Easy Spooky Halloween Party Decor

DIY Bat Branch Halloween Centerpiece | Halloween decorations, Halloween party ideas and Halloween recipes from @cydconverse

If you’re hosting a Halloween party and need some quick, easy last minute ideas for your requisite Halloween decor, look no further! When I shared my homemade Halloween bark recipe earlier in the week, I mentioned that I was sharing a handful of tips on pulling together your Halloween party decorations on the Maurices blog. Today I wanted to share a few more photos of the world’s simplest Halloween vignette. If you’re not the type who goes all out and decorates every square inch of your house for Halloween, but you still want to do something that feels appropriate for a party, this is your answer. Again, you can find the breakdown of all my party tips over here and keep scrolling for the links for all of the recipes and DIY projects you see here in these photos!

Spooky Halloween Party Decor Ideas | @cydconverse

Spooky Halloween Party Decor Ideas | @cydconverse Spooky Halloween Party Decor Ideas | @cydconverse

Spooky Halloween Party Decor Ideas | @cydconverse

Spooky Halloween Party Decor Ideas | @cydconverse

Spooky Halloween Party Decor Ideas | @cydconverse Spooky Halloween Party Decor Ideas | @cydconverse

Spooky Halloween Party Decor Ideas | @cydconverse

Spooky Halloween Party Decor Ideas | @cydconverse

Want to recreate everything you see here? Check out my Halloween party styling tips. Make these salted caramel pumpkin cheesecake parfaits. Give my Halloween candy bark a whirl. Make a spooky bat Halloween centerpiece and cool insect taxidermy!

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[Art direction + styling by Cyd Converse | Photos by Alice G. Patterson for The Sweetest Occasion.]

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DIY Golden Insect Taxidermy Plaques

DIY Taxidermy Plaques | Halloween ideas, Halloween decorations and Halloween party ideas from @cydconverse

By now I’ve preached time and again about how my favorite kind of Halloween decorations are those that are slightly spooky, dark and a bit glam in a goth kind of way. I think a few touches of something slightly off, a mix of metallics and lots of black can really set the scene without having to get too carried away with things. Recently I made these cool DIY taxidermy plaques, inspired by a candle I spied at Target that was black and covered in golden beetles, and my love of insect taxidermy cases and mounts. (Also, by “love” I also mean fear in equal parts. They’re so creepy!) The supplies are few, the steps are simple and the results are especially awesome.

DIY Taxidermy Plaques | Halloween ideas, Halloween decorations and Halloween party ideas from @cydconverse

DIY Taxidermy Plaques | Halloween ideas, Halloween decorations and Halloween party ideas from @cydconverse

supplies2-600x24

  • Wooden plaques
  • Black spray paint (matte or chalkboard paint)
  • Plastic bugs or insects
  • Gold liquid leaf
  • E600 or similar
  • Paint brush
  • Sawtooth picture frame hangers

DIY Taxidermy Plaques | Halloween ideas, Halloween decorations and Halloween party ideas from @cydconverse

DIY Taxidermy Plaques | Halloween ideas, Halloween decorations and Halloween party ideas from @cydconverse

DIY Taxidermy Plaques | Halloween ideas, Halloween decorations and Halloween party ideas from @cydconverse

Begin by spray painting each of your wooden plaques with several light, thin coats of black spray paint. Be sure to choose a paint with a flat or matte finish. (Chalkboard spray paint would work great!) In between coats, give each of your insects a coat of liquid leaf. Keep in mind that unlike paint, the liquid leaf is oil-based and therefore quite strong in smell so you’ll want to work in a well ventilated space. One coat should cover your insects with the exception of a few touch-ups here and there. Once your plaques are completely dry, use a small hammer to attach a sawtooth picture hanger to the back of each one. Then flip it back over and attach a bug to each plaque using E6000. (Which, incidentally, is also heavy in the fume department so be sure to keep those windows open while you’re attaching your bugs!) Then simply hang on the wall and you’ve got instant Halloween party vibes going on!

