Photo courtesy of Maggie McClearn
An outdoor Halloween dinner table setting by Maggie McClearn

If we can’t trick or treat we can still enjoy the treat part at home with friends.

Magdalena O'Neal  – October 1, 2021

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So you still want to celebrate Halloween but you’ve outgrown trick or treating and aren’t in the mood to stand around at a stranger’s house party drinking mystery punch out of a cauldron? This year, consider keeping things intimate with a dinner party that’s slightly more mature, just as spooky, and undeniably delicious. 

With some decor planning, table settings, and a trip to the market, you’ll have all the fixings for an amazing Halloween dinner party that will blow the spooky socks off all your guests.

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First, you’ll want to set the table with Halloween-themed glasses and dishware, like web ceramic plates to serve your mains, spider plates for appetizers, and other spooky additions and accessories. Skeleton hands make for an easy and inexpensive plate decoration and don’t forget to hang spider webs across your entryway and dining table legs.

If you’re looking for easy clean-up while still staying stylish and classy, My Mind’s Eye has an entire collection of disposable Halloween dishes. With the skull plates featured above, banners, napkins, treat cups, and fans, you can get all of the table settings you need in one place.

Over on Instagram, My Mind’s Eye shares tons of tablescape ideas and inspiration for how you can use their products to set up an eye-catching display that will wow your guests.

If you think you’ll be hosting more Halloween dinner parties for years to come and want options that will last beyond the season, you can pick up skeleton-themed glassware to keep on hand from Pottery Barn. They even sell a matching punch bowl that’s being held by a pair of silver skeleton hands to serve spooky sangria in style.

pottery barn haunted house skeleton collection

Courtesy of Pottery Barn

For an added touch, create a layer of smoke in your dining room and kitchen with a brick of dry ice. Penguin Dry Ice has a handy locator on its site that will help you find the nearest store that carries its dry ice—and it’s just our luck that they have retailers all across the West.

Add a chunk to your kitchen sink and run some water over it briefly and marvel as the fog descends from the sink to the floor, leaving a cloud of safe smoke for your guests to walk through, or fill a cauldron with it and leave it on your porch as a signal of where the fun is as folks arrive. If you get your hands on food-grade dry ice, you can safely add it to drinks, though commercial dry ice should not be consumed. Since this is a grown-up dinner party, you may not need to worry about little ones trying to grab the dry ice with their bare hands; though after a few sips of sangria, even the adults might forget.

So, be sure to keep it out of reach for guests. If using it for drinks, have gloves for handling and don’t consume your drinks until the fog fades. For handling and safety tips on dry ice, you can learn the ins and outs here.

With your table set and glassware covered, you can then get into the dishes and drinks to grace your guests’ plates and fill their glasses throughout the night! First, you might build a charcuterie centerpiece with roasted tomatoes and a bowl of strawberry jam to give it that pop of red without having to invest in fake blood.

skull halloween plates adult dinner party
Skull plates with black candles to set the spooky scene at a Halloween dinner party

My Minds Eye

For the main course, make something that is reminiscent of the season like a beef stew made with (at least) one bottle of red wine—for a beef bourguignon, you should keep at least two bottles nearby. To serve alongside, keep the red theme going while taking advantage of what’s in season with a roasted side dish or beets topped with tahini. For a fresh element, toss together a chicory or squash salad.

Dessert is simple: Before you carve a few pumpkins for your porch display, save the inside to roast and purée for desserts like a pumpkin tart or no-cook pumpkin chocolate icebox cake.

From sweet sangrias to smokey cocktails, the opportunities to channel spooky season in your drinks and dishes are endless. That’s why we’ve gathered recipes for seasonal starters and entrees to wow your guests. There will be no spaghetti that has been dyed to look like brains, or floating candies in cocktails to look like severed fingers—we are going full-on grown-up. For all of the fixings for the perfect Halloween dinner party, keep scrolling—and don’t forget to tag us on Instagram in your party pictures @SunsetMag

Salads and Sides

Main Dishes

Desserts


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