Halloween isn't just for kids. In fact, the whole children's holiday thing is relatively new in this celebration's very long history. For ancient people all over the Northern Hemisphere, mid-autumn meant the end of the warm growing season. It was a time to celebrate the harvest and prepare for harsher times to come when the crops would die off, animals would stop producing and the days would grow colder and darker. Halloween was a festival to honour the dead and rejoice in being alive. And all festivals revolve around a feast! This year why not host a Halloween dinner party for the grown-ups? It doesn't have to be fussy and it can be a lot of fun. Here's a bit of inspiration to get you started!
Choose Your Colour Scheme
Halloween is a dramatic holiday deserving a befitting palette. Black and white is always elegant. Try table gingham linens in black and white for a bold backdrop. You can always go for a more earthy look by incorporating fall colours like burnt orange, deep yellow, brown and gold. Or go witchy with deep jewel tones like emerald green, rich purples and scarlet. Look for inspiration in movies, story books and nature.
Set the Stage
Hit your local dollar store for affordable Halloween props—crows, cobwebs and candles, for starters. Spanish moss available at craft stores looks beautifully creepy under dinner plates. Candlelight is the best light to set the mood. Place tapers in wine bottles and let the wax melt down the sides for added drama. Carved miniature pumpkins and gourds are perfect candleholders for tea lights. Don't forget flowers. Moody-hued dahlias and hydrangeas mixed with twisting twigs, fallen leaves, dried flowers and herbs make for a gorgeous and dramatic centrepiece. Draping cobwebs over lights and mirrors and setting the table with black, rustic orange or metallic dinnerware will help to pull everything together. Have some eerie music playing in the background.
Welcome your guests with mulled apple cider. Later, wow them with dry ice chips in cocktails served in beautiful glassware to create smokey swirls. Use ghostly pickled white asparagus as stir sticks. Add a few drops of squid ink to blacken wine and garnish with orange zest.
You can go as simple or as elaborate as you want. Welcome your guests in from the cold dark night with thematic appetizers. A pumpkin parmesan dip served in a baked and hollowed out pumpkin is on point and delicious. For the main course, a rich lamb stew served in a showstopper cocotte, black squid ink pasta with shrimp and scallops or something simple like shepherd's pie or hearty chilli with crusty bread will all do quite nicely. And for dessert? Go decadent with a rich chocolate mouse with raspberry sauce or decorated sugar cookies or even chocolate-covered insects with coffee or tea. Not up for cooking for a crowd? You can always do a potluck and ask each guest to bring a spooky dish to share. Happy Halloween from Penna & Co!