Friday, October 19, 2012

REAL Halloween

Halloween is one my favorite holidays. Each year we host a big party. My husband and I have been doing this for 18 years now. Our first party was actually right after our honeymoon. We had a giant masquerade party to celebrate! I have a huge family so it was go big or go small for the wedding! Small wedding big party. Best of both worlds.

Of course we have changed a lot since that first party and so have our parties! Our first party was with all of our family and friends. Then for the next 5 years we had “adult parties”. After we started a family our focus changed again and started to have “family friendly parties”.

We have done so many themes, harvest olympics, chili cook off (adults) and cupcake decorating contest (kids), night of the living dead (Zombies), pumpkin carving and Minute it to Win it (one of my faves). This years theme will be an Outdoor Movie shown on painters cloth hanging on our house (I really miss drive in’s for scary movies). I hope it works. We keep trying to do a test run but it keeps raining. I figure that we have better odds for good weather on our party because mother nature keeps sending us bad weather now (wishful thinking). We are going to play the movie Gremlins (not too scary)! We love that movie and I wanted to have something appropriate for the kids and nostalgic for the rest of us.

Every year I say “this is going to be our last party”. Around August the following year the kids start asking me what the theme of the party is and the adults start emailing and texting me in the beginning of October to find out the date of the big party! That’s when I realize we have to have the party. It’s tradition and it is is who we are as a family and a neighborhood. Really goofy, kind of scary and definitely creative! I keep thinking the teenagers and the pre-teens would be over this party by now but they never are. They are the reason we keep having it! I say if your kids still want to be with you jump at the chance to spend time with them especially when it reinforces to them all you need to have fun is each other (and maybe a little good food).

The food at our parties that has change a lot too. I have learn the simpler the better and to let people bring something if they want to instead of trying to do everything myself. It’s Halloween for goodness sake! Nothing has to go together or match or even make sense. Plus when your guests bring a dish to pass you know there will be something they like to eat!
As my menus have simplified the have become more REAL. What is simpler than the food that God gave us presented in a new and creative way to fit the theme of Halloween. Here are some ideas....

  • Poison Apple Tray-Serve apple slices with caramel dip and label it poison apples with goblin snot dip! Or spread cream cheese in the bottom of a pie plate followed by caramel apple dip and serve with apples on the side.

  • Pumpkin Cheese Ball -shaped a cheese ball like a pumpkin; use a butter knife to make side indents and celery stick for the stem; serve with crackers and veggies.

  • Banana Ghost- bananas cut in half. Stand up on flat side. Use mini chocolate chip for eyes. Brush with lemon juice if not eating right away or you will have gray ghost.
  • Frogs On a Log-fill a celery stick with cream cheese and top with green olive slices.
  • Spider Eggs -make deviled eggs and top with half a green or black olive. Cut slices from olives and cut olive slices in half to make the legs for the spiders.
  • Candy Corn Cheese Tray- Assemble yellow cheese cubes (or colby jack) followed by orange cheese cubes then white cheese cubes in the triangle shape of a candy corn on a serving platter.
  • Candy Corn Cracker-Spread cream cheese on a triangle shaped cracker and top with cheese slices in the color of candy corn and cut to fit the cracker. Yellow is the widest then orange then white.

  • Voodoo or Vampire Punch Bowl-peel apples and carve out faces or skull shapes. Float in red juice or apple cider.
  • Hot Apple Cider Floats-top hot apple cider with whipped cream ghost with mini chocolate chip eyes or a scoop of vanilla or cinnamon ice cream.
  • Homemade Hot Chocolate
  • Three Cheese Pizza Candy Corn Slices-Sauce a pizza crust and sprinkle with shredded yellow cheese around the outer edge of the crust then do a ring of shredded orange cheese followed by a shredded white cheese circle in the center. After baking cut into wedge to resemble candy corn.
  • Pumpkin Faced Black Bean Dip -Combine 1-15 ounce can of refried beans with 2 teaspoons taco seasoning and 4 ounces cream cheese. Spread into a pie plate or round baking dish. Topped with shredded cheddar and bake until warm and cheese is melted. Remove from oven and place down 2 blue corn chips for eyes and one for the nose. Arrange black olive slices to form a mouth. Serve with blue tortilla chips-label them bat wings or cat ears.
  • 7 layer Mexican Dip. Make the last layer shredded orange cheddar. Do not cook. Make the face in the same way as above. Serve with blue tortilla chips. Label them bat wings or cat ears.
  • Pizza Muffin Mummies-Spread pizza sauce on 1 half of an english muffin or sprouted grain or gluten free hamburger bun or use a cookie cutter to cut a circle out of you desired bread. Cut provolone or mozzarella cheese slices into strips on place on top of sauce; leaving space for the sauce to peek through even after the cheese melts. Tuck 2 olive slices under one strip of cheese and over another so that the eyes show. Bake in a 350 degree oven until cheese is melted.
  • Zombie Intestines or Blood and Guts-Purchase hot dogs or sausages that are still linked together. Bake in a 350 degree oven and brush with BBQ Sauce or Ketchup. Remove from oven and serve on a platter labeled Zombie intestines. Let guest use scissors to cut of their own portion.
  • Zombie Food-Spaghetti noodles with red sauce. Label it Brains!

Ghost Hunters Buffet
Fill clear jars and containers with the items below then make creepy looking labels and hang them on the jars.
  • Bat Wings-chocolate covered pretzels
  • Ravens Bones-white yogurt covered pretzels
  • Rat Droppings-chocolate covered raisins, cranberries or cherries
  • Witches Warts or Ghost Poop-popcorn or fresh mini mozzarella balls
  • Pumpkin Teeth-baby carrots
  • Werewolf Claws-cashews
  • Frog Eyes or Toad Warts-green grapes
  • Poison Apples-fill a jar with small apples
  • Goblin Fingers-baby pickles in a jar
  • Cat’s Tongue-place beef jerky strips in a jar.
  • Franken Fingers-ham slices wrapped around cheese stick or ham sticks and cheese sticks
This menu isn’t completely perfect but it’s pretty close to all REAL and definitely hits my 80/20 rule for eating bridging foods in moderation (this would be foods that are not picked, gathered, hunted or fished but are organic, sprout and/or contain only a few ingredients).

What am I serving at our Party?
Steamed Hot Dogs in buns wrapped in foil and kept warm in a cooler. I have one of the short stackable Coleman ones. Love it! Fits in low profile place like on a boat or in the bed of a truck. It also keeps a 9x13 dish warm or cold. Easy to reach into even on a table.
Hot Chocolate and Warm Apple Cider
Popcorn and Kettle Corn
Pot Luck-whatever anyone else wants to bring. I’m hoping for some chili or soup! It already is pretty cold here in good old Michigan!
The party starts at dusk so everyone should have eaten dinner at home but I never count on that! The simpler the food the more the kids eat and then they don’t turn into crabby monsters when they get tired from all of the fun!

Looking for more REAL Halloween Recipes. Check the Ebook at Get REAL for Kids . I wrote the recipes and Dr. Sue and Angelle provided a lot of great content and ideas on how to keep your kids sweet without filling them with sugar!

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