Do you want to throw a family Halloween party this fall that looks like you spent a fortune but was actually easy on your time and budget? You can! And you don’t have to be a craft wizard or spend hours in the kitchen learning how to origami-slice a pumpkin into a dragon to do it. Forget about buying expensive store-bought decorations or having professional help with the catering; get your family involved in the party preparations and it will be more fun for everyone.
One of the best ways to save money and still host a great get together is to narrow the food choices. Don’t skimp on the amounts, especially at a party during fall, the season of abundance. But instead of preparing six different savory dishes and three or four sweet ones, select no more than four savory items and two sweet ones. As long as the food is delicious, bountiful and fun, your guests will still have a wonderful time.
Here are a few healthy and creative food ideas that won’t break the bank:
Make your favorite deviled egg recipe; estimate at least one whole egg per person. Slice a whole, pitted black olive in half. Place the olive, cut side down, on the center of the yolk. Slice a second olive in half and then slice each half into fourths. Arrange the eight “legs” around the first olive and you have a surprisingly realistic looking black spider perched on top of a deviled egg.
With nothing more than a tube of refrigerated breadstick dough and a sprinkle of coarse salt you can make delicious homemade “bones.” Simply separate the rectangular pieces of dough and give each end a 1 ½-inch slice with a sharp knife. Shape the two end flaps into the round knobs of a bone. Place the bones on a baking sheet and lightly sprinkle with coarse salt. Bake as directed. Serve them with a trio of dips such as marinara sauce (blood), hummus (marrow) and guacamole (green slime).
Kids love eating these and adults appreciate the healthy snack. Place baby carrots on a paper towel and dry them well. Dab a small amount of cream cheese on one end (the cheese won’t stick if the carrot is too moist) and press a slivered almond on top of the cheese to look like a fingernail.
Use store-bought fudge-covered graham crackers, chocolate kisses and chocolate frosting to create a no-bake dessert that looks like you spent hours crafting it! Place the cookies fudge-side up and pipe a small dab of chocolate frosting in the center. Unwrap the kiss and press in into the frosting. Voila! A chocolate witch’s hat.
Mad Scientist Brew
The key ingredient in this drink is a clear plastic glass – seeing it is half the fun. Fill several ice cube trays with different kinds of juice. Use a variety of colors like grape juice, orange, pomegranate and even tomato. Serve glasses of clear soda like Sprite with the colorful ice cubes. As the ice melts the soda changes colors and flavors.
For décor stay as natural as possible. Use large bowls of fruit or nuts as centerpieces and to help make your serving table look more abundant and, of course, to eat! Go into your yard and garden and see what might be available. Clip small branches of herbs, leaves, and twigs and bundle them together. Twist floral wire or a pipe cleaner around one end to secure. Tuck the floral accents around serving platters, candles or other autumnal decorations you already have.
Make a one-of-a-kind table runner by cutting open a brown paper bag (discard the ends) and trimming the edges to make it even. Let the kids color leaves, scarecrows or other fall themes and use it to enhance your table décor.
And don’t forget about pumpkins! Empty out a tall pumpkin and place a vast of flowers inside, or fill a fat one with ice to keep beverages cold. Use small pumpkins to decorate a mantel or occasional table, or hollow them out and use them as votive holders.
Don’t let a lack of time or tight catering budget keep you from the fun of hosting a great fall party. Stick with simple and delicious food ideas and natural decorative items and your party will be the “spooktacular” blast that kicks off the holiday season.
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