Happy Halloween! I love Halloween. I can’t tell you what exactly it is but I just love the spooky decorations, haunted themes, costumes, candy, excuse to watch scary movies, and all of that combined with cooler temps has always made late October one of my favorite times of the year!
The holiday is sadly pretty much over in Ankeny. The Des Moines metro region does trick-or-treating on Beggars Night, last night, so now there is nothing to look forward to on Halloween itself! But I am still going to enjoy our decorations and the candy through the week!
In college I started a Horror Movie Night tradition with some friends. Never a large group but enough people that everyone was brave enough to watch the REALLY scary movies. I would make themed treats and snacks and everyone would enjoy a couple hours screaming together. That tradition continued in grad school except I had a few friends who didn’t appreciate scary movies so we started to have a balance, start with a non-scary movie for the whole group, then let the people leave who didn’t want a real scare and watch the horror films.
My go-to movies: High Tension and Silence of the Lambs. Both don’t take long to get into the meat of the story so there isn’t the long build-up (looking at you Exorcist). Also a good combination of a slasher movie and a suspense, thriller. But I digress.
This year I talked Adam into letting us host a horror movie night. It gave me an excuse to decorate more than was actually necessary, bake WAY more than was necessary, and enjoy my love of horror movies (in October) with some of my favorites in Iowa. We had the party on Friday, October 27th and I had so much fun!
The group was relatively small, 12 humans and 3 dogs at the peak of attendance. But any more and we wouldn’t have had room to sit! We played kid-friendly movies on the main floor (Hocus Pocus & Creature from the Black Lagoon) and scary movies in the basement (Trick-R-Treat and Exorcist). Creature from the Black Lagoon was a bust… one couple fell asleep while watching… I guess some old films just don’t hold up over time! Hocus Pocus was clearly a crowd pleaser and the perfect movie to have playing while people arrived. Trick-R-Treat was a great first choice in the basement given the Halloween theme of the movie. Exorcist was ok, obviously a classic for good reason but it starts pretty slow and no one was able to make it through the whole movie. We ended it early and everyone was headed home just before midnight (which is the perfect ending time for this old lady!).
I had so much fun decorating this year! I picked a spider theme and had webs all over the house, inside and outside. It was creepy but also made for some fun food decorating. The best part about a spider theme is that the most effective decorations (the webs) are so inexpensive! It was a very cost-effective way to thoroughly cover the house. We also had a Shining theme in the basement bathroom. Adam and I started the month watching The Shining and it just seemed appropriate for a movie viewing night to have a movie-themed horror in the bathroom!
For foods I made mummy fingers (hot dogs and crescent rolls with almond slice nails), jalapeno mummies (stuffed jalapenos wrapped in crescent rolls with candy eyes), sick pumpkin (pumpkin throwing up guacamole with salsa brains), and a popcorn bar with a bunch of mixings. My friend made a candy corn cheese mold that was adorable and delicious (who can say no to a huge chunk of goat cheese??).
For desserts I attempted to make cake balls and cookies in the shapes of bats, ghosts, and cats. Sadly… my baking skills are not strong. The cake balls technically turned out but they were huge and no one had one. I also completed only about 1/3 of what I had prepped into balls and had two more sheet cakes ready to crumble on top of that! So… I over did it… I also made cupcakes, with a spider theme. And normal chocolate chip cookies with sprinkles once I gave up on the cookie cutters.
Final, for drinks we had hot apple cider with either caramel vodka or spiced rum to mix in as well as a red sangria with a floating ice hand. As a special treat, I made jello shot mini apple pies! Which were surprisingly easy and delicious! Adam also had some beer available because… beer.
The party wasn’t a costume party per se but I really wanted to dress up so I talked my coworkers into it, and then Adam, and then our Ankeny friends so it ended up where nearly everyone was in costume!
I love hosting people and this was the perfect low-key party. The entertainment is built-in! If there is a lull in conversation, it’s ok, you have the movie to fall back on! It was way less stressful for me than the Ugly Sweater Christmas Party last year and I can’t wait to host one again next year!
Beggars Night was also a success! I love that our neighborhood has so many kids. It was too cold to dress up again as Medusa but I still tried to be festive with Halloween-themed music as I handed out candy for two hours straight. Until we ran out… who knew 650 pieces would not be enough?! Iowa has a fun tradition of requiring kids to tell jokes! That was not a thing in Florida but I enjoyed asking all the kids their jokes last night!
Tonight Adam and I will squeeze in one more horror movie before we go back to our regular movie and tv viewing schedule. It has been a full month, emotional and difficult at times, celebratory and happy at others, and I am grateful it ended on a fun note! Now onto November!
- Did you dress up this year?
- What was the best costume you saw this year?