These sweet, squishy Halloween treatslook 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?
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)
Turn on your CD player and play “Somebody’s Watching Me” from Rockwell 🙂
Grease a cookie sheet.
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.
Use your fingers to hollow out the center of the marshmallow.
Fill the center with ½ teaspoon of strawberry jam.
Fit the marshmallow top back onto the marshmallow bottom.
Repeat for remaining marshmallows.
Refrigerate marshmallows for 30-45 minutes. This helps the top and bottom pieces adhere to each other.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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
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.
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.
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
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
If you’re not using a nonstick pan, use Pam or olive oil spray in a light mist over entire top surface of pan.
Open one can of crescent rolls and unroll the dough.
Place one triangular piece of crescent roll dough on the cookie sheet.
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.
Roll the remaining dough to form the rest of the finger, tapering it at the end and rounding it off so it looks realistic.
Put an almond slice on the end of the finger. Tuck the edges into the dough so that it looks like a fingernail.
Use a knife to score “wrinkles” into the knuckle.
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!
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)
Black paint and paintbrushes
Craft glue or glue gun
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.
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!
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 costumeideas.
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:
Print off your invitations on a heavy paper stock.
Preheat your oven to 200 degrees F.
Crumple up each invitation into a ball and then smooth them out.
Lay the invitations out on a standard baking sheet.
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.
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.
PART ONE: Brain Dip
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)
red and blue food coloring
1 round loaf of sourdough bread OR bone breadsticks (recipe follows below this recipe)
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.
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.
Chill hummus in the refrigerator for several hours. This will allow the flavors to mingle and the dip to thicken.
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.
When chilled, spoon the hummus into the bread bowl, smoothing the top to create a rounded mound.
Now, it’s time for a fun anatomy lesson. Using a toothpick, divide the brain into 2 hemispheres – the right and the left.
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.
Drip a little barbecue sauce for “blood” on your shaped brain.
Serve on a platter with chips, bone breadsticks, or pita crisps for dipping.
PART TWO: Bone Breadsticks
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.
1 18 oz roll of refrigerated pizza dough
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
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.
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.)
Place bones on greased cookie sheet.
Sprinkles with herbs, garlic salt and parmesan cheese.
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!
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
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.
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
Preheat oven to 425.
Oil a pizza pan or standard rectangular baking pan.
Flatten dough to the edges of pan.
Bake for 8-10 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.
Combine oil, cumin, garlic, and half the beans. Mix WELL until smooth.
Spread bean paste over dough.
Sprinkle cheese, allowing bean paste below to show.
Arrange olives and remaining black beans over the top.
Bake for an additional 8-10 minutes.
Remove and allow to cool. Sprinkle pepper over the top.
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!
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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!
Old white sheet
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
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.
Every time I had a party for my daughter, either at school or at home, I would rack my brains trying to come up with some simple yet clever party favors to give the kids. Hundreds, if not thousands of ideas exist on the web, but they were either too costly, too hard to find the supplies, or I had to be a full-time artist to make the items they called “simple and cheap.” Time to improvise!
Skeleton Hand Favors
At my local discount store, I looked at all the typical treat holders, which were cute but nothing out of the ordinary. I stood back and started thinking about what I could do with the first item I saw: a package of twelve mini skeleton hands. I thought about what it should be holding in its hand. I grabbed a bag of foil wrapped candy eyeballs, Tootsie Pops, and spider rings. Look how cute they turned out!
Here are several variations you can do in just a few minutes and with a little imagination. Oh, and no one else will be handing out the same thing as you!
Victorian Style Halloween Candy Cones
When I played around with my graphics program, I saw a pattern for a May Flower Cone. My twisted little mind came up with a great simple candy holder that is so inexpensive and creative that you and your kids can make them in one afternoon!
Halloween color paper
Jumbo pipe cleaners
Halloween sticker or Halloween stamps and ink pad
Lace and trims
Double stick tape/Hot glue gun
Print out a copy of the pattern and cut out as many cones as you need. Gently start pulling the edges together so that a cone forms. Be careful that the tip of the cone is closed so the candy won’t fall out. Staple the edge and down the sides so the cone is nice and sturdy. You can add double stick tape along the edge of the cone if it starts separating.
