Maia asked for a Halloween party this year and I thought it sounded like a lot of fun. She was in charge of the invite list and making the invitations but left the rest to me. I asked a good friend of mine, Missy, and her sister Amanda to help me. They both are very good at party planning and enjoy it thoroughly.
Amanda was creative force behind the decorations, Missy was our logistics and miscellania pro and also used her creative talents at graphic design for various labels and signs. Of course that left me with the treats!! I also made the food and while it was cute--ghost pizza, spooky spider cheese, fried worms & spiders with vampire's blood--it's just wasn't as fun to make or photograph.
These vanilla cupcakes with chocolate frosting almost didn't happen. I was determined to find a little spider to perch on the white chocolate spiderwebs but couldn't find teeny spiders anywhere. I contemplated for a half minute piping spiders too but I didn't see how their legs would hold up and quickly abandoned that idea. Lucky for me, Missy saved the day and found the spiders....in the button section of Jo-Ann Fabrics.
The chocolate dipped pretzels were a breeze to make but a few hours when I lifted them from the wire rack some of the drizzled colored candy came up. I found this disappointing but luckily it wasn't too bad. I'm not sure how to avoid this--perhaps spray the wire rack with Pam first? Run a finger or a knife between the drizzled candy while it's still soft to help separate the drizzles from one another and prevent it being pulled up?
Dipping things into melted candy coating always seems such an easy thing to me until I begin to do it. Within minutes, I'm having a melt down of my own as it's not going as well as I planned it to. Things dip smoothly and then have a weird lump or swirl somewhere and it annoys me. The candy overheats despite all of my precautions (lowest heat, double boiler, etc) and I have to stop and thin it.
For this particular treat, it was the Halloween Oreos inside the pop that gave me such grief. They simply were too heavy to stay on the stick. The first one I tried plopped right into the bowl of candy coating leaving me dismayed and holding an empty stick. The next one, I 'glued' the stick inside the Oreo with a bit of additional candy coating before I dipped it. It fell off too. And so did the one I glued and froze for fifteen minutes after I remembered how you freeze cake balls prior to making cake pops. Finally, I picked up a small offset spatula and one by one coated the Oreos on their sticks and sprinkled each one with nonpareils before moving on to the next one.
It took me over three hours to do six Oreos for the party plus another 36 for the brass section of my son's high school marching band. I'm still traumatized.
Hershey Bats were a breeze to make in comparison to the Halloween Oreo Pops. I printed off a bat template and traced it onto black construction paper. A few minutes with scissors, some dabs of glue for the googly eyes, and a white out pen for the toothy grins and the bats were finished. The fun sized Hershey bars are held onto the bat with a strip of double sided tape.
A Hershey Bat, a Ghost Peep, and a graham cracker was nestled in a small bag and then this adorable label (also by Missy) was attached to the top. The party go-ers later oohed and aahed over the Spooky S'mores which was satisfying but then I must admit it became somewhat horrifying as six s'more's craving girls ripped into the little bags around little fire in the chiminea on the deck. Labels and bats with their bellies torn out went flying every which way. I guess since it was Halloween it was pretty appropriate.
A small glimpse of Amanda's decorating: In the foreground is a string of lights that has hand tied fabric ties up and down the length of it and then it was illuminated by a black light. In the background, there are handcut bats, sticky spiderwebs, candles, a skull, and a handmade burlap banner.
The dining room, foyer, and kitchen were well decorated too but the best pictures are the ones that have all of the girls in them and I wouldn't want to share pictures of other people's children without prior permission. There was another burlap banner, a spooky miniature Halloween town on the victrola, more spiderwebs and lights, mysterious potions and a spell book, a broomstick next to a smoking cauldron, and so many other little touches that I don't think I could list them all! The girls spent a lot of time looking at all of the decorations and even the next morning when they had pancakes by candlelight they were still getting up to look at this thing and that.
The games were of the more traditional sort. They bobbed for apples, made mummies (teams of two and each team gets a roll of toilet paper to see who can make a mummy the faster out of the entire roll), dropped clothespin bats into a jar, and were blindfolded to listen to a creepy story that had disgusting things to touch like eyeballs (peeled grapes), windpipe (cold, cooked manicotti pasta), and a clammy hand (rubber glove filled with cold sand) to name a few. Amanda also brought a glitter tattoo set and the girls painted their nails in Halloween colors while waiting their turn to be tattoed.
A three hour party goes by quickly when there's plenty to eat, see, and do. Maia thanked me over and over and over later and said she had an 'awesome time.' I think the other girls did too because Missy, Amanda, and I got plenty of thank yous as they left and they all seemed to be very excited, happy, and tired when it was time to go. I know the three of us adults were!
I was very grateful for all of the help I had in planning Maia's party and again I want to say: Thank you Missy and Amanda for all of your help! I really appreciated it! And....if you need someone on the treats and sweet team for that baby shower and that Santa's Breakfast I now you're planning you know who to ask!