There are definately two types of people when it comes to Halloween.  Those who are neutral about the holiday and those who LOVE IT. If you are already planning your costume and decorating for Halloween I’m guessing you are on team “I love Halloween”?  My decor is simple,  I rely on the power of pumpkins, especially white, to decorate.  A hallowed out pumpkin can be a container for anything from flowers to ice and beer. When my friends Margaret and her Mom Dragana asked me to join them in styling and photographing this spread to test recipes for a Halloween party I was thrilled. It was a day of pure fun taste testing frosting and mixing my orange infused vodka cocktails. The ideas for a Halloween party and endless. For little ones giant jars of candy are a must but who knew that black bean pasta and roasted butternut squash would be a perfect side dish for our Halloween spread.halloween

The table was full of delightful, not too scary, perfectly festive treats.

I confess, I am admittedly kind of neutral about Halloween. There is no doubt that Halloween can be a super fun holiday once you get past the eve of the day of the dead part. Free candy, the ability to change your persona for a day into virtually anything and for some the thrill of horror.
The problem is, the thrill of the scary movie sensation is lost on me because frankly they scare me. Maybe it’s the creative in me constantly over thinking, maybe the dead could come back as zombies and kill me with a chain saw??

I remember watching scary movies as a teen, of course alone, while babysitting after the kids have gone to sleep and I have several hours to kill (thank goodness kids today have snapchat and Instagram to occupy themselves) Watching a horror movie scene where the young girl, who is alone in the house answers a call to find out it’s coming from a stranger who is in another room of the house. NOPE!  Or better yet the Exorcist, which by todays horror standard is probably pretty lame but in the day her head spinning and the priest and crucifix flying across the room was seared into my brain.

To make matters worse, my parents were in the “Love Halloween” camp. One year they were in charge of the haunted house at my elementary school carnival.  There was a month of enthusiastic preparation and when it was finished it was an epic haunted house.  Even though I knew the darkness was simply the halls lined with black lights and bed sheets my parents had died black and even though I knew full well the blood was fake and that the people in the costumes were in-fact my own parents and their friends.  I WAS TERRIFIED.

I did however win many “best costume” awards in my youth thanks to my Dad’s passion for gore. One year he put the cut out bottom portion of a plastic milk jug on my head to make it square then wrapped me in endless yards of white strips cut from white bed sheets to turn me into the perfect mummy. Thinking back I’m wondering how in the world I managed to go all night with out having to use thew bathroom, but thanks to his blood drips and splatters and skillful wrapping I won the towns best costume award.

Perhaps THIS is why I’m not exactly on team “I love Halloween”  However,  having four kids it wasn’t something I could ignore.  Luckily my kids seemed happy to choose only slightly scary or sweet costumes instead of those from the horror genre.  I wonder if I unknowingly influenced them?? Sorry kids! I find it very ironic that my oldest son who hated halloween the most, who cried every year about putting on a costume, is now traveling the world as an actor living his life on the stage…in costume. Go figure!

Yes, I probably did some psychological damage to my son Mark by dressing him up in a chicken suit, complete with the rubber kitchen glove feet. My Mom made up for it a few years later when she bought a bag of auto patches on eBay and sewed them onto a jacket to make him a race car driver costume.  He wore it for three years in a row.  My gang may have chose silly costumes like a nerd or Fancy Nancy but they had so much fun.  I think if wishing it to be so could cause flight Paul would have flown off in his Buz light year costume.  He loved it and my sweet Mom put so much love and effort into every detail making costumes for my kids so many years.Happily my friends went for an equally tame version of Halloween for this spread. The snacks and treats were all good clean fun.  The rat skeletons were hilarious on the cheese board and adding a bit of black sesame seeds to the nuts made it look like they hadn’t been dead for too long.

Here’s a list of links to the recipes we used to create this festive spread.
Spider Cake
Ghost Cake with Seven-Minute Frosting
Eyeball Cake Pops
Mummy Pumpkin Cheesecake Truffles
GingerDeadmen Cookies with Icing
Mummy Jalapeño Poppers
Orange BOOze Cocktail
Rat-Infested Cheese Board: assorted cheese and crackers, grapes, sour cherry jam, sliced pear, and marcona almonds with black sesame seeds.
Creepy Pasta Salad: black bean spaghetti, roasted butternut squash, and scallions


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