Recipe: Marshmallow Monster Eyes

Credit: http://kimberlystoney.blogspot.com

These sweet, squishy Halloween treats look positively unnerving staring up from a party platter. For the ultimate in gross realism, the eyeballs gush “eyeball jelly” when eaten. Gross… but very tasty!

Kids love these, but they do have a lot of sugar. So, unless you have padded walls, it is probably best to make sure they have an outside activity to do afterwards – trick-or-treating, perhaps?

Ingredients

  • 1 bag of marshmallows
  • 1 jar of strawberry jam or preserves
  • 1 can of cream cheese or vanilla icing
  • Food coloring (either black, or red and green to make black)
  • 20 Gummi Savers (2 packages)

Making Monster Eyes (Here’s Lookin’ at You)

    1. Turn on your CD player and play “Somebody’s Watching Me” from Rockwell 🙂
    2. Grease a cookie sheet.
    3. Cut the very top off of a marshmallow. You can use either a knife or kitchen shears, but kitchen shears are easier to use and make a cleaner cut. Place the bottom piece of the marshmallow on the cookie sheet.
    4. Use your fingers to hollow out the center of the marshmallow.
    5. Fill the center with ½ teaspoon of strawberry jam.
    6. Fit the marshmallow top back onto the marshmallow bottom.
    7. Repeat for remaining marshmallows.
    8. Refrigerate marshmallows for 30-45 minutes. This helps the top and bottom pieces adhere to each other.
    9. Place the cookie sheet in a 250 degrees Fahrenheit oven, and bake for 6-8 minutes. The marshmallows should be puffy and soft, but not brown.
    10. Remove the marshmallows from the oven – they should have flattened out some, as shown in the picture. Don’t worry if they don’t look perfect – the icing will fix that.

Enjoy!

You’ve Got the Right Stuff – An 80s Theme Party

 

LOOK THE PART: It’s easy to find iconic pieces without breaking your Halloween budget. Click to get this costume.

Over thirty years later, you may no longer have to fight for our right to par-taaay, but that doesn’t mean you should stop! Throwing an 80s theme party is a fun way to be nostalgic, whether it was for your teen years or your childhood.

While you may still be reserving judgment on the collective wisdom of mullets and shoulder pads, these iconic fashion statements make for easy to find the perfect 80s costume.

Read on for totally tubular ways to hang with your dudes and dudettes at your very own 80s theme party.

GO NEON: Your party says “80s” the minute you hang something that’s, like, totally blinding. Click for info.

80’s Party Decorations

When it comes to the 80s, you have a few popular directions for your decorations.

  •  80s style is a combination of neon colors and those classic geometrical shapes. Get some neon bulletin board paper and cut it into bold geometrical shapes (triangles, circles, lines) and hang these from the ceiling and around the room.
  • Drape some lace. Do up your living room like a Madonna video with lace and red roses. Totally rad!
  • A third is one we like to call ‘Solid Gold.’ Premiering in the early eighties, Solid Gold was a popular television program that featured dancers breaking out to hit songs. Like a hangover from the 70s, the original set was all about beige carpets and gold and black accents. You can channel that Solid Gold look into your party room with black and gold decorations.
  • Add a touch of authenticity by decorating the walls with posters from bands like Duran Duran and Wham! You can easily make these by printing poster images large-scale at a local print shop.

Like, Totally Don’t Forget the Atmosphere, Dude!

To add to that 80’s flavor, play DVDs of 80s music videos and movies quietly in the background.

Simply throw on a Devo video, start up the dry ice, rent a few inexpensive laser lights and you’ll turn your living room into a certified time machine!

Party Activities

  • 80s Karaoke: Rent a karaoke machine and encourage guests to sing their favorite song from the era of new-wave and glam metal. In minutes, you’ll have guests belting out Depeche Mode, The Clash, and Def Leppard.
  • Guess The Hair: Print off a few pictures of classic 80’s hairdos (Mike
    HAIR’S TO YOU: We totally feel a metal ballad coming on.

