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Halloween in Florida

October 7, 2009

We locals love to party right? And we love to try and out do other states when it comes to special times of the year like Halloween. So this year, it’s time to really get out those crazy Halloween costumes, prepare your pumpkins and get cooking some crazy finger licking, weird and gooey foods for your Halloween party.

Invite the family, invite the neighbors and make it one incredibly spooky and awesome night to remember.

First up it’s time to get working on those plans and to start with you need to think about decorating your home, your unit, your apartment or even your workplace if allowed. This time of year allows you to step outside the box and do something a little different and if you haven’t tried this before then this year is a good time to have your first Halloween party.

Depending on the type of party you are holding you need to try and take into consideration the age of your guests. If you are planning a party where the entire neighborhood is invited or family and friends you need to think of the ages of the kids. But you don’t go overboard. Everyone is a kid at heart especially at this time of the year.

Of course if you are planning a work party then you might want to adapt the plans here and work them around a full blown Halloween party for your office crew or team.

Taking the various steps will ensure you have a crazy, spooky, weird and exciting Halloween.

A Halloween party plan - this includes decorating your house, unit or apartment.

1. If you are hell bent on working with a theme then the first thing you need to do is pick one. You can go with all sorts of different themes that suit the night such as:

Cemetery Theme

The Ghosts that Walk

Scary Masks for All

A Halloween House Party - where everyone dresses up as their favorite scary person such as Morticia Addams, the Grim Reaper, a vampire, a zombie, a werewolf, ghosts, demons, skeletons, a mummy etc. And of course you can include various scary masks.

2. Decide where you are going to have your Halloween party. In the street for all the neighbors or in you home.

3. Of course the date is the 31st October and as luck has it this year the 31st falls on a Saturday so no one will forget the day.

You need to get those invitations out quickly. Time is running out. So, if it’s too late to send them via snail mail, do the next best thing and get online. You can design your own invitations and send them to each person or better still find a card site and design a Halloween card there and send them to everyone on your list.

Of course if you are sending to a huge number of people or you are planning a neighborhood party, and then do the next best thing - do a mail box drop. Get that invite out there so you can plan ahead.

If it is a neighborhood Halloween party, then have everyone bring a spooky plate of food. It can be as devilish, ghoulish as possible…

There are plenty of places to find the items you need to decorate your house or neighborhood such as costume rental places, second hand or opportunity shops, online and through some of the online party places…

Some things to look for include: spooky mirrors, spiders webs, skeletons, bats, witches hats and caldrons, spooky flying ghosts, icky sticky slime etc…

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Yummy halloween treats

Yummy halloween treats

2. Recipes for your Halloween - finger food etc

A party isn’t a party if you don’t have food and because it is Halloween it gives you the chance to be a little outlandish, spooky and a little gory when you feed your guests.

These are just a few of the recipes you can prepare … use your imagination because sometimes that is all it takes to create something haunting and scary to eat!

Cheese Appetizer Recipe

Ingredients:

2 - Cups grated sharp cheddar cheese

1/4 - lb butter

48 - Pimiento green olives

1 - Cup flour

NOTE: If you don’t like green olives, you can substitute them for small pieces of ham, sausage, etc.

Preparation:

1. Preheat oven to 400?F degrees

2. Put the cheese and butter in a food processor, and blend until smooth

3. Put the mixture in a bowl, add the flour and mix well

4. Roll out to 1/4-inch thickness

5. Cut the dough into 2 inch squares and wrap a square around each olive, sealing the seams

6. Place on a cookie sheet and bake for 10-15 minutes at 400?F

Serve with dipping sauce.

Source: http://www.finger-food-recipes.com/cheese-appetizer-recipe.html

Cream Cheese Wonton Recipe

Ingredients:

1 - 8 oz. package of cream cheese softened

16 - Wonton Wrappers

Oil for Frying

1 - Jar of Sweet and Sour sauce for dipping, or any type of sauce you think would taste delicious! Of course the redder it is … the more devilish and bloodier it will appear…

Preparation:

1. Heat oil in a deep-fat fryer or pour into a deep skillet on high temperature. Vegetable oil or peanut oil works best.

2. While oil is heating, lay out as many wrappers as you plan to use.

3. Have a small bowl of water nearby to wet your fingers in.

4. Put a small dab of cream cheese in one corner of each wrapper, about 1/2″ from the edges. Use about 1 tsp.

5. Using your fingers, wet the two edges nearest the cream cheese, then fold the other half down and seal the edges, making a triangle shape.

6. Seal the edges tightly, but try to leave small gaps at the corners so the triangles will not expand so much that they burst.

