How to celebrate Halloween

Pumpkin sweets for Halloween
Sophie Davis,-Contributing Editor

After last year’s trick or treat hiatus, Halloween is back with a bang for 2021. Here’s how to get everyone into the spooky spirit

If you have little ones, you’ll know that one of the many things they missed out last year was celebrating Halloween. Marking the annual festival was curtailed at home, but this year trick or treating and parties are back on the agenda. And as 31 October falls on a Sunday, there’s no better moment than to go all-out with spooky decorations, fearsome costumes and fiendishly good recipes. Here’s how.

Halloween decorations for the home

The devil is in the detail

First things first: the carved pumpkin on the doorstep shows the neighbours that your household is primed for diminutive trick or treaters demanding sweet treats. But what about inside? Amp up the theme with spooky trimmings – we have a gruesomely good selection of Halloween decorations including door wreaths, themed bunting and shatterproof baubles, ideal for an ornamental tree (or a foraged branch that you might have kept from Easter). If you are feeling crafty then get that Pinterest board started. And if you’re hosting a party, don’t forget to let your guest list know!

Halloween fancy dress costumes

Cue the creepy costumes

Dressing up is what Halloween is all about and kids revel at the opportunity to transform themselves (they also enjoy seeing their parents undergo a creepy makeover too!). Children usually like to pick their character and can have lots of fun creating their own outfit, but if that sounds like too much time and effort, we have a large range of spooky outfits and fancy dress costumes to get them in the spirit. And yes, this is your chance to dress up baby as a tiny pumpkin or Yoda. Enjoy the opportunity.

Le Creuset pots for Halloween cooking

Cook up a spooky feast

When it comes to food, keep it simple so you can concentrate on enjoying the games and activities. Cook up jacket potatoes and serve with a homemade chilli or beans in a cast-iron pot, then serve with sour cream and cheese to top. If you’re planning on carving pumpkins, be resourceful and use the flesh for a soup, risotto or pie. See Waitrose for a selection of pumpkin recipes.

If you fancy a bit of Halloween baking in advance, try these delicious Halloween biscuits by Waitrose.

Halloween biscuits

Preparation time: 15 minutes plus chilling
Cooking time: 12 to 15 minutes
Makes: 20-24 biscuits

Ingredients

For the biscuits:
125g Stork Original Baking Block
75g Waitrose Golden Caster Sugar
1 medium Essential Waitrose Egg yolk
200g plain flour
2 tsp mixed spice
Raisins
Dr Oetker Chocolate Chips

To decorate:
Icing sugar
Cocoa powder
Dr Oetker Fruity Writing Icing, in green and orange

Method
1. Preheat oven to 190ºC, gas mark 5. Line two baking trays with baking parchment.

2. Whisk the Stork with the sugar until pale and fluffy, then whisk in the egg yolk. Gradually whisk in the flour and mixed spice and bind to a dough. Cover with cling film and chill for 30 minutes.

3. On a floured surface, roll out the dough to the thickness of a £1 coin. Using Waitrose Halloween Creepy Cookie Cutters including ghosts and pumpkins, cut out about 20-24 biscuits and place on the baking trays.

4. Cut the raisins into quarters and use as eyes for the ghosts, use the chocolate chips as eyes for the bats and bake for 12-15 minutes until just golden. Transfer to a cooling rack and leave to cool.

5. To decorate, dust the ghosts with icing sugar and the bats with cocoa powder. For the pumpkins, use the green icing for stalks and the orange icing to outline the pumpkin shapes.

Halloween fun and games

Fun and games

For younger kids who spook easily, keep it lighthearted. No one wants a meltdown followed by a sleepless night. Read some stories – Room On The Broom or Meg And Mog are perennial favourites – or adapt some party games to give them a Halloween twist: think musical statues to a soundtrack of The Monster Mash, pin the tail on the werewolf, or pass the parcel with a cute bat toy as the prize. Once again, family-favourite Dobble has a special Harry Potter-themed edition too. If you venture out, remember trick or treat buckets or a sweet tin to stash their loot in.

Halloween sweet treats

Sweet treats

Halloween is all about the sweets. Happily, the range on offer this year is more fearsome than ever with pumpkin-shaped biscuits and eyeball chocolates. If last year taught us anything, it’s that you can always arrange a spooky sweet hunt (like an Easter egg hunt) around the house – this is sure to appeal to older kids as much as little ones.

Halloween face painting

Terrifying trimmings

It’s amazing the fun to be had with a box of face paints. With a few YouTube tutorials, you’ll soon be a master of skeletons, witches and ghouls. Add a couple of choice accessories and your kids will be ready for the obligatory spooky snap to share with friends and family. Happy Halloween!

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