Halloween Party Ideas

This is one of my favorite times of year.  The air is crisp and the leaves are turning all these beautiful oranges, yellows, and reds.  I’m changing out of my shorts and tanks and getting all cozy in my pants and long sleeves.  Everything is pumpkin and spice and it’s oh so nice.

It’s also Halloween time and it’s the perfect time to get my creative juices flowing.  I was so excited when my kids wanted to have a Halloween party this year.  I couldn’t wait to turn our basement into something fun and a little on the spooky side.  It couldn’t be full out gore and mayhem but a hint to the dark side and all kid appropriate.

Since I didn’t have enough party supplies to decorate the entire basement, I shopped at Spirit Halloween, Dollar Tree, Five Below, BJ’s and Amazon to get what I needed.  Dollar Tree and Five Below were the perfect places to get a lot of supplies and it was really inexpensive.

I created different scenes in the rooms of our basement.  Some of which were a crime scene, an evil surgery, a coffin, and chained skeletons all lit with black lights to create an eerie feeling.  We had different activities throughout the basement to keep the kids moving and entertained.

Once I had the party rooms planned out and decorated, it was time to focus on the food.  The food had to be fun, creepy, and delicious.  I made chocolate spiders, witch’s fingers, mummy donuts, eyeball cookies, monster mix, bone breadsticks, and two Halloween punches to go along with other snacks.

Monster Punch

Ingredients:

  • 10 oz package frozen raspberries, thawed
  • 2 1/2 cups cranberry juice
  • 2 envelopes unflavored gelatin
  • 2 liters ginger ale
  • 2 liters sparkling apple cider
  • gummy or rubber snakes, plastic eyeballs, or any other creepy items you wish to add
  • rubber glove, cleaned inside and out

Directions:

  1. To make the frozen hand:
    1. In a 4 cup measuring cup, combine thawed raspberries and cranberry juice.  Pour 2 cups of mixture into small saucepan and sprinkle gelatin over it.  Let sit 2 minutes.
    2. Over low heat, stirring constantly, heat mixture just until gelatin dissolves.  Pour mixture back into the reserved measuring cup.
    3. Pour raspberry mixture into glove.  Tie the end securely and freeze until solid or several days.
  2. To serve:
    1. Carefully cut glove away from frozen hand.  Pour ginger ale and sparkling cider into punch bowl.  Place hand leaning on side of punch bowl or float in center of punch.  Add gummy or rubber snakes, plastic eyeballs, or whatever you wish.

Bug Juice Punch

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 gallon rainbow sherbet
  • 2 liter bottle ginger ale
  • gummy worms, bugs, frozen brain, etc.

Directions:

  1. Place sherbet in punch bowl.
  2. Slowly pour in ginger ale.
  3. Float frozen brain (freeze water in brain mold) and add gummy worms and bugs.

Bone Breadsticks

Ingredients:

  • 1 can Pillsbury refrigerated pizza dough
  • 2 Tbs. butter, melted
  • 1 Tbs. grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 cups marinara sauce

Directions:

  1. Heat oven to 375 F.  Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper or silpat.
  2. Unroll dough and cut into 14 even rectangles.  Tie ends into a knot to look like bones.
  3. Place bones on cookie sheets.  Brush with melted butter and sprinkle with parmesan cheese.
  4. Bake 12 minutes until golden brown.
  5. Serve with warmed marinara sauce.

Mummy donuts

Ingredients:

  • Premade donut holes
  • 48 Mini chocolate chips
  • 5oz white chocolate chips or candy melts

Directions:

  1. Melt white chocolate chips per package directions.
  2. Dip a fork into the melted white chocolate and drizzle over donut holes to create mummy bandages, leaving a space for the eyes.
  3. Insert two mini chocolate chips peeking out through the bandages.
  4. Cool completely before serving.

Monster Munch Mix

Ingredients:

  • Chex Mix, original
  • Mini marshmallows
  • Fall color Plain M&Ms
  • White Candy Corn M&Ms
  • Brach’s Candy Corn and Candy Harvest mix
  • Caramel, cheddar, butter popcorn mix

Directions:

  1. Mix the all ingredients in a large bowl.  Use as much as you like of each ingredient to create the mix just right for you.  This is so simple and you can easily add other ingredients to your liking.

To keep the kids entertained, I created some Halloween games and the kids played ping pong with eyeballs and watched Halloween movies.

Some of the games were the Coffin (which I’ve actually brought to past classroom parties and blogged about before), Dive or Dare, Creepy Clown Bowling, and Balloon Pop.


Balloon Pop

This is so ridiculously easy and fun.  Just take regular latex balloons and stuff them with a prize.  Then blow them up, not with helium as you want them to stay on the ground, and tie them.  You can decorate them if you like.  Couple of ideas: Make spiders by using black balloons and glue black streamers on for legs and paint or draw on eyes; Make ghosts by using white balloons and draw on black eyes and mouth.  Next, put them in large plastic bags until you are ready to bring them out.  When you are ready, cover the floor with balloons and tell your guests to start popping or stomping the spiders/ghosts.  They will love it and will be excited to get their prizes.  Unfortunately I didn’t a good picture of this activity as the kids went a little wild popping the balloons, but you get the idea.


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The Coffin

This is really fun.  I used a shipping box from something I had ordered and spray painted it black.  Then I cut holes, large enough for your hand, along the top where body parts would be.  I had the body parts in Tupperware container bottoms spaced with the holes for a head (cauliflower), eyes (peeled grapes), ears (dried apricots), tongue (cut banana peel), teeth (sunflower seeds or popcorn kernels),  heart (peeled bell pepper left whole stem removed), intestines (noodles sprayed with oil), toes (cut mini hot dogs).  I also created a little story to go along with the coffin and body parts.

