By Lauren Dahl and Paige Rhodes

A crisp evening Halloween party is the perfect occasion for a dark and moody color palette. Playful ghoulish details like spiders, webs, and fog will set the Halloween tone. Modern white dishes and an un-cluttered table helps bring the glam. Tonight is the night to embrace the black lipstick, eccentric attire, and indulge in all things Halloween.

Sleepy Hollow Cocktail
1 1/2 parts vodka
1 part blue curacao
1 part sweet and sour mix
1 part grenadine
1 part cran-grape juice
1 chunk of dry ice*

Combine vodka, blue curacao, sweet and sour mix, grenadine, and cran-grape juice in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake until combined. Place 1 small chunk dry ice into the bottom of your glass of choice. Pour the cocktail mix over the very small piece of dry ice and fill almost to the top, leaving room for the ‘fog’ to roll out of your drink. Add a few ice cubes, if desired.
NOTE: DO NOT ingest the dry ice cubes. Wait until they have dissolved COMPLETELY before drinking. Use caution and proper handling of dry ice. *Dry ice is for special effect only. It can easily be omitted if you desire.

Chocolate Caramel Corn Cupcakes
Ingredients for the cupcakes
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 tsps pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
For the frosting
1 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
3 and 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3 tbsps heavy cream or milk
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsps vanilla extract
Black sprinkles (optional)
Orange food coloring
¼ cup store-bought caramel sauce
1 bag store-bought caramel corn

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with cupcake liners. Set aside.
Whisk the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a large bowl until thoroughly combined. Set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs, granulated sugar, brown sugar, oil, and vanilla together until completely smooth. Pour half of the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Then add half of the buttermilk. Gently whisk for a few seconds. Repeat with the remaining wet ingredients and buttermilk. Stir until just combined; do not overmix.
Pour or spoon the batter into the liners, filling halfway. Bake for 18-21 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before frosting.
To make the frosting, fit a stand mixer with a paddle attachment and beat the butter on medium speed until creamy, about 2 minutes. Add confectioners’ sugar, cocoa powder, heavy cream, salt, and vanilla extract with the mixer running on low. Increase to high speed and beat for 3 full minutes. You can add up to 1/2 cup more confectioners’ sugar if frosting is too thin or another tablespoon of cream if the frosting is too thick. Pipe or spread the frosting onto cooled chocolate cupcakes. Top with black sprinkles, if desired. Add a few drops of orange food coloring to caramel sauce and drizzle over frosted cupcakes. Add a small handful of caramel corn to each cupcake, pushing the popcorn into the buttercream slightly. Serve immediately.

Looking for some creative festivities to plan for the holiday season? Here’s one we love!