Sunday, October 17, 2010

Halloween Dinner Party

I am getting a little overwhelmed right now with my work, personal, church, and friend committments and relationships. That is also making me crazy trying to schedule in some family time! Add trying to blog into that muddled mess and you might understand why I missed blogging last week.

I did choose my winners in my giveaway. Since I was a day late AND since I had SO many kind comments, I decided to give away TWO sets of the Susan Branch Calendars! I scientifically wrote down every name on my follower list and put them in a tupperware bowl and had my husband chose a name, while he muttered "what" and "why". Then we repeated the process for everyone who posted a comment. Our winners are Rainey from The Project Table and Teri from At Home with Teri. Congratulations Ladies!

I am posted pictures from my Halloween party in 2008. We had to skip 2009 since I was missing a kitchen; walls and all.

We still have trick or treat in my neighborhood on the Thursday evening before Halloween. You can't conflict with high school football or weekend sports/church activities in my town!
 I don't get home from work until about 20 minutes before the race for candy is on - so I need quick and easy dishes that can be ready for serving before the doorbell rings.  You might notice the large bowls of chips that I served with two spider web dips. One glass pie pan has a bottom layer with sour cream mixed with taco dip, topped with a circle of salsa. Put about 1 tablespoon of sour cream in a sandwich zip lock bag, clip one bottom corner and trace separate circles on the salsa circle, small in the middle and gradually getting larger and larger. Start in the middle and draw lines outward to the edge with a knife. This will form your spider web! The second pie plate is cream cheese topped with guacamole and a sour cream spider web.

I invite my twentysomething kids to dinner and play with my food!
Here are my spider deviled eggs. I used to make deviled egg eyeballs by slicing green or black olives into a circle and drawing red catsup bloodstains on the yolk. I saw the spider eggs in a magazine. It takes a little more time, but is soooo cute! Just slice the whole black olive in half. Use one half for the body and slice the other half into the legs.   
Here are some "traditional" mummy dogs. Just wrap hotdogs in refrigerated crescent rolls, bake according to directions, and add mustard eyes. I try to convince myself that the sloppier, the scarier. Sometimes the rolls work great and sometimes they shrink up. . . .
Chicken Fingers! Our local butcher shop sells marinated whole, boneless, skinless chicken breasts. One half is the size of your hand! I take one half, trim it into a hand with four fingers and a thumb (save trimmed pieces for chicken casserole) and bake. They will shrivel up just wonderfully!
Our pizza owl began with an English muffin half. Butter with pizza sauce, add a slice of mozzarella cheese, top with two pepporoni eyes and black olive eyeballs. Make until melted. Actually, after studying the picture, I think they were supposed to be mummies and I cut the cheese in strips. I think making owls would be wayyyy easier than splicing those strips. And I think they look more like owls than mummies.
Our dessert repeats our spider web theme. I used a boxed brownie mix, baked in a foil pizza pan. Watch cooking time, it will cook a little faster than a 9x13. Use white frosting in the zip lock decorating bag to make the separate circle and draw the knife from the center to the edges to make the web.
Now that we are all adults here, we can enjoy something a little stronger than cider. I served a recipe called "Witches Blood" or "Dracula's Blood" (I really should write these things down.) It was a sweet acoholic punch with fruit juices mixed with something stronger. Strawberry margarita would work just as well! I wet the edges of the glasses before work and dipped them in a saucer of red sugar. By the time we used the glasses, the sugar was as hard a cement. I would recommend doing this just prior to serving!  Don't worry, Dad served as our designated driver.

Did you see the bat placemat? I got the pattern from a magazine called Country Handicrafts in the late 1980's. With five children under 11, I managed to cut out all eight, quilt and finish them, and add the spooky eyes by Halloween. Every year when I get them out, I marvel at myself! A completed project. Yoohoo!  I have many more pending projects, including some adorable paper counted cross stitch book marks from Mary Engelbreit's magazine the last year it was published. I am Queen of the UFOS (UnFinished Objects).

Well, a ghost from the past dinner. I am planning another dinner this year, so hopefully I will have time to take pictures and share them with you!

I am joining the fun at Tablescape Thursday hosted by Susan at:
And Foodie Friday at:
Enjoy the goodies!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Spiders and Susan Branch Giveaway

It certainly is the month of October at my house! The chill of fall is here and I am shivering and drinking hot tea while I write. I happened upon some items created by one of my favorite people and thought, why not share with fellow bloggers? It's my first giveawayTo enter, please scan (or even read through) my post and leave a comment at the end. Anyone who is a new or old follower will get a second entry. I am going away on Wednesday night, right after I post this tablescape, and I will draw the winner next Tuesday, October 12 around 5:30 p.m. EST. What is the prize? Two 2011 Calendars by my favorite artist and author, Susan Branch!  If you have never met Susan, please visit her website at  This is my own giveaway; I am not affliated with Susan Branch in any way, except as a FAN! The calendars are the large 12"  (opens to 12 x 24) and the smaller 7" (opens to 7 x 14), each with their own unique, handpainted pages designed by Susan!  
I do want to apologize in advance if I am not able to visit everyone's tables this week. Since I will be out of town, I will not have access to my computer.
Now, to my tablescape. I still don't have ALL my Halloween decorations out of the attic, so this weeks table is mostly stuff I have hidden in the nooks and crannies of my hutch and china cabinet.

That shiny black table cloth is actually a large heavy duty trash bag. I thought it looked to be the size of the table - and it was! I covered it with some cottom spider web. If you want to try this - use about 1/4 or less of the standard spider web package. It is pretty tricky to stretch it out with out tree branches to anchor it!

I purchased the four black dinner plates I am using as chargers at the Dollar Tree for $1 each. I also purchased the pair of candlesticks, the glitter spiders, the skull and spider appetizers and the rocks, for a total purchase price of $10.00 spent. The spider web plates in the center were purchased several years ago and I can't remember where I got them.


I believe that I bought the candle stick holders and the test tube goblets at Hallmark when they were on the 80 percent off table. The tiered tray was an Ebay buy a few years ago (I added the crow) and the ghost candy basket with worm garnish was a Big Lots find many years ago. The adorable little man with a hat is a Pfaltzgraff outlet store find - a tiny repro of an old cookie jar.  I bought it for next to nothing at their going out of business sale. I am so sad there are no more Pfaltzgraff outlets!

I thought it would be fun to try a black and white table for my first Halloween table. Stay tuned for a new Halloween Table next week!

I will be linking to Tablescape Thursday with Susan and all those other creative tablescape artists at
And with Wendy for Spooky Monday at
And Eighteen25's First Halloween Linky Party at
And Centerpiece Wednesday with The Style Sisters at

Miss Merry