    Score from A Flock of Seagulls, David Hasselhoff in Knight Rider, Robert Smith of The Cure, Joan Collins as Alexis Carrington, Dee Snider from Twisted Sister, or Sid Vicious’s mohawk) and blank out the faces. Award a prize to the party-goer who can guess the most mystery hairstyles.

Wall of Shame: If your guests are older, ask them to bring a picture of themselves in the 80s or send one in advance by email. Pin each picture to the wall and offer a prize to whoever can match the most party-goers to their 80s counterparts.

Rubicks Face-Off: Set up a few easy-to-solve Rubick’s Cubes (take a new cube and only shift it a few times). Stage a Rubick’s Cube competition with prizes for the fastest solver.

Drinks and Refreshments

While it’s hard to make a theme menu based on the 80’s, you could set out a few classic drinks that were hugely popular at the time, including wine coolers, Jolt Cola, Fresca and Tab.

While you’re at it, throw some Nerds, Pop Rocks, Big Chew bubble gum and other novelty candies that hit it big in the 80s in bowls around the room.

1980s Costumes

Stop! It’s partytime. Click for this costume.

You can dress up in full 80s garb with items from your own closet! An oversized sweatshirt with the neck cut out, stretch pants, white pumps and leggings will turn you into

Flashdance while a pastel blazer, t-shirt, and pleated khakis will transform you into Miami Vice. A leather jacket, tight jeans, and chains will make you a punk rocker.

Another costume option is to dress as a specific 80’s icon like Dee Snider from Twisted Sister, Pat Benetar, Madonna (circa Like a Virgin), Tammy Faye Baker, or even Magnum P.I.

Whether you base your costume on a famous person or a general 80s style, you can get creative in your own closet or buy costumes from online retailers, including wigs of classic 80s hairstyles and mullets.

Party on, dude. And remember – stay gnarly!

Savory Severed Monster Fingers

 

Severed fingers with rotted black fingernails . . . hungry yet? A twist on the traditional pigs in a blanket, these delicious digits are simple to prepare, yet they look wonderfully gruesome on an appetizer platter.

Dig in to this phreaky phalanges with the fun recipe below.

Monster Finger Ingredients

  • 2 cans of refrigerated crescent roll dough (each can should make 8 crescent rolls)
  • 1 16-oz package of cocktail smokies (cocktail weenies)
  • sliced almonds to use as nails

“Digit”al Instructions

    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
    2. If you’re not using a nonstick pan, use Pam or olive oil spray in a light mist over entire top surface of pan.
    3. Open one can of crescent rolls and unroll the dough.
    4. Place one triangular piece of crescent roll dough on the cookie sheet.
    5. Put a cocktail weenie in the wide end of the dough triangle. Roll the dough around the sausage. You should have one layer of dough covering it completely with no edges peeking out. This is the base of the finger – you will still have some crescent roll dough left over.
    6. Roll the remaining dough to form the rest of the finger, tapering it at the end and rounding it off so it looks realistic.
    7. Put an almond slice on the end of the finger. Tuck the edges into the dough so that it looks like a fingernail.
    8. Use a knife to score “wrinkles” into the knuckle.
    9. Put the fingers in the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes, until they are golden brown.

Point this platter in the direction of your ghoulish guests, and enjoy!

Egg Carton Bats

Ever wonder what to do with old egg cartons? Make these adorable bats to decorate your house for Halloween!

Simple and easy to do, you can hang these lightweight bats anywhere. First, gather all of the materials you need:

  • Egg cartons (paper works better than styrofoam)
  • Scissors
  • Black paint and paintbrushes
  • Craft glue or glue gun
  • Googley eyes
  • Black pipe cleaners
  • Hole punch and thread or yarn.

Cut one three-egg section from the egg cartons for each bat. As you can see from the picture, I trimmed the excess cardboard from around the top of the bat’s head and wings. Also, trim an upside down “U” out of the bottom of each wing, as the close-up picture illustrates.

