LIFE AT CONTENT: Halloween 2016

This year, I decided to re purpose my Halloween decor, and not buy anything new. Don't get me wrong, with almost 10 years of Halloween party hosting on my resume, I had plenty to work with.

Also, I'm not a kitschy Halloween decorator, and prefer to use common household items in creative ways to suggest spook. I also love the Dollar Store, so my displays usually max out at $5.

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Halloween 2015 Recap

Now that most of the fake cobwebs have been cleared, I wanted to recap our first Halloween at Content.

This silly holiday holds a special place in our hearts, because it was right around Halloween that John + I made our relationship "official". It was at my first (somewhat annual) Halloween party in 2008, hosted in a Hoboken bar, that John met my family and friends for the first time. Mind you, he was dressed as a gay construction worker that year, and even I would not have worn shorts that short... He made the Village People proud!

I also consider that first Halloween John's last opportunity to take notice of the crazy that results from any party I'm planning, and quickly run for the hills. But he didn't. Choosing instead to calm my self-inflicted anxiety with a trip to Central Park where we rode the carousel and visited the zoo.

Fast forward 7 years, and that adorable BF/GF couple is now husband and wife, and that dingy Hoboken bar has been replace with our loving, historic home. 

What remains the same is Halloween. A holiday purely for fun and mischief.

This year I focused my party decor and planning around a 'witches house' theme; as opposed to 'murder scene', or 'abandoned drug den'. All were viable options in the beginning stages.

Here are a few highlights of this year's party!

Insect Bug Sugar Cookies

By far one of the EASIEST Halloween treats I’ve ever made! I saw a tutorial for "fossil cookies" on Pinterest way back when. I must not have actually pinned it, so I winged the details and here’s what I did.

I simply use cut-and-bake or premade sugar cookie dough, baked as instructed. During the cooling process, just a couple minutes out of the oven (before the cookie hardens), turn over a bug (so the best features are facing the cookie) and gently press the plastic toy insects into the surface of the cooling dough. Don’t push all the way, just enough to make an indentation.

Be sure to push each of the insects district features (head, antenna, legs) in well. For some of the smaller features, I used a toothpick to push in the detail.

Certain bugs definitely came out better than others, but overall they look awesome, especially all together on the plate. And so simple! My personal favorites are the centipede, spider and ant!

A safety note: Do NOT bake the cookies with the toy bugs on them. Gently press the impression during cooling.

WITCH’S APOTHECARY

The focus of the kitchen mantel was the witch's apothecary filled with her favorite ingredients for spells like spices, insects and bones.

You can find some of our favorite Halloween decor sources here.

There are some great free printable available for every holiday. You just have to know what you're looking for. These printable bottle labels were a great addition!

POISON APPLE

I split the party snacks into two rooms, so guests wouldn't be all in one space. Here's the dessert setup in the kitchen. I centered the display around the witch's potion recipe book (another free printable), a bowl of apples and small jars filled with red water.

Most of the evening took place outside, in the courtyard. DJ Mario kept everyone dancing all night!

WITCH’S CALDERON

Sadly, I didn't get a photo of the witch's cauldron in action. Here's the setup though. During the party, the cauldron (not shown) hung from the chains, and dry ice which was accentuated with large green glow sticks made for a bubbly brew effect.

I kept my Fuji instant camera out all night too, and let people document their own memories. Can't wait to put these in a book!

Here was the makings of red velvet cupcakes. I never did get a photo of the finished product, but I simply iced them with cream cheese frosting, made two small holes about a half inch apart, and used red food coloring to give the effect of a vampires bite. Again, simple, but so cute!

This was a more subtle nod to the witches theme, adding some dried flowers from the garden, a hat and a few more free printable on clip boards.

WITCHY HEIRLOOMS

A witches home would not have been complete with out some family heirlooms. I printed a few Google images, and Mod Podged them to cardboard that I sprayed black the day before. I then cut them into 'frames' and paired them on the mantel with a spooky Dollar Store cling I put on a flea market mirror.

The one extra special effect this year was a DVD I found on Amazon entitled "Creepy Crawlies II" that I projected onto the wall and mantel in the dining room.  Perfect for right over the savory snack table!

Halloween 2015 was a success! What do you think? Maybe you'll have a few ideas for next year....

Check out more blog posts on Halloween here!

Happy Haunting!