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Party Plan: Pumpkin-Packed Halloween Celebration

Boo-yah! It’s time to put on your costume, carve some jack-o’-lanterns and fill the bowls with candy, because Halloween is here!

We’ve got pumpkin ideas galore for you to get into the spirit of the season. Sweet Pumpkin Cupcakes, Pumpkin Spice Rice Krispies and Pumpkin Delight are all delicious indulgences. If you’re looking for a lighter option instead, try Skinny Pumpkin Cheesecake. You can even make Jack-o’-Lantern Personal Pizzas for another fun twist on this fall icon! And we’ve got a little pumpkin flavor to fill your glass, too: Hot Spiced Coconut Pumpkin Drink.

Before you go trick-or-treating, fill up with Mummy Meatballs and One Pot Chili Mac & Cheese. If you’ve got a sweet tooth, there are oodles of options to keep it satisfied! From Candy Apple Bars to Spooky Fruit Parfaits with Coconut Whipped Cream, everyone can find something to enjoy!

We’ve got decorating ideas, too. Learn How to Pair Mums in Your Fall Arrangements, or for a spooky touch create a Ghoulish Floral Display. You can also make eerie Halloween Specimen Mason Jars for an extra-creepy touch. And check out 3 Easy Halloween Party Game Ideas to get all your guests involved in some seasonal fun!

Pumpkin Cupcakes

Pumpkin Cupcakes

Created by: Sharon Garofalow, Cupcakes and Cutlery

These easy pumpkin cupcakes are super moist and make a perfect fall dessert. The pumpkin pie spice brings all my favorite seasonal spices to the cupcakes and they are absolutely delicious! White chocolate “pumpkin seeds” take only a few minutes to make and are a fun Halloween candy all on their own. Put it all together and you have a festive fall treat!

Pumpkin Cupcakes Ingredients:
  • 1 package (15.25 oz.) yellow cake mix
  • 1 can (15 oz.) pumpkin puree
  • 4 eggs
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • ⅓ cup milk
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1½ tsp. pumpkin pie spice
Frosting Ingredients:
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • ⅓ cup melted butter
  • 1½ tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1-2 Tbsp. milk
Directions:
  1. Preheat the oven to 325°F.
  2. Place cupcake liners into muffin pan.
  3. In a large bowl, add all ingredients.
  4. Using a hand mixer, beat until well combined.
  5. Fill cupcake liners ¾ full.
  6. Bake for approximately 15 minutes.
  7. For the icing, mix powdered sugar and butter in a medium bowl with an electric mixer on low speed.
  8. Stir in vanilla and 1 tablespoon milk.
  9. Beat and gradually add in more milk (a little at a time) to make the frosting as smooth as possible.
White Chocolate “Pumpkin Seeds” Ingredients:
  • 1 package (16 oz.) CandiQuik Vanilla Baking Bar
  • 3 cups Kellogs Corn Pops Cereal
Directions:
  1. Follow directions on the CandiQuik container to melt the white chocolate.
  2. When melted, add cereal and stir to coat.
  3. Drop the chocolate covered cereal, by the spoonful, on to a wax paper lined cookie sheet.
  4. Place the cookie sheet in the refrigerator to harden completely.
  5. Frost your cooled cupcakes with vanilla icing.
  6. Top each cupcake with a handful of “pumpkin seed” candy bark.

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Mummy Meatballs

Mummy Meatballs

Created by: Erin Sellin, Dinners, Dishes, and Desserts

Turn your meatballs into mummies for a fun Halloween dinner!

Ingredients:
  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 cup Italian breadcrumbs
  • 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 4 cloves garlic, grated
  • 1 tsp. Italian seasoning
  • ½ tsp. black pepper
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 package crescent dough
  • Black olives, thinly sliced
  • Mozzarella cheese, cut into small pieces (optional)
  • Marinara sauce
Directions:
  1. In a large bowl combine ground beef, breadcrumbs, cheese, egg, garlic, Italian seasoning, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes. Shape into golf ball-sized balls.
  2. In a large skillet heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add meatballs to the skillet and cook for 5 minutes, turning to brown. Remove from pan and cool slightly.
  3. Preheat oven to 375ºF.
  4. Open can of crescent dough, and spread it flat on a cutting board. If there are seams, press them together. Using a pizza cutter, cut strips about ¼” thick. Wrap strips of dough around the meatballs, and place on a baking sheet.
  5. Bake for 10-15 minutes until the crescent dough is golden brown and the meatballs are cooked.
  6. Using the marinara sauce as “glue,” stick the sliced olives on the meatballs for eyes. If desired, you can put the small pieces of cheese in the center of the olives for the whites of the eyes.
  7. Serve with marinara sauce for dipping.

