look effortless and always filled with delicious goodies. For anyone who feels like it takes too much work or preparation to host a book night or craft night, you will love this post. Hosting these types of mini-parties are very easy and don’t require as much work and planning as a typical party. When Rachel decided to throw a craft night, she asked all the guests to bring their favorite snacks. One guest brought a delicious white bean dip with pretzels. Another brought home-made chocolate covered pop-corn… SOOO GOOD… and another brought yummy gourmet chocolates. Rachel did an outstanding job of organizing a night out and creating a fun craft. And since all the guests were more than happy to bring something fun, Rachel also made her life a little easier.
Today is Halloween and I’m sad because, if you know me, you know that I LOVE everything Halloween! However, I won’t be down for too long because during the holiday season, when one holiday passes, another one is just around the corner!
My focus for the next few weeks is going to be Thanksgiving! I love Thanksgiving because it’s all about fall… the colors, textures, but most of all, the food! Thanksgiving makes me think of warmth and comfort. I love watching QVC and seeing all the fuzzy blankets, flannel sheets, and pajamas that go on sale. I love the cool crisp air and the fragrance of peoples’ fireplaces burning in the evenings. It’s just a fabulous time of year.
I had a chance to visit Plaza Frontenac, a shopping center in St. Louis, and stop in some of the stores which display beautiful tablesscapes. Here are some of my favorites. Also, I am going to show Christmas tablescapes as well since I know some people like to put out their Christmas china on Thanksgiving. Enjoy!
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.
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!
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!
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.
My friend Rhae brought these healthy jack-o-lantern pepper snacks. A wonderful and healthy addition to the table!
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!
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!!
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!!!
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!
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!
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!
Adorable Halloween guests.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!!!
Seriously… can these be any cuter? My friend Jenna created these adorable tangerine pumpkins and banana ghosts. Adorable and healthy!!
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!!
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!
My friend created these fun Halloween Bat Wings from Reece’s Peanut Butter Cups, Oreo Cookies, and candy eyes. They are ADORABLE!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
As I was going through my photos, I stumbled upon this beautiful fall wedding which I think is wonderful to showcase during my October post. My husband’s cousin, Elliot, married the love of his life, Dawn, in St. Louis. Their reception was at the St. Louis Botanical Gardens and it was spectacular. I loved all the beautiful fall details as well as the personal touches Dawn incorporated into their wedding design. Beautifully done, Dawn and Elliot!
Dawn and Elliot’s dinner buffet was overflowing with delicious menu items which included fruit, nuts, crackers, breads, and lots and lots of different kinds of artisanal cheeses as well as a huge selection of hot appetizers.
Had book club at my house again and wanted to create a beautiful “fall” appetizer table… but nothing too complicated. I had some hummus left over from the weekend… beet hummus and basil hummus. Additionally, I prepared some quinoa Mexican inspired salad with corn and beans. It was DELICIOUS!!! I also prepared a beet salad because I LOVE to add red to my menu.
For a healthier alternative, I served greens so that people can build a salad foundation with lettuce and spinach and then top it off with the quinoa or beet salad.
The appetizer platter was very simple. It included bread and crackers, for the hummus, as well as various kinds of cheese. Last but not least, I purchased a flatbread at my local supermarket’s frozen food section, right next to the pizzas. It was easy to bake and my friends thought it was a wonderful addition to the table. I mean, who doesn’t love some freshly baked flatbread with their salad?