Egg Carton Bat Halloween craft

Paint your bats black and wait for them to dry.

When the bats are dry, you can glue on their eyes. I also cut four small pieces of black pipe cleaner per bat, and glued them on as feet and hands – this is optional.

Punch a hole in the top of the middle section – the bat’s head – and string some yarn or thread through. Your bat is ready to hang!

By Beth Taylor

Throwing a Widow’s Ball

Get it on – and dance ’til you’re dead. Victorian bowknot ballgown, 7 colors, $89.

A Widow’s Ball is the ultimate, gothic-themed night. Don your black and lace attire and get ready for a Halloween dinner party to remember.

The elements that go into planning a successful Widow’s Ball are the same as a regular dinner party –  just darker, spookier, and much creepier (yeah, we love it too!).

Learn how to throw a memorable Widow’s Ball event this Halloween, including invitations, decorations, and menu and gothic costume ideas.

 

 

 

A Gothic Theme Party – The Invitations

Bring your gothic theme into your party at every opportunity, starting with the invitations. To achieve a dark and eerie look, try distressing and aging the invitation paper. To do this, follow these simple steps:

  1. Print off your invitations on a heavy paper stock.
  2. Preheat your oven to 200 degrees F.
  3. Crumple up each invitation into a ball and then smooth them out.
  4. Lay the invitations out on a standard baking sheet.
  5. Pour about 1/4 cup of steeped tea over the paper, spreading it around with a sponge.

6. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of instant coffee over the invitations, allowing the crystals to splatter out.

7. After a few minutes, dab up the remaining tea and coffee with a paper towel.

8. Put your invitations in the oven, “baking” them for about five minutes.

Your antiqued paper invitations will have a truly gothic feel and look to them. Put a few strings of fake spider webbing inside the envelope with your invitation to get your guests in a morbid mood.

With your invitation remember to include directions to your house, costume guidelines , the date and time, and your contact information for RSVPs.

Your Own Costume

Don’t forget your own costume. A Widow’s Ball is about gothic glamor.

For women, pick a costume that combines the regal look of a Victorian ball gown with the dark morbidness of blacks, grays, and a splash of zombie make-up. For men, the classic vampire, undertaker’s uniform or simply a ghoulified suit should do the trick.

Add LOADS of Victorian/goth touches. Gloves, chokers and sexy fishnet stockings peeking from the bottom of your gown will add plenty of dark deliciousness to your Widow’s Ball.

For hair and makeup, create an undead appearance with a pale face, dark circles under your eyes, streaks of gray in your hair, maybe a fang or two, and black fingernails. Have fun . . . but not too much fun. This is a morbid affair, after all.

BONUS: Need makeup help? Here’s a GORGEOUS goth makeup tutorial.

Decorating the “Ballroom”

Give your house a spooky and eerie feel by dimming the lights, draping the staircase in black gauze, running fake cobwebs from the ceiling, and covering the tables with tattered lace.

Black roses are always perfect. So are coffin and crypt imagery.

Feel free to add dramatic touches like a fake graveyard on the lawn, creepy music, dry ice cauldrons on the snack table, and Halloween props that are dark and scary, but not cheesy or overdone. Think gothic lace, not fluorescent jack-o-lanterns.

If you’re a DIY carpenter, try making props like a coffin shaped dining table (easily done with inexpensive plywood), or gravestone covers for the stereo. You can also purchase great tombstone props and fake skeletons.

A Morbid Menu

Whether it’s for a full and formal dinner party or a simple snack table, planning a theme menu will help bring your Widow’s Ball theme into the food, but also give you focus.