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Candy Corn Dip

Candy Corn Dip

Created by: Carrie Robinson, Frugal Foodie Mama

Inspired by a favorite fall time candy, this triple layer Candy Corn Dip is sure to be a big hit at this year’s Halloween or harvest party. Simply serve with fresh apple slices, pretzels or graham crackers, and watch it disappear!

Ingredients:
  • 1 box (3.5 oz.) Kroger Instant Vanilla Pudding & Pie Filling
  • ⅓ cup cold milk
  • 1 cup Simple Truth Organic Nonfat Vanilla Yogurt
  • 4 oz. Kroger Lite Whipped Topping, thawed
  • ¼ cup pumpkin puree
  • Orange & yellow gel food coloring
  • Candy corn, for garnishing
Directions:
  1. In large mixing bowl, beat together the pudding mix and milk until well incorporated. Then beat in the yogurt until smooth. Fold in the thawed whipped topping.
  2. Divide the mixture into three separate bowls with each bowl having a little less of the dip than the next one. Set aside the bowl with the smallest amount.
  3. Add the pumpkin puree to the bowl with the most dip and mix well. Add in 2-3 drops of orange food coloring or until you get your desired shade of orange. Mix well.
  4. In the bowl with the second largest amount of dip, add in 2-3 drops of yellow food coloring or until you get your desired shade of yellow. Mix well. Refrigerate all 3 bowls for at least 30 minutes.
  5. In a clear or glass serving dish or bowl, layer the dip in this order: orange on bottom, yellow in middle, white on top. Garnish with a few candy corn, if desired.
  6. Serve with graham crackers, pretzels or apple slices. Cover and refrigerate any leftover dip for up to three days. Enjoy!

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Pumpkin Delight

Pumpkin Delight

Created by: Britni Vigil, Play. Party. Plan.

Pumpkin Delight is the perfect fall version of striped delight. It starts with the same graham cracker layer, then changes things up with a layer of cream cheese and pumpkin pudding before finishing off with creamy whipped topping. It’s a little bit of fall in every single bite, and is one of those desserts everyone will love.

Ingredients:
  • 4 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 2 Tbsp. granulated sugar
  • 1 tub (8 oz.) whipped topping
  • 1 graham cracker pie crust
  • 1 cup plus 1 Tbsp. organic milk
  • 1 can (15 oz.) pumpkin
  • 2 packages (3.4 oz. each) vanilla instant pudding
  • 2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 Tbsp. white chocolate (optional)
Directions:
  1. Mix cream cheese, 1 tablespoon milk and 2 tablespoons sugar in a large bowl, and beat with a mixer until well blended.
  2. Gently fold half of the tub of whipped topping into the cream cheese mixture using a spatula. Spoon cream cheese mixture over graham cracker crust.
  3. Pour 1 cup milk into large bowl.
  4. Add pumpkin, dry instant pudding mixes and pumpkin pie spice into the milk bowl and mix until well combined. Place into refrigerator and allow to chill for 15-20 minutes or until completely set.
  5. Pour pudding over cream cheese layer and allow to chill for at least 30 minutes.
  6. Top with remaining whipped topping and shaved white chocolate slivers (optional).

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How to Pair Mums in Your Fall Arrangements

How to Pair Mums in Your Fall Arrangements

Created by: Lauren Saylor, A Fabulous Fete

Mums! They’re a fall staple for any household looking to create a seasonal arrangement. They come in a variety of shapes, sizes and colors, making them a versatile addition to your table decor. Here’s a trick for creating cohesive arrangements that stick to a monochromatic color scheme.

Things You'll Need:
  • White mums
  • White hydrangea
  • Eucalyptus
  • Dried wheat stalks
  • Medium cylinder vase
Directions:
  1. Start with the largest flower, the hydrangea, placing it in a medium cylinder vase.
  2. Fill in gaps with the mums to create a symmetrical and full arrangement.
  3. Tuck in a few sprigs of eucalyptus around the bottom and center.
  4. Finish your arrangement by adding a few stalks of the dried wheat to add an unmistakingly autumn touch!

