For parents who want to ensure that children have a fun as well as safe Halloween this year but whose planning schedules are running a little behind, the progressive party may be the perfect solution for last-minute party planners. It takes the work out of party-giving since it moves from house to house in the neighborhood. Each person in the party is responsible for making one part of the refreshments and creating party games to be played before the goblins go on to the next house.
The use of the microwave and convenience foods like buttermilk baking mix makes refreshment planning easy. And the recipes suggested here can all be made and ready for the children in about one hour from items commonly found in the pantry. These recipes also offer some wholesome ingredients to help keep the sugar and fat contents within reason so you won't feel too guilty about offering packaged candy and gum as the guests arrive.
Spook Cider, one of the refreshment suggestions, can be found in "Better Homes and Gardens Kids' Party Cook Book" (Meredith: $5.95, illustrated), a delightful collection of party ideas complete with menus, snack and game suggestions.
Other ideas of the book that lend themselves well to progressive parties for Halloween include: Build-Your-Own Sundae, in which you supply the ingredients for topping scoops of vanilla ice cream, and Fill-Your-Pocket Pitas, an easy and fun sandwich idea that lets children open up their pocket bread and fill it full of edible coins, sticks and other goodies from a mix-and-match chart of a variety of foods.
Hauntingly Healthy Snack
At the first party stop, the children receive Ghostly Gorp, a hauntingly healthy snack of popped corn, coconut, sunflower seeds and raisins baked in a honey and butter glaze that is ideal for toting along between stops. To hasten cooling, spread the warm gorp out on a clean, dry surface. When cooled, make child-size bundles of gorp in plastic wrap, then use black- or orange-colored cellophane and ribbons to lend a festive look to the bundles. Nutty Nachos can be made in about 30 minutes and provide the ghouls with a healthful start on a night filled with gooey treats. Tortilla chips surround a casserole of ground beef, pork sausage and cheese in this calcium-rich appetizer.
At the next house on the block, partygoers will find Haunted Chicken and Enchanted Slaw awaiting them. Buttermilk baking mix provides a quick and easy coating for microwaved chicken parts. (You may want to offer drumsticks, which make handling easier for smaller children.) In about 20 minutes the chicken is ready to serve. A tasty coleslaw made especially for child-size tastes with pineapple and marshmallows is a perfect accompaniment.
Monstrous Muffins and Pumpkin Gems are cake-like dessert treats that have the wholesome goodness of fruits and vegetables like bananas and pumpkins. The children will enjoy snacking on the muffins as they wait their turn at the taffy pull. Be sure to have plenty of milk on hand.
Gruesome Granola Bars are a chewy microwave treat. Pass them out as the children arrive, then get guests involved in creating a mystery. First, gather everyone in a circle. Dim the lights, but keep the Jack-o'-lanterns lit, then start making up a mysterious tale. Before you finish it, turn to the child next to you and have him or her add on to the story until everyone has taken a turn.
Rounding out the fun is a caramel apple hunt in which you prepare caramel apples, wrap them in festive cellophane and ribbon, tie a small picture of a goblin on each apple, then hide the treats around the house. When all of the guests arrive, arrange them into groups by age and allow the children to hunt for goblin apples. When all the treats are found, send the children home or to the next house. GRUESOME GRANOLA BARS
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons honey
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups quick-cooking oats
1 1/4 cups crisp rice cereal
1 cup chopped almonds
1 cup semisweet chocolate pieces
1/2 cup wheat germ
Cream together sugars and 1/2 cup butter until fluffy. Add honey, vanilla and egg and mix well. Gradually blend in flour, cinnamon, baking powder and salt at low speed of electric mixer. Stir in oats, rice cereal, almonds, chocolate and wheat germ.
Grease 13x9-inch microwaveproof baking dish with 1 tablespoon butter and spread mixture in pan. Microwave on MEDIUM 7 to 9 minutes or until set, rotating dish half turn every 3 minutes during cooking. Bars will firm up as they stand. Cool and cut into bars. Makes 24 bars.
PER SERVING: 204 calories; 4 gm protein; 27 gm carbohydrate; 10 gm fat; 82 mg sodium; 144 mg potassium. USRDA Protein 06% Riboflavin 07% Vitamin A 04% Niacin 04% Vitamin C 00% Calcium 03% Thiamine 08% Iron 08% SPOOK CIDER
10 cups apple juice
1 (12-ounce) package frozen raspberries
5 inches stick cinnamon