7. Drop several wontons into oil at a time. Turn over when the edges start to brown and cook for another minute or two.

8. Set on paper towels to drain, then serve hot with your choice of sauce (preferably blood red)

Source: http://www.finger-food-recipes.com/cream-cheese-wontons.html

Slimy Worms

Note: For this recipe, it’s important to use a tall, slim container to hold the straws, such as a 1 liter orange juice or milk carton (be sure to use something with a 4 cup capacity). The straws should fit tightly together. If you use too large a container, the gelatin will run right back out before it sets. Also, be sure to buy the straws with the flexible neck, as they give the worms the most realistic “earthworm” appearance. Recipe makes about 100 long worms.

Ingredients:

1 pkg. (6 oz) purple gelatin (raspberry or grape work well)

3/4 oz. unflavored gelatin

3 C. boiling water

3/4 C. whipping cream

Green food coloring, as needed

100 plastic straws

Instructions:

1. In a medium, heat safe mixing bowl, stir together plain and flavored gelatin powders.

2. Pour boiling water over, stirring until gelatin is fully dissolved.

3. Allow gelatin to cool until only slightly warm.

4. Stir whipping cream into the gelatin mixture. Stir in green food coloring (you’ll probably need 10 drops or more) until your gelatin gets that purple-brown-grey color of earthworms.

5. With your 100 straws fully extended and snug in your chosen container, pour the gelatin mixture over the straws, filling the container.

6. Cover container and chill at least 8 hours. You can make them and store them this way up to two days in advance of your Halloween party.

7. Remove straws from their container (cutting or ripping a disposable container away is easiest).

8. With hot tap water running, place batches of 4-5 straws under hot running water for a couple quick seconds.

9. Remove “worms” from their straw casings, pressing with fingers. Set on waxed paper to set up.

10. Repeat until all worms are removed.

12. Chill, covered, on waxed paper at least 2 hours.

13. Serve in a chilled bowl, as pictured. Then watch all the kids gobble up this fun Halloween party food.

Source: http://www.divinedinnerparty.com/halloween-party-food.html

Halloween Worm Sandwiches Recipe

Ingredients:

8 hot dogs

8 hot dog buns

1/4 C. ketchup

Instructions:

1. Bring a pot of water to a boil.

2. Slice each hot dog into long, worm-like strips.

3. Dump hot dog strips into boiling water and cook until they begin to curl a bit.

4. Drain.

5. Return cooked hot dog worms to pan and toss with ketchup until thoroughly mixed.

6. Serve in hot dog buns.

Source: http://www.divinedinnerparty.com/halloween-party-food.html

Scary Eye Balls

This recipe is really very simple. All it takes is a massive amount of hard boiled eggs, some food dye and a little imagination,

Boil your eggs (the amount really depends on how many guests will appear) and when cool slice them in half and scoop out the contents. Mash the eggs and you can add mayonnaise to make them ooze a little but don’t have them too runny… Fill the egg halves so they will sit flat.

Line a tray of green leafy lettuce or anything really that looks a little off putting but yummy at the same time…

Place the eggs full side down very carefully … don’t worry if some of the egg oozes out.

It’s time to let your imagination go wild and make up some scary eyes…

Use black or a dark food dye for the pupil - followed by some red food dye. It’s time to make some really scary blood shot features.

That’s it… it’s that easy.

Uh-Oh too much parting!

Uh-Oh too much parting!

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3. Preparing your Jack-o-lantern

After you’ve picked out the perfect pumpkin for your ghoulish creation, you can’t just slice and dice and expect to have the perfect jack-o-lantern. Instead, you need to keep in mind a few tips to help you carve out your orange and ornery pumpkin head.

1). Use a fine point marker to outline where you want to cut. When cutting; cut slightly outside these markings so you don’t leave any lines on the finished product. If you want something more creative than the usual eyes, nose and mouth cutouts, then try one of the Halloween pumpkin patterns that you can find in craft stores. All you do with these, is place your chosen pattern onto the pumpkin and outline with the fine point marker. Then voila! Your creative pumpkin face! (Do make sure the pattern will fit the pumpkin you’ve chosen, i.e., you don’t want a large face on a small pumpkin).

2). Use of proper knives. A serrated knife is great for cutting the “lid” of your pumpkin - around the stem. You can also use a serrated knife to cut out any irregular shapes. For a shape that is more exact - like the eyes, nose, and mouth - use a sharp, non-serrated knife.

3). Scoop the pumpkin innards with a large spoon or ladle onto newspapers that you’ve placed the pumpkin on.

4). Place a votive or small candle inside the finished jack-o-lantern. Stand back and admire your handiwork!

Here are a few sites to help you with your pumpkin carving and stencils if you want to take pumpkin carving to an art form.

Pumpkincarving101.com - they will give you advice on the tools you will need and they also have stencils available. It’s a very user-friendly website.

Carvingpumpkins.com is a cool site for finding the right stencils if you want to take your pumpkin carving to a new level.

