Posts tagged halloween
A Pumpkin Patch Party + easy dessert bar ideas

Years ago I hosted a pumpkin patch party at my in-law’s farm house. Everyone had tiny babies and they rolled around in the pumpkin patch and ate cookies. It was so darling. When I was looking back on some old photos I decided these were too darling not to share. Especially that little face of Lars?! Are you kidding me?

This party is also timeless. These babies can be tiny and eating sugar cookies or ten years old and let them carve pumpkins on their own. You can host this anytime and all of the kids will love it. Serve some spiked punch and the adults will love it too.

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5 tips for a dessert bar

  1. Create a backdrop. It makes everything look more professional & like you planned it. I used an old Pendelton blanket (I have a collection) but you can use almost anything.

  2. Make your favorite desserts that you have tried a million times and you know they work.

  3. Fill in with store bought favorites. I adore Trophy Cupcakes and can’t think of a reason why I’d make my own when Trophy is done and delicious.

  4. Napkins! Plenty of napkins.

  5. Have something that’s “non-dessert” like a bowl of apples or cheese sticks or something that can take down the sugar high.

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Weeknight Family Halloween Party + your new favorite chili recipe
Ali Hedin | Family Halloween

When I was a kid Halloween was the best time of the year. We lived in a neighborhood that had very few children, but lots of adults who were happy to buy loads of candy. We scored. Every year my dad and the dad next door would take all of us out around the neighborhood. Living in Seattle meant that there were many years where it rained. When that happened, we all piled in the back of my dad’s Ford Explorer with the hatch open (it was the 90’s after all) and he’d drive us from house to house.

Halloween smelled like rain and leaves and whiskey (as a kid I didn't recognize the smell, but as an adult I’ve figured out what was in those flasks.)

Ali Hedin | Family Halloween

As a kid, Halloween is full of magic and fun. The years between being a kid and having a kid are a little more ambiguous. There were parties and fancy dinners but the magic just wasn’t the same. If you’re lucky enough to have little ones around this Halloween, take advantage of it. Host a party, make a big batch of chili and revel in the magic and fun of youth.

Ali Hedin | Family Halloween
Transform styrofoam balls with hot glue and candy corn. These last for years.

Transform styrofoam balls with hot glue and candy corn. These last for years.

Ali Hedin | Family Halloween


serve 8


In a small bowl blend together cornmeal, sugar, cumin, salt, pepper, and chili powder.  In a warm pan cook spice blend with two tablespoons olive oil until aromatic (just a minute or two).  


Add onions and butter to pan and cook over medium heat until translucent. Add sausage and stew meat and cook, turning often, until browned. 



When sausage is completely cooked and stew meat cubes are browned on all sides, pour in 1 cup beef broth to deglaze the bottom of the pan.  Add the second cup if needed to retain some liquid in the pan.  


Pour in tomatoes, beer, beans, and bay leaf and bring to a boil stirring occasionally.  Reduce heat to low and simmer about 3 hours stirring occasionally to prevent sticking until stew meat is tender and flaky.



When ready to serve, break up stew meat chunks with a fork and season with salt and pepper if needed. Serve with cheese, sour cream, and fresh chopped onions.  

1 medium onion

3 cloves garlic

2 tablespoons butter

1-2 cups beef broth

1 pound sausage

2 pounds beef stew meat

2 bay leaves

12 ounces Pale Ale

1 - 8 oz. can garbanzo beans

1 - 8 oz. can kidney beans

1 - 8 oz. can pinto beans

2 - 9 oz cans tomato sauce

3 tablespoons cornmeal

1 tablespoon sugar

1 tablespoon cumin

¼ cup chili powder

½ tablespoon salt

½ tablespoon pepper

olive oil

Ali Hedin | Family Halloween

Here’s how to pull off the perfect Family Halloween Party

  1. Make a giant batch of chili. More people show up? No problem, add more beans & more stock.

  2. Make or buy loads of cookies and treats. Not totally for the kids - but for the parents to snack on so they don’t dig into their kids bags (yet).

  3. Cocktails! Set up a simple bar with gin, vodka, tonic, and soda water. A few bottles of red wine & beer will round out the bar.

  4. Weeknight Family Halloween parties tend to wrap up around 8pm. Let friends know ahead of time that you’re putting your kids to bed at a certain time.

Ali Hedin | Halloween Party

1./ 2./ 3./ 4./ 5./ 6./ 7./ 8./ 9.

Ali Hedin | Family Halloween
Ali Hedin | Family Halloween
Weeknight Halloween in 2 Easy Steps

Any reason at all to celebrate anything at all is a win in my book.  Halloween is right at the top of that list because it can be SO QUIRKY!  And quirky is the best way to celebrate anything.  I put together a quirky little Halloween that is so simple you can pull it off with almost no lead time.  Especially those rats!  Keep scrolling for a cocktail that does have to sit overnight (jell-o) but is ridiculously good (stick to one of those!) and a step-by-step of the rats that are really easy and really fun.

Ali Hedin | Weeknight Halloween

Here's why this is the coolest cocktail; the jell-o shot melts as it sits in the martini delivering, not only a 1-2 punch, but also a spooky 'bleeding' effect.  You can always skip the martini part and just serve jell-o shots (yum).  I make loads of jell-o shots so take my advice: 

1. Do not use cheap vodka.  You will notice.  Everyone will notice.  If the bottle is on the bottom shelf, then leave it there.  

2. Let sit overnight.  Do not rush these.  It won't set up as well and they get sloppy and weird.

3. Don't try to add more vodka.  There's plenty.  Remember this is still science and you need the right balance for these to set up. 

Ali Hedin | Weeknight Halloween
Ali Hedin | Weeknight Halloween
Ali Hedin | Weeknight Halloween

You know that when you've totally creeped out a three year old that you've done your job.  And when you can do it for about $5 at the dollar store - BAM!  You feel like a freaking genius.  The trick with these rats is to cut all the way through so the candle can touch the table.  When it does that, it gives it a more stable resting place than if it is attempting to balance somewhere inside the plastic rat.  

Ali Hedin | Weeknight Halloween
Ali Hedin | Weeknight Halloween
Ali Hedin | Weeknight Halloween

I hope you have a fabulous Halloween!  Let me know how you're celebrating and follow me on Instagram for all of the goods I'm serving up this year!

Weeknight Halloween :: Flaming Rats

My children were completely creeped out by these rats.  Once they realized they all hated them, it became a game to see who could be around it the longest.  I think Pearl won.  As candle holders, they are perfect for Halloween - and they literally could not be simpler.  Make your own and share them with #weeknightpartygirl.  I can't wait to see your Weeknight Halloween.

Weeknight Halloween {+ a video!}

It's time for Halloween and time for another video!  Halloween is a super fun time of the year for a little quirkiness and turning the ordinary fabulous!  I made a jello shot cocktail, a creepy crawly candleholder and all of it in no time at all.

Click through to watch the video and stay tuned all week for step by steps and recipes!

A Costume on Martha Stewart!

If you don't follow me on Instagram and Twitter then you missed my rabid excitement on Friday when my super simple sailor costume was featured on!  Head on over to and see how darling Judson is as a sailor.  {Hot Tip  :: You can make this costume in any size, like grown up size, and have a fabulous costume!}

And if you aren't following me on Instagram and Twitter, get on it!  Let's be friends!