My mother is the original Halloween fiend. As soon as the idea books hit newsstands, she starts plotting her annual bash. It’s always a haunted, spooky delight.

This year, she imported extra ghoulishness.  She asked my sister’s sweet and skilled husband toBUILD A COFFIN for the buffet, complete with nailhead trim. It’s awesome (go Jason!)

Here’s a peek inside our family bash:

I love hearing the excitement in my mom’s voice when she tells me about her latest gross-out menu offering. This year brought a couple shudder-rific entries. Number one:

(Shrimp cocktail, anyone?)

Number two:

I know. GROSS. It’s mini marshmallows and caramel dip and all kinds of wrong. It wins the gross-out award of the year.

Ty and I laughed while I prepared my offering:

Spinach dip, if you please. Ty kept telling me how to shape the mouth to complete the effect. I know. It’s digusting. (And pretty funny, for a pumpkin.)

For the squeamish, we offer appetizing treats as well: cobweb cupcakes and  mummies.


Mmmm: caramel corn just tastes like October. Kapri makes this every year.

From Heidi, these are delightfully revolting.

Bread bones — for dipping in the soup, of course.

The mood is all candles, shadows and mystery.

















Parade of costumes: my sisters dress their families in themes. Scarlett was a mermaid because her brother wanted to be a fish. (Her father was a fisherman, and her mother — who is expecting — had a fish tank on her belly.)

Heidi’s family went with the farm motif.

She’s also expecting (at right). She says she feels like a pig, so her costume was apropos. (And my cute Kenslie is at left).















The spooks showed up and made mischief.















When it was good and dark and late, we all gathered around candles and a big black cauldron while the head witch prepared her brew — filled with goblins, dried bones, mummified snakes, and varied horrors that the children drop in the pot one by one, screeching.




























Finally, it’s time for the secret ingredient that makes the magic happen.

(I think the secret ingredient at this party is actually my mom.)

For more creepy food and general hijinks, relive our party from 2008 (starring the witches finger cookie recipe many of you have been asking for.)  Happy Halloween!

P.S. While I was searching for 2009’s party post, it seems I never published it. The greatest hits: