Halloween preparation doesn't have to be scary, and if you start planning now, you'll be right on track for the holiday. From pumpkin carving to black and orange food, here are some ideas to inspire your creativity.
Pumpkin Carving Made Easy
Now is the time to pick out a pumpkin (or a few) for a fun-filled carving session. If you can't get to a pumpkin patch, you can easily find them at your local supermarket. When it comes to your carving tools, however, think about stepping things up. Instead of buying cheap carving sets, invest in a small, handheld power tool, which can be paired with various attachments.
By using them to quickly drill through your pumpkin or buff away the skin, they will allow you to take your designs to the next level. The tools are relatively inexpensive; will save you time; and can be used for other projects throughout the year.
When you're finished with your jack-o-lantern, take some measures to preserve it for as long as possible. To prevent mold and rot, make a homemade spray from 1 tablespoon of bleach and 1 quart of water. Spray it inside and out and let it dry. You can also try a preserving solution, which can help extend your pumpkin's life.
Tasty Halloween Party Dishes
If you're having a Halloween party, elevate your event by offering a menu of black and orange dishes. A warming butternut squash soup or crispy sweet potato fries will undoubtedly please a crowd, while steamed mussels will add to the color theme in a natural way. You also can try a black bean soup with cheddar on top, or serve blackened salmon filets. If you're looking for an upscale hors d'oeuvre, try making sweet potato latkes topped with lox or caviar and creme fraiche.
Of course, when it comes to Halloween, dessert is where you can let your imagination run wild. Chocolate mousse topped with cookie "dirt" and gummy worms will be a hit among adults and kids, but you also can't go wrong with pumpkin ice cream sandwiches made with dark chocolate cookies.
No matter what you do, have fun with it. There are so many ways to get into the spirit this Halloween, and with a little planning and creativity your holiday event will be one to remember.
TELL US: How are you preparing for the holiday? Share any useful pumpkin carving tips and great party dishes in the comments section below.
This article is part of Mix It Up, an editorial series created in collaboration with AOL's Kitchen Daily and Huffington Post. It is dedicated to making the lives of mothers easier through articles, videos and slideshows focused on simple and creative solutions to everyday challenges. From healthy recipes to exciting ideas for a more balanced lifestyle, this section aims to become a resource for moms everywhere.