This past Saturday, I hosted my annual Witch’s Brunch for all my best girlfriends. I began doing this four years ago when I was pregnant with James, and needed something to focus on other than my largeness. I’m actually not one of those people who LOVES Halloween, mainly because I don’t like scary things, but this has ended up being one of my favorite parties I throw all year, and it keeps getting better and better.
Around the beginning of September, I send out an invitation to all my witchy friends. The first year I did this, I made and printed the invitations at home and came up with this wording which I love and use every year.
You’re invited to a Witch’s Brunch
Saturday, October 4th at 11 AM
Palmer’s Haunted House
Leave Frankenstein and the goblins at home for an
afternoon of Boo and Brew
…just us witches!
Broom out of gas? Give me a scream (555.1212)
This Fall, time got away from me, and I was late getting my invites out, so I sent everyone a text I made on Red Stamp to remind them to Save-the-Date.
My favorite part of this brunch is setting the table–which is actually my favorite part of any party I throw because I love using my china, sterling and crystal. Truly, I use it every opportunity I get. Otherwise, what’s the point of having it?
Because of our large turnout we needed to use both my breakfast and dining tables. It is always important to me that whoever sits in the breakfast room not feel they are having to sit at the kid’s table, so I always make sure it is just as beautifully set as my formal dining table. The combination of an eggplant purple tablecloth with a black lace table runner ended up being a beautiful spread for two silver candelabras and red taper candles. I sprinkled red pebbles across the black lace to tie in with the tapers, and slipped white vampire teeth around the candles. That small detail was really…cute. [I typically try to refrain from using cute as a describing word, but in this case, it really fits the bill.] Black and white pinecone printed napkins brightened up the table, and the green starburst napkin rings were reminiscent of sparkly spiders. I just loved how this table turned out.
My dining room already has a black and white rug under the table, so I chose a pumpkin orange cloth to make the setting really Halloween-y. A purple, green and orange striped table runner spread the length of the table, and purple pebbles sparkled beneath the silver candelabras and black tapers. I already had red tapers from Hobby Lobby left over from Christmas to use at the kitchen table, but bought black ones by Caspari at Market Street for the brunch. They were wonderful! Caspari candles burn so evenly and didn’t drip or make a mess. They are about $3 per candle, but well worth the additional cost if I’m not having to pick dried candle wax off my linens and candelabras.
When I host a seated dinner, or brunch in this case, I always use place cards. It takes away the pressure from your guests having to select their seat–for some reason they often feel guilty choosing to sit in the dining room–and I can carefully place new friends near people they would enjoy meeting. I also make sure not to put my most talkative friends at the head of the table because I know they can handle the responsibility of directing conversation. That would be you Kim Johnson, Rachel Connell (boo you were sick!), Brittany Southerland and Jill Hartsell! This year I found Halloween gift tags at Hobby Lobby to use for place cards. I loved using these because when looking across the table, instead of seeing the back of a blank white card, guests would see Halloween patterns and colors. Aesthetics, you know.
Waterford is the maker of both my crystal and china. I love white china [or white plates in general] because food looks better against white. Two of my best friends have the same china pattern, Padova, which is perfect when any of us entertain and need to borrow a couple of bowls, etc… My crystal, Aurora, is characterized by small vertical slits around the bowl of the glass. The combination of these two elements with Rosepointe sterling by Wallace is always beautiful, but I especially love to use an elegant place setting on a spooky, whimsical table.
Like the invitations, the menu for this brunch never changes from year to year. I start by serving all of my guests pumpkin soup I make from a recipe Chef Robert Lyford, Market Chef at Patina Green wrote for me. There are so many delicious ingredients in this recipe, it is always a huge hit. The flavors of pumpkin, butternut squash, carrots and leeks create a delicious base that is accented by tart, Granny Smith apples caramelized in butter and brown sugar and served on top with a drop of cream. My friend, Stacey, always brings her own Tupperware so she can take home leftovers.
After the soup, I serve Grown-Up Grilled Cheese sandwiches and a green salad with pumpkin seeds, goat cheese and champagne vinaigrette. Ready-made Pesto sauce is available at the grocery store, but if you are feeling especially gourmet, make some of Sadie’s Basil Pesto, it is THE best pesto recipe I have ever tried! She often serves it over angel hair pasta with fresh cherry tomatoes and fresh mozzarella.
For dessert I serve Poison Caramel Apples fondue-style with chopped peanuts, crumbled Oreos and crushed Butterfingers for dipping. This menu is so simple, but the witches always tell me how much they love it, so I keep making it year after year. Why change a great thing?
One of my favorite white wines is Santa Margherita Pinot Grigio, which I served with lunch, but this year I also set up a mimosa bar with pomegranate juice, grapefruit juice and orange juice, which I labeled as Witch’s Blood, Ghoul Drool and Goblin Snot. I wish I could tell you those names were James’s and Caleb’s idea, but I can take the credit. I know, my immaturity is astounding. I also made my version of Neiman Marcus’s Spice Tea, and I think it is very close to what we love to get at the Mermaid Bar. We are all at the age where one of us is usually pregnant, so its always a good idea to have non-alcoholic drink for the preggos. I made sure to leave a bottle of Pellegrino at the mimosa station in case anyone wanted to make virgin version.
Like I said before, this party is something my friends and I look forward to each October. And you know what? There is still time for you to throw your own Witch’s Brunch. Keep it simple and make a fun text on Red Stamp to send to a few friends. Make a batch of Grown-up Grilled Cheese sandwiches and Pumpkin Soup. It will become one of your favorite Halloween traditions year after year. You can find the recipes on Pinterest by clicking the links above, and the Pumpkin Soup Recipe on my site as well.
-ciao for now-
**Click here to visit The Shop Around the Corner on Etsy. Kristianna makes these custom vinyl decals for all different types of tumblers. She had 16 of these made and on my front porch in 4 days!