When I was in elementary and middle school, I was obsessed with Halloween. I lived in a neighborhood where all the families carved pumpkins, decorated their front porches and hand selected the candy they'd dole out with pride.
My parents indulged my excitement by allowing me to be in charge of transforming our house into a spooky stop on the trick or treating route. I used to cover the railing of our porch with cobwebs, line the steps with pumpkins (big and small) and my favorite - replace our regular doormat with one that screamed when you stepped on it. I still laugh every time I thought about how many people we startled with that mat!
But my favorite of all of our Halloween traditions was our annual black and orange dinner. Each year, the hour before we left the house to ring doorbells, we sat around the dining room table in our costumes, feasting on food that had to meet one piece of criteria - the color of the dish had to be orange or black.
My dad is an amazing cook and we'd have a blast brainstorming what food we could make for this festive occasion. Kraft macaroni and cheese was always a crowd pleaser and the grownups appreciated the years my dad made black bean soup. Over time we got more inventive and now, as an adult, I find this recipe challenge even more fun!
Every year I scour the internet for new ideas for the black and orange dinner. Here are my best discoveries for 2017.
No celebration is complete without a signature cocktail. Cheers to Hallow's Eve with this orange cinnamon whisky smash from My Food Story.
Who doesn't love deviled eggs? They are the perfect appetizer while people are milling about before taking their seats. This pumpkin-inspired version is almost too cute to eat. Almost!
Continuing with the orange theme, how good do these sweet potato fritters look?
As I mentioned, my dad often made us black bean soup, but I like the idea of an orange soup - so unusual. Well Plated has a yummy recipe for roasted carrot soup.
When you think about black food dishes, squid ink pasta is likely one of the first to come to mind. As a vegetarian, I can't eat that, so I was excited to find a recipe for black linguine with kalamata olive pesto.
If you want to play up pumpkin at the dinner table, this alfredo dish had me drooling the second I saw it!
Moving onto dessert, this idea gets double points for being both orange and black at the same time. These are black tea ice pops from The Kitchn.
You know what's a delightful black food? Oreos. Whip up this no bake Oreo pie. You don't even have to turn on the oven!
Once you have your black and orange menu set, add some final touches to the tablescape like these spooky mason jars from Two Sisters Crafting. The googley eyes are just too good!
If you're excited by the idea of this Halloween-themed fete, check out my black and orange dinner Pinterest board, where I collect ideas all year long.
Does your family have any Halloween traditions?