By Christopher Confero
Fall is my favorite time of year. It hosts my birthday, college football, the constant reruns of Hocus Pocus, which leads to the crowning jewel: Halloween. Usually it is the ultimate kid holiday, but this year, I want to change that. Although you might spend the day wrangling tiny costumed kiddos, there will come a point when the little devils finally lapse into sugar comas. So while the babes sleep, I think the adults should come out to play!
There’s really no end to the things you can do with decorations, food, and drinks for a Halloween party. This is definitely not a holiday where you have to keep it classy. This is your chance to go totally over-the-top, but that doesn’t mean you need to spend huge amounts of money. You can have fun on any budget as long as people get into the spirit and come in costume. There really are no rules when it comes to Halloween parties. Whether you’re planning on going highbrow or lowbrow, tasteful or tasteless, it only needs to be fun.
I don’t want to be bad cop here (or maybe I do), but we’re talking about Halloween. I have to lay down the law with costumes: non-negotiable. Any stick-in-the-mud who arrives without a costume and with a bunch of sorry excuses should face the consequences. I won’t be so cruel as to say you should bar entry to any costume-free guest, but we’re not above some light humiliation. Any Halloween party, no matter how ho-hum the décor and food, will be a hit if everyone gets into the spirit with outrageous getups. So why not create some incentive for your guests to go all-out?
Tricks & Treats
Good food and great booze will make any party! For a Halloween party, definitely go the finger-food route instead of having a sit-down dinner. People aren’t expecting formality and besides, it might be a little uncomfortable to park yourself at a table in a cardboard robot costume. If you want to serve something heartier than hors d’oeuvres, how about chili in a witch’s cauldron that also happens to contain a few plastic skeleton bones or body parts? They can just fish around the non-edibles!
Halloween is also prime time to try out bizarre new drinks. I’m a big fan of a signature cocktail that can be prepared in large quantities ahead of time so you aren’t glued to a bar. If you have time to put in the effort, give this cocktail a try. One of my favorite cocktails in all of Birmingham is the Orange Thing at Bottega. A little twisted twist on a hometown staple will make this cocktail perfect for Halloween night!
4 ounces vodka
2 ounces Licor43
8 ounces Orangina (or a 1:3 orange juice/club soda mix)
3 ounces raspberry syrup (recipe follows)
plastic syringes (available at party stores)
1. Puree 2 cups of fresh raspberries in a food processor. Press the puree through a fine mesh strainer to extract the pulp, then discard the seeds.
2. Place the puree in a small saucepan with 1/4 cup of sugar. Heat over medium-low heat, stirring frequently until thick and dark (about 10 minutes) and let cool.
3. Fill each syringe with .75 ounces of raspberry syrup and set aside.
4. Add vodka and Licor43 to a shaker with ice, shake until very cold (about 20 seconds). Add Orangina and stir. Pour into iced glasses and place filled syringes in drinks.
5. Add an orange wedge to the side of each glass and serve (Makes four cocktails.)
Or if you just want to give a little visual flair to simple drink selections give these ideas a try:
– Stuff peeled radishes with pimiento olive halves, drop into ice cube trays, and freeze into eyeball ice cubes.
– Freeze cranberry juice in plastic gloves, then cut off the gloves before dropping the hands into punch bowls filled with your libation of choice.
– Garnish drinks with plastic doll parts, vampire teeth, or eyeball-esque peeled grapes.
I could rattle on and on about Halloween party ideas, but I’d bore you to the bone. To sum it all up, just let loose and have fun. Dress up, have a few drinks, and let your inner devil come out to play!