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Have yourself a haunted Halloween party October 21, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Entertainment.
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It’s that magical time of year again, when ghosts, goblins and mischief reign. Here are some special Halloween “Good Things” wickedly enjoyable ways to decorate, entertain and more on this holiday.

Tombstone treats
Tempt brave party guests with harrowing favors in the form of headstones. The creepy candy-filled tombstones are crafted from mini black paper bags, measuring 2 ¾-by-5 ½ inches (available at craft stores).

Draw the outline of a gravestone with the top edge just under the opening of each bag, and cut out. Stamp a message in white ink on the front of the bag. Fill with candy, and seal closed with a glue stick. Set the favors in a tray filled with black sand.

For an extra scare, float candles in “blood,” made by tinting water with red and blue food coloring, in glass vessels beside the display.

Pumpkin party cooler
Turn beverages spine-chillingly cold in a container fit for the occasion. Pumpkins make ideal ice buckets for Halloween celebrations.

Just choose a large, wide one; cut off the top third with a serrated knife; and scoop out the pulp and seeds. Line the pumpkin with a glass or plastic bowl to prevent it from becoming waterlogged. (If the pumpkin opening is a bit small for the bowl, use a spoon to carefully shave the inside edge.) Fill the bowl with ice and bottled drinks.

Toasted squash seeds
Next time you cook squash, scoop out the seeds and save them. Toasted squash seeds make a delectable snack. Most squashes, such as Delicata and Acorn, are filled with these nutty-flavored morsels.

After you’ve scooped out the seeds, rinse them and pat them dry. Toss with extra-virgin olive oil, and season with coarse salt. Spread on a rimmed baking sheet, and bake at 350 degrees until golden and crisp, 12 to 15 minutes.

The seeds will keep for up to 3 days in an airtight container at room temperature.

Spider toothpicks
These spooky arachnids will help guests get a grip on their snacks, at least. Cut the bugs off plastic spider rings (available at party stores), then pierce their centers with a needle tool (from crafts stores). Insert a toothpick into the hole from the bottom. Set the picks out with small bites, such as mini mozzarella balls or marshmallow treats.

Safer trick-or-treat bags
Trick-or-treating children are easier to spot when they carry their sweet wares in bags marked with reflective tape.

To make the bags, cut 4 inches from the top of a paper grocery bag. Run brown duct tape along the bottom of the bag and up the front side, 2 inches in from the edge. At the top of the bag, use 9 inches of tape to form a handle (fold the tape in half lengthwise, sticky sides together), and then guide the tape down the other side and under the bag. Repeat on the opposite side. Cut four pieces of reflective tape, and place them over the duct tape on each side.

Mummified setting
Scare up some ghostly table settings for your next Halloween feast: napkins and candle decorations that resemble mummy shrouds.

For dinner napkins: Measure a 16-inch square on a large sheet of two-ply cheesecloth. Snip the corners with scissors, then tear the square out. Fold the cloth in half twice, forming a smaller square, before setting it on a plate.

For shrouded candleholders: Stretch a one-ply piece of cheesecloth around a glass cylinder, then secure with mini black safety pins, available at craft stores. Finish the settings with glasses of red wine or grape juice, and set black-handled flatware crossed menacingly atop the napkin-lined plates.

Glitter gourds
Add sparkle to Halloween festivities with pumpkins that have been touched up with glitter. The sophisticated decorations look stunning on tables, serving areas or almost any other indoor space plus they last longer than jack-o-lanterns.

With a paintbrush, spread white glue over the surface of a small pumpkin. Place the gourd on a paper plate or newspaper to catch any excess glitter, then sprinkle powder glitter (try combinations of pink, red and champagne) over the glue, covering it completely. Let dry for about one hour, then shake off the excess powder. Brush the stem with brown acrylic paint, and let dry.

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