Appetizer portions of classic New Orleans foods and easy-to-create Voodoo On The Bayou decor set the stage for a memorable, grownup Halloween party.

Halloween Party Voodoo On The Bayou

Our Voodoo on the Bayou themed Halloween party marries Cajun cuisine with a spooky Louisiana swamp setting and a few voodoo elements. The menu focuses on classic New Orleans dishes served up in appetizer-sized portions.

Voodoo-Themed Party Decor

  • Hanging Spanish moss, cattails, alligator head, owl and green mood lighting
  • Black cheesecloth table covers and draping
  • Vintage plantation shutter and window with “eyes” peering in
  • Dripping wax candles in wine bottles
  • Skull bamboo picks
  • Moss-covered skull with a voodoo-inspired top hat
  • Bird cage filled with Spanish moss and skeleton hand
Halloween Party for Grownups Voodoo On The Bayou

The Swamp

To create the swamp scene, we made use of critters you'd find in the bayou (an owl and a gator head), along with cattails and Spanish moss – all bathed in green light to set the mood.

The table was draped in black cheesecloth and had a backdrop of a vintage, weathered plantation shutter and window. To create the eerie eyes peeking in, we used orange string lights poked through black foam board and set the board behind the window.

For the candles, we recycled empty wine bottles (with the labels removed) and added white taper candles. We wanted a spooky effect, so we used inexpensive candles (not the dripless kind) and burned them for a while in front of a fan, which helped the wax to drip as it melted.

A Little About Voodoo

The moss-covered skull was purchased as-is from a party store, but we added a top hat that we decorated to resemble Baron Samedi, one of the Loa (spirits) of Haitian Voodoo. He is often depicted with a top hat (even as the character of the same name in the James Bond film Live and Let Die), and he is a Loa of the dead, so we incorporated a skull and skeleton motif. Baron Samedi has been considered one of the patron loa of New Orleans.

We purchased a black top hat and used a hot glue gun to add skull beads, peacock feathers and pheasant feathers. We used the leftover skull beads on bamboo party picks to garnish the cocktails!

Halloween Party Voodoo On The Bayou

The Food: Our Cajun-Inspired Menu For 12

The menu includes a Southern twist on the Bloody Mary, mini versions of po' boys and muffaletta, Cajun-spiced spinach dip, flavorful gumbo and brandy milk punch garnished with glazed doughnut holes.

Halloween Party Menu Gumbo and Bloody Marys

Cajun Bloody "Maries" with Pickled Okra

Yield: 12 (2 oz) servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 3 cups tomato juice
  • 1 cup vodka
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons juice from pickled okra (or pickles)
  • 1 tablespoon horseradish (or more to taste)
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce (or more to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon Tabasco (more or less to taste)
  • Small jar of pickled okra (or baby dill pickles)
  • Cajun seasoning for rimming or garnish (optional)

Instructions

  1. Combine the tomato juice, vodka, lemon juice, pickle juice, horseradish, Worcestershire, garlic powder, black pepper and Tabasco in a pitcher. Refrigerate until well chilled, at least 1 hour.
  2. Just before serving, dip the rims of the glasses in water, then roll in Cajun seasoning. Carefully fill each glass and garnish with a skewer of pickled okra.
Easy Shrimp and Bayou Andouille Gumbo

Easy Shrimp and Bayou Andouille Gumbo

Yield: 12 appetizer servings
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 40 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 links andouille sausage, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 1 cup onion, chopped
  • 1 cup green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 cup celery, chopped
  • 5 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 can (15-ounce) diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 pound okra, sliced
  • 1-1/2 pounds large shrimp, peeled, deveined, tails on
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Heat the oil over medium heat in a large, heavy soup pot or Dutch oven. Sprinkle in the flour and blend with a whisk until well combined. Continue cooking, whisking frequently, until the mixture develops a rich, brown color, about 15 minutes.
  2. Add the andouille, onion, green pepper and celery. Continue cooking, stirring frequently, until the onion is soft and translucent, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the chicken broth and diced tomatoes. Stir until smooth and well blended.
  3. Cover and cook over medium-low heat for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Increase the heat to medium, add the okra and cook until tender, about 10 minutes. Stir in the shrimp and continue cooking until pink and opaque, 4 to 5 minutes longer.
Halloween Party Mini Po Boys and Muffaletta Bites
Old Bay Shrimp Po' Boys with Spicy Rémoulade

Old Bay Shrimp Po' Boys with Spicy Rémoulade

Yield: 12 appetizer servings
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1-1/2 lbs large shrimp, peeled, deveined, tails removed
  • 5 tablespoons butter
  • 2 to 3 teaspoons Old Bay Seasoning
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 3 or 4 dashes hot sauce
  • 1 head green leaf lettuce
  • 2 or 3 medium-sized ripe tomatoes, thinly sliced
  • 12 small French rolls, sliced horizontally