For simple party snacks, try these fun hors d’oeuvre;

  • Puss and Dried Scabs (melted Brie with dried cranberries)
  • Creepy Cheese and Crackers (use a small Halloween-shaped cookie cutter to cut your sliced cheese into ghostly shapes)
  • Crispy Bat Wings (spicy chicken wings)
  • Gravestone Cookies (use food coloring pens to write your guest’s names on gravestone-shaped cookies)

For a full dining experience, try creating a themed menu. Here’s an example of a morbidly macabre meal:

Appetizer – Witches’ Cauldron Soup

For a broth based soup, put a dime-store miniature broom or witch (wash them first) in each bowl, and sprinkle fake cobwebs or plastic spiders around the plates below the bowls. For a creamy pumpkin soup, you can serve the soup from a hollowed-out pumpkin “cauldron.”

Main Course – Brain on a Plate with Flesh of Man

For the Brain on a Plate, make mashed potatoes that are either set in a mold or will be molded by you. To set your mashed potatoes in a brain mold, chill them overnight and then reheat them in the microwave before serving. For the flesh, serve your roast inside a skeleton (oh, come on, it’s a fake one!). Get a fake skull (or full bucky skeleton) to place at the head of your roast. Surround the roast with rib bones either picked up from your butcher or culled from the rest of your fake skeleton.

Dessert – Coffin Cake

Cut a pound cake into a classic coffin shape. Slice a 1/2 inch top layer off to make your lid and set it aside. Now, scoop out the inside of the cake to make your coffin. Fill the coffin with brownie crumbs, jelly worms, and candied insects and set the lid on top and slightly askew. Serve it on a wooden cutting board surrounded by dirt (chocolate cookie crumbs) and a shovel (a teaspoon).

Be a darkly merry widow and host your own Widow’s Ball. Invite all your undead friends – and it will be a grim and gorgeous affair to remember.

 

Brain Dip With Bone Breadsticks

 

Image credit: 4sonsrus.com; (inset) simplybeingmommy.com

Mmm . . . brains! The human brain is the preferred food of zombies everywhere, so why not serve it at your next Halloween party?

This recipe is actually a tasty red pepper hummus dip in a bread bowl. It’s easy to make and delicious. This dip is complemented by a simple bone breadstick recipe for dipping.

NOTE: Pressed for time or just don’t feel handy with “making” your own brain? Get an inexpensive brain mold. Follow directions below, place in mold, and chill.

Dig in!

PART ONE: Brain Dip

4sonsrus.com

Ingredients

  • 1 16 oz can of chickpeas or garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
  • 3 tablespoons tahini (sesame seed) paste
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 cup roasted red peppers (in a jar)
  • barbecue sauce
  • red and blue food coloring
  • 1 round loaf of sourdough bread OR bone breadsticks (recipe follows below this recipe)

Directions

    1. Place all ingredients (except bread) into a food processor. Process the ingredients for 4-6 minutes, until everything is well-blended. While processing, pause periodically to scrape the sides of the food processor to make sure the spices are included in the mix.
    2. If the hummus appears too orange for brains, add a few drops of blue food coloring and process again. Mix blue and/or red food coloring until you have a nice peachy-pink, brain-like hue.
    3. Chill hummus in the refrigerator for several hours. This will allow the flavors to mingle and the dip to thicken.
    4. While the hummus is chilling, cut the top of off the bread and use a spoon to hollow out the inside of the loaf. Make sure to save the bread pieces – they are great for dipping.
    5. When chilled, spoon the hummus into the bread bowl, smoothing the top to create a rounded mound.
    6. Now, it’s time for a fun anatomy lesson. Using a toothpick, divide the brain into 2 hemispheres – the right and the left.
    7. They say that each time you learn something, a new wrinkle forms in your brain. Use the toothpick to draw squiggly lines in the hummus to create these wrinkles.
    8. Drip a little barbecue sauce for “blood” on your shaped brain.
    9. Serve on a platter with chips, bone breadsticks, or pita crisps for dipping.

PART TWO: Bone Breadsticks

simplybeingmommy.com

These bone-shaped breadsticks are great for dipping in “brain dip.” This recipe uses refrigerated pizza dough for convenience.

To get the bone shape without having a bone-shaped cookie or biscuit cutter, roll each piece of dough into a tube shape, then push in and twist each end.

