Last Saturday marked one of my favorite nights of the year. The evening when we don costumes, drape our home in spooky decor, sip bourbon slushes, and celebrate Halloween with our friends. This year marked our eleventh annual costume party, and we relied on some tried and true entertaining staples and even introduced a few new touches.

When I say we go all out at Halloween, I'm not kidding. It's the biggest decorating holiday in our home, even surpassing Christmas. And while I've shared a lot of our decorating details in past years, there are a few new items that we introduced into our seasonal decor this year. 

To set the mood for the party, our first critical item required the creation and mailing of great looking invitations. There's really no better way to get your guests ready for a party than to send them some great looking invitations. This year I used a new service, Pear Tree Greetings, primarily because I just loved one of their designs. The only drawback of their invitation is the fact they require their logo and name on the lower section of the reverse side. Nothing too terrible, but worth noting.

Once the invitations were out the door our focus turned to general Halloween decor. We hauled our seven large storage tubs of Halloween flair from the attic and began our setup. Lucky for us, Alex's mom shares my love for the holiday, and sent us a fantastic "care package" in the mail. It was like I was reliving Christmas morning/college mail day all over again. Lulu is hanging out next to the box for scale.

In addition to the mountains of sweets and treats that largely filled the box, she included a few decor items like this charming burlap bunting, which I proudly draped in our sun porch to up the ante in this room. 

The care package also contained a "tower of treats", complete with several sets of interchangeable paper cones. The beauty of this item is that it can serve us well at Halloween time, but the different cones mean it can join the party come Christmas, birthdays, and miscellaneous events throughout the year. Nestled behind the treat tower is a new addition as well: an adorable burlap Booo pillow given to me on the day of the party. How wonderfully thoughtful was that? 

I also revisited the idea of writing on our dining room mirror, which I tried out for the first time two years ago during our raven invasion theme. This year I selected a quote from Shakespeare's Macbeth, introducing a subtle yet creepy sentiment.

When it comes to the day before and day of the event, food presentation is typically the item that takes the most planning and setup. In years past I've always displayed little hand written menu cards, complete with a spooky name or description for our culinary offerings. While these had worked well, additions to the menu and improved names called for a rethink on this old favorite. This year I revamped my old cards be using the template provided by equally Halloween crazy Stefanie of Brooklyn Limestone and tapping the graphic design talents of my friend Sarah Kate of Studio Snyder. Before I knew it I had a brand new set of spooky cards. Menu items ranged from Mucous Morsels (a creepy spin on the Brie Bites I made last summer for the baby shower I hosted) to Bloody Zombie Fingers (shrimp with cocktail sauce). A true description of the food was listed underneath the disgusting monikers.

Also back by popular demand were the gorgonzola stuffed dates, this year labeled Eye of Newt.

I was really happy with the general look of the buffet table. The menu cards were really beautiful, and the food was delicious and seemed to be enjoyed by all. I kept the look simple with a black spider web table cloth and white serving dishes, and added in a few new touches like cute cocktail napkins (also a gift from a friend this year). 

When it comes to presentation, I like to separate savory treats and sweet treats, with the savory items on the dining room table, and the majority of the desserts on the buffet. The chandelier gets some attention as well, by way of a dangling spider infestation.

This year's desserts included several varieties of donuts, candy, and Cheryl's Cookies, an amazing delicacy straight from Ohio (the cookies were also courtesy of Alex's mom, who sent us an absolutely giant box of them).

We rounded out the menu for the night by placing our bar in the kitchen atop our Ikea "wine bar." Beyond my love for this somewhat recently added part of our kitchen on a daily basis, it's events like this where I really can't imagine living without it, though we did just that for almost a full decade.

When it came to party time, we were ready and excited to have a little fun. Personally, my favorite part of the night is getting to see everyone arrive in costume. We've already shared the details of our "Orange is the New Black" inspired looks, but I'm proud to say our friends also exceeded our expectations as far as costumes were concerned. While we had many favorites, in particular I got a kick out of the pregnant 50s housewife and indignant milk man denying the baby might be his.

We were flattered that Princess Kate, Prince William, and baby George made the long trek across the pond to pay us a visit.

The vam-pirates were a super clever play on words, and their gory blood stained mouths scored extra points in my book.

All in all, it was a fun night. People were smiling, eating, laughing, drinking, and most importantly, abandoning their Monday through Friday inhibitions and were daring enough to celebrate a great holiday while dressed as an alter ego for the night. 

If bourbon slush consumption is the indicator of a good party, the fact that they were wiped out less than two hours in makes me believe the event was a huge success.

Are you hosting or attending a Halloween gathering? Do you have any tips or tricks for spooktacular entertaining this time of year? If so, I'd love to hear all about it as I'm always looking for new and improved ways to make this holiday a real scream.

Comments 13


10/30/2013 at 10:23 AM

What a great party! Alt smile FYI: The RSS feed is still broken. Alt frowning


Thanks so much, Dewey, and thanks for letting us know about the RSS feed. Darn it...back to work on that...

10/30/2013 at 5:27 PM


I don't know if this will be of any use or not, but I looked at the post links displayed for many of the 277 feeds that I'm subscribed to and they all show either links like:



your blog on the other hand shows the following for this story:

Your blog feed is the only one that I could find among the many that that I checked that showed a link like that. Hopefully this will mean something to you and you can get the feed fixed.

10/30/2013 at 10:27 AM

Your decorations are fab! Do you mind if I ask where you bought the cute ghosts on top of your kitchen cabinets?


Thanks so much, Melissa! I bought them at Pottery Barn and Pottery Barn outlet many years ago. They're actually candles, but I can't bring myself to burn them because they're too cute!

Kathy Bonelli Cox
10/30/2013 at 10:45 AM
Such a great party! Loved everything about all the details!

Thanks so much, Kathy!

10/30/2013 at 1:20 PM

How fun! We used to go all out for Halloween but not anymore. It makes me sad.

10/30/2013 at 1:39 PM

You guys should come see Cabaret Macabre at Round House Silver Spring! I know it's a bit of a haul but we are getting some really great reviews and would love to have you in the audience, especially because of your love of Halloween.

Here's a review:

And here's more info:

10/30/2013 at 2:40 PM

Looks like they do not sell them anymore...although a slightly less realistic version is available on Pottery Barn Kids Alt smile

10/31/2013 at 10:05 AM

Looks like a great party! Glad you could use the labels!

10/31/2013 at 10:27 AM

Love it all!!! The Orange is the New Black costumes were awesome!!

Oh, and Cheryl's cookies are my fave!! Yay Ohio!!Alt smile

11/3/2013 at 9:50 PM

So, those bourbon slushies? Amazing, and a huge hit at our party - I think I may be living off them next summer...

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