Happy Halloween – Picnic In The Park

Happy Halloween!  It has been an interesting few days here with the touch down of Sandy on Monday and learning of the results of the storm yesterday. Luckily, here in Boston, things are fine and we have had minimal damage.  My friends and family are safe, thank goodness, but all I can think about are friends in the New York and DC area.  We are thinking of you all and everything you are going through and sending you lots of hugs.

Due to the storm we have had pretty spotty internet access so my postings have been lacking this week.  It looks like we are back up and running, just in time for me to share with you the Halloween fun we had this past weekend.

One of my favorite activities on the weekend is taking my dog, Sammy, to a local park.  It is a wonderful resource just up the road from us, a nature reserve that has hiking and bike trails along with a fabulous off leash dog area. Sammy LOVES it there.  No matter when we go he always finds friends to play and run with.  I love it because a trip there means an exhausted dog for the rest of the day!  Wanting to share this great resource with friends, I decided to throw a little party in the park – Halloween seemed like the perfect time for this little get-together.

We had a beautiful sunny Fall day in the park.  With some Halloween themed food, time to catch up with friends and of course I couldn’t resist dressing Sammy in costume.

Since we were in the park, I kept the decor pretty simple.  Just focused on decorating the picnic bench/food table with some various Halloween props I had collected from previous Halloween parties.  I also hit up the local discount fabric store for some cute Halloween themed fabric to use as a runner for the table.

For food, I wanted it fun, yummy and easy to transport.  I started with a Cream of Tomato Pumpkin SoupI made in the crock pot.  I have a crock pot that seals and makes for easy transport – crock pot that seals is key, a lesson I learned the hard way years ago when I ended up with a backseat full of pumpkin soup from a tipped over unsealed crock pot!  This Tomato Pumpkin Soup was so good and super easy to make.  Great for a crowd and an inexpensive option if you are on a budget.

To go with the soup, I made little spider and ghost sandwiches.  Cute and easy to handle with limited resources in the park.  The spider sandwiches were a childhood favorite, peanut-butter and fluff.  I took wheat bread that I cut with a round cookie cutter, spread peanut butter and fluff, and then used pretzels to make the legs of the spiders.  One loaf of bread made about 8 sandwiches.

For the ghost sandwiches, I cut the bread with a ghost cookie cutter I found at Michael’s Craft Store.  For the filling, I decided to try my own spin on a sandwich I wrote about in my Apple Harvest Time post last month.  The original recipe was for a goat cheese, bacon and apple stuffed French toast.  For the ghosts I added the goat cheese spread from the original recipe and then included a slice of bacon and a thin slice of fresh pear.  Mmm, it was so good and a perfect compliment to the soup.

Other goodies we had was Pumpkin Spice Popcorn from the Underdressed Skeleton.

A Caramel Apple Bar.  After making this easy caramel from Crafting Fun For Kids, I sliced up some apples and added some fun halloween sprinkles.  Don’t forget to sprinkle your apples with lemon so they don’t brown.

Witch Finger Shortbread Cookies.  I used a shortbread recipe I found on Pinterest to make the dough (adding a bit of green food coloring to tint the dough) then baked the cookies in a finger mold I found at Micheal’s Craft Store.  Once the cookies were done, I painted the witch fingernails with chocolate.  Fun and creepy!

Fresh Hot Apple Cider

Of course we also had to have goody bags!  My crafty and talented mom made these adorable little jars filled with trail mix and well as these mini chocolate bar packages.

For the puppies, I made some pumpkin dog biscuits from Simmer Till Done and worm hot dog treats.

Worm Dog Treats

1 package hot dogs

Slice hot dogs into quarters lengthwise.  Boil in water till you see the hot dogs start to curl.  Drain.  Microwave for approximately 5 minutes or until the hot dogs are dried out and hard.

Happy Halloween Everyone!  Hope you have a fun, safe holiday!

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