Baking and decorating Christmas cookies has been a family tradition ever since I can remember. Everyone loves to decorate those sugar cookies that are shaped into stars, wreaths, snowmen, trees, angels, and bells. That’s why a Christmas Cookie Decorating Party is a great addition to your holiday plans.
You can invite friends and family to your Christmas Cookie Decorating Party or just have a party with your kids. At our house we keep it pretty simple, there’s more than enough of us to have a party, but we usually invite some of the neighborhood kids to join in the fun.
One thing we do is to make sure our cookies are egg, nut, and dairy free because my grandson Jett is allergic to all those things. I use a very simple allergen free Vegan Sugar Cookie recipe that’s so good everyone loves them. That way I don’t have to make vegan and non-vegan cookies for our Christmas Cookie Decorating Party. Believe me at this time of year time is very valuable! And baking just the vegan sugar cookies cuts my baking time in half!
Here are some tips to help you plan your Christmas Cookie Decorating Party, and my recipe for Vegan Sugar Cookies!
Bake your cookies ahead of time, you can even make them weeks before and freeze them. Just thaw them out to room temperature before your Christmas Cookie Decorating Party.
Schedule your party between meals; after lunch and before dinner. 3:00 pm is my usual time.
Set a time limit, you don’t need to have this party go on for hours; kids get bored and so do adults. 2 hours max is my ideal time frame.
Set out your frostings and decorations before guests arrive. It’s a good idea to place sprinkles and other small decorations in small bowls or even a muffin pan. The muffin pan compartments keep the decorations separated.
Place your frostings in frosting bags with tips for easy access. Keep them in a bowl tip down to avoid a mess. Or you can buy bottles of icing from the baking section at Walmart or other grocery stores, much easier and less messy!
Have everyone decorate their cookies on a paper plate, avoids big messes and cookies can easily be transported home if needed.
Vegan Sugar Cookies
1 Cup Earth Balance Vegan Butter or Shed’s Spread, softened
1 Cup Shortening
3 Cups Sugar
4 Tbs ground flaxseed softened in 3/4 cup water – place ground flaxseed in water and let it absorb the water until viscous
6 Tbs coconut milk (you can use soy milk if you prefer)
2 Tsp Vanilla
6 Cups All Purpose Flour
1 Tsp Baking Soda
1/2 Tsp Salt
Frostings & decorations
In a large mixing bowl using your dough hook cream together vegan butter, shortening and sugar until light and fluffy.
Beat in flaxseed mixture, coconut milk, and vanilla.
In a separate bowl mix together dry ingredients.
Gradually beat into vegan butter mixture.
Divide dough into 4 portions and shape each portion into disks.
Wrap each disk in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
Pre-heat oven to 400°
Working with 1 disk at a time unwrap dough and smooth plastic wrap on countertop – you will roll on the wrap to avoid adding flour which makes the dough dry.
Roll dough into 1/8″ thickness.
Cut with cookie cutters into shapes you want.
Place 1″ apart on baking sheet covered with silicone baking mat.
Bake 5-7 minutes or until edges are lightly browned.
Remove from oven and place on cooling racks to cool completely.
At this point you can place cookies in freezer safe containers, be sure they’re sealed tight, and freeze. Or you can decorate them.
The holidays are always fun for kids and adults of all ages. There are so many fun activities to do! One of the things our family loves to do during the holiday season is to make gingerbread houses. We never seem to be satisfied with just one!
Gingerbread house and cookie decorating is also a great holiday party activity, both kids and adults love it! So if you have a birthday child in the month of December, a family or company holiday party, or just want an excuse to throw a party, why not throw a Gingerbread House & Cookie Decorating Party!
It’s easy and budget friendly. The best part is the guests make their own party favors! Here are some tips for planning and hosting your Gingerbread House Making Party.
1. Keep your guest list on the small side, preferably have only as many guests as you can seat on your dining table. If you’re hosting a larger party you will have to set up tables for guests to use.
2. Set up your tables with pre-made gingerbread houses for kids’ parties. You can use graham crackers, pretzels, or home made gingerbread to make the houses. For recipes and instructions on how to make gingerbread houses and icing click here
. Be sure all the houses are the same, you want to avoid bickering. Set the houses on cake boards, aluminum pans, or foil wrapped cardboard to make it easier for guests to take home.