DIY Taxidermy Plaques | Halloween ideas, Halloween decorations and Halloween party ideas from @cydconverse

DIY Taxidermy Plaques | Halloween ideas, Halloween decorations and Halloween party ideas from @cydconverse

DIY Taxidermy Plaques | Halloween ideas, Halloween decorations and Halloween party ideas from @cydconverse

DIY Taxidermy Plaques | Halloween ideas, Halloween decorations and Halloween party ideas from @cydconverse

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[Art direction + styling by Cyd Converse | Photos by Alice G. Patterson for The Sweetest Occasion.]

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Our Housewarming Party Menu

This post was sponsored by Dr. Oetker Virtuoso Pizza. Thank you for supporting
the sponsors that 
help make The Sweetest Occasion possible!

A Cozy Fall Housewarming Party | Entertaining ideas, party ideas, party recipes and more from @cydconverse

When we were planning our recent housewarming party, I was determined to come up with a couple of really killer appetizers to accompany the Dr. Oetker Virtuoso Pizza that was the star of our menu. With Virtuoso’s thin, crispy crust and fresh, flavorful toppings as my muse, I decided we’d serve up a big selection of pizzas paired with antipasto skewers and zucchini veggie balls. I finished everything up with a great cocktail and made sure the fridge was stocked with good craft beer. Then it was just all about hanging out with friends. Done and done!

A Cozy Fall Housewarming Party | Entertaining ideas, party ideas, party recipes and more from @cydconverse

A Cozy Fall Housewarming Party | Entertaining ideas, party ideas, party recipes and more from @cydconverse

A Cozy Fall Housewarming Party | Entertaining ideas, party ideas, party recipes and more from @cydconverse

A Cozy Fall Housewarming Party | Entertaining ideas, party ideas, party recipes and more from @cydconverse

A Cozy Fall Housewarming Party | Entertaining ideas, party ideas, party recipes and more from @cydconverse

A Cozy Fall Housewarming Party | Entertaining ideas, party ideas, party recipes and more from @cydconverse

Antipasto Skewers

In our city we’re known for great Italian food because of the large population of families with Italian heritage in the area. If there’s one thing we don’t skimp on around here it’s a great antipasto to accompany pizza at every turn. That tradition is what inspired these antipasto skewers! They’re a twist on a classic antipasto, somewhat deconstructed and assembled on a skewer to make for a perfect party snack! Make them in advance, switch them to suit your own flavor preferences and then line them up on a tray to serve. [Click here for the recipe!]

A Cozy Fall Housewarming Party | Entertaining ideas, party ideas, party recipes and more from @cydconverse

A Cozy Fall Housewarming Party | Entertaining ideas, party ideas, party recipes and more from @cydconverse

A Cozy Fall Housewarming Party | Entertaining ideas, party ideas, party recipes and more from @cydconverse

Zucchini Veggie Balls

I am all about the bright, delicious flavor pairings of Virtuoso and wanted to offer friends a second appetizer that was really inspired by those ingredients. At our party we served up the Seasoned Chicken, Pepperoni & Ham, Mozzarella & Pesto, Mushroom, Tomato & Goat Cheese and Pepperoni Pesto pizzas! (Oh and good news! Even though Ristorante is now Virtuoso, all the ingredients and flavor combinations are the same just with a new name!) I pulled the last of the zucchini from my mother’s garden and made these zucchini veggie balls, which are an adaptation of one of our favorite family recipes. They’re loaded with garlic and parmesan and they’re honestly the very definition of incredible. (Especially alongside the Tomato & Goat Cheese pizza if you ask me!) [Click here for the recipe!]

A Cozy Fall Housewarming Party | Entertaining ideas, party ideas, party recipes and more from @cydconverse

A Cozy Fall Housewarming Party | Entertaining ideas, party ideas, party recipes and more from @cydconverse

Pumpkin Ale Spiked Cider

To round everything out, I made a pitcher of pumpkin ale spiked cider. It was a little tip of the hat to fall and a really easy way to serve drinks for a crowd. I mixed everything up in a pretty pitcher that morning and had ice and mugs ready to go so friends could serve themselves as they arrived. While the pizzas finished baking (they bake from frozen to crispy perfection in just 12 to 14 minutes), guests were sipping and mingling and already enjoying appetizers. Which brings me to one of my easiest pro party tips! Have drinks and apps ready to go and you’ve already impressed your guests. It’s that easy. [Click here for the recipe!]