Punch two holes on either side of the top of the cone and attach jumbo pipe cleaners to form the handles. Your cone is built!
Decorating the Cone
Now comes the fun part! Add stickers to the cones or stamp them with all kinds of fun ink stamps. Take your lace or ribbons and hot glue them around the top of the cone’s outside. Attention: Either parents or adults need to do the hot gluing on the cones, since kids can get badly burned with glue guns!
There are many ways to decorate the cones, and you can make these for all seasons, too. The kids love to get make them, and their friends feel really special when they get one, too.
Silhouette Treat Bags
Brown or white bags (the smaller the better)
Thin ribbons (two or three colors)
Black Sharpie marker/pencil
One day I found out that the mom doing the treat bags for the school class had
dropped out. My daughter’s teacher called me in a panic and asked if I could come up with thirty treat bags for the next day. “Sure,” I calmly answered, hung up the phone, my hand already shaking, and then went into a full panic.
I raced around town and couldn’t find thirty of any one kind of treat container! As I jogged past a craft section in a store, I saw bags of little brown paper sacks. I grabbed thirty-five of them (I always goof up on some of them) and gleefully headed home, ideas racing in my mind. I’d been looking at a child’s stencil book the night before and had thought of what great silhouettes they’d make.
I laid all the bags flat on the table and traced each stencil lightly with a pencil. Then I took a Sharpie marker and filled it in. It looked great! Next, I filled the bags with candy, toys, and a Halloween tongue twister I’d printed off and cut into strips. I folded the bag shut and punched two holes side by side. I ran the three colors of ribbons though and tied them in a bow. Done!
So don’t panic if you get caught short or if you just want to do something special for a party you’re helping with at the last moment. Take a minute to look around at what you have and an idea will come to you that will be totally original and wow everyone. Shoot, I make up different favors for every holiday and pull them out to fill when the day comes. So sit back on the next burning hot July day and make Halloween flavors then and store them.
Check back for other ideas. I’ll be posting more Halloween favors and treats for other holidays. You can never have too many ideas on hand!
This “Rat Stew” is complete with legs, tails, whiskers, eyes and entrails. This Halloween recipeis actually for a scrumptious Mediterranean stew, baked in a real pumpkin for a stunning presentation.
If anyone thinks they have identified the “rat legs” as chicken, simply give them an evil smile and say, “Well, they say everything tastes like chicken, right?” Even though it may look complicated, this is an easy recipe.
2 tablespoons olive oil
1.5 lb chicken wingettes (mini-drumsticks, for the rat legs)
1/2 lb smoked sausage links
1 onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper
4 cloves garlic
1/4 of a 6.75 oz package of maifun rice sticks (these are very thin Asian rice noodles, for whiskers. You could also substitute angel hair)
1/4 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon thyme
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon basil
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon rosemary
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
3 cups chicken or beef broth
1 1/2 cups red wine
Black olives, for eyes
1 8-10 lb pumpkin
Open the top of the pumpkin. Scrape out the insides.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
Mix 1/4 cup flour, salt, pepper, paprika and thyme together. Reserve 1 1/2 tablespoons of this mixture for thickening the stew.
Heat the olive oil in a skillet. Dredge the chicken wingettes in the remaining flour mixture and brown them in the skillet with the oil.
While the wings brown, slice sausage into tails. To make tails, cut each sausage in half vertically. Then, cut each of these halves in half lengthwise. Cut the sausage halves into thin slices that taper to a point at one end, like rat tails. See the illustration.
Chop bell pepper into long thin strips (think entrails). Also, chop onion and mince garlic.
After chicken has browned, transfer it to the pumpkin.
Heat sausage, garlic, pepper, and onion in skillet until sausage is browned and vegetables are soft.
Put sausage and vegetables into the pumpkin with the chicken.
In a bowl, combine broth, wine, Worcestershire sauce, and herbs. Pour into pumpkin.
Place pumpkin on a strong baking sheet and brush outside with olive oil.
Bake for an hour and 45 minutes at 375 degrees.
