Friday, October 29, 2010

Spooky Celebrations

Two weeks ago, we hosted our second annual Halloween/birthday party for our now eight-year-old daughter, Kaylee. As is common for us, we had about forty-five guests at the party, including about 15 children.

Halloween has been special to me ever since I was a little girl and my mom threw birthday/costume parties for my birthday. I would have about 8 girls come over and my mom would have fun party games for us to play, and we'd often end the night with a sleepover. I remember my party in seventh grade when I had my first boy/girl party where we batted at a candy-filled pinata in my front yard. Oh, the memories. The cute boy I liked was there in his costume and I hoped he would like me in my ragged black witch's dress and ratted up spray-painted hair. My mom, a single parent, always managed to throw the best parties. A few years back, I ran into a childhood friend who brought the parties up and commented on how great they were. My mom also found time to sew elaborate and unique costumes for my sister and I. I remember LOVING my costumes and enjoying all the compliments I got when I wore them.

Because my mom created so many wonderful memories surrounding the spookiest holiday of the year, I am now trying to follow in her footsteps, at least a little. I am more into the Martha Stewart holiday crafts than she was, so I spent two weeks preparing my home for the ghoulish get-together. My mom does have me beat, though, in the costume department. This is only the second year that I've made all of the kid's costumes and they were much simpler than the ones she made for us as children.

Aren't we lovely in our party attire?

I though I'd share some of the pictures and food ideas from Kaylee's party with you in case you are hosting a Halloween shindig of your own. I hoped to post this earlier and I apologize for not doing so, but even if you don't use any of the ideas this year, maybe you'll use them in the future.

Most of my food ideas came from Martha Stewart's Halloween magazine and from her website. My husband made the witches' finger (see photo below) from her magazine and used soymilk to adhere the salt to the fingers instead of the egg wash called for in the recipe. My mom made a "spooky cemetery" dip that I found in another magazine. It was basically a layered mexican dip that we often make for parties, but we just rearranged the layers. The layers are: (starting with the bottom) refried beans, guacamole, Tofutti sour cream, tomatoes, and green onions. The top layer is shredded lettuce, which represents the grass in a cemetery. I made tombstones, a tree, and scaredy cats out of different flavored and colored tortillas (which I cut into shapes, brushed with oil, sprinkled with salt, and baked at 350 until crispy) and stuck them into the dip. Chopped olives were placed at the base of the tombstones to represent fresh dirt.

Cemetery Surprise

Witches' Fingers

I had "guacamoldy" with "toasted spirits" (more baked tortillas cut with Halloween cookie cutters and and baked as described above), sliced baguette with heads of roasted garlic ("to keep the vampires away") and "chopped beetles" (olive tapenade). A delicious favorite recipe( from Vegetarian Times) for onion dip became "puree of carmelized worms" with "dragon skin flakes" (potato chips). A bowl of black olives were "spider bodies", and red salsa with blue chips became "diced witches' hearts" and "lizard skin". Really, you could think of any spooky-looking food and find a creepy name for it. Kaylee made little cards with the creative names of the foods on them to place around the table. We also had a large pot filled with a simple punch with dry ice in it to become "bubbling blood."

Party-goers mingle around the food

For dessert, I made full-size mummy cupcakes and mini-spider cupcakes, again from Martha Stewart. (I used her decorating ideas, but used vegan recipes for the cake and frosting.) They were time-intensive, but I like to make fun and unique desserts/cakes for the kids' parties. Food is a good way to impress those skeptics we know who doubt the deliciousness of vegan goodies!

I've included a lot of photos for you to look at for decorating and food ideas. I hope you find them fun and helpful! I love throwing the party, even though it takes me two full weeks to prepare for it. (When my husband would come home from work at night, I would ask him to spot the decoration I had added that day and would be annoyed if he didn't notice all my hard work. Poor guy!) I think it took me longer to decorate for this party than it does when I decorate for Christmas!

I hope my party ideas show you that it's possible to create a successful, fun, tasty, all-vegan party that family and friends will be happy to attend! I must admit that many of my family members tell me that my parties have the "best food" and that one aunt and cousin drive for several hours to come to our parties. I think I'm changing misconceptions about veganism and opening minds one party at a time! =)

Anyways, Happy Halloween to all you wonderful vegans! And may you get lots of Smarties, Skittles, and Laffy Taffy in your trick-or-treat bags this Sunday!

My spooky living room. A fog machine and strobe lights are a MUST!

Each year I take serious-faced photos of all of us at put them in my everyday frames. I also have pictures I took from the internet of The Adams' Family, The Munsters, along with a werewolf and a vampire. Everyone loves to look at them. (I print them in black and white for a creepy effect.)

Water and food coloring in old jars make for a simple and fun decoration. My mom found the labels at a craft store.

Cauliflower in a jar with water, food coloring, and a splash of soymilk make a gross specimen jar, giving the impression of a floating brain. Eew!

I used old wine and lemonade bottles from family members and filled them with colored water. Martha comes to the rescue, again, with ready-made labels. Tealights add a nice effect when placed on the mirrored tray.


  1. great post, I really like it. Thanks for posting. :)

  2. What spooky fun! Fantastic spread!

  3. Thanks for the compliments! I'm glad you liked it! =)