This recipe makes about 10 breadsticks, but the number of servings will vary depending on how big the breadsticks are.

Ingredients

  • 1 18 oz roll of refrigerated pizza dough
  • olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon Herbes de Provence or Italian Seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt, or to taste
  • 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
  • bone-shaped cookie cutter or stencil

Directions

  1. Roll out pizza dough on a cutting board. If you are using a cardboard stencil, brush the dough with olive oil so that it will not stick to the cardboard.
  2. Use either the cookie cutter or a stencil and a knife to cut bone shapes out of the dough. (Or roll each piece into a “snake”/tube shape, push each end inward and twist to get a bone-end shape.)
  3. Place bones on greased cookie sheet.
  4. Sprinkles with herbs, garlic salt and parmesan cheese.
  5. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 5-8 minutes, until breadsticks are golden brown.

Now, with your bones dipped with brain matter, gnaw away, making sure to smack your lips a lot while making low groaning noises. After all, a zombie doesn’t ask for much. Just your head!

Jeweled Jack-o-Lantern

Most people enjoy setting out jack-o-lanterns during Halloween, but carving a pumpkin takes time, skill and lots of patience. Kids enjoy getting the pumpkins ready, too, but they are rarely able to carve them. Put away those knives and forget about the pumpkin goo with this Halloween craft. Decorate your pumpkin instead and use your imagination. Decorate it in your favorite colors or colors that match the décor of your home. Make several and place them on your dining room table along with some tealight candles for an elegant touch. Kids can easily participate in decorating this kind of pumpkin.

Approximate time to make from start to finish: 30 minutes

For this project you will need:

  • One pumpkin (either a real pumpkin or an artificial crafting pumpkin)
  • Black acrylic paint
  • Half-inch long oval jewels or rhinestones in your choice of color
  • Six-inch black feather boa
  • Cotton ball
  • Glue gun
Jeweled Jack o'lantern

Start by painting the pumpkin. Pour a little paint onto a paint tray or paper plate and dip the cotton ball in the paint and press onto the pumpkin. Place paint dots randomly on your pumpkin. Be careful not to get too much paint in the pumpkin because the paint will run. If you wish, you can sprinkle glitter on the wet paint for an added touch.

Begin embellishing the pumpkin with the jewel. Glue them on the center of the dots and all around the pumpkin. Glue the feather boa into a loop and add it to the top of the pumpkin. Now you have an elegant, yet simple pumpkin.

Jeweled Jack o'lantern

How To Throw a Black & White Ball

Invoke the glamor of early Hollywood films or simply the stunning graphic effect of a room filled with only black and white, and host a Black & White Ball! Great as a fundraiser or a memorable social event, the premise of a Black & White Ball is that guests are requested to only wear black and white.

One of the most infamous Black & White Balls was hosted by author Truman Capote in 1966. Held at The Plaza Hotel in New York City, it was considered by many to be the social event of the decade, perhaps even the century. Guests like Frank Sinatra, Andy Warhol, and Babe Paley joined 500 others in an event that was seemingly so significant it has its own book and full issues of magazines devoted to it. Though not the first Black & White Ball to ever be held, Capote’s is perhaps the most known.

To recreate that glamor as your Halloween theme party, keep reading to learn how to host a successful Black & White Ball – including tips on decorations, menu, and costumes.

Begin The Mood – Invitations

A Black & White Ball is about glamor and glitz. If you can afford it, emboss your invitations on a heavy card stock. For a less expensive alternative, print them at home using an elegant font and heavy paper. If you’re hosting your Black & White Ball as a fundraiser event, consider having the tickets printed by a professional printer. These will serve as a beautiful keepsake for your generous donors.

For a more casual party, such as a Halloween get together, let your guests know that formal dress isn’t expected, just black and white. You may also want to call your event a Black & White Party, as the term “ball” tends to suggest a formal event.

