Hostess with the Mostess: 5 Steps for an EPIC Halloween Party

In Brittany Strickland, Home and Entertaining, Jessica Comegys by Lola Magazine

If you’re thinking about doing a glam hostess with the mostess Halloween party, here’s a step-by-step guide! 

  1. Theme: Decide the type of Halloween party you want to have.  Do you want to go gory-slasher-flick style? Do you want to keep it kid friendly?  Do you want to do a vampire theme or a mad scientist theme? I decided to do a spooky glamorous theme. Is that a thing? I think so! I don’t love the gory Halloween stuff but I love to create a creepy and spooky atmosphere.
  2. Decorations: You could throw up a few fake spider webs, but to throw an epic party, you have to commit to the decor.  Once you’ve decided your theme, you can figure out which direction to take your decor. I put a sparkling spider web all over the console mirror.  I put out lots of gem-tone décor, including velvet pumpkins. I also used a lot of my antique silver pieces and didn’t polish them for that extra “abandoned” look.
  3. Lighting: We’ve said it once, we’ll say it again. Lighting is one of the most important parts of the spooky factor.  Turn off all the overhead lights and light the room with colored lights and candles everywhere. Be careful with your candles and don’t set your house on fire!  I found these cool candles that appear to be bleeding as they drip!
  4. Music: You could put on a generic Halloween station, but do you really want to hear “Thriller” 14 times? (I kinda do.) I find it best to create a station by listening to it in the days before and training it to play the stuff I like for the mood I’m creating.
  5. Food & Drinks: Dry Ice is key for any spooky drink. Handle it with gloves and tongs; it will “burn” you. Adding it to the punch bowl will give it the smoldering look and really take your tablescape to the next level.  We turned everyday party food into elevated Halloween magic just by putting a little creative touches on them. Like molding the cheese ball into a witch’s hat and adding some dark balsamic and herbs to the olives.

    Menu:

    1. Witchy Cheese Board
    2. Pumpkin Hummus
    3. Smoky Pumpkin Chili
    4. Poison Apple Cider
    5. Black Widow Martini

A saucy Halloween playlist

  • Love Potion #9, By The Searchers
  • I Put A Spell On You, By Screamn’ Jay Hawkins
  • Howlin’ For You, By The Black Keys
  • Witchcraft, By Frank Sinatra
  • Black No. 1, By Type O Negative
  • Castin’ My Spell, By Johnny Otis
  • What’s A Girl To Do?, By Bat For Lashes
  • My Body’s A Zombie For You, By Dead Man’s Bones
  • Strange And Beautiful (I’ll Put A Spell On You), By Acqualung
  • Sally’s Song, By Catherine O’hara And Chris Boardman
  • Black Magic Woman, By Fleetwood Mac
  • She Blinded Me With Science, By Thomas Dolby
  • Love Song For A Vampire, By Annie Lennox
  • Touch-a, Touch-a, Touch Me, By Susan Sarandon
  • I’m Your Boogie Man, By Kc & The Sunshine Band
  • Lil’ Devin, By The Cult
  • Abracadabra, By Steve Miller Band
  • Strange Brew, By Cream
  • Zombie Dance, By The Cramps
  • E.T., By Katy Perry
  • Little Ghost, By White Stripes
  • Disturbia, By Rihanna
  • Howl, By Florence & The Machine
  • Bad Things, By Jace Everett
  • She Wolf, By Shakira
  • Vampire, By John & Jehn
  • Witchy Woman, By Eagles
  • Gloomy Sunday, By Billie Holliday
  • Skeleton Song, By Kate Nash
  • Witch, By The Bird And The Bee
  • Monster, By Lady Gaga

SMOKY PUMPKIN CHILI

  • 1 (2-3 pound) pork shoulder roast or butt
  • 4 tablespoon honey
  • ¼ cup chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons smoked paprika
  • 2 teaspoons chipotle chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 leaves bay
  • 1 (12 ounce) beer (I used pumpkin beer)
  • 2 teaspoons cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire
  • 1 (28 ounce) can fired roasted crushed tomatoes
  • 2 (6 ounce) cans tomato paste
  • 4 cups fresh pumpkin diced (or 1 can pumpkin puree)*
  • 1 (14 ounce) can black beans rinsed + drained (optional)
  • shredded sharp cheddar cheese sour cream or Greek yogurt and cilantro, for topping