For the remoulade:

  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 6 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
  • 3 tablespoons Creole (or grainy) mustard
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic, very finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons shallots, very finely chopped
  • 1/2 to 1-1/2 tablespoons prepared horseradish
  • 1/4 to 1 teaspoon hot sauce

Instructions

  1. Prepare the rémoulade by combining the mayonnaise, lemon juice, mustard, ketchup, Worcestershire, garlic and shallots in a mixing bowl. Add horseradish and hot sauce, starting with the lower quantity, and increase each according to your personal taste. Mix well, cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
  2. Heat the butter in a heavy skillet over medium-high heat until foamy. Add the Old Bay Seasoning, lemon juice and hot sauce. Stir until blended. Cook for 1 minute, then add the shrimp. Continue cooking, tossing constantly to coat with the sauce, until the shrimp are pink and opaque, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from the heat.
  3. To assemble the sandwiches, line each roll with lettuce and 1 or 2 slices of tomato. Fill with shrimp and top with rémoulade. Serve immediately.
Mini Muffaletta Bites

Mini Muffaletta Bites

Yield: 12 mini sandwiches
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes

This party-style version of the classic New Orleans muffaletta sandwich is filled with Italian cold cuts, Provolone cheese and a special, savory olive relish.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup cured, pitted black olives, drained and chopped
  • 1 cup cured, pitted green olives, drained and chopped
  • 1/2 cup roasted red peppers, drained and chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, very finely chopped (3/4 to 1 teaspoon)
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 loaf ciabatta bread (15 x 6-inch oblong)
  • 1/2 lb capocollo, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 lb mortadella, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 lb cooked ham, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 lb provolone cheese, thinly sliced

Instructions

  1. Muffaletta is best when made ahead, so start preparation at least 3 hours before serving.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the black olives, green olives, roasted red peppers, garlic, parsley, olive oil, lemon juice and a few grinds of black pepper. Cover and refrigerate for a minimum of 2 hours, preferably overnight.
  3. Slice the ciabatta in half horizontally. Depending on its thickness, you may want to remove some of the soft interior so the sandwich isn't too "doughy."
  4. Spread the olive mixture evenly on both halves of the bread, then layer the cold cuts on top. Finish with cheese and put the sandwich together, pressing gently.
  5. Wrap the muffaletta tightly in plastic wrap and set aside at room temperature for about 1 hour.
  6. Just before serving, remove the sandwich from the wrap, cut it in half lengthwise, then crosswise into 6 sections (12 pieces total), securing each piece with a pick as you go.
  7. Transfer the sandwiches to a platter and have small plates and napkins available for your guests.
Halloween Party Food Cajun Swamp Dip and Brandy Milk Punch
Cajun Spinach Swamp Dip and Gator Heads

Cajun Spinach Swamp Dip and Gator Heads

Yield: 4 cups
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 16 ounces frozen chopped spinach, thawed
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 clove garlic, very finely chopped
  • 2 to 3 teaspoons Cajun seasoning
  • 3 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup roasted red pepper, chopped
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Hot sauce

Instructions

  1. Place the thawed spinach in the center of a large piece of cheesecloth, wrap tightly and wring until all of the excess moisture is gone. Transfer to a mixing bowl.
  2. Add the mayonnaise, sour cream, garlic, Cajun seasoning, scallions and roasted red pepper. Mix well and season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours to allow the flavors to blend.
  3. Serve with raw veggies like red and green bell pepper, carrots, celery, cucumber and zucchini.
  4. To make the gator heads, slice mini dill pickles lengthwise, 3/4 of the way through. Use a small piece of sliced ham for the tongue, and make eyes from bits of chopped black olives and sliced cheese.
Brandy Milk Punch

Brandy Milk Punch

Yield: 12 (2 oz) servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup brandy or bourbon, chilled
  • 2-1/2 cups milk
  • 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Ice
  • Freshly grated nutmeg

Instructions

  • Combine the brandy, milk, powdered sugar and vanilla in a pitcher and stir until well combined.
  • Place 4 ice cubes in a cocktail shaker, pour in about 1/4 of the brandy milk, shake until foamy, then pour into 2 ounce serving glasses and garnish each with a sprinkling of nutmeg.
  • Repeat with the remaining brandy milk, using fresh ice each time.
  • Serve with glazed doughnut holes.

Notes

To make a single serving:

  • 2 ounces brandy or bourbon
  • 6 ounces milk
  • 1 teaspoon powdered sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 ice cubes
  • Freshly grated nutmeg
  • Cracked ice
  1. Combine the brandy, milk, powdered sugar and vanilla in a cocktail shaker. Add the ice and shake until foamy.
  2. Strain into a serving glass over cracked ice and garnish with a sprinkling of nutmeg.