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Ariel da Silva Parreira
October is nearly over and Halloween has appeared out of nowhere. You want to throw a party but you haven't had time to plan. Never fear. Just follow this five-step guide to throwing a last minute Halloween party, and let the good times roll.
Step one: Invite your friends over to your house for a costumed Halloween bash, maybe even on Monday as that's October 31. This is the most important step, because once you've committed to throwing this party there is no going back!
Step two: Decorations. Visit a local pumpkin patch/farm. Most have fall family fun such as hayrides, corn mazes, haunted woods and much more. These activities will get the family in the Halloween spirit. After the fun and games pick up some pumpkins, gourds, corn stalks and whatever the farm offers that sparks your families’ interest. Decorate the house with your natural treasures from the pumpkin patch.
Step three: Get dressed. Here are some quick, easy and clever costume ideas...
Stick Barbie dolls to your clothes=chick magnet; wear a pig nose and blanket=pig in a blanket; cover yourself in mini boxes of cereal with knives stuck in each one = serial killer; wear the letter P on your chest and paint yourself a black eye= black eyed pea. Don’t be afraid of the tried and true; ghosts, scarecrows, mummies and witches are all easy but fun.
Step four: Party food. When time is short, pre-made food is your friend. Pick up some tomatoes, buffalo mozzarella and fresh basil for a Caprese salad. Serve baked ziti as your main dish. While you are shopping, pick up two cans of fire roasted tomatoes, a pound of ziti (check the salad bar for pre-cooked, even non-mayo based pasta salad would work), an 8 oz container of ricotta cheese and some shredded mozzarella cheese. Layer the tomatoes, left over basil, pasta and ricotta. Top with the shredded cheese and bake for 30-45 minutes. For dessert look for a spice cake or maybe some old fashion ginger snaps, pick up some apple slices (also available at the salad bar) and caramel dip. Use these items to create a festive dessert platter. Serve apple cider with club soda as your beverage (with a jigger of vodka added for adults).
Step five: Party games. Think bobbing for apples, scarecrow and mini-pumpkin or gourd race. Plus a costume contest, obviously. The scarecrow race is just a more festive name for the old clothes relay described in my Old School Field Day blog post, but keep that to yourself. The mini-pumpkin relay requires each team member to place a mini pumpkin between their knees and walk to a specified location and back to the team; first team to have all their players complete the task wins a prize.
—Jill F. Reynolds is the owner of Boutique Affair, an events company based in Richmond.