Invoke The Mood – Decor

Nothing less than black and white will do. Elegant white tablecloths, crisp black napkins, white candles and black carpet. Don’t go too far with it though, or you’ll make the room like a black-and-white checkered diner. Keep it simple and subdued, yet absolutely striking.

If you are looking to recreate a splash of Hollywood glamor, consider having black and white photographs of Hollywood icons like Audrey Hepburn, Marilyn Monroe, Rita Hayworth, Clark Gable and even Charlie Chaplin blown up and printed on poster paper. You can then hang them around the room. Another cute take on the icons idea is to convert photographs of your guest into black and white images (usually easy with most digital photo programs) and have those blown up instead.

The Menu – Food and Drinks

Not absolutely everything has to be in black and white, but a few choice food items should give a nod or two to the theme. Here’s a great Black & White Ball appetizer idea:

Black & White Pizza Hors d’Oeuvre

  • 1 ball of pre-made pizza dough
  • 3 cups of black beans
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cumin
  • 8 ounces of shredded Mozzarella cheese
  • 2 cups of sliced Kalamata olives
  • 3 cloves of chopped garlic
  • Black pepper to taste
  1. Preheat oven to 425.
  2. Oil a pizza pan or standard rectangular baking pan.
  3. Flatten dough to the edges of pan.
  4. Bake for 8-10 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.
  5. Combine oil, cumin, garlic, and half the beans. Mix WELL until smooth.
  6. Spread bean paste over dough.
  7. Sprinkle cheese, allowing bean paste below to show.
  8. Arrange olives and remaining black beans over the top.
  9. Bake for an additional 8-10 minutes.
  10. Remove and allow to cool. Sprinkle pepper over the top.
  11. Cut into bite-size pieces, ready to serve.

Many other foods, like chicken, olives, pasta, bean paste, black caviar, white crackers, and Brie can all be used to incorporate the Black & White theme into your event.

For desserts try white truffles, black and white chocolate cake, and white fruits with dark chocolate. To create a signature black and white drink for the night, mix Kahlua or any dark coffee liqueur with vanilla schnapps. Done slowly, the two liquids should remain layered and separate – making a fantastic (and delicious) graphic effect.

Costumes To Wear

Black and white, of course. For a more formal event, men should consider a tuxedo or black suit. Women should wear a black or white (or black and white) cocktail dress or gown. For a more casual night, any piece of clothing that’s black or white should do the trick.

As fancy as it can all sound, a Black & White Ball can be as ritzy or as casual as you want it to be. For a great Halloween twist, have your guests come as a celebrity who actually attended a black & white ball! Whatever you decide, let your guests know the expectations, plan well ahead, and last but not least, remember to enjoy yourself on the big night!

Ghostly Kid-Friendly Party Punch For Halloween

This is a recipe with flair! The presentation is part of the overall recipe, and it makes a great centerpiece your Halloween party.

On your table, hang Halloween plastic streamers (the kind with the ghosts and/or witches and cats) around the edges, about one or two inches down. Place a white or light-colored table cloth over the streamers, covering them completely. You can also get a large table cloth that will hang near to the floor.

Under the table place an electric lantern – these usually take two D batteries and are for camping – they throw off almost no heat. You can even cover it with orange or red film. You will then see the shadows of the ghosts, witches and cats through the table cloth. Spoooky!

For the punch, you need a glass punch bowl with a hollowed-out raised base. Take the base of the punch bowl and put underneath either a small flashing electric light or just a regular one. They are small, about tea-light size, and you get them at dollar stores. Putting the punch bowl on top with liquid is a great effect, especially when you lower the lights. Kids and adults will love it!

The party punch is a combination of severed ice hands, eyes, Jello wigglers and the punch itself. You’ll need:

  • Grape drink crystal mix
  • A package of new, unused white latex gloves (doctor style)
  • Grapes (red and/or green)
  • Two ice cube trays
  • Jello – any colour but orange
  • Orange drink crystal mix
  • 2 litres of either ginger ale or 7up/Sprite – For an alcoholic variation, add Malibu or fruity rum

Severed Hand

Mix up the grape drink mix. Put on and wash the gloves and rinse well. Turn them inside out and fill them with grape drink. Tie off the wrists and put them in the freezer. Freeze entirely.

