Halloween's not just for kids. Plan and prepare a grown-up party-complete with costumes, libations, and festive food-in 75 minutes flat. Here's how:
1. Email invites (time: 5 minutes). Forget mailing invitations-it takes too long and wastes paper. Instead, throw together a clever note in minutes at Evite, create a simple event page on Facebook, or send out Tweets. Do this 5-7 days in advance for maximum attendance.
2. Plan ahead (time: 10 minutes). Keep it super-simple: focus on prepared foods, stick to appetizers and drinks (see "Easy Eats"), and arrange the list by store section (produce, dairy, frozen, and so forth) to make shopping speedier.
3. Go shopping (time: 20 minutes). Yes, you can, if your list is in order and you shop smart. Hit the store during off-hours and you'll avoid heavy traffic and long lines. Head to the market at 7 a.m. or 9 p.m., and you'll blaze through the aisles. Once you're there, avoid distractions: Stick to your list, turn off your phone, and focus.
4. Decorate (time: 15 minutes). Wipe down bathroom surfaces; tidy up living room clutter; switch off all the overheads; cover the table with a tattered antique tablecloth and scatter with dried leaves; set out a candelabra; and turn on some somber (or other) music.
5. Set up food (time: 25 minutes). If you've stuck to prepared foods, all you'll need to do is warm items and
set them out. Arrange dip, cheese, appetizers, fruits, crackers, and bread in tarnished silver bowls and trays, or other suitably Gothic dishes. For dessert, arrange treats on a platter and pour black jelly beans around them. Serve heated soup in a cast-iron kettle, and garnish with sour cream cobwebs: Pipe sour cream in concentric circles on top, then drag a toothpick through circles to the center to create cobweb designs.
The key to a delightfully ghoulish Halloween menu is to keep it simple: Stick to prepared foods, forget the cute names, and focus on black, dark-colored, and deep-red foods for simple creepiness.
- Appetizers: Black bean and garlic dip, sun-dried tomatoes, black mission olives, dolmades, roasted peppers.
- Cheese platter: Black cherries, black grapes, assorted cheese (choose at least one blue-veined and Humboldt Fog selection), San-J black sesame rice crackers.
- Main course: Amy's Organic black bean soup, Amy's Organic butternut squash soup, dark rye bread, sour cream, smoked paprika.
- Dessert: Black jelly beans, mini red velvet cupcakes with extra-dark chocolate frosting, Lake Champlain dark chocolate truffles.
- Beverages: Vampire Cabernet Sauvignon, virgin Bloody Mary mix, pomegranate juice mixed with sparkling water
Lisa Turner is a certified food psychology coach, nutritional healer, intuitive eating consultant, and author. She has written five books on food and nutrition and developed the Inspired Eats iPhone app. Visit her online at inspiredeating.com.
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