Sunday, October 31, 2010

Countdown to Halloween - Oct. 31st: Legend of Sleepy Hollow Party

Sat. Oct. 30
Nancy Drew Halloween Party

This year, for our Halloween decorations and the annual Nancy Drew Halloween party that I throw, we decided to go with 2 mixed themes. The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and the classic Nancy Drew book #15, The Haunted Bridge.

The setting for Haunted Bridge is at a mountain resort with a haunted bridge in the woods and this meshed well with the setting for Sleepy Hollow and the frightful ride of Ichabod Crane being chased by the Headless Horseman across the bridge.

I created a 2 page story booklet for the guests with a tale I wrote combining the characters from Haunted Bridge and those of Sleepy Hollow where Nancy Drew and her chums attend a masquerade party with Nancy masquerading as Katrina Van Tassel, her boyfriend Ned Nickerson as Brom Bones, and the pest from Haunted Bridge, Mortimer Bartescue, as Ichabod Crane--and the same fateful ride befell Mortimer as it once did Ichabod.

I took the cover of Haunted Bridge and superimposed the Headless Horseman silhouette where the usual "ghost" haunting the bridge is. I set the scene with spooky tree silhouettes on the walls of the porch and a few pumpkins including my Nancy Drew silhouette pumpkins.

A larger scene of trees going up to columns on the edge of the porch and the "haunted bridge" complete with a ghost haunting it at the end.

Spooky Ghost. Brown artist paper was used to make the wood planks, buckets filled with sand held wooden fence posts and rope was stapled between planks.

Mortimer Bartescue/Ichabod Crane's hat and the smashed pumpkin found on the ground near the bridge...

Setting the scene at night--much more spooky!

The Headless Horseman Silhouette

Sleepy Hollow Sign

The gang on the "haunted bridge."

Short Story to Set the Scene

Goody Bags For All

Pumpkins filled with treats

Tootsie Pop Ghost Suckers

Nancy Drew Cupcake Picks

Costumed in front of the Nancy Drew Collection

The story of Nancy Drew and The Haunted
Bridge of the Headless Horseman

The Mystery To Solve



The Gift Exchange Table

& Gift Exchange Gifts:

Sherry Picked First--Nancy Drew Decoupaged Book

Book with Treats inside

Nancy Drew Haunted House

Nancy Drew Tin

Nancy Drew Journal

Old Attic Journal

Nancy Drew Trunk

Nancy Drew Basket - The Cat Caper

Nancy Drew Treat Jar

More treats!

The Whole Gang

Goody Bags for the Trick or Treaters
On Halloween

On Halloween, we had 140 trick or treaters--a bit down from last year. We gave out goody bags to the kids with treats and toys. I loved getting goody bags as a kid so I like to do that each year for the kids. Everyone loved the decorations and the parents took pictures from time to time.


Saturday, October 30, 2010

Countdown to Halloween - Oct. 30th: Old-Time Halloween Recipes

Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Ball

Some time-honored traditional Halloween delights plus a recipe from Phyllis Hoffman's Celebrate Halloween that's D-E-L-I-C-I-O-U-S-!-!-!

Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Ball

Makes 12 to 15 servings


2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
3 Tbsp firmly packed brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup Reese's peanut butter-flavored morsels
1/2 cup chopped Reese's peanut butter cups
1 cup chopped peanuts
Chocolate Wafer Cookies
Thin Ginger Snaps

In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and butter at medium-high speed with mixer until creamy. Add sugars, beating until smooth. Beat in vanilla. Stir in peanut butter morsels and peanut butter cups. Cover, and refrigerate at least 3 hours. Form mixture into a ball, and roll in chopped peanuts. Serve with chocolate cookies and ginger snaps.

Spooky Popcorn Balls


4 tbsp unsalted butter, plus more for buttering hands
1 10 oz bag miniature marshmallows
¼ c. light-brown sugar, packed firmly
3 quarts popped popcorn

Optional Add-ins:

1 cup of any of the following or a mixture: M & M’s, Reese's Pieces, mini chocolate chips, peanuts, red hots

Melt butter over low heat. Add marshmallows and brown sugar. Stir until melted and smooth, then remove from heat.

