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Halloween Party Ideas

 

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October 22, 1997 It’s almost Halloween, and your little monsters are champing at the bit. They want to have a party, but you’re too busy to do much planning or baking. Take a cue from Sally Mills, a member of the Cedarburg City Council who is leaving the planning to her 13-year-old daughter, Leslie.

Halloween is the perfect holiday to let kids’ imaginations run wild, and to let them practice in the kitchen. With supervision from adults, planning a Halloween party can be a great experience for kids.

Leslie Mills is inviting 13 friends to her party. She and her friends will entertain another 12 kids: Leslie’s 8-year-old twin siblings, Kelly and Kyle, and 10 of their friends.

Is her mother crazy?

Of course not. She set parameters for the party and made her expectations clear. She told Leslie that she needed to find another adult chaperone perhaps the mother of one of her friends. She also went over Leslie’s written game plan to make sure there were enough activities for the younger kids. Leslie, who began planning the party in September but didn’t get final approval from Mom until last week, came up with some great ideas to feed and entertain her guests. “Since we’ll have little kids here, we’ll get small, tart apples at the orchard to make caramel apples,” Leslie said. She’ll also buy apple cider at the orchard.

Leslie may borrow a simple idea from a cable TV show for a pumpkin-shaped cake. (More about that later.) Here’s the best part: Leslie decided the rest of the party food should be potluck. Her friends will each bring a favorite treat to pass. “I told them ‘nothing gloppy’ because 8- or 9-year-olds will be eating it,” she said. “If they can’t think of anything else, they can bring Halloween Oreos.”

Leslie figures the unfinished basement in her house is perfect for the party. She’ll do a black and orange theme with crepe paper.

Each of her friends will oversee an activity booth with themed costumes. Two “ghosts” will be in charge of the ghost bean bag toss; two “dead people” with nooses will assist the little kids with a lively ring toss; two “fisherwomen” will oversee the fishing-for-candy game; two “gypsies” will be fortune-tellers who will predict a sweet treat for each child, Leslie revealed); and “creepy hands of scary monsters” will pop out of a well to dispense candy.

At first, the witches were going to serve punch, Leslie said. But then she decided they should be stationed at the booth with the cooked spaghetti and peeled grapes. You know the game: the grapes are a dead man’s eyes, the spaghetti is his brain . . . “I like doing things with little kids,” Leslie said, adding, “kids usually say I’m the best baby sitter they’ve ever had.”

Leslie figures her little brother and sister and their friends can be part of the party for two hours, then her friends can stay another three hours to have their own fun. Donna Roloff, co-superintendent of Sunday school at Bethany-Calvary United Methodist Church, 7265 W. Center St., plans an annual Halloween party for children who attend Sunday school, plus their friends.

She’s making spiders with the help of children who attend the church’s before- and after-school care program. They also are invited to the party. The spider’s legs are thick, black pipe cleaners bent into shape and glued into a clump under the body. The spider’s body is a square of nylon black netting, glued to the top of the legs, then filled with candy corn and tied shut with orange and green ribbon once the glue is dry. For the spider’s eyes, green Lifesavers with orange M&Ms in the center are affixed to the body with frosting as the glue. To attach the eyes to the spider, two round label stickers are stuck together with the netting layer between. Glue the lifesaver to the exterior round sticker. Each spider leg is inserted into a tiny gum drop foot as a finishing touch.

Roloff also will make cat “suckers” with peppermint patty heads, chocolate-chip ears and noses, orange Tic Tac eyes, orange Twizzlers Pull-a-Peels whiskers, and orange straws as sticks to hold onto. (The ears, noses, eyes and whiskers are attached with frosting.) Yellow and green ribbons are tied under the cat faces.

Another fun treat on Roloff’s party list is candy corn cups. Her helpers will paint Styrofoam cups the bottom orange, the middle yellow, and the top left white. She’ll fill the cups with candy corn and insert a cookie tombstone. For each tombstone, half of a rounded-edge sandwich cookie (such as a Snackwell or Vienna Finger) is frosted and decorated with a short epitaph, such as “R.I.P.” The cups also will contain “bugs” that stick out of the top of the cup. The bugs are made from a miniature gumdrop pierced with a toothpick. Mini-M&M eyes are attached with frosting.

If you have an artistic flair and some time to spare, an edible haunted house makes a showstopping decoration.

Hershey’s Haunted House, a manageable structure at just 9 inches square, is built on heavy cardboard with double-thick graham cracker walls. The house is three graham cracker squares wide and three squares tall. The center support inside (holding up the ceiling) consists of three graham crackers sandwiched together so the middle one juts above the other two by exactly one graham cracker square. The walls and roof are “glued” together with icing.

Once the structure dries several hours, it’s decorated with candy and more icing. The bricks, porch floor and front steps are made of Hershey’s milk chocolate bar separated into small rectangular segments. For contrast, the windows, front door and porch roof are covered with Cookies ‘n’ Creme white chocolate candy bar pieces, framed by Twizzlers. The windows are topped with Reese’s miniature peanut butter cup halves. Stacked Rolo candies make pillars to support the porch roof. The fence is built with Kit Kat wafer bars for posts and Twizzlers Pull-a-Peels, which also are twisted into shape to make the spooky trees.

It may be too late for this year’s party, but you can order a free copy of Hershey’s Gobblin’ Up The Fun booklet with complete directions for the house and more ideas for treats, decorations, costumes and games. Send a self-addressed, stamped envelope (with two 32-cent stamps) to: Hershey’s Halloween Booklet Offer, 704 Metro Drive, Lebanon, PA 17042.

Back to the pumpkin cake idea that Leslie Mills is considering from Cristina Ferrare of The Family Channel’s “Home & Family” show. Here’s how to make it: Prepare two packages of Bundt cake mixes, vanilla or lemon, as directed on the box. Bake the cakes in fluted tube pans according to the directions, allow to cool completely and set aside. In large bowl, whip up 4 tubs of prepared vanilla frosting until light and fluffy, using an electric mixer. Dye the frosting deep orange with food coloring.

Place one cake, round part down, on a serving platter. Invert the second cake and place it on top, lining up the ridges, to resemble a pumpkin shape. Spread the orange frosting all over top and design the eyes, nose and mouth with gum drops, M&Ms and assorted other candies. Shape a stem at the top out of green frosting.

Now that the kids are taken care of, what about the adults who either have a party of their own to attend, or just want to enjoy the occasion with their children? If you’re short on ideas, Kraft Foods offers a Halloween Party Hot Line, (888) 572-3875, with suggestions for 18 adult costumes developed by Bob Ringwood, a Hollywood costume designer.

The costumes are inexpensive to make. For example, you could be a bunch of grapes by wearing a green sweatshirt and green tights with purple balloons attached to your body with double-stick tape. Or, become a traffic light by wearing a black outfit with green, yellow and red construction paper circles attached to your front and back.

The Kraft hot line also offers ghoulish food ideas from Kraft Creative Kitchens.

 

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