The nights are growing darker, the mornings are cool and dewy, burnt orange and red and yellow are the colours of the crisp leaves beneath your feet. It’s finally Autumn in October, and that can only mean one thing….. Happy Halloween!
Halloween is becoming so much more of a celebration with each passing year. The shops are filled with creepy costumes, frighteningly good food and peculiar party ideas. So why not embrace the fun and frolics and host your very own spooktacular shindig?
From cobwebs to skeletons, spiders and ghouls, most shops are now selling a vast range of decorations to turn your home into a haunted house of fun.
Whilst it is nice to have some homemade bits and pieces, it can quickly turn quite expensive, so try to aim for a mixture of the two.
Why not drill into a pumpkin instead of carving it to make subtle patterns? Or cut triangles out of purple, orange and black card to make your own bunting? If, like me, you hoard anything cardboard related for those ‘just-in-case-there’s-a-craft-activity’ moments, then you should have the basics you need to make one of my favourite Halloween decorations.
Halloween Toilet roll bats
These are so simple to make and are a really nice craft activity to do with children.
You will need:
The inside cardboard tubes from used toilet roll. (The more the merrier!)
Plain black card.
Glitter glue pen in red, purple or green.
Simply paint the cardboard tubes with the black paint. This can be done with a paintbrush, or you can pour the paint into a shallow tray and roll the tubes along in it.
Whilst the paint is drying (hopefully somewhere out of the way of the dog and the cat!) you can get started on the wings. Triangles are easiest, but you could also do crescent shapes or typical bat-shaped wings. Draw these onto your black card and then carefully cut them out. Always supervise your children with scissors, but don’t be afraid to let them do it for themselves. It’s a great way to practise fine motor skills.
Once the paint has dried on the body of the bat, staple the wings onto the back about a third of the way down. Finish off with you glitter glue pen to draw two eyes onto your bat.
These little creatures are incredibly versatile. You can attach them to strings to make hanging decorations, use them as napkin rings or cutlery holders, or even make a base on them and fill them with sweetie goodies.
Halloween Fun & Games
Pin the smile on the skeleton, pumpkin bowling, musical monsters. There are so many freakishly funny games to entertain both children and adults alike.
For a gungy game to bring out the most wicked of laughs, try gruesome guess who.
You will need:
Some empty boxes preferably cube shaped (think tissue boxes) or recycled plastic tubs from your weekly food shop.
These can be decorated to look ghoulish by covering them in black tissue paper, (the crinklier the better!) and draping them with cobwebs and spiders, make sure to leave a hand-sized hole in the top that can loosely be covered with cobwebs to keep the inside hidden. Now for the fun bit, the filling! Wiggly worms, squashy brains, furry spiders. Cooked spaghetti, set jelly with bits in, spider toys…. Anything that is sensory and spooky. Little hands tingling with curiosity reaching in to guess what’s inside.
Scrummy Halloween Party food
There are enough Halloween food ideas to drive you batty (oh yes!) and when planning a party, it can often be quite difficult to know just how much you need.
Too little and our mini monsters will be hungry for blood, but too much seems like such a waste. Try to aim for a screamingly scrumptious spread that will satisfy even the most wicked of taste buds.
Simple yet spooky.
Mummified meatballs, simply wrap cooked meatballs in tagliatelle and serve with a hidden veg tomato sauce (great for getting those little ghouls to eat their five a day). Cook chopped tomatoes with a little olive oil, a sprinkle of sugar, basil, peppers, courgettes, onions, carrots etc… and blitz into a smooth sauce. And add a side of Sweet potato wedges with blood (that is ketchup to you and I).
How about Monster muffin pizzas? Toast English muffins cut into two halves, top with green pesto, olive eyes, meaty monster smiles….. be creative.
For a healthy option try Fiendishly fresh fruit.
Banana ghosts are simple to make and always go down a treat. Chop each banana in half and skewer onto a lollipop stick. Melt white chocolate in a heatproof bowl and dip the bananas into it. Stick two dark chocolate drops on for eyes and allow to set. Jazz up your satsumas with perfect pumpkin faces, make grape eyeball kebabs. Fun and fruity!
Of course, you can’t have a party without cake and jelly. Use green jelly in a large, clear bowl and fill with candy eyeballs and sweetie (worm) laces.
Make sure you have a go at making my special Halloween show stopper recipe:
Gorgeously gruesome gingerbread men, spiced and skeletal. You can even get the children involved in decorating these bony beauties.
300 g plain flour
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
125 g unsalted butter
100 g soft light brown sugar
3 tablespoons golden syrup
Preheat the oven to 180ºC/gas 4 and line 2 baking sheets with baking paper.
Melt the butter, sugar and golden syrup in a pan over a low heat and stir until the sugar dissolves. Take it off the heat to cool slightly then add the flour, bicarbonate of soda and the spices. Stir in until it forms a stiff dough, then cut it in half.
Transfer the paper from the baking sheets to a work surface and place a portion of the dough on each. Roll out to 5mm thick, then cut out directly on the paper, leaving a 2cm gap between each. Save the cuttings to make more people, or round ginger biscuits.
Carefully lift the papers back onto the baking sheets and bake the gingerbread in the oven for about 12 minutes, or until lightly golden.
Leave to cool on the sheet for a few minutes. Once cool, ice the gingerbread men with a white icing tube, (found in most supermarkets) in the shape of a skeleton. Use chocolate drops for eyes. These tantalising terrors are so moreish they won’t stay round for long!
Devilish decorations, gruesome games and frighteningly good food. So will it be a trick or a treat? There’s something creeping in your neighbourhood…..
Sophie Johnson, 28, Proud mummy of Bea, 4, Expert Baker, loves all things cake, UKE’s resident baker.
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