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Eyeball Lychee Martinis

Eyeball Lychee Martinis

Created by: Nicole Leggio, Cooking for Keeps

These spooky eyeball martinis are the perfect cocktail for your Halloween celebrations. Lychees stuffed with blueberries make up the “eyeballs,” while vodka, triple sec, lychee syrup and lemon juice make up the base of the drink. Each martini is topped off with a little bubbly, and they’re ready for the party!

Ingredients:
  • 1 can (14 oz.) peeled and pitted lychees in syrup
  • 8 blueberries or cranberries
  • 6 oz. vodka
  • 3 oz. triple sec
  • 3 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • Champagne or sparkling wine for top off
Directions:
  1. Drain syrup from lychees. Reserve 6 ounces. Stuff 8 lychees with blueberries or cranberries. Place on a cocktail stick.
  2. In a martini shaker filled with ice, add lychee syrup, vodka, triple sec and lemon juice. Shake until cold.
  3. Pour into 4 glasses and top off with champagne or sparkling wine. Garnish with “eyeball” skewers and serve.

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Caramel Apple Bar

Caramel Apple Bar

Created by: Emily Buys, Clever Housewife

Make the fall season more fun with a Caramel Apple Bar and let everyone choose their own toppings. It’s easy and fun for everyone!

Ingredients:
  • 4 large Granny Smith apples
  • Hot Caramel
  • ½ cup white chocolate chips, melted
  • ⅛ cup chocolate sprinkles
  • ⅛ cup coconut flakes
  • ⅛ cup mini M&M’s
  • ⅛ cup googly eyes (found in cake decorating aisle)
  • ⅛ cup mini marshmallows, found near hot chocolate
  • ⅛ cup chopped nuts
  • Lollipop sticks
Directions:
  1. Slice apples and get rid of seeds and core. Shove sucker sticks through the bottom of each apple slice. Place on a platter.
  2. Set up each of the toppings in small containers. Have a separate bowl for the hot caramel and melted white chocolate.
  3. Allow guests to take an apple slice by the stick, dip it into the hot caramel and another topping of their choice. If desired, drizzle a small amount of white chocolate over the caramel, using a small spoon.

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Spooky Fruit Parfaits with Coconut Whipped Cream for Halloween

Spooky Fruit Parfaits with Coconut Whipped Cream for Halloween

Created by: Julia Mueller, The Roasted Root

These spooky parfaits are the easiest thing to put together. Simply pick up your favorite fruit from the store (Halloween colors preferred!), chop it up, put it in fancy glasses and top with homemade whipped cream. For these parfaits, I used red plums, black grapes and blackberries. You can also use blood oranges, cherries, strawberries, blueberries or black plums.

Ingredients:
  • 1 can (14 oz.) coconut cream (see note)
  • 2 Tbsp. pure maple syrup
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • Pinch sea salt
  • 3 cups black grapes
  • 2 red or black plums, pitted and sliced
  • 2 pints blackberries
  • Granola for serving, optional

Note: If your store doesn’t carry coconut cream, you can use 2 cans of full-fat coconut milk. Refrigerate the cans overnight so that the cream rises and solidifies at the top. When you open the cans, scoop out the white flesh, leaving the clear liquid behind. You’ll use only the coconut cream for the whipped cream and can incorporate the clear coconut water into smoothies or other recipes.

Directions:
  1. Add the coconut cream, pure maple syrup, vanilla extract and sea salt to a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment; you can also use a mixing bowl and a hand mixer. Turn the mixer on to a medium-high setting and beat until everything is well-combined.
  2. Divide the black grapes, sliced plums and blackberries between 4 separate glasses. Dollop the desired amount of coconut whipped cream on top, followed by granola (if desired). Serve and enjoy.

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Skinny Pumpkin Cheesecake

Skinny Pumpkin Cheesecake

Created by: Jessica Williams, Butter With A Side of Bread

This no-bake pumpkin cheesecake is lighter than the traditional version but still has all the classic flavors that you love.

