Saturday, 31 October 2015

A Hint of Halloween

Halloween is on the doorstep, it will be ringing your doorbell tonight, and us bloggers have been filling your newsfeeds with posts galore. Not one to miss out on the fun of this time of year, I've got some last-minute inspiration for those of you looking to host a classier Halloween.

On Thursday night, we hosted a dinner party for 8 friends, but I didn't want it to be too formal so I decided on a menu to reflect that, (and make it a tad less stressful cooking for 10!).

Hint of Halloween Menu
Starter - butternut squash soup with toasted sunflower seeds
Main - chilli con carne/vegetarian chilli with the trimmings
Dessert - apple crumble

Before hosting a party, I always rummage through the kitchen cupboards and boxes in the cellar to see what I already have to form the basis of my theme. This Halloween, I started with my Le Creuset mini casserole dishes. I've got them in three colours, but chose the granite and volcanic ones, which are perfect for serving up either my main or dessert (in the end, I settled on the former).
I'm not up for the full goth table of decorations, so my John Lewis charcoal table runner (similar) is perfect,  and although I would love something dramatic like our candelabra, it's too formal, so I popped these black tea lights from Sainsbury's in my trolley and scattered them around the table along with one of my current fave Jo Malone noir candles.
Of course, it's not Halloween without a few pumpkins, so the hubs carved one for the front porch and set them off with some of the large hurricane lanterns from our wedding. But I also wanted to include pumpkins in some way on the table, so served up the soup from two which I hollowed out (obvs!). If you leave the walls reasonably thick you don't run the risk of leaks and, although I wasn't sure beforehand, they insulate the food brilliantly. We put one at either end of the table with ladles and got our guests to help themselves.

If, like us, you're catering for a vegetarian you won't want them to feel like their food is an after-thought. So, after scouring for ideas online, I decided to serve the vegetarian chilli in an orange pepper. It made it easier to remember which was which and our guest loved their own little 'pumpkin'! I promised all the trimmings, so we had corn-on-the-cob, jacket potatoes, rice, nachos, cheese, guacamole, creme fraiche and salsa!
Finally, I couldn't resist the opportunity for a little bit of fancy dress (I have boxes of the stuff), so dusted off a pair of black cat's ears but, after they were eaten by the dog (he's an absolute thief!!), I had a rethink and settled on my slightly less relevant lace rabbit's ears (similar), popped on my favourite leather-look skinnies from Warehouse, added a black lace top and used an eyeliner to draw bunny whiskers and nose on my face. I wouldn't win any fancy dress competitions, but it was the subtle look to go with my subtle theme.

What are you doing for Halloween and what are you dressing up as?

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