Halloween hasn't always been about ghosts and gore. It started as an ancient festival celebrating the end of the harvest season. Our family–friendly party brings that nature–loving tradition back to life.
With some tricks of scenery and lots of delicious treats, this party will turn any spare space into a barnstormer. Picture this: guests are guided from the front door to the beautifully decorated barn (or back shed, studio, garage or cellar) where a movie is projected on the wall and rug–strewn bales of hay act as sofas. A bountiful table is filled with do–it–yourself popcorn, candy apples and homemade sodas. Children and adults alike love the animal accessories and pumpkin symbols that reflect the natural landscape. With self–serve goodies and a cozy, seasonal setting (that leaves your residence undisturbed), this low–key party is a pleasure to host. At the heart of such a gathering is the knowledge that passing seasons and familiar faces, not scary masks, make Halloween the all–time favorite holiday of childhood.
Half movie night and half hoedown, this harvest affair is all about effortless execution of food and décor. You need only decorate the path to the party site and the site itself — be it a real barn or a backyard art studio. Use string lights to guide guests on a pumpkin–lined path from the porch to the site's hay–stacked entrance.
Make the first stop a food table where guests can fill up before continuing on to the scary movie. For this you'll need to procure a projector and a large, flat, white sheet. We recommend screening "Nosferatu," the original vampire flick from 1922. This classic silent film can play in the background, allowing people to converse freely. It's also kid–friendly and gore–free.
Create plenty of seating with rows of hay bales draped with thick, inviting rugs and pillows. Mimic the harvest moon with a series of paper globe lanterns hanging overhead — create a starry night with white string lights. See? No haunted house required. In fact, the hardest part of decorating this harvest party may be finding hay-bale delivery! The food spread is where your sense of fun can really shine. Make guests work for their treat by performing a little trick. Hand out beverage glasses containing a fresh corncob, a small brown paper bag and a cinnamon stick. Stamp our downloadable instructions on strips of paper (or download our template) and attach them to each glass. Instructions should read: 1. Pop popcorn 2. Season popcorn 3. Spice your cider.
Instructions for corn popped on the cob can be found online, and are as easy to follow as this: put corn cob in bag, place in microwave, set timer for 2 minutes, then season with spoonfuls of chipotle, cinnamon–sugar or parmesan, for variation. Drinking glasses can be filled with hard apple cider from a punch bowl and stirred with the cinnamon stick. Tasty caramel apples and chips with cheese dip and salsa also easily serve a crowd.