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you’re invited: halloween 2012 + embarrassing cookies.

I missed this week’s Farmers’ Market Monday on purpose; I was busy preparing myself for Monday Bites, researching recipes, and attempting to plan out the upcoming holiday season. I like a plan. I make lists. They comfort me. What doesn’t comfort me is trying to fit two birthdays, a pumpkin carving competiton, and a Halloween party into one month, but we did it anyway, and except for a breakdown over a triple chocolate mousse cake (more on that later) and my pumpkin getting knocked off in the first round, everything went well. I’ll be back tomorrow with actual food, but today I thought I’d share our weekend Halloween party with you.

This one was hard to photograph: it doesn’t have the impact in 2 dimensions as it does in 3, but I think you’ll get the gist. I swear this looks way more awesome in real life. I went for a woodland theme; sort of “Tim Burton/Sleepy Hollow” without scary hessian Christopher Walken. Because who wants Christopher Walken at a party with a toddler? No one.

I didn’t want to scare the Wee One, but I didn’t want to go cartoony either. We spent a few crisp fall mornings in the backyard collecting branches from a deceased tree – one of her favorite yard projects. Wait: did I just say I decorated with dead tree branches? Yes, because here’s what: leafless, lifeless branches make for spectacular indoor Halloween decorations. add a little fishing line, some spiderweb cotton, and a curtain rod, and boom: eerie floating ghost treescape.

I weaved some more branches into the light fixture to finish the whole “my house is haunted by trees” look.

Some of you saw a sneak peek of this on my Facebook page, but I searched through the sale scrapbook papers at the store for black and cream patterns, and then cut them into pennants. Total cost for decorations? $8.00. Because clearance paper is cheap, dead trees are free, and fishing line costs like, $2.oo.

Nighttime parties = photos are impossible, so here’s a few of the food. We made “bloody” (red sauced) meatballs, a version of my butternut squash pizza, had your standard veggie and relish trays, et cetera. Nothing crazy with the dishware or utensils; just your normal plate/fork/spoon/knife/axe combinat…what? Axe?

I made axe-shaped sugar cookies. This is my favorite cookie cutter, people. Mostly because it came in an circa 1950’s vintage “holiday” cutter set, and mostly there are Christmas trees, and angels, and shamrocks, and….an axe. There’s no indication as to why an axe made the holiday cutters list, but the only thing we can think of is that they used to care way more about George Washington’s birthday around here, and there’s the whole “chopping down the cherry tree” story, which may be best symbolized by an axe. It makes a great cookie shape, and it’s small enough to use if you wanted to say, decorate cupcakes with axes. or throw some pie crust axes on top of your thanksgiving pie.

Also, I made the most embarrassing thing I know how to make. A recipe which I have never shared with you because it’s almost like I don’t want to be in the room with myself when I make these. I was never going to tell any of you that I occasionally make these. But now; I am.

I make cake mix cookies. And I make darn good ones.

I really wanted to make something cute and caramel apple-like for the party, but let’s face it: caramel apples? Messy. Not really that easy to sit and eat. Also, I get nervous about caramel and I didn’t need the hassle. Instead, I chose to make cookie “apples,” shove sticks in them, sandwich them together with my favorite easy vanilla buttercream, dip them in melted chocolate, and cover them with almonds. Instant, unfussy fake caramel cookie apples. Fauxramel Apples, if you will. Best part: they’re not just cute; turns out dumb cookies plus a little chocolate and nut coating equals delicious.

Would you like the recipe? I shall give it to you later today in a separate post. I was going to hide them in this one, but as I’m typing this, I’ve realized they probably deserve their own.

So Happy Halloween, and I’ll see you all later today. I promise more epic party decorations on Thanksgiving, when there’s more than like, 2 extra people here and it’s a legitimate party and not “Shannon’s calling it a party so she can decorate and make random food” dinner.

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  • Reply natalie October 31, 2012 at 8:48 am

    OMG! Your house is gorgeous! and the decorations… I die!

    and OMG I ALMOST POSTED A RECIPE FOR CAKE MIX COOKIES AND DECIDED NOT TO, but mine are way tackier, and involve being cat shaped… and whiskers…. and reese’s pieces. I am jealous that you have the courage to show yours off. and that they are SO PRETTY!!

    It’s probably better that you couldn’t post pics of all the food or I would surely fall into a crippling depression and be unable to function for the rest of the day.

    And really? AXE cookie cutter? I suppose how else would you get the christmas tree cookie cutters if you didn’t have an axe cookie cutter with which to cut them down? Haha!