Pumpkin Ale Spiked Cider | Party appetizers, party cocktails, party ideas, party recipes and more from @cydconverse

A Cozy Fall Housewarming Party | Entertaining ideas, party ideas, party recipes and more from @cydconverse

A Cozy Fall Housewarming Party | Entertaining ideas, party ideas, party recipes and more from @cydconverse

It was so much fun to have our friends over for a festive afternoon, and the recent rebranding of Ristorante to become Virtuoso made for the perfect way to host a really special yet casual celebration. You can find Virtuoso in it’s fancy new box (designed with love to help their passion for pizza and the freshest ingredients shine through) at your local grocery store by checking out the store locator or feel free to put in a request with the manager at your favorite grocery destination! With a bold new name and tasty toppings you’ll go crazy for, it’s sure to become your new favorite way to entertain on the fly. In the meantime, be sure to check out all the photos from our housewarming party if you haven’t already, and be sure to pin all of the recipes from the party menu so you can give them a try!

A Cozy Fall Housewarming Party | Entertaining ideas, party ideas, party recipes and more from @cydconverse

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[Art direction + styling by Cyd Converse | Photos by Alice G. Patterson for The Sweetest Occasion.]

This post was sponsored by Dr. Oetker USA LLC. I received compensation for this post, but all opinions are my own. Read more about our editorial policies. For more recipes, tips and entertaining ideas, follow Virtuoso on Facebook!

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Antipasto Skewers

This recipe was created in collaboration with Dr. Oetker Virtuoso Pizza. Thank you for supporting
the sponsors that 
help make The Sweetest Occasion possible!

Antipasto Skewers | Party appetizers, entertaining ideas, party ideas, party recipes and more from @cydconverse

At our recent housewarming party (hosted in collaboration with the fine folks at Dr. Oetker Virtuoso Pizza), I wanted to create a couple of great party appetizers to serve our guests. These antipasto skewers were a major hit! I loaded them up with mozzarella, roasted peppers, salami and olives, but you can alter them to suit your personal taste. For sure I made sure to make my self a few without any meat, being the vegetarian that I am! Play with different kinds of meats and olives, swap out the mozzarella for burrata. The possibilities and flavor combinations are endless! Rounding out the menu? These zucchini veggie balls and a delicious cocktail I like to call pumpkin ale spiked cider.

Antipasto Skewers | Party appetizers, entertaining ideas, party ideas, party recipes and more from @cydconverse

Antipasto Skewers | Party appetizers, entertaining ideas, party ideas, party recipes and more from @cydconverse

Antipasto Skewers | Party appetizers, entertaining ideas, party ideas, party recipes and more from @cydconverse

Antipasto Skewers | Party appetizers, entertaining ideas, party ideas, party recipes and more from @cydconverse Antipasto Skewers | Party appetizers, entertaining ideas, party ideas, party recipes and more from @cydconverse

Antipasto Skewers | Party appetizers, entertaining ideas, party ideas, party recipes and more from @cydconverse

Antipasto Skewers | Party appetizers, entertaining ideas, party ideas, party recipes and more from @cydconverse Antipasto Skewers | Party appetizers, entertaining ideas, party ideas, party recipes and more from @cydconverse

Antipasto Skewers | Party appetizers, entertaining ideas, party ideas, party recipes and more from @cydconverse

Antipasto Skewers
Makes 24 skewers (plan for 2 – 3 per person)

  • 24 mini fresh mozzarella balls
  • 24 olives
  • 12 slices of salami, cut in half
  • 24 small basil leaves
  • 2 roasted peppers (or 1 jar)
  • 1 jar artichoke hearts
  • ½ pound fresh tortellini, cooked
  • Bamboo skewers