Remove pumpkin. Break rice sticks into 3-4 inch long pieces and add to the pumpkin stew. If necessary, mix reserved flour mixture into a paste with a little bit of water and add to stew to thicken it.
Return the pumpkin to oven for another 15 minutes.
Remove the pumpkin from the oven, and season stew with additional salt and pepper if necessary. You can either add the black olive “eyes” directly to the stew or serve them on the side as a garnish. When serving stew, make sure to scrape some of the pumpkin meat off of the side.
Yum! Not too much rat in it. Just five or so. Enjoy!
Editor’s Note: From first tracing to spray-painting, this project should take about 10 minutes. Beginners may want to go more slowly. For fast, party-ready results, do just the basics. If you’d like to add creative touches, allow more time. Enjoy and stay spooky, friends!
Ready to scare up some inexpensive, fast and totally terrifying fun? This is the BEST tombstone tutorial we’ve come across and our most popular DIY here at Halloween Alliance. It’s so easy, it’s scary! Read on for the scoop.
1. Gather Your Building Materials
Styrofoam sheeting. Because we’re going with a simple, classic design in this tutorial, we are going to use a high-density Styrofoam sheet for the body and join it to a lumber wood base.
Latex spray paint: one black can, one white can and one gray can.
Materials and tools for an optional base if desired. (This step is NOT required. If you’d like to try it, the tutorial is at the end of this article.)
Let’s get started!
Step 2: Drawing the Stone’s Outline
Not everyone is blessed with DaVinci-esque art talent. This is why I always like to use geometric shapes. (Don’t worry, starting with the basics, you’ll wind up with something super-scary and ultra realistic!)
Google “tombstones” or “tombstone shapes” and be as simple or complex as you’d like – it’s up to you.
Draw your shape on a piece of large paper, such as butcher block. You can use straight edges, rulers, or curved items to draw around if you’d like to make sure you’re being perfectly geometric. Use any pencil.
Using a push-pin, poke holes periodically around the shape of your stone. This will show you where to cut in Step 4.
Step 3: Etching Your “Epitaph”
This part is easy and very creative – have fun with it! Start off simple until you get the hang of working with styrofoam. (For quick “ten minute” results, etch the name and/or a brief epitaph only. Once you get started, you’ll want to be more creative; additional touches will take more time. Enjoy!)
Use your imagination and come up with a great saying for your stone.
Use stencils or a steady hand to write/draw the words and images on your butcher block paper.
Add any decorations you’d like, using stencils or grabbing household items to circle around with your pencil.
Now use your push-pin to poke tiny holes to form the shapes and letters.
Remove the paper and cut your shapes and letters deeper and wider with your cutting tool. Go slowly! Take your time with this step.
TIP: Don’t create decorations too close to the edges of your tombstone. You may loose parts of them when cutting the styrofoam.
Step 4: Cutting Out the Tombstone Shape
IMPORTANT! This article assumes you have the skills, knowledge and previous experience needed to be able to safely operate and use any of the tools which may be required to complete this project. If you don’t – just buy a tombstone! We’re serious about this.
Lay the paper back onto your styrofoam sheet. Tack it down if you’d like with pins.
CAREFULLY cut around the shape of your tombstone. Keep your steadying (non-cutting) hand well away from the cutting tool and don’t cut toward that hand.
Alternately, you can use any sharp knife or a small keyhole wood saw.
“Touch-up trim” as necessary. An old carpenter’s rule is “measure once, cut twice.” Go slowly and you’ll be much happier with the results!
NOTE: Want to attach a wooden base to your tombstone? We’ve included one at the end of the article. However, for the quick-and-dirty for a basic, read-to-scare tombstone, read on. (The images include an attached wooden base.)
Step 5: Painting the Tombstone
The choices for decorating your tombstone are only limited by your imagination and your budget. For the sake of the Ten Minute Tombstone, we’ll keep the finish simple – something appropriate for mid- to back-row placement.
For this project we’ll paint the entire tombstone with flat gray latex paint. (Note: It needs to be latex because oil based paints will dissolve or eat into the Styrofoam.) If you have a latex allergy, DO NOT use this method. Use an alternative method instead.
