How to Celebrate Halloween Like Grown-up

How to host a "Halloween Dinner Party" that's as creepy as it is delicious.
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Every year when Halloween rolls around, I'm reminded of my childhood. Growing up in Connecticut in the 1970's, Halloween consisted of homemade costumes fastened together with staples and tape (there were no Halloween superstores back then offering pint-sized versions of every character under the sun). If you wanted to be Darth Vader then you had to make it yourself.

To the relief of our parents, our makeshift costumes, combined with freezing temperatures, never encouraged anything too "risqué." It's amazing how even Mother Nature looks out for young girls.

As I've grown older and now have children of my own, Halloween is really more about experiencing their joy, over my own. But should that really be the case? What about us grown-ups? Isn't there anything remotely appropriate we can dive into? The answer is yes.

Host a "Halloween Dinner Party." At first this idea may sound a bit ghoulish. Do people really want to feast upon pond-scum cocktails and eyeball soup? Ah, no. Here's the thing, if you are going to host a Halloween-themed dinner party, then it better be appetizing.

Here are my tips for pulling off the perfect Halloween soiree that promises to be as creepy as it is delicious!

Tip#1 Set the Stage

Halloween is all about creating a little bit of drama. So pick a theme and go with it. Maybe your theme is set in the laboratory of a mad scientist or the flat of a glamorous vampire, or my personal favorite, the home of an elderly witch. Setting a theme allows your party to "tell a story." Telling that story through the dishes you serve is a great form of "entertainment" for your guests. It also makes choosing your costume a breeze.

Tip#2 Share Your Theme. Encourage Costumes
Let's face it, costumes are fun for all ages and there really is only one time of year when your guests will be willing to "dine in costume" and that's Halloween. By sharing your theme, it encourages your guests to get creative and join in the fun. So if you are hosting a "mad scientist party" don't be surprised if you end up welcoming a few "lab rats" into your home.

Tip#3 Skip the food coloring
Let's be serious people, however popular on Pinterest, bloody finger cookies are just not that appetizing. I say skip the cheap parlor tricks in favor of real food that just looks a bit creepy. Things like moldy blue cheese, wrinkly dates, wild mushrooms, or even pomegranate seeds, can be made to look a eerie and mysterious when used in the right way (see video below for my favorite Halloween recipes using these foods).

Tip#4 Serve a Specialty Cocktail
Nothing sets a party off right better than a specialty cocktail. They are fun and festive, and set the tone for your party. Consider using unusual glasses too. Things like mis-matched goblets found at thrift stores are fun or even glass beakers can be a nice touch too. And when it comes to punch bowls, get creative, consider any vessel that can hold liquid and is food safe, such as a hallowed out pumpkin.

Tip#5 Don't Skimp on Dessert!
As a kid, Halloween was all about the sweets and as a grown-up you shouldn't lose that tradition. If you ask me, this isn't the time for a dainty apple tart, bring on the chocolate! And the richer, the better. We all deserve a little gluttony in the sugar department. It is Halloween after all.

Beth's Menu for the Perfect Grownup Halloween Dinner Party

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