Using 3″ bamboo skewers or similar, layer your ingredients starting with the mozzarella balls, then the roasted peppers (I used a mix of red, yellow and orange), tortellini, basil, artichoke heart, salami and olives. I opted to pick up mozzarella and olives that were already marinated and seasoned, but I would suggest tossing yours in a bit of olive oil with a pinch of Italian seasoning if you can’t find those that are already pre-seasoned. I also roasted my own peppers, but you can easily pick up a jar to make things simpler. Line a tray with your finished skewers and refrigerate until serving. Make them the night or the morning before and keep chilled. (Leftovers will keep for a few days!)

Antipasto Skewers | Party appetizers, entertaining ideas, party ideas, party recipes and more from @cydconverse

Antipasto Skewers | Party appetizers, entertaining ideas, party ideas, party recipes and more from @cydconverse

Antipasto Skewers | Party appetizers, entertaining ideas, party ideas, party recipes and more from @cydconverse

post-line-before-credits

[Art direction + styling by Cyd Converse | Photos by Alice G. Patterson for The Sweetest Occasion.]

This recipe was created in collaboration with Dr. Oetker USA LLC as part of our housewarming party. Read more about our editorial policies.

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Pumpkin Ale Spiked Cider

This cocktail recipe was created in collaboration with Dr. Oetker Virtuoso Pizza. Thank you for
supporting the sponsors that help make The Sweetest Occasion possible!

Pumpkin Ale Spiked Cider | Party appetizers, party cocktails, party ideas, party recipes and more from @cydconverse

You’ve probably heard me preach before about pitcher cocktail recipes being the best way to go for parties. It’s true! If you mix up a big pitcher of cocktails before your guests arrive, it frees you up to mingle instead of acting as bartender. I served up this pumpkin ale spiked cider at our housewarming party and it was the perfect complement to the menu. Pizza from Dr. Oetker Virtuoso was the star of the show, which I paired with antipasto skewers and zucchini veggie balls. This spiked cider finished things off with the perfect taste of fall flair!

Pumpkin Ale Spiked Cider | Party appetizers, party cocktails, party ideas, party recipes and more from @cydconverse

Pumpkin Ale Spiked Cider | Party appetizers, party cocktails, party ideas, party recipes and more from @cydconverse

Pumpkin Ale Spiked Cider | Party appetizers, party cocktails, party ideas, party recipes and more from @cydconverse

Pumpkin Ale Spiked Cider | Party appetizers, party cocktails, party ideas, party recipes and more from @cydconverse

Pumpkin Ale Spiked Cider
Makes 12 servings

  • (3) 12 oz bottles of pumpkin ale
  • 8 cups fresh apple cider
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • ¾ cup of bourbon
  • 1 oz orange bitters

Pour pumpkin ale into a large pitcher. Add apple cider, bourbon, bitters and stir gently. Squeeze in the juice from 1 lemon, being sure not to let the seeds fall into your drink mixture. Stir again. Serve in chilled mugs filled to the brim with ice. Sip and enjoy!

Pumpkin Ale Spiked Cider | Party appetizers, party cocktails, party ideas, party recipes and more from @cydconverse

Pumpkin Ale Spiked Cider | Party appetizers, party cocktails, party ideas, party recipes and more from @cydconverse

Pumpkin Ale Spiked Cider | Party appetizers, party cocktails, party ideas, party recipes and more from @cydconverse

Pumpkin Ale Spiked Cider | Party appetizers, party cocktails, party ideas, party recipes and more from @cydconverse

Pumpkin Ale Spiked Cider | Party appetizers, party cocktails, party ideas, party recipes and more from @cydconverse

Pumpkin Ale Spiked Cider | Party appetizers, party cocktails, party ideas, party recipes and more from @cydconverse

post-line-before-credits

[Art direction + styling by Cyd Converse | Photos by Alice G. Patterson for The Sweetest Occasion.]

This cocktail recipe was created in collaboration with Dr. Oetker USA LLC as part of our housewarming party. Read more about our editorial policies.

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