Monday, October 24, 2011

Halloween 2011 - a work in progress...

I've been working on our Halloween party and it is taking longer than ever because my oldest son wants to "help" me this year. It is fun to see how excited he is about his party and how that's all he talks about lately. At school, at home, even at restaurants, stores... We recently traveled out of town and he pretty much proudly invited everyone at the hotel to come to his Halloween Party :-)
This was my first project - create a pennant banner for the party. I started by collecting a few patterns of diamonds, checkers, polka dots and stripes in the chosen colors from online image banks and craft stores. I even came up with my own "design", by typing happy halloween and trick or treat multiples times on a word document using different types of Halloween-inspired fonts.  Just search for "free Halloween fonts" and you'll find many for download.  Putting the banner together (choosing the font, printing, cutting) was fun, until I had a little fight with the glue I was using to line them together on a ribbon...
Fortunately, I won the fight and the banner came together nicely. I made a digital file of this banner available for sale here.
The visual identity (or the "face") of the party was developed mainly from things I already had in the house.  Actually, this is how I settled on the color scheme black-white-orange: at first I thought about using black and white only, in part because I like the simplicity of these two timeless colors, but also because I had leftover supplies from my baby shower.  After stumbling on the above sign at a local store, I thought the addition of the orange brought warmth and playfulness.  And it was very fitting, since it was going to be a party for both adults and children.
A Halloween party calls for treat bags, right?  Well, I had lots of heart of palms jars sitting around (I try to reuse everything I can) so I turned them into "treat jars".  Removed the label, painted the lids, wrapped a piece of black lace and orange ribbon around it, and added stamped tags. Voilà, my newly "upcycled" candy jars for guests to fill up with goodies to take home and devour later.
Next, the "theme", which was slightly focused on spiders. It wasn't intentional, but I noticed I was collecting a bunch of spider-related items (from previous holidays, stores, even recipes!) So I started focusing on these little critters, and after a little investigation, found a super cool Martha Stewart spider web paper punch. I wasn't sure what to use them for just yet, perhaps invitations (too much work), a food menu (too formal) or to display a drink recipe (hmmm, maybe....) Then I got ambitious and used the corner punch to create little circular tags to identify the foods being served. The result is a little "chopped", but even real spider webs aren't perfect, right?
A bonus recipe, adapted from Martha Stewart 
Another project was to paint the wall mirrors (from Ikea) in orange and black
It's all in the (small) details... I think I'm going to print different species of spiders and showcase them on these mini frames.
I gathered a few antique pieces I had at home and displayed them alongside spiders, crows and skulls on top of this furniture piece.  The pictures I had on the wall behind it didn't really "match" the Halloween decor, so I went on a hunt for old family photos that would look like creepy props :-)
Love, love, love these Halloween fortune cookies!!
I'm also working on "BOO" labels for these orange, black and white striped lollipops
For the spider cupcakes, I made a whole wheat carrot-walnut cupcake (spiked with wheat germ, flax and chia seeds) and topped with a basic cream cheese frosting (whipped cream cheese and sugar).
The fun part was to decorate the cupcakes with "spider webs" 
Here's how I did it:

1. In a hurry, I used Wilton black decorating gel (but would recommend chocolate syrup instead - my son didn't want anything to do with the frosting because of its taste... plus, it's more natural and can be homemade)
2. Then I drew circles from the center of the cupcake out (don't worry about those being perfect, they'll be "destroyed" later anyway...)
3. Armed with a toothpick, I "pulled" straight lines across from the center, all around the cake
4. Finally, I topped it with a plastic spider ring in the middle

Beware... there's a part II of this post with details of the party...
Para uma versão em português da festa, clique aqui.

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