Something Wicked This Way Comes: Hosting a Traditional Halloween Party

Halloween is a great Holiday.

DSC_2580There are just so many themes and colour schemes that you can use for your celebrations.  Last year we had a Breaking Bad theme, which was so much fun to plan for.  You can read more about how to host your own Breaking Bad party here:

Double, double toil and trouble

This year, however, we decided to have a more traditional Halloween party, using the more standard colour pallet of orange, black and white.  As regular readers may have noticed, I do have a slight obsession with ensuring that my parties are colour co-ordinated, from the decor right through to the food.  Here are some ideas about how you may wish to set up your 2015 Halloween party:

Fire burn and caldron bubble

To set the table, we started by covering the table with a chalkboard tablecloth.  To add height and variety to the display, we used a fabulous Fortnum & Masons black and orange wicker hamper (available especially for Halloween 2014) and a rustic tiered aluminum stand from Pottery Barn.  I also re-used my old hessian bunting to hang from the pillars.   Even “teddy” got into the spirit of the occasion!


I also purchased a set of linen skeleton cocktail napkins and a skeleton salt and pepper shakers (also from Pottery Barn), which were super kitsch!

I was lucky enough to get a couple of great Halloween Yankee candles this year, and the scents this year were Candy Corn and Ghost.  We also used left over low boy candles from our wedding back in 2009.  The little white ghost candles were a steal from Poundland!   For the bathroom, we decided to mix it up a little by dressing our pillar up in radiation hazard tape.

The autumn flowers that were available this year were just perfect for our theme, with the pumpkin-esq Chinese lantern flowers looking magnificent in the tall vase and framed with dyed red twigs.

And of course, we had to buy a bunch of pumpkins, and we managed to get hold of a pair of super gnarly specimens from Hampshire (thanks Kerry!) which looked amazing, together with a few munchkins from Waitrose (so cute!).

Eye of newt and toe of frog

For the feast, we had the usual Martha Stewart Mac ‘n Cheese (but this time using black and white stripe pasta bows – sorry I forgot to take a picture!), Shepherd’s Pie Pepper Pumpkins, and a delectable fine cheese board (sourced primarily from Waitrose, and supplemented with a fine piece of excellent Sheep’s cheese from Neal’s Cheese Yard, London, courtesy of one of our London-based guests, Dr. Robbie).

We also toasted the pumpkin seeds with smoked paprika and salt, and presented them in two gorgeous LeCreuset Pumpkin casserole dishes that our guests bought as a hostess gift for us (thank you Kerry and Becky!!).

Trick-or-treats desserts included, canine krispy-cremes, candy corn, M&Ms, Reeses Cups, caramel mushrooms, licorice, and Martha Stewart’s Brown Butter Pumpkin Cupcakes, served on vintage pie tins, black and white mugs, and a black cake stand.

Adder’s fork and blind-worm’s sting

To drink, we had a selection of smoky cocktails: Hendricks & Tonic and Skeleton Skull Vodka (commissioned, very aptly, by Ghostbuster’s very own Ray Stantz a.k.a. Dan Aykroyd) Cranberry, with a little something added (a gummi worm, no less) for good measure!

For a charm of powerful trouble

Whilst we did not require guests to come in fancy-dress, we did have a clever Snakes on a Plane costume, and I, having found that I had a little extra time before the party to spare, quickly made up this easy skeleton t-shit using a template available on the Martha Stewart Living site (  It ended up being a little untidy and rough-looking, but a great idea for a last-minute costume. DSC_2690

Like a hell-broth boil and bubble

And finally… Halloween would not be the same without a little dry ice to create the necessary ambiance.   Dry ice is available from Chillisticks in the UK, but I understand that dry ice is freely available for those of you living in the US (Does Wal-Mart and other stores really have it in the freezer sections all year around?!) – Amazing.  For the table, we used a couple of old earthenware Habitat baking dishes to resemble bubbling caldrons fitting of a Shakespearian cavern, and added small quantities of the pellets to our cocktails (NB: Make sure you don’t get any of the pellets in your mouth as it can cause serious burns)!

H A P P Y   H A L L O W E E N  !DSC_2540

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