We had an incredible weekend and it was great seeing all of our friends, most of whom we hadn't seen in 2 years. We also had a very full house with 10 people staying here, plus Rasteau of course. I thought the logistics would be quite complicated, but in the end everything went smoothly. Of course, don't ask Rasteau's opinion on that. He definitely did not enjoy having so much company and spent most of the weekend outside, afraid to enter the house to even eat, or cowering in our bedroom.
Most of our friends arrived on Friday by train, plane and car, but a few arrived Thursday night and pretty much everyone left on Sunday afternoon, except one person who had a flight very early Monday morning. Originally Friday night we had been thinking about going out to dinner in Bordeaux, but in the end everyone was worn out from travelling so we just ordered pizza, drank some wine and hung out at our house, chatting and catching up until the wee hours of the night. Saturday I spent the day in the kitchen (as well as part of Thursday night and Friday night) and Lionel took some people out to visit St. Emilion and to taste wine while another group drove out to Arcachon to see the ocean. About half our friends also had to make stops at the costume store near our house because they hadn't found costumes yet.
Saturday night came and everyone put their costumes on, we threw up the decorations (spiderwebs, candles, Halloween garlands, skeletons, spiders, etc), our friends who live in Bordeaux arrived, I brought out the spread and we partied and talked, listened to music, played Guitar Hero, did some karaoke and Lionel and our friend Alex played some music on the (real) guitar. The costumes were great and people put in a lot more effort than a few years ago. We had everything - a few witches, a devil (me), a lizard (Lionel), a sumo wrestler, a couple of 70's disco costumes, a soccer player, Fidel Castro, a flapper and a vampire. Not too bad for a bunch of Frenchies celebrating Halloween for only the second time in their lives.
Luckily all of the food I made was eaten and I only had one kitchen disaster (a recipe for black bean dip that I had made before in the US with no problems but this time it just didn't want to work...don't know if it was my food processor or what but I had to throw it out). In the end I ended up serving a bunch of American staple party foods...buffalo chicken dip colored green (a favorite of all our French friends and a constant request), guacamole, a face-shaped jalapeno-bacon cheese ball, knacki mummies (pigs in a blanket made to look like mummies), pumpkin cupcakes, pumpkin bread, jalapeno popper "witches fingers", spinach artichoke dip in a bread coffin with a "rotting corpse" inside and "bleeding" baked brie (I choose this recipe specifically thinking that French people would have no problem with it, but in the end everyone was very freaked out by the idea of eating brie baked in pastry with jam...until they tasted it and then it disappeared quite quickly). I also made a vodka based punch with 2 bottles of vodka which was unfortunately gone by midnight. Luckily we had plenty of other drink options as well. Though afterwards, while recovering on Sunday, I was thinking about all of the alcohol that had been consumed over the weekend, and I must admit I'm actually kind of embarrassed by the insane amount of alcohol that we drank in such a short amount of time...it's actually quite disgusting really. And lugging all of those empty bottles down to the glass recycling bin should be a lot of fun. So, without further ado, some photos of our Halloween party:
the entire group squeezing into our dining room for a group shot relatively early in the night
my punch...served in a cauldron full of frozen hands, eyeballs and skeleton parts...tasted great but from the recipe I thought it would be much more red
the beginnings of the spread, but this is only about half of the food I served
flayed face cheese ball...the picture just doesn't do it justice
vomiting pumpkins...I really should have taken a video when I was filling them with dips and they were "vomiting"
my friend Julie and I and some of our decorations in the background
enjoying the Halloween festivities
The party ended up being such a success again this year that I've already got requests for a repeat next year. I'm finally starting to convince the Frenchies that Halloween really is a great holiday. Of course, it doesn't take much to convince me, so I'm thinking I might just make this a yearly tradition!