Halloween 2012

When I saw that Halloween would fall on a Wednesday, it was unclear whether I should throw my annual Halloween party the weekend before or after October 31st. With Frankenstorm bearing down on NYC, I’m glad I picked the weekend before.


Drinks: apple cider, beer, wine, caramel apple cosmos (vodka, apple cider, burnt sugar syrup), pumpkin rum punch (pumpkin puree, sweetened condensed milk, cinnamon-infused dark rum),  Model-Ts (rye, carpano antica, chartreuse, bitters)

Savory: sous-vide pork loin with chili soy mayo, fall-leaf shaped paprika parmesan twists, roasted fall vegetables, cheese plate (black-sesame coated goat cheese, gorgonzola, white cheddar, served with pita chips)

Sweet: pumpkin and cream cheese frosting whoopie pies, chocolate chili popcorn balls, burnt-sugar pepita brittle, crumb-top apple pie


As usual, the cheapest tricks are the best. Dozens of battery-powered votives behind curtains and amongst flammable stuff. Luminarias from printed antique images with a tea light in a votive holder behind. Drapey or sheer black fabric over tables and bookshelves, clear glass bottles filled with food coloring (and optional plastic creepy-crawlies) with antiqued labels. A good halloween playlist in the main room and creepy haunted house sounds piped into the bathroom. Dim lighting and colored gels.

The good: people came and enjoyed themselves. Relatively few responded “yes” to the invite, and many bailed by email minutes before my 8pm start time, so I was a little down in the mouth when the first guests arrived. By the end of the night I had a tiny apartment stuffed with 30 people.

I removed a fair amount of furniture from the room. That was great. Room to stand in front of the bar is way better than barstools.

I threw the party the weekend before the big storm of the year, instead of the weekend of the big storm of the year (like last year’s snow storm). Yay timing.

I still own a lot of good halloween decorations. If I had money to throw at this, I might buy: black beeswax sheets for candles, black sheer curtains to hang in front of the tv, a creepy shower curtain, a black slipcover for the couch, a wide-striped black and white tablecloth for the food table. It’s nice to see that none of this year’s decorative kitch (at pottery barn, williams-sonoma, etc) has power over me.  That said, people seem to pay attention to the theme more than I had expected. I’ve been looking at a Brooklyn Limeston’s themed rowhouse halloween every year and thinking I could do better.

The bad: I failed to have a plan. Two days before, it was unclear whether we would have 10 people + or – 30. My menu changed by the hour to fit changing expectations. Next year I cook for 30 and to hell with the consequences. I would have been so much happier at 3 in the morning if I had cooked the candy and batched the cocktails the day before instead of the day of.

I failed to recall that people like to throw their bags/coats in a bedroom. I didn’t really pick up the bedroom (clothes on floor, bed unmade) and expected that the bedroom door would stay closed. Halfway through a party is a bad time to be cleaning. I probably could have cleaned out more room in the coat closet too for people to stash their stuff. Maybe a light in there too, as it’s hard to find your coat in the semi-dark.

People got into the glassware and dropped them on the floor. There were too many people in my apartment for stemware in close quarters. Need to plan for attractive disposable plasticware to cut down on the hazard. Dark lighting plus a crowd plus broken glass is dangerous and I can’t expect that anything will change in future.