I LOVE HALLOWEEN! I typically don’t get organized enough to have a great costume, but I do get the house decorated and cook up treats. The only tricky thing here was the pumpkin carving done by my friend, Sam Ott. A PrettyFood.com pumpkin. How cool is that? Besides celebrating Halloween, we were celebrating the completion of the construction of a roof over a large part of our patio. Since the patio is on the west side of the house, it gets mighty hot mighty quick in the summer. With two powerful infrared heaters for winter and some shade for summer, we are now set. Seemed like an ideal time to throw a party!
My skills as a videographer are not great, but this quick movie allows you to see the party tables that greeted our guests.
All the chairs on the patio were facing the screen out in the driveway. The tables for food and beverages were back a ways. Normally, I like to have traffic flow on both sides of the table, but with nearly 30 chairs on the patio (and all the usual paraphernalia), it just wasn’t feasible. I didn’t have a big black tablecloth, so I pulled out a king size black bedspread. Hiding underneath, to provide that all-important height, are two plastic bins we use to store hardwood charcoal and bird seed (no, not together).
What’s a party without cake pops? We made ghosts, pumpkins, jack-o-lanterns, and mummies. I couldn’t find my cake pop stand, so I covered a ball of styrofoam with orange tissue paper, after sawing off the bottom so it would lie flat.
I saw these yogurt-covered pretzel ghosts on a site on the Internet. Wish I had kept the link so I could give attribution. Whoever you are, what a brilliant idea!
Deloris made her famous tortilla spirals and cucumber sandwiches. Check out my cheeseball. I scored around the edges vertically to create the pumpkin shape after rolling it in crushed taco-flavored Doritos. A curved jalapeño served as the stem.
The dessert table (with both full sugar and sugar-free treats) took shape easily.
We used small alphabet cookie cutters to cut out the the letters for all the words on the bamboo tray. So cute! And check out the string cheese and green pepper “fingers” Deloris made. Those were the cutest things EVER.
Somehow, all the hot stuff ended up on one big platter, which we replenished as needed. Stuffed jalapeños (3 types of filling — cheddar cheese with cream cheese, cream cheese with pineapple jam, sweetened cooked cranberries with jalapeños), plus bacon-wrapped teriyaki water chestnuts, sausage and cream cheese stuffed mushrooms. Meatballs were elsewhere.
I’m always happy when I remember to set up the drink station a couple of hours in advance to allow everything to chill.
I am not a fan of plastic cups, but when you have a crowd of people outside, even they sometimes feel more comfortable without something breakable.
Same with the plates. Since people knew they would be setting their plates around the chairs where they were watching the movie and would be getting up and down, they requested paper plates. Lucky I even had any.
Why would guests be moving during a movie, you ask? Because it was Rocky Horror Picture Show and no one can sit still when the Time Warp song comes on!
Slowly, but surely, it’s coming together. Before I was done with the table, however, I realized the plates and napkins and silverware would need to be relocated to make room for all the food!
I wouldn’t go to the time and trouble of making these dip-filled jack-o-lantern orange peppers again. I realized pretty quickly that unless they’re up fairly high, no one will notice that they have faces carved in them, so it’s a bit of a waste. Live and learn.
When you look at the tables from the far end of the patio, you notice several heights. The tall candelabra and the tall vase for the flower arrangement helped draw the eye up.
My poor Halloween plates didn’t get used after all.
See those brown mounds? Those are Michael’s fabulous chicken thighs, hot off the smoker.
Cheese board? Check. Adorable cut-out cheeses and meats? Check. Tiny pastry cups with strawberries, whipped cream and mint? Check.
A few days later, we experienced our first freeze. Just in time, we reveled in the crisp fall air and enjoyed being able to sit comfortably outside. We captured the moment and created an indelible memory. Hope your Halloween was just as happy!