“Halloween is one of those occasions when it is easy to fill the air with keen enjoyment. Doing things in witchcraft fashion inevitably robs us of our self-consciousness and so strikes the keynote of open-hearted friendliness.”
So says this odd little article from the October 1931 issue of Ladies’ Home Journal, simply titled “Menus for October.” There are also menus for Columbus Day and everyday October dishes, but what I’ll be focusing on is the Halloween Menu. To me personally, nothing sounds particularly good and some of the ideas here sound completely off, but I will present them here now and let you decide.
The rather unappealing decoration to the left is the “Witches’ Caldron Centerpiece.” From the picture, it really doesn’t look like much of anything to me, but according to the instructions in the article here is how you can create it:
“Arrange a small iron kettle gypsy fashion in the center of the table, allowing it to rest on a group of twigs. In the kettle arrange sprays of Chinese lantern plant on which are perched small paper owls, black cats, witches and demons.” Simple enough! So this is how the table was decorated for October 31.
Next, here is the complete menu the article suggests:
Halloween Party Spread:
Feline Fudge Cake
Black Cat Cookies
Doughnuts on a String
Mixed Salted Nuts
At the end of this blog post you can click on the little scans to see the entire article, complete with all of these and other recipes. But for now, I’ve chosen a couple to present to you.
The Jack-o’-Lantern Salad actually does sound like a cute, old-fashioned idea, and it’s simple enough. The recipe is as follows:
Hollow red apples or oranges, cut jack-o-lantern faces in the surface, and place bits of pimiento, green pepper, or cherry in the openings. Fill the lanterns with a nice fruit salad and top with a whipped-cream or mayonnaise salad dressing made stiff enough to stand like a cap on the fruits.
For today’s tastes I would suggest the whipped cream instead of the mayo (mayonnaise seemed to be in almost every vintage salad recipe I find, however!)
The Feline Fudge Cake also sounds okay if a bit plain, but you will have to find orange icing (or perhaps combine the right amounts of red and yellow food coloring?) and also have a bit of artistic skill in order to draw the cat:
Make a loaf chocolate cake, using any good recipe which will make a dark cake. In the batter place a piece of money, a thimble and a ring. When the cake is cool, ice all over with a thick orange icing, tinting it with vegetable coloring if not deep enough. Make an outline on top of the cake of a cat standing on a fence, then fill it in with chocolate icing and use green glass beads to make the cat’s eyes. Small black cats from the stationery store attached to the side of the cake make it still more striking.
So all in all, I’m not too impressed with the overall Halloween menu idea, but still there are bits here and there you can draw from if you are in the mood to plan a vintage-style party. For games, you can go the route of the “doughnuts on a string” presented here, where the guests have to eat the doughnut from the hanging string without using their hands. Also, the “Sandwich Imps” (recipe in the scanned articles) can be made by guests and then a judge can determine whose sandwich looks the best, scariest, or whatever criteria you choose.
For decorations, I found a few nice vintage decorated Halloween plates that would work to put under the cake, or the sandwiches, perhaps:
modern vintage halloween pumpkin and crow dinner plate by GIFTSBYHEATHERMYERS
Find another Zazzle Plate
And as promised, here are the scans you can click on to read the entire article.