Halloween is less than a week away but there’s plenty of time to scare up a spooky wine and cheese party for entertaining your friends or neighbors with a trip to the grocery store and just a few easy tricks and treats!
Trick #1: Pull out your best tarnished silver. . . no need to polish.
I picked up some worn silverplate trays for a Halloween party several years ago that were pitted and tarnished beyond polishing, for just a few dollars each at a thrift store. Ideal for serving up some decrepit and spooky ambiance for a Halloween party!
Trick #2: Forgo the fancy tablecloth and use a ghostly white sheet and layer with black gauze and creepy fabric for your table. You can find creepy cloth at dollar stores, craft stores or Walmart.
Trick #3: Serve something scary like Ghost Pepper Cheese. . .
Make sure you serve it with a warning label. . .Beware.
Trick #4: Use some unexpected items for risers and to add some height to the table for serving. A vintage black scale or a stemless gray or ghostly white pumpkin can provide height and a place for trays of cheese or plates.
Trick #5: Serve some spooky wine or add haunted labels to your favorite vintage or bottles. Search Pinterest where you can download free printables and labels for your spooky beverages or brew.
Halloween wines are easier than ever to scare up at the wine or grocery store. Bogle Phantom is one our favorite red wines and available for only a limited time before it vanishes again. You can find suggestions for 31 wines for All Hallow’s Eve, here.
Trick #6: Add a spooky glow with votives or candles. Download free graphics and place under cloches with flameless LED candles. My spooky graphics are courtesy of The Graphics Fairy. . .enter Halloween in the search box for images and proceed with caution. . .
Halloween is the time of year when everyday items can appear a little creepy and spooky . . .and when chia or poppy seeds can resemble Graveyard Dust.
Trick #7: Give your cheese or appetizer a spooky description or name.
Graveyard Dust Cheddar Cheese Ball, recipe adapted from Williams-Sonoma
The original recipe calls for poppy seeds but when I went to buy them the price was scary at $6 for 1.25 oz. jar. Chia seeds were cheaper per ounce, provided the same texture along with being a superfood with omega-3 fatty acids. Who says Graveyard Dust can’t be a little healthy? ;)
4 cups shredded extra-sharp cheddar cheese
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. onion powder
1 Tbs. Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp. smoked paprika
3 Tbs. mayonnaise
1/2 tsp. fresh ground pepper
1/3 cup chia seeds (substitute poppy seeds if prefer)
Crackers for serving
In the bowl of a food processor, combine the cheddar cheese, cream cheese, garlic powder, onion powder, Worcestershire, paprika, mayonnaise and pepper. Process until smooth, about 1 minute, stopping the machine to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
Place the cheese mixture on a large piece of plastic wrap. Gather the edges of the plastic wrap and pull up, twisting it around the cheese to form a ball. Place the cheese ball on a plate and refrigerate until firm, about 4 hours.
(If you’re not satisfied with the shape of the cheese ball after it has chilled, let it soften slightly at room temperature and then reshape. Refrigerate the ball for 1 hour more before rolling in chia seeds.)
When the cheese ball is firm, remove the plastic wrap. Place the chia seeds in a bowl and roll the cheese ball in the seeds until evenly coated. Transfer the cheese ball to a serving plate and let stand at room temperature for 20 minutes before serving. Serve with crackers. Serves 20.
You can find a printable recipe, here.
Trick #8: Witch Fingers are easy to spell from String Cheese. Use a knife to carve lines for knuckles and attach sliced almonds for fingernails with a little cream cheese.
I made Witch Fingers last year for my photo shoot with BH&G Halloween Tricks and Treats Magazine. Serve them under a cloche as a specimen to up the spook factor, if you dare. . .
Add your favorite jarred marinara for a blood red and spooky dipping sauce.
Trick #9: Make mozzarella eyeballs with bocconcini and top with an olive slice to stare up at you from marinara sauce for serving.
Provide wooden stakes or skewers in a spooky skellie martini glass for serving.
Add some crackers, grapes, smoked or marcona almonds, walnuts, olives, fig preserves, and/or dried apricots to accompany your wine and cheese.
Trick #10: Last but not least, make some quick and spooky tortilla chips for dips or hummus using spinach tortillas and cookie cutters.
I used the same method as with my tortilla shamrocks, cutting out spooky shapes with cookie cutters and placing them on a parchment lined baking sheet. Spritz your shapes with olive oil or baking spray and sprinkle with sea salt, then bake at 350 degrees for 5-10 minutes until tortilla shapes are crisp and just beginning to brown around the edges. Allow to cool and serve with store-bought dip, hummus, or make your own.
Black Bean and Olive Hummus, adapted from Allrecipes
1 clove garlic
1 (15 ounce) can black beans, drained
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons tahini
3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1 (2.25 ounce) can black olives, drained
Mince garlic in the bowl of a food processor. Add all other ingredients processing until smooth, scraping down the sides as needed.
Add additional seasoning to taste if needed. Garnish with paprika if desired.
You can find a printable recipe, here.
Bone Appétit and Happy Haunting!