[Above: Happy Halloween light string light, £5; glow in the dark bats 8pk, £1; smoking cauldron, £15; silver spider tea light holder, £3 all from Sainsbury's]
Hasn’t this year flown by? And with Halloween on Monday, suddenly this weekend is the one to throw a fabulously scary Halloween party. But have you left it all too late? Not necessarily. With supermarkets and department stores providing a plethora of hauntingly good props, costumes and accessories, all you need to do is round up your friends for a spine-chillingly good party.
1. Get inventive with carving pumpkins – who said you only have to have one so as well as your jack-o-lantern how about a howling werewolf, a black cat, a haunted house or a scary ghost. If you are not very artistic you can find stencils online (there are some great ones at Martha Stewart online) and then cut around them for your spooktacular pumpkin scene!
2. John Lewis has a great range of accessories for making your home less cozy and more macabre. These Meri Meri Halloween party picks, pack of 18 £5, will give food that goulish edge. Stock up on Halloween spider web mesh £2.50, spreading it around your home like you haven’t dusted in a century. Don’t forget to put some over the front door so trick or treaters know that you are good for some ghostly goodies! The spider web bowl £8, is perfect for handing out creepy candy.
3. Kids love getting into the spirit of Halloween and you don’t have to spend a lot of money for kids costumes. TU at Sainsbury’s children’s Halloween costumes are just £10 each.
If you want to make an impact at your party, demand attention in Ashish’s eccentric skeleton dress, £1,025 from Selfridges. Decorated with a skeleton design to the front and adorned with all–over sparkling sequins, this signature style from London Fashion Week favourite Ashish will be one that you can wear year after year and still look great.
4. Serve some horrific cocktails such as True Blood inspired Bloody Martinis and creepy Brainy Martinis (that’s raspberry and apple for those who have sensitive stomachs).
Combine 35ml vodka, 35ml crème de framboise, 25ml raspberry purée, 5ml lime juice and a dash of sugar syrup in a cocktail shaker. Mix well and pour into chilled martini glasses with strawberry syrup dripped around the rim to replicate blood.
In a cocktail shaker full of ice, combine 30ml apple schnapps, 35ml vodka and 30ml apple juice. Shake and pour into glasses and garnish with fabulous fruit flavoured gummy eyeballs (from Poundland) for a garish finish.
5. Marks &Spencer have also got into the spirit of All Hallows Eve with this wonderfully Gothic candelabra and scary cake stand, just £5 each.
6. Feeding the merrymakers needn’t be a chore. This fabulous pumpkin soup recipe from Waitrose will have everyone satisfied and warm and can be made the day before or in the morning and simply warmed up when guests arrive.
Pumpkin soup with tortilla chips
- Serves: 12
- 3 tbsp Olive oil
- 3 Onions, sliced
- 1 tsp Caster sugar
- 1 tsp Smoked paprika
- 2kg pumpkin or squash, peeled, seeded and cut into chunks
- 1.5 litres hot chicken or vegetable stock
- 170g essential Waitrose Single Cream
- 200g pack Waitrose Lightly Salted Tortilla Chips, roughly crushed
- 200g pack Waitrose Grated Swiss Gruyère
- Tabasco Pepper Sauce, to serve
- Heat the oil in a very large pan then add the onions and sugar and cook gently for 10–15 minutes until very soft and dark golden. Add the paprika and cook for a minute more.
- Add the pumpkin or squash and stock, then bring to the boil. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes or until the squash is very tender. Remove from the heat and purée with a hand-held blender until smooth and velvety.
- When ready to serve, gently reheat the soup, stirring in the cream towards the end. Once piping hot, ladle the soup into bowls or large mugs and sprinkle over some crushed tortillas and Gruyère. Let everyone add their own Tabasco, according to taste.