Once the gray coat of paint is dry (or once your choice of finish is ready), use black and then white spray paint to add some highlighting.
Spray in spurts so it isn’t too “perfect.”
Use a LIGHT touch so you don’t get one flat color; the effect is meant to be mottled.
Tip: Practice first on the back side of the tombstone or on scrap styrofoam.
It’s really hard to go wrong with this, as the tombstone is meant to look weathered and imperfect.
Step 6: Attaching Your Stakes
Push two or three stakes into the bottom of your tombstone so you can secure it into the ground later.
Go slowly so you don’t poke through the bottom of the stone. Grip the stakes by the side if you’re using a staple style, so you don’t cut your hands during this step.
Add touches such as graveyard moss or a faux crow for an additional scare factor. Or simply place your gorgeous and grim new creation in the ground as is. Happy Halloween!
BONUS: Attaching a Wood Base (Optional)
This is an ADVANCED technique. If you’re not familiar working with the tools described below, ask a friend to help.
Depending on how thick the Styrofoam body is, you can use a combination of 2X6 and 2 X4 lumber or 2X8 and 2X6 lumber.
In this example we’re using two inch hi-density Styrofoam, so we will need to cut two pieces of 2X6 the same as the measurement across the front of the tombstone’s body. In our case, it’s about 17.5 inches.
Then measure the depth of the two pieces of 2X6 plus the body – this will be the measurement of the next two 2X6 cuts. In this case, about 5.25 inches.
Once they are cut, place all the cut pieces of 2X6 around the Styrofoam and screw them together by using 2 ½ inch screws – I like to use three per joint.
Once this is complete, measure across the width of the 2X6’s. This measurement will be the amount we need to cut the 2X4. In this case, it’s approximately 20.5 inches.
Cut two pieces at this length and line them up in the same manner as we did for the 2X6.
Next measure the depth of the two pieces of 2X4 plus the body – this will be the measurement of the next two 2X4 cuts. In this case approx 8.5 inches.
Image of nail compared to the depth of the 2×6 plus the body
The next step is important because it helps ensure the tombstone body and base will ultimately stay together.
Hammer three 6-inch nails through the 2X6, the Styrofoam body and the other 2X6. (Always use safety-goggles when hammering.) Do this from the front as some of the 6-inch nails will stick out the back. To handle this we’ll place one of the longer cut 2X4’s under the bottom 2X6 so the excess nail can go into the 2X4. Be sure that 2X4 is lined up correctly with the 2X6.
Once the nailing is done, place the remaining three cut pieces of 2X4’s around the Tombstone body with its attached 2X6 base. Screw these pieces together using 2 1/2 inch screws – three per joint.
Now for a little added reinforcement. We’ll go ahead and add a few extra screws which will further hold the 2X4’s to the 2X6’s for a nice solid base.
Avast, matey – so ye be wantin’ to throw a pirate party, eh?
Well then look-ee no furtharrr! Whether you’re celebrating Talk Like a Pirate Day (Sept. 19), hosting a pirate-themed Halloween party, or throwing a pirate’s birthday bash, we’ll cover it all!
Keep reading for cool tips on pirate invitations, decorations, costumes, and mighty-fine high seas menus – including one kick-A watermelon boat you’re just going to HAVE to have.
Start incorporating your pirate theme right from the very beginning – with your invitations. You can make great invitations at home, like a hidden treasure map or a pirate’s hat.
Treasure Map Invitations
To make invitations that look like treasure maps, print the directions to your party in rhyme and include a small, hand-drawn map that you can photocopy onto the invitations.
Once that’s done, make the paper look yellowy and old by crumpling it and staining it with tea. Roll up the invitation and either tie it with string or, if you’re hand-delivering the invitations, stuff it in a bottle.
Pirate Hat Invitations
If you’re using a thicker card stock, you can also get away with cutting your invitations out in classic pirate shapes, like a pirate’s hat that attendees can wear. (Tip: Pressed for time? Sketch a quick pirate’s hat, write party information in the white spaces, and copy for guests.)
To make a pirate’s hat invitation, start with black card stock or construction paper. Fold a rectangular piece of paper (8.5 x 11 is fine) in half, bringing together the shorter sides.
