Mummies in a Blanket, Anyone?
Throwing a Halloween party doesn’t have to mean experimenting in the kitchen, says caterer Susan Gage. Just give your standby party recipes some spooky new names. At the many Halloween parties her team caters, you’ll see redubbed favorites such as “mummies in a blanket” and “haunted-ham boo-gers” made with cheddar and brioche. Try serving grilled “creepy cheese sandwiches,” jack-cheese sandwiches cut into Halloween shapes with cookie cutters. Or brew up some pumpkin-apple soup and serve it mad-scientist style—in shot glasses or test tubes—topped with crème fraîche.
For her own annual Halloween party, Ridgewells catering CEO Susan Lacz serves easy, make-ahead dishes that are warm and comforting after a night of trick-or-treating and casual enough to be eaten while mingling. “I make a pot of soup during the day,” she said. “Then I can just serve it with a salad, garlic bread, and baguettes.” She makes special dishes that work for kids, too—such as macaroni and cheese with truffle salt or a plate of carrots and celery to balance out the candy binges.
If you’re aiming for a more grown-up party, Drew Lepp of the Catering Company of Washington suggests a more sophisticated finger food: pumpkin crepes topped with avruga caviar (herring roe) and crème fraîche. “The black avruga looks like spiders’ eggs, and the pumpkin in the crepe batter makes for a beautiful orange color,” she says. The make-ahead treat—see the recipe below—is versatile for parties, too: “They can be rolled into bite-size hors d’oeuvres to be passed or set at a small buffet of goodies.”
To serve your spread, Gage suggests laying out disposable holiday tablecloths over your party tables. She also picks up a few inexpensive Halloween serving dishes—she recommends Target—to make even pretzels and fruit plates look festive.
1⁄3 cup pumpkin purée
1 cup flour
1 cup milk
½ teaspoon each of salt, sugar, ginger, and cinnamon
Crème fraîche for garnish
Avruga caviar for garnish
Blend first five ingredients together; add water if needed to thin the batter. Heat a crepe pan or nonstick skillet over a medium flame and lightly grease. Pour enough batter into the pan to make a 4-inch round crepe. Cook until the crepe bubbles, then flip. Cook the second side briefly, about 30 seconds. Remove the crepe from the pan and let cool, then cut in half. Roll the half into a triangle. Top with crème fraîche and a small amount of avruga.
It Was a Dark and Stormy Night—for Drinking
What to drink with all the scary snacks? Gage suggests serving kids punch in a large black kettle, then adding dry ice for a wicked-witch effect. For adults, try serving up a bewitching cocktail—like her “dark and stormy night,” made by blending ginger beer and dark rum. Ladle it into glasses rimmed with black sprinkles and serve.