Eyeball Grapes

Wash and separate the grapes. Fill the ice cube trays 3/4 full and put in the freezer – my friend peels the grapes, I don’t – it’s up to you. Don’t let the water completely freeze! After about 45 minutes – your freezer will be different so check after thirty minutes – take the grapes and pop them into the partially frozen water. Wait another 20 to 30 minutes and then top up any cubes that aren’t filled or any grapes that aren’t fully covered. Freeze entirely.

A variation is to cut the grape in half so that it has not only an ‘eye’ but an ‘eyeball’ with the center part. Have fun with it.

Jello Wigglers

Make your jello in a square tray. While mixing, either increase mix or decrease water as if you’re making Jello Wigglers. Let it set.

Main Punch

Mix 2 litres of orange drink mix into punch bowl, and mix in 2 litres of soda.

Cut up the thick jello or just mangle with a spoon (good for young kids to do) and put it into the punch – this adds the slime factor.

Once the Severed Hands are frozen, carefully peel off the gloves. If a finger breaks off, it just adds to the ghoulish ambiance! Put the Severed Hands in the punch. Now add the grape “eye ball” ice cubes (or save them for other drinks). Done!

The effect is wonderful, as the colors swirl and the punch bowl and table is lit underneath. Makes a great prop and delicious punch for kids!

PS. Use what ever punch recipes you like, just use complementary colours and flavors. Happy Halloween.

How to Host a Phantom of the Opera Masquerade Ball

It’s an enduring tale steeped in uber-dramatic design, longing and love, tragedy and terror – and it’s the PERFECT party theme for Halloween or any time you’re feeling a little bit Goth.

It’s Phantom of the Opera, and once you discover how cool this idea can be for your Halloween party, you’ll wonder why you didn’t get your hands on it sooner.

Here we offer your spookiest (and most darkly romantic) tips on how to plan memorable Phantom of the Opera masquerade ball, from the dark invitations to that gorgeous ballgown. Enjoy!

Invoking The Phantom: Your Party Invitations

Credit: freepik.com

Set the mood for your guests by sending out invitations that reflect the theme of the party and the mood you want – for instance, very formal; casual dress but high drama; or whatever your choice is for the evening.

Most masqued balls involve the women being masqued too; if so, add this to your invitations.

One memorable invitation idea is to print your invites on heavy card stock and then cut each invitation into the shape of the infamous Phantom mask. Clip two holes in each mask and run a thin elastic through to act as a band, making your invitation a wearable memory.

 

Credit: Pinterest, Audra Harmon

Another phantom-themed invitation idea is to print your invite on sheet music paper. Available at most music stores, you can purchase sheet music paper and age it to look old by staining it with tea, crumpling it and burning the edges – after you print your invitation details, of course! Roll each invitation up and seal it with a few drops of crimson red wax.

On your invitations, remember to include the date, time, location, whether or not food and refreshments will be served, and your expectations of how guests should dress. If you want to host a formal masquerade balll, indicate so on the invitation – ladies wear masks too! If you want to create a more casual event, let your guests know so they don’t show up in ball gowns and tuxedos. It’s all up to you!

