LE FESTE – CELEBRATIONS
My annual Halloween parties have become the stuff of legend. I have been hosting them ever since I returned from college and my cousins started having babies. Now that I have a son of my own, they have become a bigger deal to me. The one year we were in Italy, the Italians celebrated boo-tifully. Even if it ends up just being my son, niece, and nephew, we make sure to put a Halloween spin on everything from the food to the decorations. The best part is that you can do it, even at the last minute. Here are some suggestions, gathered from the many Halloween parties we’ve had over the years:
- Frightening Food
Ok, it’s not so much frightening as it is friggin’ cute. Who hasn’t done the mummy dogs (hot dogs with puff pastry strips wrapped around it to look like a mummy)? Those are always winners. An array of fruit made to form a jack-o-lantern is a healthier option that has become popular in recent years. I serve pumpkin soup and pumpkin ice cream every year. Still, I can’t help but cater to the sweet tooth. It is Halloween, after all. The pumpkin-shaped cake I recently made for my sister-in-law’s birthday and the spider web cupcakes above are among my favorites. Another time I gave out Reese’s Pieces Halloween Cookie Bars, replete with eyes, as favors. Really, there’s nothing to them. To boot, they are Instagram worthy. They don’t taste bad either. Yum!
2. Balloons and Decorations
You can go the easy route with balloons and opt for orange and black or white or purple and black, all of which are typical for Halloween. Or you can kick things up a notch. Back in Italy, I used a black marker to draw jack-o-lantern faces on orange balloons. More recently, I took a green balloon and turned it into a witch. Using my Cricut, I cut out the details of her face and attached them with double-sided tape. I also made a small witch’s hat and attached orange crepe paper for hair. (You can’t really see the hat or the hair because my niece was holding it in the skeleton photo prop, which is another nice decor element if you’re so inclined.) I don’t usually stop at balloons. I have made garland and banners (see the pumpkins on the staircase in the above photo), taped paper monsters to the inside of my china closet, and replaced normal bulbs with black light and draped black fabric on which I stenciled neon-colored Halloween images.
3. Fun and Games
One of my favorite parts of Halloween is playing games. Back in the old days (about 15 years ago), we would break up into groups and hand out bags with random stuff in them (garbage bags, twist ties, a mop and some Halloween make up, for instance). Each group would use the content of its bags to dress up one of the grown ups for Halloween. Homeless clown was one of the best creations, I recall. But dads dressed as princess never failed to entertain. Another long-time favorite that has been carried on through today is the Mummy Game. We break into groups again. And the kids wrap one of the bigger kids with toilet paper to make a mummy. You’re supposed to do this with timers and see who does it the fastest. But that usually goes out the window. Five seconds after the mummy is complete, I have to rush to get a photo because the kids love to unwind the thing and throw the toilet paper all over the place. Once a long while ago (back when I was a kid) we actually bobbed for apples. Ick, so unsanitary! However, I would like to tie apples or doughnuts to string and have the kids try to eat them without using their hands. Maybe next year.
Di Meglio has written the Our Paesani column for ItaliansRus.com since 2003. You can follow the Italian Mamma on Facebook or Twitter @ItalianMamma10. For more handmade crafts and party gear, visit the Italian Mamma store on Etsy.