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Creepy Clown Bowling

This is real simple.  I used an outdoor blow up bowling set and glued on faces of creepy clowns that I printed and cut out.  Then I used a foam pumpkin for the bowling ball.


 

Dive or Dare

This is super fun for all the senses.  Have your guests dive for creepy items or dare them to eat it.  I used cauldrons filled with red orbeez type balls and hid witch fingers, spiders, snakes, and eyeballs in them.  Then I placed edible versions of the same items next to the cauldrons.  Snakes are just gummy snakes I bought in the store.  The spiders are chocolates that I created using a candy mold.  The eyeballs and witch fingers recipes are below.


Eyeball Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup softened cream cheese
  • 22 chocolate sandwich cookies, crushed into fine crumbs
  • Lifesaver gummies
  • Chocolate chips
  • 2 cups white chocolate chips or candy melts

Directions:

  1. Combine cookie crumbs and softened cream cheese until well combined.
  2. Roll 1/2 tablespoonfuls of mixture into about 1-1/4″ balls and place on waxed paper.  Use your thumb to make shallow depression on the top of each ball.
  3. Chill cookie balls until firm, about 1 hour.
  4. Stretch Lifesaver gummy over chocolate chip with the tip side down.  Set aside.
  5. Melt white chocolate per package directions in microwave or double boiler.
  6. Dip cookie balls in chocolate and set on tray.  Immediately set the “irises” (Lifesaver & chocolate chip) on top and slightly press into the depression.
  7. Repeat with remaining balls.
  8. Allow chocolate to cool and harden before serving.  Chilling them on the tray in the refrigerator will speed up the process.  Store leftovers in refrigerator.

 

Witch Finger Cookies, by Giada De Laurentiis

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. fine salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 28 large sliced almonds
  • 1/2 cup raspberry jam or other red jam that you prefer

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325 F.  Spray baking sheet with vegetable oil or line with silpat.
  2. In medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt.
  3. In a stand mixer with paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Beat in egg and vanilla until smooth.
  4. Gradually beat in flour mixture until a dough forms.
  5. Use about 1 tablespoonful of dough and roll into 5″ long fingers and about 1/2″ thick.  Firmly press a sliced almond into the end of the finger for fingernails.  Then make several horizontal cuts to create the knuckles.  Arrange the fingers on prepared baking sheets and bake until lightly golden, about 16 minutes.  Transfer to wire rack to cool completely.
  6. In small saucepan, heat jam over low heat until warm.  Dip the blunt end of the fingers into the jam and arrange on platter.
  7. One variation you could do is add a couple of drops of food color to color the cookies.  Maybe use green for witch fingers or possibly blue for monster fingers.

I hope you liked some of these ideas.  I’d love to hear how it went if you try any of them or if you’ve made your own variations.  Hope you all have a very Happy Halloween!

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Sesame Candy

I apologize for the recent pause in my blog posting.  It was a busy time for us packing in as much last minute activities to enjoy the end of the summer with the kids before school started up again.  Then we were trying to find our daily routine as the school year began.  I think I’m finally back on course and will be able to carve out time of our crazy weeks filled with school and sports to focus on my blog.

As you know, I’m constantly trying and testing recipes that will fit into my Mediterranean & Paleo diet plan.  Over the summer I purchased a cookbook entitled Mediterranean Paleo Cooking.  What a perfect find!  It’s quite a mix of recipes and for me personally, I was only interested in about half of them but enough that I had to buy it.  Especially when I came across the recipe for sesame candy.  This is a childhood favorite of mine and I had to make it.  This recipe is quick and easy to make.  They are sweet and chewy and nutty with a hint of cinnamon and ginger.  Absolutely delicious.  Please consider giving them a try.  Click Sesame Candy for the recipe and enjoy!


Chocolate Cherry Biscotti

One of my favorite breakfast treats is biscotti.  Actually, I can eat these for breakfast, snack, and dessert!  They are so good dunked into your morning coffee, my favorite way to eat them, when they get soft, soaking up the hot coffee; such the perfect delicious bite.  Or they are excellent for tossing in your bag to eat on the go.  Or when they are made with a bit of sweetness, like chocolate, they are a satisfying end to the meal.

Wanting a healthier version that would fit into my diet plan, I’ve searched and created a Mediterranean and Paleo version.  Please check out my  Chocolate Cherry Biscotti and tell me what you think.  I hope you will enjoy these crunchy yummy treats as much as I do.

 



Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins (Paleo)

Are you rushed in the mornings and have to sacrifice breakfast or resort to a grab and go item that is not as healthy as you’d like?  That’s my house during the school year and when kids are in summer camps.  We are so rushed to get out the door that we end up needing something to eat in the car.  I’ve searched the stores and a lot of the quick breakfast choices aren’t that healthy and don’t fit into our new diet plan.  So when you have a crazy week ahead and need a quick breakfast (or snack), try baking these delicious Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins.  They are moist, full of healthy goodness, and kid approved!





The Diet Plan

What is my plan of attack to win this battle with my scale?  Well, I’ve been researching this for quite a while and haven’t found a single diet plan that I feel I can embrace fully and follow for the long haul.  There are too many rules with many of the diets out there.  When to eat, what to eat, restrictions, counting, logging, it’s all too much for me manage. Read More