Details: Groan-Ups' Halloween Party

Halloween isn't just for kids anymore! For a great grown-ups' party, try these simple, easy crafts and recipes.


  • Adam's Ribs
  • Hotter Than Hades Steak and Salsa Bites
  • The Eyeball Assortment: --Snake Eyes (Grapes stuffed with sweetened mascarpone cheese, black pepper, and prosciutto) --Red Eye Specials (roma tomatoes stuffed with pesto and bocconcini) --Here's Lookin' at You (meatballs served in phyllo cups with zesty red sauce)
  • Chicken "Fingers" with Romanian Romesco Dipping Sauce
  • Devils on Horseback: Grilled Bacon-Wrapped Shrimp with Spicy Remoulade
  • Devil Dog Redux
  • MisFortune Cookies

See a slideshow of this party


Bring the buffet and room to life, as it were, with these simple, special touches. A quick trip to any craft store will yield all the materials you need -- your attic or basement might, too.

  • Spider webs (fake ones) deftly spread over the table, lamps, and windows
  • Spiders (plastic ones), charmingly placed in surprising nooks and on food platters
  • Candles -- make sure to get the drippy kind
  • Mini pumpkins, both white and orange
  • Artificial twiggy vines with small red berries
  • Strings of fake oak or maple leaves spray-painted black and artfully displayed

Adam's Ribs

Succulent pork spareribs with spicy Jamaican jerk seasoning. The sad, but terribly tasty truth -- he was both a pig and a jerk!

Long, slow cooking is a painless and surefire way to meltingly delicious, fall-off-the-bone pork ribs.

If you ordinarily barbecue ribs on the grill, but can't fit two racks of ribs or fear inclement weather, this recipe allows you develop some flavor on the grill (or under the broiler) and then finish the ribs in a slow oven -- hassle-free and no worries about maintaining grill temp!

Brush on the onion-ginger mixture only at the very end of cooking for a tangy flavor boost and beautiful shine.

You can coat the ribs with the jerk-flavor dry rub and refrigerate for 24 hours for extra flavor and prep the glaze up to three days in advance.

View the recipe for Adam's Ribs

The Eyeball Assortment

  • Red Eye Specials
  • Here's Lookin' at You
  • Snake Eyes

More: Ghoulish Goodies

More: Spooky Brews

In this outrageously campy canape platter, the "eyes" truly have it! There's a little something for everyone here, from hearty mini meatballs to fresh mozzarella-and-tomato bites to an elegant grape-and-prosciutto nibble.

A melon baller is great for scooping out the insides of the tomatoes and grapes, but a small spoon or paring knife will also work just fine.

The mini meatballs and sauce can prepared up to two days ahead and reheated on the stovetop or in the oven or microwave the day of the party.

If you choose to make all three of these recipes for a lovely array of eyeballs, reduce each recipe. Or, just choose your favorite and make the full recipe -- at 60 appetizer servings each of the 16 guests will receive about four pieces.

View the Red Eye Specials recipe

View the Here's Lookin' at You recipe

View the Snake Eyes recipe

Devils on Horseback

This combination of shellfish and bacon served with a spicy little remoulade is a Faustian temptation that few souls can resist.

Be sure to flatten the bacon strips as directed to ensure crisp bacon that cooks through under the broiler. Ask your fish guy to shell and devein the shrimp to save you time.

The remoulade sauce uses Chili-Garlic Sauce -- a great, flavor-packed, time-saving Asian condiment that will find its way into many dishes in your repertoire.

View the Devils on Horseback recipe

Chicken "Fingers" with Romanian Romesco Dipping Sauce

Bearing an uncanny resemblance to the real thing, these tender chicken fingers are going to crawl right off the table on to your guests' plates.

The vibrant and piquant Romesco sauce with an uncommonly delicious combination of roasted red peppers, bread crumbs, and almonds is an addictive accompaniment that isn't just great with chicken, but with fish and pasta as well.

Make the sauce up to three days in advance -- it also freezes well.

View the Chicken "Fingers" with Romanian Romesco Dipping Sauce recipe

More: Quick Halloween Party Food

Hotter Than Hades Steak and Salsa Bites

These fiery little packages of delight can be prepared in advance and are great served at room temperature -- freeing up both oven and counter space and reducing stress the day of the party.

Prepare the corn cups up to two days in advance and just crisp in 350 F oven before assembly (or opt for ready-made corn tortilla scooper chips if you're pressed for time).

Make the steak and salsa up to one day ahead of the party, and while you're carving, why not toss back a Bloody Mary and groove to "Mack the Knife" to get in the mood? 

View the Hotter Than Hades Steak and Salsa Bites recipe

Devil Dog Cake

Meet Devil Dog Redux and his siblings Hound of Hell and Chocolate Cerberus.

Most everyone has a sneaking fondness for the lunchbox treats of a misspent youth and now you can indulge that pleasure in a grown-up, if equally absurd, treat that combines the form of a Swiss roll with the heart of a peanut butter cup.

