In my opinion, it's never too early for Halloween. I am a Halloween junkie. It's my favorite holiday of the year. What is more fun than eating tons of candy, carving pumpkins, dressing up as whoever you want to be and best of all, having a Halloween party?
Halloween is about three months away and as a result, I've compiled together a "vintage-inspired" Halloween party. From decorations to desserts, this blast from the past party is sure to bring lots of spooky fun.
A great dessert to include in your vintage-inspired Halloween party could be cake pops! There are lots of options for these handy little munchies-- make them into zombies, pumpkins, bats, eyeballs, etc. Buy them online on etsy or make your own.
Halloween party decorations don't have to be just black and orange. Add some purple, teal or lime green for an extra retro kick! Atmosphere is everything if you're looking to create a "spooky" haunted house feeling. Don't forget the music & sound effects...just make sure to hide the boombox from guests.
A great activity for your vintage Halloween party might include playing an old-fashioned "Mystery game". These are great ice breaker games for guests who might not know many people and can provide many laughs & memories. Even better-- provide "props" for your guests so they can become more in character (think monocle, feather boa, 1950s hat, lots of jewelry, mens ties, etc.)
My mother grew up in the South and always talked about how everything food-related involved butter and gravy. I was curious about where some of these "comfort foods" came from. Here is a selection of yummy recipes for a southern-inspired meal with a vintage twist of delicious history.
( 1 ) Old - Fashioned Mint Julep
The exact origins of mint juleps are unknown but are thought to have first been described in 1803 as a drink that Virginians regularly drank. Many contemporary mint julep recipes call for whiskey, however a recipe that dates from approximately 1862 specifies the use of brandy or cognac.
Did you know? Mint juleps have been dubbed the official drink of the Kentucky Derby!
Step 1:Dissolve one tablespoon of white pulverized sugar in two and one-half tablespoons of water.
Step 2:Take two sprigs of fresh mint and press them well in the sugar and water, until the flavor of mint is extracted.
Step 3:Add one wine glass of Cognac brandy, and fill the glass with fine shaved ice, then draw out the sprigs of mint and insert them in the ice with the stems downward, so that the leaves will be above, in the shape of a bouquet.
Step 4:Arrange berries, and small pieces of sliced orange on top in a tasty manner, dash with Jamaican rum, and sprinkle white sugar on top.
Step 5:Place a straw (across the top of the glass), and you will have a julep that is fit for an emperor.
( 2) Hushpuppies
Hushpuppies are basically a deep-fried dumpling made of cornmeal. There are many stories surrounding the creation of hushpuppies. One story goes that when hunters and trappers were out on the trail for days at a time, they'd cook up these dumplings and feed the leftovers to the dogs to keep them quiet or "hushed". There is another story that confederate soldiers would cook up these cornmeal cakes around a campfire. If they detected Yankee soldiers approaching, they could quickly throw their dogs some cakes to keep them quiet.
Step 1: In a large mixing bowl, combine cornmeal, flour, egg, salt, baking soda, milk, and water. Mix until batter is smooth and free of any lumps. Batter should be stiff (if batter is too dry, add milk; if batter is too thin, add cornmeal).
Step 2: In a cast iron skillet or a large heavy fry pan over medium-high heat, heat vegetable oil to 350° F or until a small amount of batter dropped into the hot oil sizzles and floats. Do not let the oil get too hot or the center of the hushpuppies will not cook thoroughly.
Step 3:Using two spoons, push a small amount of batter into hot oil (370° to 380° F). After about 10 seconds, hushpuppies will float to the top and begin to brown. Fry for approximately 5 minutes or until golden brown, turning to brown all sides.
Step 4: Remove from oil and place hushpuppies on paper towels; continue cooking the remaining batter (fry in small batches, adding 4 to 6 hushpuppies to the oil at a time). NOTE: They can be held in a 200° F oven until serving time (approximately 30 minutes). Serve hot.
Makes 2 dozen hushpuppies.
( 3 ) Creole Jambalaya
Here's the main dish: Jambalaya! Jambalaya originated in the Caribbean islands. A mix of Spanish, Native and African cultures all had a part in the creation of this dish as we know it. It is said that the creation of Jambalaya was based on a Spanish dish called Paella. Since Paella calls for Saffron, and early settlers lacked such a commodity, they replaced saffron with tomatoes. The first Jambalaya recipe was printed in 1837 in New Orleans. The name is supposed to have derived from the The Atakapa tribe of the region with an original word sound of "Sham, pal ha! Ya!" which means "Be full, not skinny! Eat up!"
I found this lovely scanned image of an original creole jambalaya recipe below...
