Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

Like clockwork every year, IT begins.... it creeps in sometime during the hazy ochre-tinted days of late August, when the faintest chill ripples through the evening air... Sometimes, it rears its head earlier, standing out amidst the fireworks and cotton candy sweetness of summer celebrations. I used to be embarrassed and would keep it to myself. For a while I tried to hide my true feelings, from my best friend and even my husband. However now I've decided to embrace it. Whether it's simply due to not caring what other people think as much (thank you to my early 30s) or the fact that my planning gets more elaborate and involved with every year that passes and requires more prep time, is up for debate. To what am I referring, you ask? Why, my HALLOWEEN OBSESSION of course! Pumpkins! apple cider! scratch that-- apple cider donuts! ghost stories! haunted houses! swirling red leaves! elaborate costumes! candy! The turn of the seasons and the thrill of letting your imagination run really wild! Did I mention pumpkins?? Move over Martha, you're not the only witchy lady with a few tricks up her sleeve!

Okay- so you have likely guessed by now that I'm not Rebecca (Her holiday is Christmas...) This is her BFF LDR.

When Rebecca asked me to come up with a Halloween-themed guest post, I was Thrilled but definitely felt the pressure to deliver something interesting to all of her faithful followers. The bar has been set high by previous guest-posters. Rebecca and I have a long and colorful Halloween history that spans more than a decade, and I am SO sad that since she and Mr. MRL have left Brooklyn for (literally) greener pastures, we won't get to celebrate together in person this year. However, thanks to this Halloween post and about a hundred emails, photos and pinterests back and forth about the Bestholidayoftheyear, ahem, I can safely say that she is with me in spirit!

Let's get Serious: The Concept: Some Halloween celebrations are lighthearted and fun for all ages; the costumes are silly and nobody gets scared. And some celebrations are, well… Terrifying. This Halloween I decided to take my annual celebration down that bloody, dark and nightmarish road that only a brave souls few venture down. To that end, I hosted a formal four-course dinner party for twelve of my dearest – The Halloween Feast.

The Decor: I’ve been using my Tricks & Treats pinterest board over the last couple of months to loosely curate a mood board for the event. Here are some themes I played around with: vintage glassware, candles, victorian lace, requiem, bloody murder, oddities & curiosities, crimson, silk, 1920s jazz, skulls, victrola, gothic literature, the last supper, día de los muertos….. you see where I’m going with this? I arranged two tables in a T shape, used a deep red fabric for the tablecloth, made my own black satin ribbon trimmed napkins out of plain off white muslin, and clustered dozens of candles along the center of the table. I was so thrilled to be able to use some of the vintage glassware I’ve been collecting: etched 1930s Tiffin champagne glasses, an assortment of unique cordial glasses, 1942 Libbey glass gold tumblers and my 1968 Libbey gold partridge old fashioned glasses. From the ceiling, using fishing line, silver hooks, LED lights, hand-dyed cheese cloth and lace, I created the illusion of a floating chandelier (photo below).

The Menu: I steered clear of eyeballs, marshmallow ghosts and chicken fingers that look like actual fingers. Sorry Martha, no thanks. Instead I concentrated on color, texture and presentation for a menu to delight and enchant our guests

Halloween Feast Menu
The Bloodletter – scarlet margarita made with fresh beet, orange and lemon juice with a black lava salt rim

Crown of Roasted Thorns (pan-fried baby artichokes with fresh parsley, lemon, red pepper and shaved parmesan)
Fall Salad of mixed herb greens and baby romaine, avocado, blue cheese, walnuts and green apples
Finnochio (Fennel) Gratin with an herb bread crumb crust
Baked onions in cream, stuffed with butternut squash
Roasted pork tenderloin with blackberry and rosemary wine reduction
Roasted root vegetable pot pies with a flaky tarragon crust
Dark chocolate mousse and homemade marshmallows, served in gilded mini pumpkins
Black currant liqueur & apple brandy

The Finished Event: I've assembled some photos for all of you. So please, while you couldn't be present at the dinner itself, I hope you enjoy this Feast for your Eyes. I hope this inspires each of you to take your Halloween celebrations to the next level. And, if I've creeped any of you out in the course of my post then I've done my job!! As for me, I'm already planning for next year!

Happy Halloween!
Lauren D. Smith

Check out other party planning ideas and recipes at


Erin @ Missy Mac Creations said...

WOW Lauren, that looks amazing. I definitely like your "adult" take on it. Bet everyone enjoyed themselves.

Archie the wonder dog said...

What a great guest post, I was riveted! Love the photos - it looks like a great night was had by all!!

Lauren said...

Thanks guys! The event was a success for sure. There are more creepy photos on and I also posted the cocktail recipe - enjoy and Happy Halloween!!! L

Rebecca Lynne said...

I wish I could've been there in person. But, as usual, I loved your decor choices and as always I am especially fond of ceiling decorations. Very bloody indeed. ;)

Anonymous said...

This looks fabulous! I usually love Halloween, but I missed it entirely this year. Thanks for letting me enjoy it vicariously.