A holiday once dominated by children, Halloween has become a fun excuse for adults to masquerade and throw a party. We’re here to help. With tricked-out table settings and tantalizing treats, a glamorous bash is just the ticket for adults looking to let out their inner witch or werewolf. And, with these do-it-yourself tips from Coast creative directors Alicia Cahill and Lindsay Canright, hosting Halloween will be easier than ever.
Styled by Alicia Cahill, owner of The Kitchen Chick, 528 23rd St. downtown Galveston
At Halloween parties, it’s all about the entrance. Welcome your revelers by setting your stoop with spooky props. For a creepy, coastal twist on an iconic lawn ornament, these fun flamingo skeletons are frightfully easy to make.
Plastic flamingos (two-pack, Home Depot)
Flat, black spray paint
Black permanent marker
Small paint brush
Optional: Clear, flat enamel spray paint
1. Using the leg stakes provided as a stand, apply plastic primer to the flamingo.
2. When dry, paint the flamingo with two coats of flat, black spray paint.
3. When dry, draw the skeleton onto the flamingo with black permanent marker.
4. Using the small brush and white paint, fill in the outlines.
5. After the bones are painted and dry, place the flamingos around your yard or home. For protection from the elements, apply a coat of clear, flat enamel spray paint.
Styled by Lindsay Canright
Capture the moment with a photo booth that’s fun and a snap to assemble. For your Halloween party, a basic digital point-and-shoot camera will suffice. You’ll also need a tripod tall enough to capture the entire scene. Invest in a remote shutter release for the camera (available at Target), which allows guests to take their own photo while you enjoy the party.
Opt for a simple and spooky backdrop that will let your guests shine. Cover a wall with black fabric to create a backdrop. Hang cheesecloth across the width of your backdrop and pin in place. Gently tear each strip of cheesecloth and fray the edges by rubbing cheesecloth between your fingers. If desired, attach plastic spiders to the “web” using mounting tape.
Though they might come in costume, provide your guests with a buffet of props to accessorize their outfits. Some favorites include mustache, bow tie, glasses, lips and monocle. Make your own props by cutting shapes out of card stock and affixing to wooden skewers, or purchase props from Stickprops, an Etsy store that offers loads of options.
Styled by Lindsay Canright, Laura Elder
Double, double, toil and trouble — grown-up guests will delight in a creepy cocktail bar where they can pick their poison. This sophisticated bar set channels Dr. Frankenstein.
Shake up a signature cocktail, such as a “Bloody Scary Bloody Mary” and serve in stemware on a stark white metal tray.
Fill large glass jars (Anchor Heritage Glass Jars, available at Target,) with cauliflower to resemble a brain, or pimento stuffed “eyeballs” or celery “fingers.”Print your own apothecary labels with titles such as “Bone Dust” or “Pickled Brains” or purchase them from retailers such as World Market or Etsy seller, ShadowandMoss, which offers a selection of vintage labels. To give your display height and interest, use stacks of weathered antique books to display faux skulls (the realistic one in this shot is from downtown island store The Witchery, 2116 Postoffice St.) or bones. Sprinkle in a few spiders and mice for extra scares.
Bloody Scary Bloody Mary
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup ice cubes
1.5 fluid ounces jigger vodka
1 small can spicy tomato or vegetable juice
2 dashes Worcestershire sauce
1 dash hot pepper sauce
1 stalk celery
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Salt the rim of a martini glass by pouring salt onto a small plate, moistening the rim of the glass with lime juice and pressing into the salt. Fill the glass with 4 to 5 ice cubes.
2. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice and add the vodka, tomato or vegetable juice, Worcestershire sauce, hot pepper sauce, salt and pepper.
3. Shake vigorously and strain the mixture into the glass. Garnish with a celery stalk and green olives.
Styled by Alicia Cahill
Transform your dining room into an eerily elegant focal point with a Halloween tablescape (see pages 8-9). Stick with a black-and-white color palette and drape your table with the Bone Appetit Table Cloth by Moda (The Kitchen Chick). Add pops of orange with Le Creuset mini cocottes and large, oval bowl in flame (The Kitchen Chick). Give height to the table with a simple centerpiece of twigs strung with habanero peppers in a purple Le Creuset utensil crock (The Kitchen Chick). For a Hitchcockian twist, perch a faux crow (Pottery Barn,) on the edge of the crock. Rolled KAF orange cloth napkins (The Kitchen Chick) with plastic vampire teeth (Spirit Halloween) lends a bite to the décor. Glass tiered stand, white ceramic trays and shot glasses (Pier 1 Imports). Suspend witch hats (Hobby Lobby) midair from the chandelier using fishing line.
Deck out your dessert table with a menu of spooktacular sweets aimed at pleasing adult palates.
Prepared by Alicia Cahill
2 pie crusts
4 cups of homemade prepared blueberry or blackberry filling*
6 ounces of fresh or frozen blueberries (washed and stems removed)
1 egg white
¼ cup milk
Fluted and straight pastry cutter
*For the best results, use a filling that doesn’t contain a large amount of juice or simply drain some of the juice away before pouring it into the pie crust.