If you’re hosting adults you can lay out pre-made gingerbread parts, or boxes of graham crackers or pretzels, and icing for guests to build their own house. Alternatively you can provide a store bought kit for each guest. Provide a base for each house.
3. Set out all the decorations: Candies, cookies, cones, etc. Keep them neat and organized in several muffin tins or you can give each child their own set of decorations by putting them in paper cupcake cups.
4. Place cards are a nice touch and avoids seating arguments. Here’s a cute idea from Gimme Some Oven using gumdrops as place card holders. It’s simple and very budget friendly, just print each guest’s name on the cards.
5. Before you begin the activity it’s a good idea to serve a healthy meal or snack. This is crucial for kids’ parties, you know that many of the candies will end up in their tummies and not on the gingerbread house. To avoid sore tummies and a major sugar rush be sure kids eat something first. Finger sandwiches, veggies with dip, and even hot soups would make a hearty meal or snack on a cold winter day.
6. You may want to have a contest and guests can judge each other’s creations and award prizes for different categories: Prettiest, Most Creative, Most Original, etc. You can make ribbons to pin on the winning houses. This may be too competitive for younger kids unless each child gets a ribbon.
7. Setting up a beverage bar would be a nice touch. A hot cocoa bar for kids or a coffee or tea bar for adults. Whichever you decide keep it simple, remember the main event is the Gingerbread House!
I a family member or guest has egg, nut and dairy allergies you can easily bake Vegan Gingerbread Cookies. I make a large batch of Vegan Gingerbread Cookies for my grandson Jett, but everyone in the family loves them. If you don’t tell anyone they’re vegan no one will ever know! Yes they’re take yummy! Best of all you don’t have to bake 2 different types of cookies nor do you have to separate the non-vegan ones from the vegan ones. So much easier and less confusing!
Here’s my recipe for Vegan Gingerbread Cookies
1/2 Cup Earth Balance Vegan Butter or Shed’s Spread, softened
3/4 Cup Packed Dark Brown Sugar
1/3 Cup Molasses
1 Tbs Ground Flaxseed dissolved in 3 Tbs water (let flaxseed absorb water until it’s viscous – this is your egg substitutes)
2 2/3 Cups All Purpose Flour
1/2 Tsp Salt
1 Tsp Cinnamon
1/2 Tsp Ground Nutmeg
1/2 Tsp Ground Allspice
Frostings, sprinkles, Royal Icing (if making parts for gingerbread house, royal icing is your “glue”)
Using the dough of your mixer cream Vegan Butter and brown sugar until fluffy.
Beat in molasses and flaxseed mixture
In a separate bowl mix together all dry ingredients
Gradually beat dry mixture into vegan butter mixture until it forms dough
Divide dough in half and shape each half into a disk
Wrap each disk in plastic wrap and refrigerate about 30 minutes
Pre-heat oven to 350°
Remove one disk from fridge and smooth out plastic wrap – you will roll dough on the wrap to avoid using flour which makes dough to dry
Roll dough to 1/8″ thickness and use cookie cutters to cut out shapes you want. If using cookies for a gingerbread house cut 4 equal sized rectangles for the walls and 2 equal sized rectangles a bit smaller than the first four for the roof.
I used gingerbread men and women cutters as well as a train cutter. But you can use whatever you want.
Place cookies on cookie sheet covered with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper.
Bake 8-10 minutes or until edges are firm
Remove to cooking racks and cool completely
Frost and decorate as you want
Halloween is a time for kids, costumes, candies, and fun. But who says it’s just for kids? Halloween is loved by the big kids too! Adults love to dress up and act silly too! And we certainly enjoy the treats too! My favorites are those bite sized chocolate bars, specially Snickers! But if that spooky caldron of Halloween Hawaiian Punch doesn’t quite do it for you, or you’re looking for something a bit boozy here are some fun Halloween Cocktails for you!
So get out your shakers and blenders and break out the booze to mix up some of these fiendishly yummy Halloween Cocktails! They’ll be a spooktacular addition to your Adult Halloween Party. Or you can whip some up and snuggle up with your partner once the kids are tucked in after a long night of trick or treating! However you decide to imbibe please do so responsibly and don’t drink and drive!