Spooky haunted house

Spooky haunted house

4. Halloween Horror Nights

For something a little different this year, perhaps it’s time to take a ghost tour and there certainly are quite a few places in Florida to do this. You could be a little bit spooked or scared when you take a ghost tour this Halloween.

Here are a few ghost tours that you might want to check out and make sure you book in advance because these tours will definitely be popular.

1. Original ghost tours of Key West

Discover Haunted Key West; walking tour to see haunted locations like Banyan Resort; East Martello Museums, home of Robert the Doll (Robert is supposedly voodoo inspired), Dean-Lopez Funeral Home, Capt. Tony’s Oldest Bar (former ice house and city morgue, the states oldest bar), the Crowne Plaza LaConcha and Marerro’s Guest Mansion

2. Ghost Tour of St. Petersburg

This is a 90-minute walking candle light tour based on the book Ghost Stories of St. Petersburg.

There are full-moon, half-moon, and dark-moon tours and there is also a day-of-the dead tour. The highlights include Vinory Hotel, Sunshine Skywalker Bridge (supposedly there’s a hitchhiker) and Jannus Landing Hotel.

3. St. Augustine Ghosts and Gravestones

Here you can ride the Trolley of the Doomed and explore paranormal activity that surrounds the Spanish Military Hospital, the Old Drugstore, and the Old Jail

4. Haunts of Daytona

This is the only tour on the East Coast owned/operated by a certified ghost hunter and active certified paranormal researcher. Called the Daytona Ghost walk, this tour is centered on the Pinewood Cemetery and its paranormal activity.

5. Tampa Bay Ghost Tours this tour features Maritime Mysteries of Pirates Past.

There is also a hearse limo ride you can take to Don Cesar Hotel as part of the St. Pete Beach/Pass-a-Grille Tour.

6. Ft. Lauderdale - The Old Ft. Lauderdale Cape and Lantern Ghost Tour

7. Original Ghost Tour of Coconut Grove/Miami.

This tour goes for about 2 hours. You can walk the haunts and hear tales of rum runners, pirates, buccaneers, military men, and courageous women. For more information visit www.ghostgrove.com

8. Tallahassee. www.mysteryplayhouse.com They offer more of a theatrical production and inside haunted experience.

For more information, ticket prices and booking information check out www.hauntedflorida.com - check out the city that you are interested in for locations and phone numbers. Or you could check out www.autumnchill.com and see what haunted tours are available for Halloween.

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Costume Shop

Costume Shop

5. Purchasing or renting your Halloween costume in Florida

Some people love making their costumes but if you don’t have time and you can afford to lash out a little you could either purchase or rent your Halloween costume. In Florida there are several places to look at:

Costume World has locations throughout the US but their corporate office is located in Deerfield Beach. They have over one million costumes in their collection. You can find Costume World at 950 Federal Highway Deerfield Beach. Phone 1-800-423-7496. If you can’t make it to their store, then check out their online rental section found here - http://costumeworld.com/cw-deerfield.php

Gina’s Costume Rentals is located at 2000 S. Combee Road Lakeland. You can contacted them on 863-666-1227 or you can check out their store online at www.ginascostumerentals.com to see if they have what you are looking for to make your Halloween a very spooky one.

At the ABC Costume Shop you will find monsters, witches, ghosts, character costumes, masks, wigs and makeup to help you become spooky, scary and out of this world for Halloween. They are located at 575 NW 24th Street Miami, call them on 305-573-5657 or check out their website www.abccostumeshop.com

These are just a few of the costume rental places available in Florida.

Now it’s time to plan your special Halloween party for 2009!

Here’s a list of all the places recommended above and there is a map with directions and pinpoints below:

Original ghost tours of Key West
423 Fleming St
Key West, FL 33040
(305) 294-9255
Ghost Tour of St. Petersburg
Full Monty Cafe
119 2nd St. North
St. Petersburg, FL 33701
St. Augustine Ghosts and Gravestones
27 San Marco Ave
St Augustine, FL 32084
(904) 829-3800
Haunts of Daytona
Main St & Peninsula Dr
Daytona Beach, FL 32114
(386) 253-6034
Tampa Bay Ghost Tours
150 Johns Pass Boardwalk W
Madeira Beach, FL 33708
(727) 398-5200
The Old Ft. Lauderdale Cape and Lantern Ghost Tour
Ft. Lauderdale, FL
(954) 523-1501
Original Ghost Tour of Coconut Grove/Miami
Coconut Grove Playhouse
3500 Main Hwy
Coconut Grove, Florida
Costume World
950 Federal Highway
Deerfield Beach, FL
(800) 423-7496
Gina’s Costume Rentals
2000 S. Combee Road
Lakeland, FL
(863) 666-1227
ABC Costume Shop
575 NW 24th Street
Miami, FL
(305) 573-5657

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