Scarily clever ideas for a monster bash. / William Waldron/Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia
It’s a frightfully big trend: Adults are getting into the Halloween spirit by throwing devilishly fun parties for themselves. “I see more people — even whole neighborhoods — bedecking themselves,” says lifestyle guru Martha Stewart, who counts Halloween among her favorite holidays.
What gives the day such party appeal? Unlike the craziness of Thanksgiving and Christmas, its sole purpose is celebrating whimsy. “It’s also easy — and you can do a lot on a budget,” Stewart says. And she should know: She literally wrote the book on entertaining almost three decades ago — and this month she releases Martha’s Entertaining, a modern take on the original. Some of her spooky but simple ideas:
Plan a creepy and crawly menu.
Try Stewart’s ghoulash recipe: “I throw a whole box of those terrible little plastic bugs from the craft store into soup,” Stewart says. “So while you’re eating it, you might get a spider or a cockroach in your mouth — it’s harmless but rather scary.” (Be sure the bugs are large enough so they won’t accidentally be swallowed.)
Turn your home into a "specter"-cle.
Make whispy ghosts by blowing up white balloons. Tie one end of a piece of fishing line to each knot. Drape large squares of cheesecloth over the balloons, knot side up, and thread the fishing line though the cloth. (Let the fabric hang loose.) Draw menacing faces with a marker and hang them on trees or a porch with the other end of the line.
Give your drinks eye appeal.
Make “eyeball” ice cubes. Peel small radishes, leaving enough of the red skin behind so they look eerily veiny. Scoop out a ½-inch-diameter hole with a melon baller and pop half a pimento-stuffed olive into each one, with the sliced side facing out. Put the radishes in ice cube trays with water and freeze. Add the cubes to drinks and watch your guests do a double-take.
Weave a window web.
Tack the end of some white yarn in the upper corner of a window with removable adhesive and run it diagonally down to the lower, opposite corner of the window frame; snip off excess yarn and secure in place. Repeat with several more pieces, starting in the same corner, but leaving space on either side of the opposite corner so you’re forming triangle shapes (kind of like spokes on a bicycle wheel). Then add the crosshatches of the web with smaller pieces of yarn. Hold them in place with knots or a dab of glue. The less perfect it looks, the more authentic your web will appear.
Make a bloody mess.
Create a terrifying centerpiece with pillar candles that appear to be dripping blood. Melt a red candle and let the wax ooze over the top edges and sides of white candles of various sizes and heights. Let the wax cool; arrange the candles on a tray and light. It’s so easy it’s scary.