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Halloween is such a huge occasion in our home. It’s my husband’s favorite holiday and I love planning for it because we always do something fun. Last year we decided to to a movie themed appetizer and drink pairing and I have to say it was pretty amazing. Early on in September we narrowed down the movies to the classics, personal favorites, and a few new ones. Then from there I scoured the internet for fun themed foods and cocktails to go with each movie. I’m not going to lie, it took a few weeks to get everything planned – but it was so fun to see how it all came together in the end. What would make it even better? Opening our home and inviting our friends to take part in all the spooky fun!
So, here’s how we celebrate Halloween in our home in hopes it inspires you to create your own movie and food pairing night with friends and family!
This is a classic and my husband’s all time favorite Halloween movie. It’s nostalgic for the both of us and a movie we watch every single year around this time. Best yet, we get to now share it with Greyson too – lucky him. The Sanderson sisters inspired this menu with appetizers like dead man’s toe, broom sticks, and witch finger pretzels. Each appetizer was a breeze to make and really added a fun touch to the evening.
The dead man’s toes were bacon wrapped dates or sausages and the broomsticks were these breadsticks with goat cheese with prosciutto wrapped around them. For the witches fingers you simply melt green chocolate (or white with green food coloring) and dip large pretzel sticks. The nails are dark chocolate covered almonds and to make the knuckle you simply press the prongs of a fork while the chocolate is almost set. Voila!
The only thing I would change in the future is the cocktail recipe for the ‘witches brew.’ Personally I found it to be too sweet for me with the pineapple and cranberry juice, but otherwise a good drink. So, instead I’m sharing this cocktail which incorporates blue curaçao, vodka, and triple sec.
Another great movie for us 90s kids. I still love a good Tim Burton/ Johnny Depp collaboration and Sleepy Hollow is a whimsical take on the popular story. Since we had another movie lined up for pumpkins we opted to go in the direction of apples for this pairing. Each dish and cocktail is a different take on the apple harvest and the scones reflect the common British pastry that were popular in the 1800s when this film was set in.
The caramel apple cream cheese spread was tasty and this scone recipe was a definite hit last year – they’re perfect for breakfast with coffee the next day! I actually really look forward to making it again this year. The apple cider glaze could literally be put on anything and this bubbly champagne cocktail that incorporates apple cider was refreshing.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
This film is not only always a good choice, but it’s always a touch frightening to see how dark the books and movies get once Voldemort returns #spoileralert. The Deathly Hallows part 1 and 2 are amongst my favorites to both read and watch and last year I had a lot of fun putting together the pairing. It’s a little bit traditional British with the pasties and a little bit magical with Harry Potter’s popular chocolate frogs!
I was able to find the chocolates and frog mold on Amazon as well as some Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor Beans, which was an authentic touch to the evening. For the appetizers I found this delicious pasty (pronounced: past-tee) recipe, a food that’s featured in the books quite often, and a simple veggie platter with the cucumber carved like a snake aka the basilisk or Nagini (whichever you’d prefer). For the cocktail I chose to go with the Three Broomsticks crafted Gillywater, which is just a cucumber gin and tonic. Professor McGonigall was known to drink a few of these throughout the series – but of course you can always mix up some Butterbeer if G&Ts aren’t your thing!
The Skeleton Key
Another favorite of the husband and I – The Skeleton Key starring Kate Hudson in her first scary/suspensiful thriller back in 2005. The story is based on a plantation on the outskirts of downtown New Orleans and also inspires this menu.
Playing off the whole ‘bone’ aspect with it being based on a skeleton key and all, this recipe for bone marrow rounds with a chimichurri spread is to die for – no pun intended. If you are a little nervous about the concept of eating bone marrow I encourage you to at least try it you may not regret it. They’re easy to find at any butcher if you ask and because they’re the leftovers typically they’re inexpensive. Once cooked just spread it on a french baguette slice and enjoy!