You’d never guess this sweet and creamy pumpkin cheesecake is light! With all your favorite flavors and fewer calories, this recipe will become an instant family favorite.

Ingredients:
  • 1 block (8 oz.) Kroger Greek Yogurt Cream Cheese
  • ¼ cup plus 2 Tbsp. brown sugar
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • ¾ cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 tub (8 oz.) Kroger Light Whipped Topping
  • ½ cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 2 Tbsp. melted butter
Directions:
  1. Combine graham cracker crumbs, 2 tablespoons brown sugar and the melted butter in a small bowl. Mix until crumbly. Press down into an 8”x8” pan and freeze for 10 minutes.
  2. Mix cream cheese until smooth using an electric mixer. Add in remaining brown sugar, vanilla and pumpkin pie spice, and mix again. Stir in pumpkin and whipped topping until well combined.
  3. Remove pan from freezer and layer pumpkin cheesecake on top of graham cracker crust, spreading mixture out and pressing down gently until even.
  4. Refrigerate at least 4 hours until set. Sprinkle with ground cinnamon and cut into squares to serve.

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Vampire’s Brew Sparkling Water

Vampire’s Brew Sparkling Water

Created by: Lauren Saylor, A Fabulous Fete

One of my favorite ways to stay hydrated is flavored sparkling water. This is also the perfect alternative to cocktails at a holiday bash, and something the whole family can enjoy. Since Halloween is on the way, here is way to turn it into a drink worthy of your celebrations. You can set up an entire bar of flavors for your guests to choose from!

Ingredients:
  • Sparkling water
  • Flavored simple syrup
  • Pipettes
Directions:
  1. Fill the pipettes with flavored syrup and place in serving glasses.
  2. Add ice and sparkling water.
  3. Serve and let guests create their own flavored waters!

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Hot Spiced Coconut Pumpkin Drink

Hot Spiced Coconut Pumpkin Drink

Created by: Sharon Garofalow, Cupcakes and Cutlery

This recipe is super simple and quick to make…a delicious treat for your Halloween gathering!

For the Whipped Cream:
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 ½ tsp. cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. vanilla extract
For the Spiced Coconut Pumpkin Drink
  • 3 cups Simple Truth Original Coconut Milk
  • ½ cup pumpkin puree
  • ½ tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/8 tsp. ginger
  • 1/8 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp. clove
  • ¼ tsp. cinnamon
  • ¼ cup half and half
  • 1 Tbsp. pure maple syrup
  • 1 Tbsp. coconut oil
Directions:
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer add whipping cream and begin beating on medium.
  2. Slowly add in sugar, vanilla and cinnamon.
  3. Continue beating on high until stiff peaks form.
  4. Do not over beat.
  5. While the whipped cream is beating, in a saucepan add all Pumpkin Drink ingredients.
  6. Whisk the mixture together.
  7. Heat on medium high heat for approximately 7 minutes, whisking occasionally.
  8. Serve immediately with whipped cream topping.

Tips:

  • Start whipping the cream first, then make the coconut pumpkin drink. The drink comes together really quickly while the mixer gets the whipped cream to the right consistency.
  • This recipe makes 2 large cups of pumpkin drink or 4 small cups. You will have leftover whipped cream…delicious on pumpkin waffles or other fall treats!

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Jack-o-Lantern Personal Pizzas

Jack-o-Lantern Personal Pizzas

Created by: Amy Christie, This Heart of Mine

Get into the season with this simple and festive dinner. Homemade pizza dough, ready in a flash, topped with simple ingredients and transformed into a friendly (or spooky, if you wish) jack-o-lantern face.

Ingredients:
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 2 tsp. yeast
  • 2 ½ cups flour
  • ¾ tsp. salt
  • 2 Tbsp. oil
  • 2 tsp. sugar
  • 1 jar (14 oz.) pizza sauce
  • Shredded mozzarella cheese
  • Pepperoni
Directions:
  1. Prep 2 baking sheets with foil and coat with baking spray. Set aside.
  2. Put the yeast and water in a bowl and stir thoroughly to combine.
  3. Add the flour, salt, oil and sugar and stir until a soft dough forms.
  4. To make the jack-o-lantern pizzas, divide the dough into four equal parts. Press each section out into a circle on the foil, two to a pan. Pull out a small section to make a stem.
  5. Let them stand for 15 minutes.
  6. Top with pizza sauce, shredded mozzarella cheese and pepperoni (as the face of the Jack-o-Lantern).
  7. Bake at 400ºF for 10-15 minutes, until the crust and cheese are turning golden brown.

