With the influx of ‘trick or treating’ and costumes from the USA, and shops full of children’s themed chocolate and plastic spiders, it’s easy to forget that Hallowe’en started off as a powerful pagan ritual.
The Celts used ‘All Hallows Eve’ to mark the end of the harvest and the beginning of winter, and believed that this was the day the wall between this world and the next was at its thinnest, so ghosts and apparitions could sometimes be seen.
This year, why not mark Hallowe’en with an elegant dinner party with seasonal food – and not a plastic witch’s nose in sight?
What to eat
If you decide it’s not Hallowe’en without pumpkins, try a warm winter vegetable salad made with roasted peppers, chunks of roasted pumpkin, goat’s cheese and rocket leaves. Alternatively, spiced pumpkin soup (served in the hollowed out pumpkin shell); sausage and pumpkin stew or potato, rosemary and roast pumpkin mash as a side dish are all filling and seasonal. Pumpkin pie is a popular pudding, but look for a UK recipe as the US ones tend to be very sweet.
If pumpkins aren’t on the menu, other seasonal foods include apples, which work well in both sweet recipes like crumble and tarts, and savoury dishes like pork and apple casserole. Game including grouse, partridge and pheasant is also in season, so a hearty game pie could take centre stage. For a gourmet meal, wild duck, wild mushrooms and truffles are also available at this time of year.
Create an atmosphere
Our selection of candlesticks and holders will help you create an appropriately eerie atmosphere.
Metal tree candlestick, PUJI
This attractive metal candlestick is designed to hold four slim candles – use plain black or plain white for your Hallowe’en statement. When the occasion’s over, the tree design means the candlestick would look great in a conservatory or garden room as well as the dining room. £69, available from PUJI.
Kosta Boda still life skull votive, Swedish Art Glass
These skulls may be a little kitsch, but they’ll definitely be a talking point. Each little glass skull is made individually from thick, opaque glass to house a small tealight candle. Available from The Scandinavian Shop in a range of colours, £26.50 each.
Curve candlestick, Superliving
This Curve candlestick is made from hand-turned wood and painted in high gloss varnish, making it look almost like ceramic with a similarly hard-wearing finish. It’s the perfect accessory for the well-dressed Hallowe’en dinner table. Available in a range of colours and made by Danish company Superliving, it costs £24 from Quince Living.
Dress your table
Give your table a Hallowe’en makeover, with these stunning dining accessories.
Deco dinnerware, Biba
This Deco dinnerware porcelain collection features a 1920s inspired pattern in metallic gold. Available from House of Fraser, it’s currently half price in the sale. Sale prices start from £5, and there’s also a matching range of glassware.
Black champagne glasses, Artland
What better to toast the midnight hour than these black champagne glasses by Artland? Hand blown in coloured black glass, the colour will never fade or come off when washed, even though the glasses are dishwasher safe. Available as a single glass at £5.90, or a set of four for £22 from Red Candy.
TUVA bowl, Serholt
This unusual and delicate metal bowl would make a lovely centrepiece for a Hallowe’en table. Fill with blood oranges or tangerines for maximum effect. Designed by Serholt, Sweden, it costs £40 from Jasmine Way