Life is bananas, and work is all-consuming. But so it goes in this season. I’ve already blogged about that. That doesn’t mean we can’t take time here and there to enjoy life’s offerings, we just need to be smart and ultra time-efficient with it. So will I miss out on an opportunity to watch Hocus Pocus 2 and kick off the Halloween season with my BFF? Absolutely not. Will this be thrown together at the absolute last minute? You bet! And here is my plan for throwing one killer Hocus Pocus 2 watch party with truly minimal effort.
First, the Food
People are coming? I’ll cook something! In this case, I am teeing up the following menu to be on point with our theme. We’re gonna get spooky, spooky.
Hocus Pocus Charcuterie Board – Charcuterie boards look and feel fancy, but essentially, these are grown up lunchables that allow you to pair random pantry ingredients with some pre-made goodies into a festive spread. Here are some ideas to roll with the Hocus Pocus theme.
Black Truffle Pasta – I found some really neat looking gluten-free black pasta at Aldi. I will use this in my very favorite pasta recipe (inspired by the great, late Holly Clegg) with black truffle carpaccio that I got from Costco and have been waiting for such an occasion to use!
For the pasta: Cook down your choice of veggies in your choice of fat (e.g. ghee or olive oil). I highly recommend starting with the trinity (onions, bell peppers, celery, garlic), and adding whatever feels right in your heart. Leeks and mushrooms will be featured in mine. If you are adding meat, add it and cook down with the veggies once your veggies soften (wait to add mushrooms and any delicate veggies until the meat is about cooked through so you don’t overdo them). In a separate pot, cook your pasta and save your pasta water. Once meat, veggies, and pasta are cooked, consolidate into one pot. Add shredded parmesan (or whatever cheeses you want). A little goes a long way because you will then add a half cup (or more depending on how it’s all stirring together) of the starchy pasta water. Season to taste. (I am just going to get the all natural gluten free meatballs from Target, toast them, and toss them in. And at least at my house, the Trader Joes mushroom powder is an essential ingredient.)
Also note – I will definitely be poking eye holes in the mushrooms to make them look like skulls, an idea I got from this recipe, but I am far too lazy to hand cut each and every carrot slice.
Witch’s Brooms – Okay, this totally may not work, but! What’s a witchy party without brooms? I am going to bundle fresh green beans around a stick of asparagus, tied off with kitchen twine into a bow. Drizzle with olive oil, lemon juice, and white wine vinegar. Roast 35 min at 400 degrees. Boom, thematic vegetable side.
Spider Rolls – There will be no fresh bread baking on this occasion, but I do LOVE this idea. So I will be procuring pre-made gluten-free ciabatta rolls from Costco and canned sliced olives and jarred whole black olives from Target. Split the rolls, place the spiders, add some rosemary, and drizzle olive oil. Toast on convection 5 minutes or so.
Book Brownies – I absolutely love the King Arthur gluten free brownie mix (and they are VERY fast and easy to pull together). Highly recommend. That with an icing pack and some edible eyes pulls together a fun dessert (and an activity my friend I can do together!)
Spiced Cider – I go back to this slowcooker recipe year after year. It’s great on its own or paired with bourbon! Bonus – your house will smell amazing.
I am not going to mess around with other cocktail ideas. Every recipe I found was a basic cocktail plus food coloring. I trust you can figure that out. But I will be printing out some neat labels and putting them over liquor bottles to spice up the bar. Then my guests can make whatever potions they deem fit.
Alton Brown Makes the Best Popcorn: My best friend hates popcorn. Le sigh. If you get to enjoy popcorn at your Hocus Pocus 2 watch party, go to the limited extra effort and make it the Alton Brown way (but per his COVID video update, use ghee instead – 100 g popcorn to 38 g ghee).
On to Decor
I found a super fun free online printable that I will throw in a spare frame. This plus an absurd number of candles will set the scene. To be fair, I also have a pretty nice collection of Halloween decorations I have been building for the last decade. I add something new every year – this year, some on-theme kitchen towels and a new front door sign.
Point on candles – Right now, Aldi has some fantastic pumpkin cinnamon candles. Adorn also makes a really fantastic pumpkin candle seasonally. (shop local!)
There were a few last-minute goodies I ordered for delivery and/or curbside pickup that are worth mentioning. Here are some spooky finds you can have delivered to your door. Costco currently has eyeball hot chocolate bombs, and although Target looks picked a little thin, I managed to score candy bones, gummy brains, a skull candle, Halloween-themed plates and napkins, and skeleton pens.
I will admit, when my husband put in color changing Hue bulbs for the smart home robots, I thought it was super dumb. But you better believe those will be set to purple for a spooky vibe.
Final Public Service Announcement
And finally, PSA to all those mamas out there – get the Halloween party favors and themed snacks now before they sell out. Then you will be all set for those class parties at the end of the month.