Tip:

  • This dough can be pressed out into 1 large pizza. Instead of dividing the dough, press all the dough into 1 large pizza on a prepped, foil-covered baking sheet, coated in baking spray. Pull out a little section for the stem and then add the toppings. Bake at 400ºF for 15-20 minutes, until the crust and cheese are turning golden brown.

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One Pot Chili Mac & Cheese

One Pot Chili Mac & Cheese

Created by: Emily Buys, Clever Housewife

Get out the door for trick-or-treating with ease, when you start the night off with this One Pot Chili Mac & Cheese.

Ingredients:
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 1 lb. ground turkey
  • 2 cans (14.5 oz.) chicken broth
  • 1 can (14.5 oz.) stewed tomatoes
  • 1 can (15 oz.) cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can (15 oz.) black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 tsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. ground mustard
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni pasta
  • 1 cup shredded Colby Jack cheese
Directions:
  1. Heat olive oil in a Dutch oven, over medium-high heat. Add garlic, onion and ground turkey, and cook until browned, about 3-5 minutes.
  2. Stir in chicken broth, tomatoes, beans, chili powder, mustard and cumin; season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  3. Bring mixture to a slight boil, stirring occasionally while breaking up the large tomato chunks. Stir in pasta and return to a boil.
  4. When pasta has come to a boil, cover and reduce heat. Cook an additional 15 minutes, or until pasta is fork-tender.
  5. Remove from heat and top with cheese. Return lid and let sit for about 2-3 minutes, or until cheese is melted. Serve immediately.

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Pumpkin Spice Rice Krispies Bars with Browned Butter Icing

Pumpkin Spice Rice Krispies Bars with Browned Butter Icing

Created by: Amy Christie, This Heart of Mine

Turn basic Rice Krispies bars into a delightful fall treat with a few spices and a layer of browned butter icing. It’s quick, easy and delicious!

Ingredients:
  • 3 Tbsp. butter
  • 1 bag (10 oz.) plus 1 cup mini marshmallows
  • 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • ½ tsp. cinnamon
  • 6 cups Rice Krispies cereal
  • 8 Tbsp. butter
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 2-3 Tbsp. milk
Directions:
  1. For the bars, melt the butter over medium heat in a heavy bottomed pot.
  2. Fold the marshmallows in and stir as they melt.
  3. Add in the pumpkin pie spice and cinnamon, stirring well to combine. Remove from heat.
  4. Finally, add the cereal and thoroughly combine.
  5. Press into a greased 9”x13” pan.
  6. For the frosting, melt the butter in small saucepan over medium heat until the butter turns a nut brown color.
  7. Remove the pan from heat and pour the butter into a separate bowl.
  8. Add the sugar, vanilla and 2 tablespoons milk and stir until smooth. If the icing is too thick, add more milk, a little bit at a time, until the consistency is right.
  9. Spread a thin layer on top of the bars.
  10. Cut and serve.

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A More Natural Way to Decorate Your Entry

A More Natural Way to Decorate Your Entry

Created by: Krissy Allori, Self Proclaimed Foodie

Create an inviting entry this Halloween by decorating with ceramic pumpkins and seasonal plants.

I love to decorate for the holidays. It truly makes me feel like a kid again, and the pure joy and excitement my kids feel is priceless. My taste in decor has certainly changed through the years, and at this point in my life (almost forty with two elementary-aged kids, that is) I would like to describe my taste as simple, natural, organic and reusable.

As soon as I saw these ceramic jack-o-lanterns surrounded by a gorgeous variety of annual and perennial plants, I knew right then how my front entry way would be decorated. You see, no matter what your front entry looks like, you can easily decorate it the same way I did. My front door isn’t actually visible from the street, but anyone coming to my house walks up from the driveway and sees the wall adjacent to my front porch first, so I decided to focus my efforts on that section of the front porch. I also liked how the step gave a little elevation change, as well, making it more visually interesting.

