Family Activities: How To Celebrate Halloween Like An American
By Ian Grainger
When it comes to celebrating Halloween on October 31st properly, the Americans are the experts. In the UK we settle for half an hour’s Trick or Treating or, if we have no children, we sit in hoping no-one knocks on the door as we forget to get any sweets in.
It’s time we changed all that. Here’s how the Americans do it and how you can do it too.
First of all, treat it like a proper holiday and throw a party. Invite kids and adults alike and make it feel special. Oh, and be inviting to Trick or Treaters from other households and parties.
Halloween Décor: Spooky As Can Be
A big part of Halloween is the right décor. Turn your house into a spooky old home and you will delight your local Trick or Treaters and your party guests!
If you have invited a lot of kids and want to stay away from the horrendous, blood-soaked type of decoration, with bloody weapons, dripping brains and that sort of thing, you can. Instead, go for skeletons, bats, black birds, owls, cobwebs, coffins, and tombstones.
If you’ve got the budget then go for fog machines and spooky sound effects. And of course don’t forget the jack-o-lanterns – carved pumpkins with candles in them to us in the UK!
Cobwebs can be made from cotton wool – just stretch it out across windows and doorways and hang it from light fittings and picture frames. Bats and birds should be hung from the ceiling and door frames, while your lanterns should be placed, lit, outside your front door or gate.
Items like coffins and skeletons can be placed in corners where you’d least expect to find them. And consider swapping out some of your white light bulbs for different colors, like green and red to add extra spooky ambience!
Halloween Treats: Food For The Ghouls
Food plays a big part in Halloween, especially in America. You can be as creative as you like here. Decorate ordinary cookies with icing to make scary faces, bats or spider webs. Sprinkle icing sugar onto brownies through ghost-shaped templates to give them a spooky look.
There’s the standard toffee apples as well. But also think about making jelly with plastic spiders thrown in the mix or even a pumpkin cake!
When it comes to the Trick or Treaters you can use your imagination. It would be easy to fall back on fun size chocolate bars, of course, but that’s not really entering into the spirit of things – if you’ll pardon the pun.
As it’s the Americans who do Halloween so well, why not give out American sweets? There are plenty of places you can buy American sweets in the UK now. You can get Candy Corn, Hershey’s Kisses, Tootsie Rolls, Jolly Ranchers and a whole lot more.
Don’t forget popcorn either – it’s the perfect party food for Halloween and can be served in bowls to your guests or bagged up to give out to Trick or Treaters.
Halloween Drinks: Colorful Effects
For the adults, serve green drinks such as Crème de Menthe or use mixers to create that color – easily done with the alcopops available today! For the kids, make a fruit punch or add food coloring to lemonade.
Chill the drinks with eyeball ice cubes. Half-fill an ice cube tray with water. Add a halved grape to each section and press a raisin into the centre to make an eyeball, then freeze. Easy!
Let your imagination run wild and throw a Halloween party the Americans would be proud of!
© Ian Grainger
Ian Grainger writes on behalf of American Soda, retailers of American sweets and foods.
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