Pour popcorn and any add-ins into pan with melted mixture and mix well. Butter your hands and shape into balls about 3 inches in diameter. Set out on wax or parchment paper to dry for about 10 minutes if you can wait that long!

Peanut Brittle Boo


2 c. raw peanuts
1 ½ c. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
½ c. white Karo
¾ c. water
1 tsp. soda

In a 3-quart saucepan, boil sugar, Karo, and water until it forms a soft ball in water or spins a thread when dropped off the spoon. Then add the 2 cups raw peanuts. Cook and stir constantly until the peanuts turn golden brown(about 7 minutes.) Remove from heat and add vanilla and baking soda, stir until foamy and quickly pour into large cookie sheet that has been buttered and salted, spreading thin. As soon as cooled, break into pieces.


Friday, October 29, 2010

Countdown to Halloween - Oct. 29th: Vintage Tally Cards #3

Here's another sampling of these nifty Tally cards. The above card features deco styled owls.

A Spacey Witch

Spooky Owl


Thursday, October 28, 2010

Countdown to Halloween - Oct. 28th: Vintage Halloween Postcards

Collectors of Vintage Halloween Postcards, know these can get pricey depending in shape, scarcity and condition and artists who are especially popular. Generally they run anywhere from a few dollars into the hundreds.

The scenes depicted on vintage postcards run the gamut of cornfields, pranksters, fortune tellers, witches casting spells, veggie people come alive, devilish figures, and ghosts a plenty. The revelry and festive nature of the scenes as drawn is like a window into early 20th Century Halloween parties and customs.

Especially clever are some of the sayings on the postcards like this one:

"May jack-o-lanterns burning bright.
Of soft and golden hue.
Pierce through the Future's veil and show
What fate now holds for you."


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Countdown to Halloween - Oct. 27th: Vintage Halloween Party Games

Vintage Halloween Party Games

It was traditional to bob for apples, cut a fortune cake, pull a root of kale, walk backwards down stairs with a mirror in one's hand, and blow out lighted candles. Other activities included sailing walnut boats, stringing popcorn, apple paring, and telling fortunes.

Walnut boats were half shells of walnuts to which a piece of a candle taper was placed inside. These were floated in water and their action helped decipher the future. If they floated together or stayed apart. The first person's candle to go out was fated to be a bachelor or a maid. Apples were pared in one long strand of apple skin which was thrown over one's left shoulder. The initial it formed would be a favored escort.

Fortune telling and fate was a common theme in old-time parties. Ladies looked to see their future mate in mirrors and hoped their initials might be revealed in the parings of apples--these scenes are commonplace in old-time postcard images. Companies like The Beistle Company created fun games to play--use a vintage game to craft your own for game play or use a vintage one (carefully of course!) Often these games involved fortunes and stunts. Fortunes were often read to guests or drawn from objects like kettles. Once drawn, they were read allowed. Fortunes could be found in your cake--in the way of charms, fortune charm pulls were popular, and also fortune verses handed out to guests.

Prizes were often given for individual winners and groups who won the various games. Old-time suggestions included wrapping prizes to look like corn or pumpkins. Crepe paper is perfect for this task.


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Countdown to Halloween - Oct. 26th: Vintage Bogie Books

Halloween Party hostesses relied back in the day on party helpers like these Dennison Bogie Books - booklets that gave lots of tips on party planning, decorations, food, games, and favors. The marketing genius was that each booklet used the various products in the Dennison line and showed a hostess how to use them in clever ways.

These books are great resources for showing what was available from Dennison each year as well.

Collectors like to acquire these books but they can be very pricey. One way to collect them inexpensively is to purchase reproductions--I've seen some repros listed at eBay and also Amazon this year.


Monday, October 25, 2010

Countdown to Halloween - Oct. 25th: Vintage Ghost Decorations

It's just not a spooky Halloween with out a few ghosts haunting about--here's some collectible items recently spotted at eBay. I like the old Gurley ghost candle above.

Ghosties on Noisemaker

Ghost Tally Card

Ghost Seals

Like the Ghost and Bat Together!

Plate with Ghost