The Flavor Bender’s Witches Heart Halloween Cocktail looks ghoulishly lovely![spacer height=”20px” id=”2″]
Walking Dead fans will swoon over this Walker Blood Sangria from Cravings of a Lunatic. [spacer height=”20px” id=”2″]
The Black Beard Cocktail from Honestly Yum will surely chill your bones. It looks pretty terrifying but don’t be daunted! It’s a sweet cocktail made with spiced rum and chocolate stout. [spacer height=”20px” id=”2″]
Whip up Tammilee’s (from Tammilee’s Tips) Candy Corn Cocktail. It uses whipped cream vodka, yum![spacer height=”20px” id=”2″]
Smarty Had a Party mixes up this creamy concoction called Liquified Ghost. [spacer height=”20px” id=”2″]
This Witch’s Brew by Self Proclaimed Foodie is bewitchingly simple and tasty. [spacer
height=”20px” id=”2″] The Tipsy Bartender’s Soul Reaper Cocktail is scary delish and packs quite a punch! [spacer height=”20px” id=”2″]
For Rent’s Green Potion Halloween Cocktail is simple to mix.
Our family loves Halloween. We have so much fun decorating, making costumes, and best of all throwing a Halloween Party for friends and family.
When Halloween falls on a weekend, like it does this year, it’s extra fun. We like to host a Halloween party in the afternoon then take everyone out to trick or treat when the sun goes down, with a quick costume change of course. (When Halloween falls on a weekday we usually throw the party the weekend before)
Here are some ideas to inspire you to throw your own Halloween Party. Your little goblins and ghouls will love it!
Halloween Punch is always a party favorite, specially when it comes out of a bubbling fog covered bowl.
We use green colored Hawaiian punch “spiked” with Sprite and place the punch bowl in a cauldron with dry ice.
Never put the dry ice directly into the punch bowl, and never handle dry ice with bare hands.
Here’s a Video from Chow Tips on how to safely use dry ice in your Halloween Punch
Serve ghoulish foods and place them in fun bowls. We have a battery operated treat bowl with a skeleton hand that grabs guests when they reach for a treat. I got it several years ago from Walmart.
These cute Frankenstein Marshmallow Pops are always a big hit.
Click here to learn how to make them.
Pumpkin Sandwich Cookies are easy to make with refrigerated Pillsbury Cookie dough and canned frosting.
Click here to learn how!
For healthier non-candy treats check out the ideas on Listotic.
Utilize “scary” ingredients from your pantry and fridge to create simple ghoulish treats.
Olives make great “spiders”, use them to top pizzas, deviled eggs, and more.
Kitchen Fun with My 3 Sons
Grapes make great “caterpillars” when skewered on wooden sticks and great “eye balls” in a fruit salad.
Don’t forget to freeze plastic spiders and eye balls in ice trays for some Halloween drinks!
Decorate inside and out! You can do it inexpensively with Dollar Store finds.
Click here for decorating ideas using Dollar Store Finds!
Glow sticks make cool Halloween Decor, or decor for any other event too!
Click here for glow stick decorating ideas!
No party is complete without games, and Halloween Parties are no exception.
Bobbing for apples is always a hit and so is the sensory game involving touching foods and naming the “body part”.
Click here for game ideas!
We like to wind things down either before or after trick or treating by reading the kids a Halloween book or watching a not too scary Halloween Movie.
Click here for a list of Halloween reads!
Click here for some not so scary Halloween movies!
Halloween is lots of fun. I’ve mentioned many times that it’s my second most favorite holiday, second only to Christmas. I love the décor, the costumes, trick or treaters, treats, and most of all the parties. I’ve been planning and hosting Halloween parties since my kids were young, now we host them for the grandkids and their buddies. But Halloween parties aren’t just for kids, adults love them too!
Throwing an adult Halloween party is pretty much like throwing a kids’ Halloween party, but with a bit more. When throwing kids Halloween parties you to keep decorations less scary, the food simpler, the games and activities geared for the appropriate age groups, and of course the drinks all non-alcoholic. Adult Halloween parties can be spookier and more sophisticated. You can go to town with the décor; you can go for gory themes à la Texas Chainsaw Massacre, a subtler vintage theme like the Haunted Mansion, or a more sophisticated theme like maybe channeling trendy designers like Kate Spate and decorate with black and white stripes and polka dots. Really the possibilities are endless.
