A Haunted Hansel & Gretel Halloween Party

Since we've been married, Chris and I have thrown a Halloween party. We love to come up with a theme and decorate the house and come up with a menu that matches. Our costumes never match the theme, though. For example, last year when we were moving out of an apartment that was slated for demolition, we threw a creepy carnival (and the fact that the apartment was going to be torn down after we moved out meant we could splatter the walls with as much fake blood as possible) but our costumes were Bob and Linda Belcher. So.

I painted this invitation to look like it was torn out of a children's book.

We bought our first house at the end of last year - a cute, cottage-y cape cod - so we decided to go with a Hansel & Gretel theme.

We wanted the house to be covered in candy, but we also are both very cheap, so we made everything ourselves using pretty easy to find materials. The lollipops are cut out of foam core sheets and colored in with markers. We hot glued some cheap dowel rods to the back, and covered the whole thing in plastic wrap. And the candies on the house are just printed out on regular paper and attached with hot glue! If you have a brick house, you can use hot glue to hang decorations or lights - they stay on very securely, but they'll pop right off when you're done, and the glue will peel easily off the bricks.

These were toilet paper tubes (which Chris pilfered from work since, as he says, he's the only person at his job who changes the toilet paper) covered in a sheet of tissue paper and then wrapped in plastic wrap. We hung a whole bunch of them from the tree.

And of course there had to be some kids trying to escape the witch's house. Chris laid down on a piece of cardboard and I traced around him, and then we cut it out and taped it to the window. During the day, it's pretty obvious that it's cardboard, but Halloween is all about nighttime anyway. With a light shining on a curtain, these turn into creepy shadows, and they cost LITERALLY NOTHING because I know you have a cardboard box somewhere.

We don't have a giant brick oven in our kitchen, but we do have a fireplace. So I grabbed a big galvanized bucket we put our kindling in, added some skeleton parts and a wooden spoon, and sat it over a set of orange and yellow lights. 

As for food, we were able to make almost everything ahead of time. We made BBQ meatballs which I formed and froze at the beginning of the week, and were just dropped into the crock pot a few hours before guests arrived. Chris set up his mac and cheese the night before and set it in the fridge to be ready to pop in the oven an hour before the party. He made guac and french onion dip the night before as well, which are actually better if they've had time to hang out in the fridge overnight. My mom and sister both contributed some dishes and I made deviled eggs the night before.

I tried to do that technique where you crack the shells after boiling and let them sit in some dyed water, but I must have messed up somewhere along the way and they didn't end up with spidery cracks all over them... They just looked kind of gray. :( So I used a little gel food coloring and vodka mixed together and painted some gross blue veins all over the tops with a little brush. We also dyed the filling, which turned out way pinker than expected, so I added a sign that identified them as "Bird Brains" and it all worked out.

I baked these mini vanilla cupcakes off the morning before the party and then filled them a few hours before guests arrived with some raspberry jelly (just jam a piping tip inside and squeeze until it feels like the cupcake is about to burst). Then I whipped up some peanut butter frosting and piped it around the bursting jelly, and topped it with some jelly that was thinned down with water. They're blood clot cakes. Easy and gross, but definitely be prepared to let your guests know what they're in for, because these will probably be avoided at first!

This quick batch of chocolate chip cookies was Halloweened up by painting some little legs around the chocolate chips using some melted chocolate and a little brush. Have you been able to guess by now that I really love using tiny brushes?

We didn't bother getting a cooler set up for drinks, since this little counter top is right next to our fridge, so it was easy enough to leave beer and sodas in there, and have this limited bar set up next to the apple cider punch.

And finally, a look at our extremely not-on-theme costumes. Chris, my sister Sally, and I decided to all go as Colonel Sanders! (My Col. Sanders is a little down on his luck at the moment, but he'll get back on his feet soon. Also Chris looks like a general store owner from the turn of the last century. Also, Sally is the hipster Colonel Sanders.) Happy Halloween!

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