Turn the corners down along the crease, lining them up (like you’re making a paper airplane). Then fold up either side’s bottom edge to create your brim.
You can make a chin string by punching holes in each side and running elastic or thread through the holes. Print your invitation details, including date and time, and glue it to the pirate hat.
Pirate Theme Decorations
Raise the skull-and-crossbones flag, because you’re throwing a pirate party!
Decorating for a pirate party can be as simple as throwing down some black and white striped cloth over the tables, or as elaborate as turning your entire living room into the inside of a galleon. Some affordable decorative suggestions:
Purchase inexpensive fishing nets from your local hunting or gaming store. Drape these from the staircases and ceilings. For an added touch, wrap a few fake skulls up in the netting before you hang it.
Scour your basement or local garage sales for old trunks that could double as treasure chests. Fill these with party favors, or even an ice cooler filled with beers (now that’s a treasure!)
You KNOW you need a black flag. Fly it above the party table, in the dance area if you have one, or outside to tell guests, “Yar, the party be in here!”
Buy metal buckets from your local hardware store and fill these with snacks or, again, more iced beer.
Use an old sheet (you can “age” it by lightly dying it with yellow food dye and carefully burning the edges) and stakes from the hardware store to make a sail and mast for the front lawn or even the front room.
Hearty Eating and Drinking
No party is complete without a full refreshments table. Keep your menu pirate-themed by serving pirate drinks and themed treats that are also tasty. Here are some great snack suggestions:
Hollow out half of a watermelon to make a boat shape. Fill it with fruit or dip and plant a little sail and pirate flag in the middle. Alternative HOT idea: try out your artistic skills and carve a watermelon shark instead.
Pick up inexpensive pirate topper toothpicks and insert into frothy cupcakes.
Serve up roasted chicken and turkey legs or jerk chicken for a real island swashbuckler’s dining experience.
Fill a metal bucket with chocolate coins and mark it “Treasure,” or gummy worms and mark it “Fish Bait.”
Make coconut balls and dip them in black food coloring to make them “cannon balls.”
Serve a lot of rum (Captain Morgan anyone?) drinks, beer and, of course, some non-alcoholic Pirate’s Punch for those who don’t imbibe. A classic pirate’s drink is Grog – dark rum, a teaspoon of sugar, cloves, lemon juice, a dash of cinnamon and a splash of hot water. Serving it in a hearty mug completes a true tradition.
Pirate Costume Ideas
Amid the death-defyin’ frenzy of putting together your pirate party, don’t forget your own costume!
If you’re not a tailor or creative in your closet, a number of online retailers sell pre-made pirate’s costumes that include wigs, hooks, boots and all the accessories you need to put together a pirate’s outfit. But if you’re feeling creative, check out Pinterest or Google for quick ideas. Here are ours:
Hunt for treasure in your own closet! Or check out Goodwill or your local consignment shop.
Cut yoga pants jaggedly across the bottom. Instant pirate pants.
If you have a white shirt, cut an old shirt of any alternating color into wide stripes. Glue onto shirt with fabric glue.
Take an old leather or vinyl belt you won’t be wearing anymore. Cut off the buckle and tie closed.
A bandanna gives you an instant pirate look. Red and black are both traditional.
For a pirate wench, any wide “hippie” style skirt will work. hitch it up and pin it on one side to the knee, or go super-saucy and hitch it all the way up to the waist. Wear boyshorts underneath if you’re a bit shy!
Grab a phony parrot, pin it to your shoulder and you’re done! Now, walk the plank!
If there’s any one creature that just screams (and I do mean that!) “Halloween,” it’s the crawly, hairy, and generally oversized Halloween spider.
I LOVE making papier mache projects. You can shape your prop any way you’d like; the possibilities are endless. With that in mind, I’m sharing one of my very favorite prop tutorials with you: the Papier Mache Spider.
NOTE: This project will take a few days to complete (mainly due to drying), but the results are well worth the time and planning. This project also lends itself to artistic interpretation and variation; a group of people can work on this project together, and each spider will turn out unique. That is one reason why this is one of my favorite craft projects.