The ceramic jack-o-lanterns are heavy and solid - they will surely be a decoration I use year after year. I got a mixture of both annuals and perennials and I’ll explain why. First, annual plants tend to be cheaper because they’re meant to only bloom once. That’s totally fine with me because I love the way ornamental corn and purple millet look in my fall decorations, but I have no interest in seeing it planted in my garden year round! The perennial grasses, however, look fantastic year round, so once I’m done using the Burgundy Bunny, Chocolate Sedge and the Fireworks grasses (aren’t those great names?) in my decorations, they get planted in the yard.

This looks fantastic as is, but you can also add to this arrangement with a hay bail, a scarecrow, or whatever gives you that festive Halloween feeling. The only thing left would be to add a ton of real jack-o-lanterns that you and your kids carve!

Halloween Spider Suckers

Halloween Spider Suckers

Created by: Becky James, The Crafting Chicks

This fun craft turns a plain old sucker into a Halloween Spider Sucker. Perfect for parties or Trick-or-Treaters!

Things You'll Need:
  • 1 bag of Dum-Dum Suckers
  • 1 package of black pipe cleaners
  • Candy eyeballs
  • Black icing
  1. Cut the black pipe cleaners in half.
  2. Fold one of the pipe cleaners, in half, over the stick of the sucker. Twist to secure to stick and bend into legs on each side of the stick
  3. Continue adding legs until you have 8 on each side.
  4. Put a dot of icing on the back of candy eyeballs and place on the suckers.

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Glitter Polka Dot Pumpkins

Glitter Polka Dot Pumpkins

Created by: Crystal Owens, A Pumpkin & A Princess

Create glitter polka dot pumpkins for your Halloween décor in a few easy steps. Use glue dots or glue to make small circles, add glitter and you have a sparkly decoration just in time for Halloween.

Things You'll Need:
  • Small pumpkins
  • Glitter
  • Glue dots or liquid glue
Directions:
  1. Add ½ inch glue dots to your pumpkin. You can add as many or as little as you’d like. Glue dots are typically used for scrapbooking and can easily be removed in case you would like to use the pumpkins after Halloween. Another option is to hand draw dots using tacky glue or white school glue. Note: this will require drying time of a few hours, depending on how much glue is applied.
  2. Sprinkle glitter on your glue dots or make a small pile of glitter to roll your pumpkin in. I found the second method to work the best with the glue dots.
  3. Remove remaining glitter with a small brush.

Now decorate your mantle, porch or Halloween tablescape with your new glitter pumpkins!

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Black Magic Margaritas

Black Magic Margaritas

Created by: Lauren Saylor, A Fabulous Fete

With a few extra steps and ingredients, you can turn all of your favorite cocktail recipes into “spooky” versions for your upcoming Halloween parties. Margaritas are our go-to drinks for get-togethers. And since I didn’t want to stray too far from our favorite recipe, I just changed up the color to make it festive and just the right amount of creepy for the holiday.

Ingredients:
  • 4 oz. tequila
  • Juice of 3 limes
  • 2 oz. orange juice
  • 1 oz. triple sec
  • 6-8 oz. sparkling water
  • Agave nectar to taste
  • Red, blue and green food coloring
  • Black salt for garnish
Directions:
  1. Add tequila, lime juice, orange juice, triple sec, 3 drops of each color of food coloring and agave nectar to a shaker with ice and mix.
  2. Dip the rim of your serving glasses into a shallow plate of water and then into salt to create the black salted rim.
  3. Add ice to your glasses, strain the margarita, top with the sparkling water and serve.

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3 Easy Halloween Party Game Ideas

3 Easy Halloween Party Game Ideas

Created by: Laura Franklin, Food Fun Family

The weather has turned mild, the leaves have started to change color, and Halloween is in the air! Whether you’re throwing a Halloween class party or having some friends over for games before trick or treating, these Halloween-inspired games are sure to be a hit. Not only are they fun for kids of all ages, but they’re easy to set up and play, using supplies that you probably have around the house already.