    • Reply shannon November 2, 2012 at 2:38 pm

      now wait: you can make cake mix cookies into CATS?!?! no. way.

      i’m going to start line-drawing my food plan ahead of time, send it to you, and then post a photo. i swear though, this wasn’t that exciting. scout’s honor and all that. now thanksgiving and christmas? that will be more up your alley. 🙂

      that’s the best theory; i never thought of that! maybe in the fifties it was normal to include an axe because lots of people did real trees and cut them themselves! BRILLIANT.

  • Reply Brianne October 31, 2012 at 10:37 am

    I am swooning over that axe cookie cutter. My mother’s impressive collection of cookie cutters does not include an axe. This must be remedied, because Halloween is her favorite holiday and I’m pretty sure my siblings would freak out over the opportunity to make bloody axe cookies. They’re strange that way.

    • Reply shannon November 2, 2012 at 2:39 pm

      you know, i thought of you when i got out the cookie cutters, as you had told me about your mother’s fondness for them. I wanted to do a more realistic axe – but i was a little concerned over the wee one understanding that royal icing wasn’t actually blood. strange, nothing: i’m right there with your siblings on this one.

  • Reply Jennie @themessybakerblog October 31, 2012 at 11:44 am

    I wish I were as festive as you on Halloween. I’m a Halloween ba humbug.

    Next year, I’m coming to your place. I can make a darn good festive cocktail.

    • Reply shannon November 2, 2012 at 2:40 pm

      jennie: i simply do not believe you. you’re like, built for parties! how is this possible?!?!?!! nooooooo…..

  • Reply Sharyn Dimmick October 31, 2012 at 11:56 am

    Love the ax cookie cutter. Wish I had one.

    • Reply shannon November 2, 2012 at 2:41 pm

      sharyn, i got lucky when i found this set. they just don’t make holiday axe cutters like they used to, evidently. 🙂

  • Reply Ashley October 31, 2012 at 12:19 pm

    One: You’ve got party-throwing skills, Shannon! If you ever need an excuse for whipping up a party, complete with awesome decorations and delicious food, just let me know. I am excellent at that. And I’ll admire your work like crazy (though, happily, not like a crazy person. I’ll just admire a lot.). Plus it makes life more fun.
    Two: If only we still revered George Washington’s holiday a bit more. Or perhaps the axe is to celebrate Abraham Lincoln as a vampire hunter? Maybe a way to prepare 1950s children for the zombie apocalypse? Hmm..
    Three: I know what you’re feeling when you are almost ashamed to be in the room with something you secretly love. It strikes me when I sing along to trashy pop songs when I’m by myself. Dang. Your semi-homemade cookies, though, are genius and honestly, who doesn’t appreciate a break now and then? Rock it!

    • Reply shannon November 2, 2012 at 2:46 pm

      agree! being able to party at random intervals with cheap party decorations and lots of food is a must in my book, because it really does make life more fun. especially when you can kick back and laugh at your own party decorations and have others like them as much as you do.
      i know, right? i feel like i should somehow research 50’s era cookie cutters for holidays to determine which theory is correct. I can see it going the abraham lincoln way or the zombie apocalypse way as well, and i’m super curious as to why it seems so common. survival skills? tree-chopping? what?
      don’t even get me started on trashy pop songs. if anyone sees the trashy pop in the ipod, i tell them that it’s because i need “workout music.” yeah…like i need to “work out” why i enjoy dancing around my house *ahem*.
      well thank you…you say genius, i say secretly lazy. 🙂

  • Reply Emma October 31, 2012 at 1:52 pm

    Hehehe, axe. Man, I love it. But you probably expected that.

    I wish I had two people to invite over so that I could decorate and throw a fake party! Someday, when we don’t live in Snoozeville, hopefully.

    Oh. And I would want Scary Hessian Christopher Walken at a party with a toddler. But you probably expected that, too.

    • Reply shannon November 2, 2012 at 2:50 pm

      when i wrote this post, i thought to myself “i’m going to say this, and emma will actually want scary hessian christopher walken at her party. with a toddler or two. just to see what happens.”

      and i was right.

      you’ll notice i qualified that with “scary hessian” CW. why? because real life CW or a funny CW with a toddler? hilariously good time, i think. a laugh riot. but not with those nasty hessian teeth.

      • Reply Emma November 2, 2012 at 3:13 pm

        am i too predictable? has our relationship grown stale?

        • Reply shannon November 2, 2012 at 3:20 pm

          our relationship will never – could never – grow stale, emma. it will always be fresh and new as the spring.

  • Reply sara October 31, 2012 at 6:26 pm

    Haha, those axe cookies are so funny…LOVE that they come with an X-mas set…so weird!

    • Reply shannon November 2, 2012 at 2:53 pm

      sara, some day i’m going to get to the bottom of this axe cookie cutter. you wait. 🙂

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