Halloween is tied for my absolute favorite holiday. A day surrounded by theatric get-ups, autumnal decor and candy. What's not to like here? After a summer of regular garden gatherings, Molly and I had been looking forward to throwing a proper party and this seemed just the occasion to begin plotting. Bourbon Butterscotch Cider, lots of creepy treats, votives on everything and decorative gourds aplenty.
Welcome to the first Wicked Park Halloween...here are a few reasons you should be in the neighborhood for next years:
Your hostesses. Molly the US soccer hooligan and your TKTC, decked out in full cougar gear (and attitute; rawr). We may both have modest apartments but when you open both doors and add in the patio, I was pretty thrilled with the amount of space that adds up for circulating. You'll notice this photo looks a little foggy. Nay, not fog, but steam.
Steam from our first order of business Bourbon Butterscotch Cider. Having a Halloween party? Or any fall party? Best get a few gallons of cider (4) and some whiskey (2 handles) and maybe a touch of butterscotch schnapps (1 bottle, a big one). Mix in proportion to supply and taste. Better try it again, just to make sure. You'll be feeling rather warm at this point. Cut in your beverages with cold 312 from the keg as necessary. Just to keep you upright and festive.
The Menu. The thought was to have an afternoon party so we didn't conflict with other assumed plans for the evening(though we're glad everyone just decided to stay). That being said, if people come to my house, they must be fed so I was cooking for the bulk of Thursday, Friday and Saturday (happily). You may be wondering what you're looking at. Click on the fuschia. Beet Pickled Deviled Eggs. I quite simply could not have been happier with the way these came out. I skipped the caraway seeds and did half honey mustard and half grainy but otherwise followed Gourmet's recipe to the letter. Big recommend...these look too cool to pass up.
But I wasn't the only one cooking, which is the best part. Maris was serendipitously in town from NYC for the evening and far be it from a food blogger to let a lack of her own kitchen deter. She made white chocolate Halloween bark with different Halloween treats sprinkeled over the top. And Ashley's Evil Olive Eyeballs were poppable cheesy temptation incarnate. And Allie and Jeff had made pumpkin bread from their CSA pumpkins- as in from SCRATCH (and it was oh so good). And Camille made cherry chocolate chunk cookies....no one was ever going to go home hungry.
Other menu items: The Pioneer Woman's BBQ Bacon Wrapped Jalapenos (first recipe in the book, p 14, made by Molly with gloves on), two of Closet Cooking's Thai Chicken Pizzas (pizza was delicious but the peanut sauce that goes ON the pizza...just hand be a spoon. Or maybe a ladel), 2 casserole dishes of Pioneer Woman's Mac and Cheese (just your basic baked Mac but I figured if anyone knows how to do it well, it's Ree). The night's big recipe winner was Lotus' Pumpkin Tomato Chili which had the perfect, subtle spice that no one can quite put their finger on. AND it's healthy so seconds are fine. In addition to the peppers, Molly made a 7-layer dip, corn muffins and ensured there was bountiful Halloween candy and Fritos. She was also in charge of punch proportions. And impressionist art form if ever there was one.
Fantastic folk in costume. The dynamic duo of Matthew and Mooney had one of the more creative costumes of the night. They attended as "National Public Radio" with life size face cut-outs of all their favorite pundits. Ira Glass and Terry Gross being the most used of the night. I never stopped being amused by this. In the background you'll also notice Mary who came to the party as two separate people. Quite the party trick when her costume kicked. I like that kid already.
My favorite pink punk princess even made an appearance. I also think that's a haircut to be considered, pink or not...I'm liking the bangs.
We also had some fantastic team costuming. A helpful and familiar trio from Mario Brothers (with my favorite non-punk pink princess) and Mulder and Sculley from the X Files. Have I mentioned how much I love costumes?
Occasionally I even steal other people's. Don't give me that look. I can't be held responsible when there are hats involved.
A Space Heater. I'm going to go ahead and call that this made the party. My friend Kate is a masterful party planner and long-time sister character in my Chicago life. Sister was preoccupied with prepping a nursery this weekend but when Molly and I swung by on Friday night, she hooked. us. up. with outdoor party supplies. Like this amazing outdoor space heater.
And multiple plaid throws. And boxes of votives and hurricanes to be hung from the six rod iron Shepard's hooks leading down to the house. People were hanging out down there throughout the night, stopping to linger to and from the keg. I stepped out for air myself a few times and just relished how crisp the night was but so cozy huddled around the group.
We had a belated birthday to celebrate and he happens to be a chocolate fiend. Jai and Molly were in Mexico for his birthday, then I missed the shindig while I was in Seattle last week. So this is a make-up cake. A make-up basic chocolate cake but filled with Mexican ganache (dark chocolate with ground cinnamon and chilies). Cake had a dense crumb flavored with strong coffee and more chocolate. Twas a hit and another excuse for candy corn.
A Puppy. I know, now I'm just gloating. Lulu also upped the ante at the party. A miniature dachsund puppy in a hot dog costume. It's almost too much.
Or maybe this is the too much line? HC had two costumes. She was initially my boozy cougar wing-feline AND Allie managed to get her into Lulu's hot dog costume. Err, halfway in. Bit of a girth difference there. Goodnight, how she manages to stay so cool is a lesson in temperate temperaments.
The Trick was that Jaimeson had to fly to Denver for work two hours before the party started. It's a part of the job but I know he was really bummed to have missed it. If any of you tasted a little extra bourbon in your cups, had a little extra beer in your solo or tasted a hint of cinnamon in your Mac and Cheese...the spirit of Kanakis was with you.
The party started at 4 in the afternoon. The last guests left at 1:30 in the morning. Dave started (and finished) the dishes while I was distracted so I could wake up this morning to this. A clean bright kitchen. No one left a stray cup, a dirty spoon or even a candy wrapper. That would be the Treat.