1. Heat the oven to 400 F.
2. Whisk egg white and milk together to create egg wash. Set aside.
3. Lightly grease the pie plate. Place one pie crust in the pie plate and trim off excess, saving the remnants.
4. Pour pie filling evenly over the bottom crust. Next spread the fresh blueberries over the filling, reserving two for the eyes and 10 to 14 for the brain.
5. Lay the second uncooked pie crust out on a cutting board. Using a pastry brush coat the top with the egg wash.
6. To make the head cut a piece of the uncooked pie crust that is approximately one-third of the dough’s total size. Reserve the remaining crust for the arms. Using your straight pastry cutting wheel, cut out a large half-moon head with four small tentacles centered on the flat edge. Set aside.
7. To make the octopus arms have your fluted and straight pastry cutters ready. The outside of each arm will be cut with the fluted wheel; the inside with the straight. You will cut a total of eight arms in varying lengths. Those for the side section of the pie will need to be longest and widest (1½ inches). The arms for the front and back of the pie will be shorter and thinner. Place each arm over the pie filling in a bicycle spoke pattern with the ends radiating from a center that is two-thirds of the way back from the front of your pie dish.
8. Gather 10 to 14 fresh blueberries and place in the center of the head. Gently wrap the edges of the head around the berries to bundle them inside the dough, making a spherical shape. Carefully place the head over the arm center you created positioned with the small tentacles facing front. The ends of the arm pieces should be completely covered. Brush again with egg wash.
9. To create eyes, use leftover strips of dough. Loosely wind one strip over your pointer finger and gently pinch together. Place a blueberry in the opening and carefully press to head. Repeat with second eye. Brush each eye with egg wash to help eyes adhere to head.
10. Bake at 400 F for 30 minutes and then check the browning. Cover with foil if excessive browning of the upper crust occurs. Continue baking another 10 minutes for a total bake time of 40 minutes, or until crust is golden brown.
Prepared by Alicia Cahill
8 cups popped popcorn (If using microwave popcorn select light butter flavor. You’ll use about 1 fully popped 3-ounce bag)
1 cup candy corn
¼ cup butter
¼ teaspoon salt
1 10-ounce bag marshmallows
1. Begin by combining popcorn and candy corn in a large bowl.
2. Next melt ¼ cup butter in a large saucepan over medium heat; stir in salt and marshmallows. Reduce heat to low; cook for 7 minutes or until the marshmallows melt and the mixture is smooth, stirring frequently.
3. Pour marshmallow mixture over popcorn mixture and stir from the bottom to evenly distribute.
4. Lightly coat hands with cooking spray; shape popcorn mixture into 20, 2-inch balls.
Prepared by Alicia Cahill
The surest way to serve up a spine-tingling, scrumptious sugar high — a red velvet skull cake.
Skull pan (Williams-Sonoma)
10 cups prepared red velvet cake batter (from your favorite recipe or one box cake mix)
Grey food coloring (optional)
Black sugar pearls
1. Preheat the oven to 325 F.
2. Grease the skull cake mold thoroughly with cooking spray and sprinkle with flour. Place skull pan on a large baking sheet.
3. Prepare batter from one box of cake mix or your favorite cake recipe. The pan will hold 10 cups of batter.
4. Fill both cavities of the cake pan, dividing the batter evenly between the two cavities.
5. Bake for 65-75 minutes at 325 F or until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. After removing the pan from the oven, allow the cake to cool for 15 minutes. When cool, invert onto a wire rack and allow to cool completely.
6. Trim the rounded tops off each half to make it easy to assemble.
7. Frost the flat side of each cake to help the pieces adhere to one another.
8. Assemble the cake on a serving platter, frost and fill the eye cavities with tinted frosting and sugar decorations such as dragées.
Flaming spell book
Created by Alicia Cahill
Put your guests under a spell with this “flaming” spell book décor.
Second hand book (at least 2 to 3 inches thick) such as an encyclopedia or dictionary. (We used an old Ike-damaged yearbook for this shot).
Gold spray paint
Yellow and orange tissue paper
Battery-operated tea lights
1. Carefully wet the book, making sure to cover the pages with water and allow it to dry.
2. When dry, find the center of the book and work to bend and curl the edges of the pages inward.
3. Separate the top few pages on each side of the binding to form a round vessel in the shape of a bowl and use a stapler to hold the shape together.
4. Cut the sides of the vessel into flame-like shapes, and use your fingers to ruffle and curl the flames.
5. Spray paint the entire book gold, paying special attention to the sides.
6. When dry, crinkle yellow tissue paper and place inside the bowl.
7. Use battery-operated tea lights to light the center of the vessel.
8. Stuff small pieces of orange tissue paper around the seam of the bowl. Surround it with Halloween décor, such as a caldron we found at The Witchery on the island.