Midday Fix: Carol Mackey’s Halloween party planning tips

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Carol Mackey



Choose Your Colors
This is easy being Halloween, orange and black with a pop of gold

Repurpose Items
use items around the house; i.e. old typewriter, books, tree stump the glasses are on, mini Christmas lights on tree stump, etc.

Make it fun and affordable and get the kids involved

Balance Food Flavors
Not too many sweets, makes sure it tastes good -- not just scary

Presentation and taste are both important


Black Magic Cocktail

1/4 cup ice
1/2 cup orange juice
1 1/2 ounces black vodka (Blavod Vodka) http://blavodoriginal.com/index.php
1/2 ounce triple sec
black licorice/ black rimming sugar for garnish

In a cocktail shaker, add orange juice and triple sec over ice. Shake well, and strain into a glass. Using the back of a spoon, pour black vodka slowly into a glass so that the vodka sits atop the orange juice and triple sec mix.


Swamp Water

1/2 cup small tapioca pearls (found near the instant pudding at most grocery stores)
lemonade or sprite
gummy fish
gummy worms

To make the eggs, cook tapioca pearls according to instructions, they can vary slightly on the type you purchase. To assemble the swamp water deposit the “egg” pearls to the bottom of the glass.  Cover with lemonade or sprite and drop in the gummy fish. Top with one worm coming out of drink.


Mini Cheeseball Spiders
Makes 24-1 inch balls

8 ounces softened cream cheese
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp. grated lemon zest
1 cup finely shredded cheddar
rice noodles (the kind you sprinkle over foods)
black sesame seeds
roasted red pepper

Mix 8 ounces softened cream cheese Worcestershire sauce, grated lemon zest and 1 cup cheese. Form into 1-inch balls, chill 4 hours, then add roasted red pepper eyes. I used a mini hole punch that I had to punch out circles but you could also just use a pairing knife and cut out small dice for the eyes, roll in sesame seeds and stick in the spider legs.


Spicy Pumpkin Seeds

2 cups pumpkin seeds from your pumpkins that you carved or you can purchase; pepitas raw hulled green pumpkin seeds (Trader Joe's)
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp lime juice
1 tsp salt
2 to 3 Tbs olive oil

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Toss all ingredients together in a bowl. Spread on a baking sheet and bake for 5 minutes, stir the seeds and continue to bake for 5 more minutes, remove and salt again.


Black Worms Pasta

2 orange peppers, cut into 1-inch pieces or slice a hand full of the mini orange peppers
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 lb black bean pasta organic and GF (www.explore-asian.com)
1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives, chopped
grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

Toss peppers with garlic, red pepper flakes, oil, and 1/2 tsp each of salt and pepper in a sauté pan. Cook pasta in a pot of salted boiling water until al dente. Reserve 1/2 cup cooking water, then drain pasta and return to pot. Stir in olives, then add pepper mixture to pasta in pot and toss to combine, sprinkle with parmesan.


Orange O’Lanterns

4 cups greens
1 avocado finely diced
1/4 red onion cut in thin slices
Cut up oranges segments from the oranges


2 Tbs orange juice
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1/3 cup olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
2 Tbs toasted pine nuts

Cut out oranges to make the face of a jack o’lantern, scoop out inside and set aside. Whisk vinaigrette ingredients together, toss gently with greens, avocado, red onion and oranges, sprinkle pine nuts on top and stuff in oranges.  Serves 6.


Chocolate Truffle Mice

1 lb. bittersweet chocolate
1 cup heavy cream
good quality cocoa powder, for rolling
red nonpareils for eyes
sliced almonds for ears
black shoe sting licorice for tail

Chop chocolate finely, and place in a large heatproof bowl. In a medium saucepan, bring cream to a boil over medium heat; pour directly over chopped chocolate. Use a rubber spatula to gently stir chocolate and cream until combined.  Allow to sit at room temperature until just thickened and cooled. Pour ganache mixture into a shallow dish.  Cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until mixture is very cold and set but still pliable, about 30 minutes. Using a small spoon or small scoop, scoop out ganache into 1-inch nuggets; place on parchment lined baking sheet.  Chill for 10 minutes.  Use fingertips to mold truffles into shapes.  Roll in cocoa powder to coat; chill in airtight container until ready to serve.  Makes approximately 3 dozen.


For Halloween craft ideas:

Plate (Pick Your Poison) – Used chalk board paint & gold liquid gilding, glued on spider.


Michaels- washi tape, mini vases that were used for crystal ball, vials for bloody shots, plastic mini hands, cardinals on a wire used as black crows.


Crystal ball face can be downloaded, shown for a mirror project I reduce the size. www.countryliving.com/crafts/projects/best-halloween-crafts-ever#slide-1 printed on vellum paper, used mama berries for light inside crystal ball (made by fairyberries) and see through fabric from Joanne’s.


Food tags, plastic vampire teeth, spray painted gold and sponged a little black watered down craft paint on, glue gun food tags on to teeth in four corners.


Books wrapped in black construction paper, use chalk or white marker to write scary sayings.


Joanne Fabrics-2 yards of fabric for tablecloth and see through fabric for crystal ball.


Vase-spray painted branches from my yard and sprinkled on craft glitter while still wet, had little cardinals from Michaels that I spray painted black, layered reindeer moss and garlic (to keep vampires away) and put a little ribbon on top of vase. Helpful to put some oasis on top of vase, stick branches in to keep branches in place, top with last layer of reindeer moss.


Scattered (real) mini pumpkins were spray painted.



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