Happy Halloween: Dinner Party Inspiration

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Halloween is around the corner. Its gross-out side has always seemed too low-brow, and it looks like most of you prefer a harvest celebration too. And yet that doesn't mean we have to miss out on Halloween fun. We saw that Emily of EmilyStyle is pondering a fun yet grownup Halloween dinner, and this sparked our imagination.

Here are our ideas for a grown-up yet playful Halloween dinner party...

• Decorate with the Pumpkin Placeholders above, $19.95 at Sur La Table, along with Parchment Paper Leaves or real autumn leaves. Add some drippy white candles for a pleasantly eerie glow, or some brown paper bags with votives, and some crazy fall gourds.

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Rest in Peas: A tongue-in-cheek dip to start off the evening, from Martha Stewart.

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Spiderweb Soup: Use yogurt or creme fraiche to draw spidery webs on our Spicy Sweet Potato and Carrot Soup. (Photo: Le Chat Gourmet)

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Squash Rolls: Try making miniature versions of these Squash Pull-apart Dinner Rolls. Small, bite-size rolls are just right with soup.

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Rare Tenderloin: This pork tenderloin looks delicious yet vaguely creepy - just right. We can't read the recipe, however, so we'll direct you to our Grilled Pork Tenderloin instead. Quickly sauté some green beans with soy sauce and oil for a side.

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Decomposed Salad: Icky name - let's substitute Deconstructed. Radicchio, squash, and pumpkin seeds, also from Martha Stewart. Also try our Warm Butternut Squash and Arugula Salad; add a few spicy toasted Pumpkin Seeds.

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Ooey Gooey Dessert: Molten Chocolate Cherry Cakes from Epicurious ooze and delight. Cherries are out of season; you can use frozen like the recipe calls for, or substitute a seasonal fruit like late plums or Cape gooseberries. Or skip dessert in favor of some very gooey and blue-veined cheeses. See our Cheesemonger Picks for suggestions.

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Blood Red Wine: What to drink? Red wine of course! Check out our Vino entries for some ideas.

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Chocolate Migniardise: Finish off the dinner with a tiny, perfect skull from Valerie Confections, via not martha for design*sponge.

Related Links
Spiced Apple Cider
Jack O Lantern Roundup
How to Cut a Pumpkin
Baby Pumpkins with Garlic Custard