I love Halloween. I love pumpkin carving and scary movies. I love trick or treaters and I thoroughly enjoy drinking hot apple cider. However I am no longer a big fan of plastering thick, white makeup all over my face and pouring that sticky red fake blood all over my body, the kind that you can’t wash off properly for days.
Halloween doesn’t have to be a tongue-in-cheek, red and green food colouring, banana’s shaped like ghosts kind of affair. Halloween is the perfect time of year to get creative and entertain. Hosting a sophisticated intimate Halloween inspired dinner party for a close group of friends is the perfect excuse to get together, eat good food and have a few glasses of whatever you fancy. To get you in the Halloween spirit I have listed some simple yet effective theming and décor options, I have also included a delicious three course Autumnal menu. All of the below ideas will help you create an elegant and hauntingly fabulous soiree.
As I said, you don’t have to have go overboard and start hanging bats from the ceiling, get yourself tangled up in faux cobwebs or prop up fake skeletons on the sofa. Simple colour palettes work best, you don’t need to bring in a variety of colours to create an effective theme. Black is obviously the go-to gothic colour that works with everything, including the ever popular black and white stripes with accents of gold. Burnt oranges, deep purples and rich reds all work well too.
Never underestimate the power of a balloon! Bubblegum Balloons changed my opinion on balloon décor for parties, using balloons the correct way (avoid balloon arches and pillars when possible) really provides a fun and classy design concept. Wrapping black tulle around large white balloons is both simple and cost effective, I also think it looks rather elegant and chic.
Candlelight creates an intimate and cosy ambience. A trail of glass bottles (remember to remove the labels) filled with melting taper candles creates a fabulously eerie centrepiece. This one is a personal favourite of mine as it means you have to drink lots of booze in order to gather enough bottles!.
Pumpkin place settings are cute and of course at Halloween you won’t struggle to find a pumpkin. Search out the tiniest ones you can find, tie your name cards to the stem and voila! You can’t go wrong with a pumpkin!
Other simple and effective styling ideas to add to your tablescape would be tying black velvet ribbon around your cutlery and using black table linens and napkins. Bring the outside, inside by weaving foliage within your centrepiece.
Autumnal scented candles such as Cinnamon, Spiced Pumpkin and Autumn Leaves will add that little extra something to your evening. After all, the devil is in the detail.
Halloween feasts should be hearty and full of flavour. I love menus that will keep you fat and happy during the Autumn and Winter seasons. I have listed three delicious dishes that I found on the BBC Good Food site and I also stumbled across a fabulous drink option.
Sangria or punch recipes are great when entertaining a group as they are easy to make and you can prepare in advance. This great recipe by trained chef and food blogger Heather Christo is easy and quick to make. Ingredients include pomegranates, figs, brandy and one of my personal favourites, prosecco. You don’t have to worry about making complex cocktails and digging out the cocktail shaker, all you have to do it put all the ingredients together and away you go. Head over to Heather’s website to see the full ingredients list.
Fondue is perfect for a dinner party and really is a crowd pleaser. Everyone can get involved and occasionally a bit messy by dipping in breads, fruit, potatoes and whatever else you desire. Presenting your fondue in a pumpkin is perfect for Halloween and will be fun and interactive for your guests. Head over to BBC Good Food to see more.
Beef Goulash Soup
The Hairy Bikers feature on BBC Good Food regularly and they are known for their hearty and flavoursome recipes. Laced with paprika, caraway seeds and garlic their Beef Goulash Soup is filling, bursting with flavour and guaranteed to keep you warm on a cold October evening. See the full recipe here.
Chocolate desserts are usually a safe bet at a dinner party. Unless one of your guests does not eat chocolate, in which case they probably wouldn’t be your friend so I shall continue. This Death-by-Chocolate tart recipe is a deliciously indulging treat and even has a cheesecake layer. If you are making this ensure you send me an invitation.