Ghost Bowling Things You'll Need:
  • Toilet paper rolls
  • Round squash (pumpkin, acorn squash, etc) or ball
  • Black marker pen
Directions:
  1. Draw ghost faces with a black marker on rolls of toilet paper.
  2. Stack toilet paper rolls up. Be creative when setting up your toilet paper ghosts – make a pyramid, set them up like bowling pins, line them up in a straight line, etc.
  3. Roll a small ball or pumpkin/squash towards your stack of toilet paper ghosts and see how many you can knock down.
  4. Let the kids guess what will work better: a bouncy ball or a small, dense pumpkin? Will it be easier to knock down tall stacks of toilet paper, or toilet paper rolls set up like bowling pins?
Witch Hat Ring Toss Things You'll Need:
  • Black poster board
  • Scissors
  • Tape
  • Pencil
  • Hot glue
  • Foam board
  • Rings to toss (pool diving rings, bracelets, etc.)
Directions:
  1. Make witch hats by tracing a large circle on a sheet of black poster board. Cut the circle out; cut a large wedge out of the circle, and twist the two edges together to form a cone. Tape the hat together.
  2. Cut a smaller circle for the rim of the hat. Use hot glue to attach a cone to the middle of the circle. Repeat for additional hats.
  3. Glue the completed hats to a piece of foam board. Decorate the foam board with Halloween stickers or toys, if desired.
  4. To play the game, set the foam board on the ground. Toss rings at the hats and try to land as many rings on top of the hats as possible.
Pin the Face on the Jack-o-Lantern Things You'll Need:
  • White poster board
  • Orange paint, paintbrush
  • Black cardstock
  • Scissors
  • Tape
  • Blindfold
Directions:
  1. Paint a large pumpkin on a piece of poster board.
  2. Cut a variety of shapes for eyes, noses and mouths for your jack-o-lantern.
  3. To play the game, a player is blindfolded and handed a shape. Just like Pin the Tail on the Donkey, he or she must attach a shape to the jack-o-lantern face. See how funny the jack-o-lantern’s face turns out.

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Halloween Specimen Mason Jars

Halloween Specimen Mason Jars

Created by: Jamie Bare, The Crafting Chicks

Mix up creepy and cute with these easy DIY Halloween Specimen Mason Jars! They’re perfect for adding to any Halloween mantle, or as a Halloween centerpiece.

Things You'll Need:
  • Mason jars (various sizes)
  • Sticks
  • Plastic spiders or bats
  • Stretching spider webs
  • Hot glue and hot glue sticks
Directions:
  1. Clean your mason jar, so it’s clear.
  2. Add sticks and white stretchy spider webs to your jar. Just use a dab of hot glue to hold the sticks in place. You can add a dot to the end of a stick before adding it into the jar.
  3. Next, add your specimen. Plastic bats and spiders are great for this. You can also add items like skulls, skeletons, etc. You can hot glue them in, or they’ll usually stick nicely into the stretchy white webbing.
  4. Finally, screw the lids back on tight.

Now add to your mantle or table for a cool and creepy Halloween display!

View Party Plan: Pumpkin-Packed Halloween Celebration

Cookie Pizza

Cookie Pizza

Created by: Erin, Dinners, Dishes, and Desserts

Use some of that Halloween candy to make a cookie pizza for the whole family. The base is a delicious chocolate chip cookie recipe that’s frosted and then decorated with candy. You can make it your own by using whatever you have on hand, or just picking up some of your favorites at the store.

Ingredients for the Cookie:
  • ¾ cup butter, softened
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 whole large egg
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. cornstarch
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
Ingredients for the Frosting:
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 1 cup chopped candy
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350º F.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer combine butter, brown sugar and sugar; beat until creamy. Add vanilla and egg, and mix until well combined. Mix in flour, cornstarch, baking soda and salt until just combined. Fold in chocolate chips.
  3. Spray a 12”-14” pizza pan with non-stick spray. Press cookie dough into an even layer over the pizza pan, leave about a ½” border around the edge. Bake for 10-15 minutes until set and just starting to turn golden brown. Remove from oven to cool.
  4. Meanwhile prepare the frosting by mixing the butter, powdered sugar, vanilla and milk together until it gets to a spreadable consistency. Adjust milk and sugar if necessary to make it spreadable.
  5. Once the cookie is cool, spread frosting evenly over the top. Top with chopped candy of your choosing, such as Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, Twix Bars and Reese’s Pieces.

View Party Plan: Pumpkin-Packed Halloween Celebration

Ghoulish Floral Display for Halloween

Ghoulish Floral Display for Halloween

Arrangements or pots of mums are almost expected in autumn, since they're available in such abundance. Give your potted flowers a ghoulish look for Halloween by painting a plant pot to look like your favorite classic movie monster. As an added spooky surprise, the monster face glows in the dark.  

