You know that friend who always throws those killer parties where everything is pretty and delicious — but in a simple, low-key way — and she doesn’t look like she broke a sweat? Well, Elizabeth Chambers is that friend. Er… maybe not in real life, but in spirit. The founder and CEO of BIRD Bakery in San Antonio, Texas, and judge for Cupcake Wars and Sugar Showdown sat down with SheKnows and divulged all her Halloween party hosting secrets. What we love most about them is that they’re all pretty easy to pull off.
1. Frothy punch
“You have to have a punch bowl,” Chambers told us. “I always get some rainbow sherbet, ginger ale, and then you can add booze. Add a block of dry ice and it’ll last 6 hours. The sherbet with the dry ice makes the punch frothy. I think punches are so fun! They’re campy.”
Don’t have a punch bowl? Chambers is a big fan of repurposing other containers, like a galvanized tub, a Bundt pan, a mixing bowl…
2. Sanding sugar
Chambers loves sanding sugar. You can use it to rim Champagne flutes. “I like to use orange and white for Halloween,” Chambers says. “Wet the rims with a bit of the drink you’re serving and then dip the top of each glass in that sanding sugar. It makes a pretty presentation.”
3. Orange and white paper straws
Chambers loves using orange and white paper straws — or black and white. “They make a table of drinks more festive,” she says. Place them in decorative vases or simple glass tumblers for guests to select for themselves.
4. Candy corn tablescape
For the easiest Halloween tablescape you’ll ever make, buy some huge bags of candy corn and scatter them over a black or white tablecloth. “It’s the only time you can throw candy on the table and it looks chic,” Chambers says. She likes those candy corn pumpkin candies as well.
5. Put it in a pumpkin
Hollow out small and miniature pumpkins. Put serving dishes inside them, put ramekins inside them, put tea lights inside them. The possibilities are endless!
This is, admittedly, the one trick that takes a bit of work to pull off. You may need some tools to hollow out those pumpkins. Alternatively, you could cut the tops off of pumpkins and set dishes and candles on top of them.
6. Pumpkin cupcakes
We all love how pumpkin bread tastes, but it’s not so pretty on its own, right? But Chambers makes pumpkin cupcakes, frosts them with a white buttercream and then coats the top with orange sanding sugar. And just look at them — so adorable!
Even better, she makes mini-cupcakes and arranges them inside egg cartons so they look like a little pumpkin patch and could you just die right now? OK, we are stealing this idea for sure.
7. The only way to serve soup at a party
No one wants to walk around a party with bowls and spoons, but we all want some of that butternut squash soup. Chambers’ solution is to go tiny. She fills martini, coupe or shot glasses with small servings of soup. Add a little garnish of pepitas and crème fraîche if you’re feeling fancy, but definitely make sure it’s a puréed soup.
8. Set out easy costumes
What a gracious host: Chambers puts out baskets of cat ears and wigs so people who don’t have a costume can still get in the Halloween spirit.
Before you go, check out our slideshow below.