View the Devil Dog Cake recipe

Devil Dog Cake Template

Fortune cookies can be made from scratch. But there is an easier alternative. There are a number of Internet fortune cookie companies that will make them to order -- with a message of your choosing inside -- for extremely reasonable rates.

Here are some suggestions for do-it-yourself MisFortune Cookies:

  • You have turned into your mother.
  • They're not laughing with you.
  • The voices are real.
  • Your neighbors did notice that ring around the bathtub.
  • Perhaps you should consider a lawn service.
  • Maybe that haircut wasn't such a good idea.
  • Next time get a second opinion before you accessorize.
  • On the road of life, you are but a dip.
  • That's not a good color for you.
  • Your number will soon come up at the IRS.
  • Wrinkles and incontinence are just around the corner!
  • You will meet a short, stinky, unattractive stranger.
  • Everyone saw you double-dip.
  • You've got something in your teeth.

"Groan-Ups" Party Invitation

Everyone will just be dying to come to this year's Halloween party. Create this simple invitation, and dare your guests to come.


  • Black handmade scrapbooking paper (one sheet for each invitation)
  • Orange handmade scrapbooking paper
  • Off-white scrapbooking paper
  • White crafts glue
  • Sponge brush
  • Hot-glue gun and glue sticks
  • Artificial spider webs
  • Artificial spiders
  • Computer font: "Chiller"
  1. Using black handmade scrapbooking paper, fold over lengthwise to create a 4-x-5-1/2-inch piece of paper.
  2. Lightly stretch artificial spider webs across the front of the invitation to each corner.
  3. Tear a 2-x-3-inch section of orange scrapbooking paper. Use white crafts glue and a damp sponge brush to glue it to front of invitation.
  4. Next, print the word "INVITED" onto off-white paper, using the computer font "Chiller." Glue in center on top of the orange torn paper.
  5. Using the invitation wording below, use computer font "Chiller" and print onto off-white paper. Tear around wording. Using white crafts glue and damp sponge brush, glue to inside of invitation.
  6. Hot-glue an artificial spider to front of invitation in corner.

Invitation Example

Create a spellbinding seating arrangement with a couple of simple inexpensive materials.


  • 4 yards black tulle 45 inches wide (each chair)
  • 3 yards orange satin ribbon (each chair)
  • Scissors
  1. Cut two 2-yard lengths of black tulle.
  2. Drape the first two yards over the front and back of the chair so it will cascade to the floor. Next, drape the other two yards from side to side over the back of the chair so it also reaches the floor.
  3. Gather tulle around the seat base of the chair with orange silk ribbon and tie a simple bow at the back of the chair.
  4. Trim the length of the tulle to rest evenly on the floor around the chair.

View this project

Guests will shudder with delight when you snap their photograph this year during your annual Halloween party. Save the photos from year to year and showcase your collection. You might even want to create a separate photo album for each holiday and other special occasions throughout the year.


  • Photo album
  • Black handmade scrapbooking paper (approximately 4 sheets)
  • Orange handmade scrapbooking paper (1 sheet)
  • Off-white handmade scrapbooking paper (1 sheet)
  • Computer font: "Chiller"
  • Artificial spider webs
  • White clay (bakeable)
  • White crafts glue
  • Wax paper
  • Sponge brush
  • Hot-glue gun and glue sticks
  • Scissors

Photo Album Cover

  1. Start by tearing pieces of the black handmade scrapbooking paper into 2- to 3-inch sections (enough to cover the album).
  2. Using a damp sponge brush, spread white crafts glue on the cover of a photo album. Start in a corner and cover an area 3 to 4 inches wide.
  3. Place torn pieces of black paper on the glue and press in place. Continue this process until the front of the album is covered.
  4. With scissors trim any excess around the edges.
  5. Next, tear orange handmade scrapbooking paper into a 3-x-5-inch piece. Using white crafts glue, adhere in one corner of the album.
  6. Using off-white scrapbooking paper, print on your computer the words "HALLOWEEN MUMMORIES" using the "Chiller" font.
  7. Tear around the words "HALLOWEEN MUMMORIES," and glue in place on top of the orange section of paper already glued to the front of the photo album.
  8. Use a small amount of artificial spider webs and starting in one corner of the album, stretch across from corner to corner.
  9. Add artificial spiders entwined in the spider webs.

Skeleton Hand Bones

  1. Take a small amount of white bakeable clay and roll out on a flat surface (covered with wax paper) for each finger and thumb.
  2. Roll each piece a bit thinner in the middle and pinch each end to create a joint-like appearance (refer to photograph).
  3. Lay out bones in hand position on a pie tin to bake.
  4. Refer to manufacturer's instructions on how long to bake the clay.
  5. Once clay is cooled, hot-glue in place in one corner of the photo album.

See a slideshow of this party


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