CINNAMON SUGAR PUMPKIN SEEDS

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • salt to taste
  1. Add the pork to the bowl of a crockpot. Drizzle the honey over the pork and then sprinkle with chili powder, chipotle chili powder, cinnamon, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne and season with ½ teaspoon salt. Add the bay leaves and then pour in the beer, cider vinegar, Worcestershire, fire roasted tomatoes and tomato paste. Add the cubed pumpkin and stir to combine.
  2. Cover the crockpot and cook on low for 7-8 hours or on high for 4-6 hours (I recommend going low and slow).
  3. Just before you are ready to shred the pork, make the pumpkin seeds. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a heavy-bottomed medium skillet, add the butter and melt over medium heat until just browned. Butter will melt, foam, and froth, and then begin to brown along the bottom. Whisk the browned bits off of the bottom of the pan. Remove from the heat and stir in the pumpkin seeds, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt. Toss well and then spread the mixture out onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Roast for 20-30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes to make sure nothing is burning. Remove from the oven. Taste and season with salt if desired.
  4. Remove the pork from the crockpot and let cool slightly. Lightly shred the pork with two forks or your hands and return the meat to the crockpot. Add the black beans. Toss well, cover and warm through. If the chili base is too thick for your liking, add a cup or so of chicken broth until your desired consistency is reached.
  5. To serve, ladle the chili into bowls. Top with a dollop of Greek yogurt and shredded cheddar cheese. Sprinkle the pumpkin seeds over the chili.

THE WITCH’S CHEESE HAT

  • 2 ounces cream cheese cold
  • 8 ounces gorgonzola cheese crumbled
  • 1 tablespoon fresh sage chopped
  • 4 cloves roasted garlic optional
  • 2 tablespoons fig preserves
  • 1⁄3 cup roasted pistachios chopped
  • salt + pepper to taste
  • poppy seeds for coating the hat
  • pomegranate arils for the rim of the hat
  1. Mix ingredients together using hands to really get it mixed. Mold in a ziplock or disposable piping bag so that the cheese can get the triangular shape, chill until firm. Garnish with seeds and arils.

OOZY FIG BAKED BRIE

  • 1 (8 ounce) wheel brie
  • ¾ cup fig preserves
  • arils from one pomegranate
  1. Place brie on a plate, spread preserves, microwave for 30-45 seconds until melted. Serve with crackers.

PUMPKIN HUMMUS

  • 1 (15 ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
  • 2 chipotle chilies in adobo
  • 1 clove garlic, grated
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne powder
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • kosher salt and pepper
  1. Combine the chickpeas, pumpkin and olive oil in a food processor and puree until smooth. Finely chop the chipotle chilies and add to a bowl. Mix the chilies with the garlic, honey, cinnamon, cayenne, cumin, oregano, chili powder, and salt and pepper. Stir half chipotle mix into the hummus, and add the remaining to the top of the hummus. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with pepitas seeds before serving. Serve with sweet potato chips, fig crackers or other foods for dipping.

MARINATED MOZZARELLA EYEBALLS

  • 1 (8 ounce) jar green martini olives drained
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme + rosemary
  • 2 tablespoons fresh sage chopped
    • salt + pepper to taste
    • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
  • olive oil enough to cover the cheese

MARTINI

  • ¼ cup pomegranate juice
  • 1½ ounces bourbon (or vodka works here too)
  • ½ ounce raspberry liquor (Chambord)
  • juice from 1/2 a lemon
  • 1 teaspoon pure maple syrup, more or less to taste
  • bing cherries for serving

APPLE CIDER

  • 1/2 gallon apple cider
  • 2 cups freshly squeezed blood orange juice
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 8 ounces vodka (optional)
  • 8 ounces brandy (optional)
  • 2 (12 ounces) bottles ginger beer
  • 2 (12 ounce) bottles of sparkling blackberry soda
  • arils from 1 pomegranate
  • 2 thinly sliced apples
  • blood orange slices for garnish
  1.  In a large pitcher, combine the apple cider, orange juice, lemon juice, vodka, and brandy. Chill until ready to serve. When ready to serve, add the ginger beer, soda, pomegranate arils, and apple slices. Serve in punch glasses.