Halloween is one of my favourite times of year: the perfect autumn celebration in the run-up to the festive pandemonium of Christmas. Halloween can be looked at as a North American celebration today, but the roots of the Celtic festivities, formally known as Samhain, are deeply planted in Ireland, the UK and northern France.
Halloween has gained momentum over the past years, with parties, trick-or-treating and decorations. The possibilities of costumes and props are endless, but I’m going to share with you my take on the eerie night. When it comes to decorating or planning an event, I don’t like to necessarily do the expected, or if I choose to, I always elevate and go all out on the details. But in this instance, for Halloween, I like to combine the beauty of autumn to the spookiness of October 31st.
I love incorporating as much nature as possible, not only because of the gorgeous colours and textures, but also as a reminder of where and why Halloween even existed in the first place (the day marked the end of the summer harvest). Combine leaves, flowers, berries and pussy willow in your décor, either as centre pieces or scattered around the area. Make sure to have multiple pumpkins, which can be carved, painted or naked, displayed around, with even the inclusion of a carving station, where guests can create their own piece of pumpkin art.
You can also incorporate some more scary elements such as ghosts, blood and skeletons, but in a cute and friendly way, such as illustrated balloons, subtle makeup and of course, food. Don’t shy away from amusing food, such as skeleton iced cookies, cranberry juice vampire shots (with added vodka if it’s adults only), strawberries coated in white chocolate ghosts or simply, stick edible eyes on pretty much anything.
Make the most of the great decorations offered by supermarkets and online retailers to make your party food stand out. Another recipe, which is always a success and is easy to make is the severed finger hot dog. You need a hot dog bun, a cooked frankfurter sausage and sliced almonds. Simply cut out a groove in the end of the sausage and position the almond slice as a nail. Place the sausage in the bun and liberally cover with blood (Ketchup). Voila! It’s always a conversation starter.
What I love about Halloween is that it’s for everyone to be creative and have fun, no matter how you approach it. It doesn’t need to be gruesome and scary: if that’s your thing, go right ahead and invest in all the fake blood and terrifying props your heart desires; maybe even create your own haunted house in the garden! But for those who still want to celebrate the day and aren’t fans of horror and skeletons, you still can. Strip Halloween back to its bare bones (pun intended) and celebrate the autumnal beauty that brings it back round every year.