Another favorite from the cajun south are pecan pralines. I had my first when my husband took me to New Orleans for the first time back when we were dating. So yummy! And to wash everything down is the classic dirty martini, which is almost like the city’s official cocktail – or at the very least I had plenty of them when visiting.
Bram Stoker’s Dracula
Dracula is a must for any movie night during Halloween and I love Gary Oldman’s interpretation of the famous nightwalker. It also wasn’t terribly difficult to find fun vampire themed apps and drinks to munch on while we watched either.
The nightwalker dip actually turned out so delicious – even our friends wanted the recipe! We made it in our cast iron skillet and just dipped our bread straight from there. How can you go wrong with a roasted garlic and parmesan cheese dip? Because, cheese. Another fun recipe was a take on Dracula turning into a bat with these korean bulgogi style chicken wings that turn black when grilled. To top it all off this blackberry ‘Dracula’s Kiss’ cocktail was light, refreshing, and a hint of sweet with the homemade blackberry juice.
This movie was a new one for us last year. We like to add a number of new or foreign horror films into our seasonal lineup and Goodnight Mommy was definitely a thriller. For this pairing I went with the ‘mummy’ theme considering it’s about a mother who get’s plastic surgery on her face and has bandages for most of the film.
With this mummy theme there’s actually quite a bit of inspiration on Pinterest, making this an easy pairing to put together. I love jalapeño poppers so wrapping them with dough and putting candied eyes made them the cutest appetizer ever. Plus these were so much fun to make – the husband got really into the wrapping part – and I know in the future Greyson will love making these, too! For the cocktail I wanted something white so naturally I picked a White Russian, but changed the name to fit our movie.
A classic horror movie whether you’re watching the original or the one with Ryan Reynolds (I chose the latter ;)). It’s all about gore, and possibly being possessed by unknown forces, that inspires this menu. Naturally, for this film we were getting bloody and morbid. Canapés are super easy appetizers to make and wrapping anything in meat when baked will give them a creepy look. However, if you’re looking to step up your gore game then do what we did and make a ghoul meatloaf to go with this movie. My husband actually had a lot of fun making the meatloaf by layering the bacon across the face and using onions to form the eyes and mouth.
An assortment of meat and cheeses – the brie shaped in a coffin no less – is another fun and super fast platter to throw together. Just pick out your favorite meats, cheeses, and other nibbles to include on your board. The cocktail we enjoyed was a blood orange gin and tonic, which is a fun take on the classic drink.
**I highly recommend that if you want to make anything with blood oranges to buy them in September because I found they’re out of season by October here in California. Blood oranges lend themselves to a lot of recipes for Halloween!
For some extra fun I did make these vanilla cupcakes and used candied mummies on top complete with blood icing! You can even try and make these sugar shards of glass to top them with instead.
Another new pick for us, Babadook was an interesting, but suspenseful, film. A mixture of boogey-man and good ‘ole child creepiness, this movie was fun to watch. We’re going dark with this menu which is inspired with the squid ink pasta and black caramel apples!
For the food we, again, kept things fairly simple but tried something new – making our own caramel for the caramel apples! Who knew adding black food coloring would turn up the fun as much as it did?! We also attempted this squid ink pasta recipe (which naturally makes the pasta black vs using food coloring) and sipped on classic Dark ’n Stormies. You can purchase this pre-inked pasta from Amazon, make your own, or simply use black food coloring when cooking regular pasta. Either way it’s a fun meal!
I can obviously go on forever, but wanted to give you all a glimpse into our month long celebration of all things Halloween. We plan about two movie nights a week which helps us spread out the fun over the course of the entire month leading up to Halloween night. Also, it was a huge help to pre-write the ingredients we’d need for each recipe on our handy-dandy grocery list pad. It helped keep us organized and minimized our forgetfulness of what we needed each week.
What are your favorite Halloween traditions? Any favorite scary movies of yours?