Adults-Only Halloween Cocktail Party
Throw an elegant Halloween bash that ditches witches, goblins and ghouls for a voodoo-inspired theme with tribal accents and natural-looking decor.
Photo By: Melanie Grizzel, Camille Styles ©2012. Cooking Channel, LLC. All Right Reserved.
Party in Five: Voodoo Halloween Party
Throw an elegant Halloween bash that ditches witches, goblins and ghouls for a voodoo-inspired theme filled with tribal accents and natural-looking decor.
To host this party, you'll need just five essential ingredients: DIY voodoo doll cookies, Zombie Gut Punch, dried herb "boo-quet" favors, bottled spices and a printable party invitation.
Come One, Come All
Get the word out by downloading this invitation design, printing it onto Kraft card stock paper and cutting around the dotted-line border. Use regular craft glue to mount the printable onto a slightly larger piece of black card stock, and fill in the party information: when, where, what time and suggested attire (costumes encouraged!). Lastly, punch holes at the top of the invitation and string through a raffia ribbon bow.
Set the Scene
Create a centerpiece by arranging flickering votive candles and apothecary bottles filled with herbs and spices on your table or bar. These details will set the moody, tribal tone, while clever Halloween-themed foods, drinks and favor details will keep the display approachable, fun and not overly serious.
A Bone to Pick
No Halloween party is truly complete without scattered skeletal bones — and the same goes for your eerie voodoo hideaway. (You can find foam bones at any party supply store or on a party supply website.) Pile them high wherever your room needs a serious boost in fear-factor.
Head to your local craft, home goods or thrift store to buy Mason jars, glass containers and corked vases of all shapes and sizes. The more whimsical, unique and worn-looking they are, the better. Fill the containers with the types of ingredients you'd imagine throwing into a bubbling cauldron: Raffia, dried herbs, colorful spices, black-eyed peas and black peppercorns are just a few ideas.
Mix and match fabrics to create that classic voodoo vibe. Transform a drab wall in your party space by draping natural linens, tribal prints and tattered fabrics behind the cocktail bar. Printed scarves or old bed sheets work, too, and help set the dark, spooky scene.
Mix + Mingle
When it comes to cocktail parties, bar snacks are an entertaining must. Set out a mix of salty and sweet favorites, from autumnal bites like pumpkin seeds and candy corn to creepily colored munchies like black jelly beans and wasabi peas. Small glass snack bowls look elegant, take up little space and can be easily replenished throughout the evening.
Apple of My Eye
Demitasse cups and spoons are the perfect vessels for Butternut Squash and Apple Soup. Top off this seasonally appropriate hors d'oeuvre with a generous dollop of sour cream and a pimento olive slice to resemble an eyeball. Eerie yet elegant, right?
Get the Recipe: Butternut Squash and Apple Soup
Sticks + Stones
These utensil-free Prosciutto-Wrapped Breadsticks are perfect party-friendly bites. Arrange the finger food in a creepy vase, like this black urn, and add some moss or greenery to keep the breadsticks upright. The presentation adds height and a pop of color to the buffet table without overwhelming the space.
Get the Recipe: Prosciutto-Wrapped Breadsticks
A Good Brew
There's no better way to serve the night's libations than in a giant punch bowl, which easily evokes imagery of a brewing cauldron. A blood orange and cherry Zombie Gut Punch Cocktail enhances the party's tropical accents with its fruity flavor and subtly bloody hue. Set out glasses alongside the cauldron to give guests the freedom to refill throughout the night as they please.
Get the Recipe: Zombie Gut Punch Cocktail
Paper, Not Plastic
With a buffet focused on festive decor, simple finger foods, desserts and drinks, there's no need for plates. Small black cocktail napkins look elegant, maintain the theme and keep things manageable. You'll be able to enjoy your night as a (costumed) host without being burdened by unnecessary tableware and high-maintenance cleanup.
Trick or Treat?
To make these spooky (yet adorable) voodoo cookies, simply use a gingerbread man-shaped cookie cutter and your favorite sugar cookie dough. Once the cookies have baked and cooled, use a black food-coloring marker to bring your cookie to life with a drawn-on face, stitches and a heart. Put the finishing touch on your voodoo doll cookies by poking a jelly bean-topped toothpick through the heart. They look frightening and taste delicious!
A Sweet Note
Once the buffet has been cleared of savory hors d'oeuvres, set out your voodoo doll cookies for guests to marvel over (and devour). A simple, long rectangular serving platter is perfect for displaying a stack of dolls, and their simple flavor lends just the right amount of sweet-tooth satisfaction
Get the Recipe: Sugar Cookies
A Spooky Send-Off
Playful herb "boo-quets" provide a holiday-appropriate and very useful party favor for guests. A bundle of dried herbs (here, a bay leaf, dried parsley and dried thyme) tied together in cheesecloth is formally called a bouquet garni, and it is used to season soups, stocks or various stews. Nothing could be more fitting for cooler temperatures and a voodoo-inspired party!
Once the herbs have been assembled in the center of an 8-by-8-inch square of cheesecloth, tie the bundle tight using straw or kitchen twine. Use a set of alphabet stamps and a black ink pad to stamp "herb boo-quet" onto small Kraft paper tags, then string them onto the twine. A simple basket with a bed of store-bought moss is the perfect container in which to pile these delicate favors, and it can be set near the front door as a boo-tiful takeaway for friends.