(4) Sweet Potato Pie
This southern dessert recipe owes its origins to African culture. Yams were a popular produce (and still are!) in Africa. It is said Africans brought over in the slave trade introduced white settlers to the sweet potato and eventually it transformed into a pie, similar to a pumpkin pie. Many recipes were handed down from generation to generation, so there are plenty of variations. Add whipped cream for an even sweeter and festive look. The recipe below includes orange peel, but you can do without the orange if you wish.
Step 1:Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Clean and rinse sweet potatoes. Place into deep cooking pot and boil until tender. Drain and remove skin. OR you could bake potatoes in oven until fork tender.
Step 2:Place mashed potatoes in large mixing bowl. Add eggs and butter. Blend for 2 minutes with electric mixer. Add granulated sugar, brown sugar, and milk. Continue beating then add cinnamon, nutmeg, orange peel, and vanilla. Blend well.
Step 3:Prick bottom and sides of thawed crust with fork; sprinkle lightly with 1 teaspoon sugar. Place pie crust in over for 5 minutes or until crust rises or is lightly browned, let cool.
Step4:Pour pie mixture into pie crust and bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until done. Cool for 30 minutes, then refrigerate.
Yield: 12 to 14 servings for 2 pies.
I was recently at the Family Video store with my boyfriend. We were looking for a good movie to watch. As always, I had to scour the racks of "bargain" movies in which consisted of mostly Shark Night, Jonah Hex and something with badly animated talking animals. However, one DVD caught my eye: a lonely copy of Coco Chanel. I won't be writing a review of the movie as I believe everyone has different tastes. However, I will say I did enjoy it (though it was much longer than expected).
The thing that sparked my interest the most was the story of how Chanel began--in the early 20th century right around the era of the 1920s. She was a forerunner in modern womens fashion in a time when the women enjoyed little freedom in the world-- in society and in fashion.
The '20s was a time of great change in the world of womens fashion. After the first world war, women enjoyed a new sense of freedom previously not enjoyed. It was acceptable for the average American woman to enter the workforce and shed the restricting undergarments of the previous generation.
The silhouette of womens dress became straighter and less form fitting. Not only did WWI have an effect on fashions of the 1920s, but the womens rights movement had an effect as well. For the first time in centuries, women were allowed to wear more "boyish" clothing and hemlines that reached to their knees. Short hairstyles also became popular as they were easier to maintain and also created a better sense of equality in the workplace with male counterparts. Have a look at some lovely 1920s fashions courtesy of the lovely Etsy sellers below.
Also, if you're interested in checking out some real movies from the 1920's, here is a selection of well-liked picks:
-The Merry Widow (1925)
If you are from Minnesota, then you have probably heard of the Glensheen Mansion! Located in Duluth, MN, this historic estate was built in 1905 with a mix of Arts & Crafts, Victorian and Art Nouveau styles. The entire estate contains period furniture, decor and art that has remained in the house for over a century. The 22-acre estate overlooks the beautiful Lake Superior in northern Minnesota. It contains 39 rooms, electricity, carriage house, gardener's cottage and even a greenhouse where produce could be grown for the family meals.
The University of Minnesota Duluth now owns the estate, but the original builder was a lawyer and capitalist from New York named Chester Congdon. Upon Chester's death, his youngest daughter named Elisabeth Congdon inherited the estate. She never married, but did adopt a young girl whom she named Marjorie Congdon.
Marjorie was said to have a host of psychiatric issues and was thought to have aided in the murder of her mother in 1977. Aside from this tragedy, the mansion is open for events, weddings and tours focusing on the lifestyle of the times and the beautiful worksmanship of the house. To this day, the gardens and interior of the mansion are maintained in period style.
Tickets to tour the mansion cost $15 for the standard tour and $26 for the extended tour. The extended tour includes an extra half hour and you are shown the third floor (where the murder of Elisabeth Congdon occured) and the attic.
To view more information and purchase advanced tickets, go to the UMN Glensheen Mansion website.
Okay, I'd probably kill for those delicious late 1930s glass shoes to the right. Who came up with that brilliant clear glass heel?
Steven Arpad who designed this shoe as a prototype design. His use of buttons up the front is a definite sign of the Victorian fashion revival of the times.
Check out the awesome 1930s shoe design collection at the Metropolitan Museum of Art!
Please feel free to comment on which ones you like best!
The grand opening for Bonfire Vintage is set for Friday, June 8th, 2012! Make sure to get online and check out our huge sale full of vintage dresses, suit jackets, shoes, vintage jewelry, and retro decor. Sign up for our e-mail newsletter to receive an exclusive member coupon.