Creating The Opera – Your Decorations

Credit: Paste Magazine

Create a Gothic and operatic feel with simple but stunning decorations. Start with dim lighting and an emphasis on candle light. From there, try this list of decorating suggestions to set the mood at your Phantom of The Opera Ball:

  • Rent or make dark red velvet curtains. Use these to line the walls of your party area and drape your staircase. When draping fabric, always be careful of candle placement.
  • Purchase fake or real red roses. Separate the roses and use them to decorate the room. For sit-down dinners, don each guest’s plate with a single red rose.
  • Play the soudtrack from the musical in the background as well as any favorite opera pieces. For dark and scary classical music, try Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana, Bach’s Toccata and Fugue, Mozart’s Requiem, or Mussorgsky’s Night on Bald Mountain/Pictures at an Exhibition. Any of these are sure to get your guests’ hearts pumping.
  • Hang fake cobwebs from the ceiling and around the edges of the table, giving the entire room a haunted and gothic look.
  • Use a sporadic fog machine to create a spooky and haunting ambiance throughout the evening. These are easily rented from most party and event supply vendors.
  • Hang a framed print of the poster for the popular musical, either over the mantel or in a prominent place that’s visible when guests first arrive.

Activities for a Phantom of the Opera Evening

If it fits within your budget, hire an opera singer to perform at the party – including selections from the Phantom of the Opera score and pieces of their choosing. For a less expensive performer alternative, try advertising at the local music school for advanced students who would be interested in performing at an event.

Your guests will most likely be dressed up, so provide a space for dancing and a line-up of music for later in the night. You can begin the evening with operatic and classical selections, but as the night wears on you and your guests may want some selections that are a little more contemporary and danceable.

What To Wear to a Phantom of the Opera Masquerade Ball

The primary criteria is a mask. A number of online retailers sell masks that range from elaborate and feathered to simple and basic, including ones based on the classic Phantom of the Opera mask. The general rule for most masquerade events is that guests must wear their masks until midnight.

Credit: Enigma Wigs

For dress, the host should indicate how formal or casual the event will be. Typically men will wear dark suits or tuxedos and women will wear opera-style ball gowns.

In true opera form, women can also opt for an elaborate updo hair style. Grab a realistic hair piece or extensions for ultra-glam and dance the night away in romance…for a night you’ll never forget.

GHOSTS! Easy crafts for Halloween

Something ghostly this way comes. These versatile Halloween ghosts can be made in any size. Even the big ones are so lightweight they will easily stay hung on your walls and ceilings as great decorations all through Halloween night. Boo!

Materials Needed:

  • Old white sheet
  • Scissors
  • Lots of lightweight, white gauze (you can buy by the yard at sewing stores)
  • White, black or red yarn
  • Lots of crumpled newspaper
  • Needle and heavy thread, such as plastic coated thread
  • Markers

Small Halloween Ghosts

For each ghost that you plan to make, crumple up a ball of newspaper the size of the head. For a small ghost, somewhere between the size of a golfball and a baseball is appropriate.

For each ghost, cut a circle of white gauze about 18 inches in diameter.

Cut a circle of white sheet or cloth anywhere from 12-16 inches in diameter.

Place the gauze circle on top of the white sheet circle. Then, place the newspaper ball in the very center. Gather all of the material around the ball and tie with yarn at the neck – red yarn will give a gory effect, white will be more invisible. The gauze should hang underneath and below the white sheet.

At this point, you can use the markers to give your ghost a face. You can choose to leave the gauze and sheet as is, or cut jagged edges on the bottom of your ghost — each choice gives a different and equally interesting effect.

Take needle and thread, and attach and knot the thread through the top of each ghost’s head. Strong tape will keep these ghosts hanging from your ceiling as long as you like!

Big Halloween Ghosts

Now that you have the hang of it, take more newspaper and make a life-size head. Use circles of white fabric and gauze that are large enough to seem like a small dress.

Put your big ghost together the same way you did the little ones. After you get the neck yarn tied, make sure to cut the bottom of the white sheet in a jagged pattern to show off the white gauze underneath. And don’t forget to make a scary face with markers on your ghost!

This big, scary ghosts love to hang out in doorways and at the top of staircases. He has a lot of fun when he is hung close to the front doorway to greet trick-or-treaters on Halloween night. He is lightweight, but he should be anchored well by hanging on a hook or with very strong tape. And even though he might be scary, he is still a lot of fun.

Enjoy your ghosts!

by Beth Taylor

Drawing of ghost