Things You'll Need:
  • Clean, dry, empty terra-cotta or plastic plant pot
  • Printed image of monster face
  • Scissors or craft knife
  • Painter's tape
  • Pencil or fine-point black marker
  • Plastic tablecloth or old newspapers
  • Acrylic craft paint in black, white and translucent green glow-in-the-dark 
  • Paintbrushes in various sizes
  • Mums in pot small enough to fit in outer decorated pot
  • Small Halloween-themed toys and props: spiders, skeletons, etc. 
  • Fishing line or floral wire

Getting Started: Pick the Perfect Image
Pick your favorite classic movie monster that would look scary in black and white: Frankenstein, the bride of  Frankenstein, or the creature from the black lagoon – all are good options. Search the web for free downloadable pumpkin stencils of your favorite monster; these stencils work equally well for painting plant pots.

Print your chosen image, ensuring it is sized to take up most of one side of your plant pot. (If not, enlarge the image before printing it.) Cut out the white areas designed for carving using scissors or a craft knife. Trim some of the excess paper from around the edges, so your monster stencil is as compact as possible.  

Choose a more friendly Halloween image, such as a smiling ghost or monster, if young ones in the family find classic movie monsters too scary. 

Painting a Black Background
Set the empty pot on a plastic tablecloth or old newspaper; then paint the entire outside and the inner 2-3”of the rim black with acrylic paint. (You can paint the entire inside black if you like.) Foam brushes or inch-wide paintbrushes help tackle the task quickly. Once the paint is dry to the touch (30 minutes or so), paint a second coat if the original pot color is still visible in some areas. 

Setting Up the Stencil
Press the paper stencil onto the empty plant pot and tape it in place with painter's tape so no gaps exist between paper and pot. Trace inside the lines of all cutout areas using a pencil on a terra-cotta pot or a fine-point marker on plastic. 

A Base(coat) for the Face
Paint the cutout areas of the stencil with white acrylic paint, holding the stencil against the pot so the paint doesn't bleed through to other areas. Wait for the paint to dry; then apply a second coat so the white looks solid. Once the second coat dries, add a coat of glow-in-the-dark light green acrylic paint. Once the glow paint dries, remove the tape and the stencil without tearing the stencil paper.

It's All in the Details
There's a good chance some of the black areas need a bit of a touchup within the face detailing and around the perimeter of the face. Dip a fine artist's brush into black acrylic paint and touch up the areas as needed, using the stencil or original monster image as a guide. A fine-point black marker can be used to add the smallest details, such as fur, eyebrows or outlines of pointy teeth. 

Place the potted mums inside the painted pot once all paint has dried. Mix a few Halloween-themed embellishments among the mums, such as plastic spiders, tiny toy skulls or miniature plastic ghosts. Use fishing line or floral wire to secure some of the items to flower stems, if necessary. 

Set the pot in a sunny area, which is good for both the mums and the glow paint. After dark, your potted mums take on a spooky glow. 

TIP:
A plastic vase can be painted instead of a plant pot if you prefer to display cut mums. Only paint the outside of the vase to keep the water fresh for your flowers.

View Party Plan: Pumpkin-Packed Halloween Celebration

Popcorn Balls

Popcorn Balls

Created by: Leigh Ann Hieronymus

As a child, my neighbor made these delicious popcorn balls for Halloween treats!

Ingredients:
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup corn syrup
  • cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 12 cups popcorn, already popped
  • teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • candy thermometer
Directions:
  1. Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with aluminum foil and spraying the foil with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Place the popped popcorn in a large mixing bowl and set aside.
  3. In a sauce pan add butter, corn syrup, sugar and water. Heat mixture until it comes to a boil. Add the vanilla and salt and mix.
  4. Pour the mixture a little at a time evenly over popcorn, stirring until thoroughly combined.
  5. Grease hands with butter, and scoop up a handful of popcorn. Press it firmly between your hands, forming a ball shape. Make sure that the balls are compact; loosely formed popcorn balls easily fall apart.
  6. Place the popcorn balls on the prepared baking sheet and allow them to firm up at room temperature.

View Party Plan: Pumpkin-Packed Halloween Celebration

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