As with any project, make sure you have all of the materials you will need to complete the project before you begin.
Faux fur, if desired (your color choice; try black, striped, fawn/beige, white or red-and-black striped)
Each balloon will make one spider, so you control the size of your spider by the size of the blown up balloon.
STEP ONE: CREATE YOUR BASIC FORM
First, of course, blow up your balloons. If you want to hang your finished spider from a hook in the ceiling, then tie a piece of yarn around the bottom of the body/abdomen (larger) balloon.
Now tape toilet paper rolls together to form jointed legs (see the image at right for your basic format). Tape these to the body and across the head so everything stays securely in place. To make tapered legs, pinch/crush the rolls at the very tip (bottom) of each “leg.”
If you’d like, make pointy fangs out of tape by rolling pieces together and pinching at the end. Tape securely to head.
STEP TWO: CREATE PASTE
Papier mache paste can be created with items as simple as a bottle of liquid starch from the grocery store and strips of newspaper. (You can also purchase dry papier mache and add water according to the directions.)
For a professional finish, I am including a good paper mache paste recipe:
2/4 C. sugar
1/4 C. all purpose flour (NOT self-rising)
1/2 teaspoon powdered alum
1 3/4 cups water
1/4 teaspoon oil of peppermint or cinnamon or clove (optional)
In a pan, sift together sugar, flour and alum. Gradually pour in 1 cup of the water, stirring to break up lumps. Boil until clear and smooth, stirring constantly. Then add the remaining water and the oil of peppermint, and stir until thoroughly mixed.
When cool, this paste can be stored in a lidded jar for later use.
STEP THREE: APPLY THE PAPIER MACHE
When you are ready to paper mache your spider’s body, make sure your work area is protected with an old tablecloth or newspaper. Pour the paper mache paste (or bottle of starch) into a big bowl, and have the long strips of torn newspaper ready.
Dip one strip of newspaper into the paste, then remove excess from the paper with your fingers. Gently lay the wet strip of newspaper on your spider’s body and smooth down. Continue this process until the spider’s body is well-covered.
Be especially careful when you lay strips of wet newspaper around the spider’s legs. You want to ensure that the legs are firmly set against the spider’s body.
Hang or set your spider in a safe place to dry. This could take 1 to 3 days.
STEP FOUR: PAINT AND ADD HAIR
Now it’s time to paint your spider. I prefer acrylic paints. Cover the entire body.
When the paint is dry, you might prefer coating it with a little shellac or gesso — again, that just gives it a nicer finish and helps the spider to last longer. If you want to add some faux spider “fur,” now is the time .
Whether you hang your spider from the ceiling or in the doorway, or place him on a counter or shelf, remember to enjoy your new arachnid friend.
Thirsty for something darkly different for your Halloween party? How about an eerie party punch? We’re grimly glad to deliver this sweet offering (with a little bite!) from guest contributor Sarah Briggs.
1 two-liter bottle of ginger ale, Sprite, blackberry soda, or your soda of choice
1 packet of black cherry Kool-Aid
12 oz of frozen berries (a mix of strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries), thawed
1/2 of a 750-ml bottle of Dekuyper’s Pomegranate liqueur*
5 cups of clear rum or vodka
1 packet of Pop Rocks Candy, for special effects (optional)
*For a non-alcoholic punch, simply leave out the alcoholic ingredients. Your punch will still look – and taste – bloody good!
Grab a black cauldron (or other eerie beverage server) and begin cackling. (This part is important! Got to have ambiance, don’t’cha know.) IMPORTANT: Thoroughly chill all ingredients before beginning.
For the “scabs,” mash berries using a potato masher or process in a blender for 30 seconds.
Combine soda, cherry Kool-Aid, berries and alcohol in the cauldron … sorry, your punch bowl.
When you are ready to serve, wave your hands over the bowl and recite: “Double, double, toil and trouble. Fire burn and cauldron bubble…!”
Pour in the Pop Rocks immediately before the party – they’ll make the punch snap, crackle and pop for the next several minutes!
Mmm. The Black Death never tasted so good!
Get your Halloween on. All year long.