Adult Halloween parties also require food that’s a bit heartier and more sophisticated than mummy pizzas. You can spread out a dinner buffet or for small parties host a spooky sit down dinner. And of course you can serve booze!
As for party activities you have lots to choose from, including some drinking games! Or if you prefer you can watch scarier movies that you wouldn’t want the kids to watch.
Here are some ideas to help you plan your Adult Halloween Party this year!
Vintage Halloween décor from Wedding Paper Divas
You can order cool Halloween invites from them too! Click here! (affiliate link)[spacer height=”20px” id=”2″]
Here’s a spooky idea from the Krazy Coupon Lady. Glowing patio stairs!
Click here to learn how!
She’s got lots of ideas for decorating with glow sticks too![spacer height=”20px” id=”2″]
Bubble, bubble toil and trouble! I love this spooky cauldron from Home and Style![spacer height=”20px” id=”2″]
I love this classy dessert table by Smash Cake Southern California!
Sophisticated and spooky!
Floating candles are cool, specially for Harry Potter fans! Your theme can even be Harry Potter.
Learn how to do this and get more Harry Potter ideas from Eating Bender! Click here![spacer height=”20px” id=”2″]
Chic and sophisticated, I love this spooky stripe setting by Elle Decor! It brings the trendy look of Kate Spade to mind.
Jello shots, literally”brain” dip! Learn how from the Stylista!
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For drinking games with a Halloween twist check out Celebration’s ideas here!
This is the Halloween version of classic beer pong![spacer height=”20px” id=”2″]
And don’t forget the booze. Click here for some spooktacular cocktail recipes from around the web![spacer height=”20px” id=”2″]
Photo by Savvy Nana
Halloween is on Friday. It’s not to late to throw a Halloween party. When my kids were young we used to throw a pre-trick-or-treat party, it was lots of fun!
Consider inviting friends over for pot luck, it makes it easier to feed excited kids. And making one dish to share is easier than preparing the whole dinner yourself.
A few games before hitting the streets gets the evening off to a good start. Then wind things down after trick-or-treating by sharing a good Halloween book or watching a scary movie.
Here are a few ideas to jump start your party.
A spooky twist on pigs-in-blankets. These Mummy Dogs from Raining Hot Coupons are easy to make and will surly be a hit.[spacer height=”-100px” id=”8″]
Jack-o-Lantern Sandwiches from Delish.com are really just layers of ham and cheese baked in ready made pie crust. If you prefer you can use slicked turkey or other cold cuts instead of the ham.
Halloween twist on deviled eggs by Delicious as it Looks.
This spider web dip is a spooky variation of party favorite 7 Layer Dip from Momtastic.com.
Had to throw these adorable Frankenstein Marshmallow Pops from Just a Taste! They are too cute!
This Pumpkin Fudge Eclair Cake from Inside Bru Crew Life looks super yummy!
Click here for recipe.
Witches brew is always a hit at our parties. Any punch will do, it’s the fog that makes this spooky fun.
DIY Dry Ice click here.
How to use dry ice in drinks safely click here.
For more Halloween dinner recipes click here!
For Homemade Halloween treat recipes click here!
A fall party staple is bobbing for apples, if you don’t want to get wet try tying donuts on strings and let the players chomp away.
Instead of pinning the tail on the donkey dis-assemble a jointed skeleton cut out and have the kids re-assembling it blind folded.
Instead of a pinata try this Pop Goes the Pumpkin from MarthaStewart.com. The Pumpkin makes a cute decoration and the kids will love popping the balloons to find their surprise.
For some ghoulishly good fun have blind folded kids guess which body part they are touching.
Simply place assorted food in containers and have the blind folded child stick her hand in each container to feel around, she must guess the body part that is in each container.
Use peeled grapes for “eyes”, cold cooked spaghetti for “hair”, etc.
When the fun and food are over gather your ghosts and goblins to trick-or-treat in the neighborhood. By the end of the evening you will most likely have a group of over tired kids, wind them down with a quiet activity such as reading a Halloween book or watching a Halloween movie.