Plan to Entertain: Halloween

Planning ahead is the cardinal principle of home entertaining. In case I was not clear: Planning ahead is the cardinal principle of home entertaining. This year Halloween falls on a Saturday. The key to my goal for you — one relaxed hour before guests arrive — is to begin your planning at least one weekend before your party. If you are planning a Halloween Party, your planning should be complete by Friday, the 23rd so that you can have the entire weekend of the 24th and 25th plus the week leading up to the 31st to complete your tasks.

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Planning starts with thinking. In the coming week I will help you start thinking about your halloween party. But as this is the time folks begin carving their halloween pumpkins, I wanted to get this recipe to you.

Noah’s Spicy Roasted Whole Pumpkin Seeds
Oh the shame of the discarded pumpkin seed from jack-o-lanterns from around the world. Thursday evening as I was getting ready to Cook with Rick Nichols, Noah assisted in hallowing out a pumpkin to serve as a seasonally appropriate container for a big mum plant – a quick and easy centerpiece. Noah, my 22-year-old son — who is currently living on our couch while he helps us manage our new operation at the Franklin Institute — and a budding cook, roasted the seeds. I share Noah’s recipe here.

1 cup rinsed and towel dried pumpkin seeds
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon Old Bay
1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
2 teaspoons kosher salt

Note: To prepare pumpkin seeds for roasting, scrape pumpkin seeds and pulp from pumpkin. Separate seeds from large clumps of pulp.  Place seeds and remaining pulp in a large bowl of water and with your fingers work to pull away pulp from seeds. The seeds will float to the top. With a slotted spoon, skim off pumpkin seeds. Discard water with bits of pulp. Repeat until nearly all of the stringy pulp is gone.  Drain seeds through colander. Dry seeds well between layers of towel. Seeds will stick to towel. It helps to scrape them away with a blunt knife. A 10 pound pumpkin yielded about 1 cup of seeds.  Measure seeds in measuring cup.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Mix rinsed and dried pumpkin seeds with oil. Add cumin, Old Bay, sweet paprika and salt. Place on rimmed baking sheet. Place in oven and roast for 25-30 minutes. Allow to cool.

Yield About 1 1/2 cups because the seeds swell in roasting.

Postscript: Cooking with Rick Nichols
You have to love a guest who brings their own green tomatoes from their garden. You have to love Rick. Rick and I cooked. Well, mostly I cooked while Rick asked questions and took notes. I will leave the final telling of Cooking with Rick Nichols to Rick in whose column I will appear this Thursday.
As I write this on Sunday, people in New York and New Jersey and Houston and Colombia are all working frantically to “open” and link At Home Online — the digital compliment to At Home — and a new shop that will make book buying and gift giving easier. At Home Online is available only to book owners. Books come with a bookmark and on that bookmark is a digital “key.” that provides login access to At Home Online. This evening is the digital equivalent of a restaurant opening with the paint not quite dry, the banquettes not fully installed, the carpet not quite laid and some minor refrigeration problems. But since we have only invited friends and family — and early book buyers — to our digital opening, we expect they will be forgiving and patient as we work through our opening kinks.

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The Free Library Thursday Night
This Thursday I will be speaking at the Central Branch of The Free Library at 19th & Vine beginning at 7:30 PM. At Home will not be available in bookstores…ever. Books will be available for sale at the library before and after the program and I will be happy to sign books after. Buying the book at the library will save you the cost of shipping.

During the program I will talk about the background of developing At Home — the book and website, take you through a quick tour of both — and then select someone from the audience with a party to be planned and help them plan utilizing the principles and tools of At Home’s Part 1: Planning to Entertain.

I Need Your Help
At Home is an unusual project in many respects. The combination book/website is unusual. And only distributing At Home on our website is unusual. At Home’s success depends, in no small measure, on you. I need you to spread the word about At Home. If you know someone who would enjoy these occasional posts, please let them know about them. Posts can be accessed through If you sign-up, the posts come to you via email automatically.


1 Comment

Filed under Entertaining at Home, Family and Friends, Recipes, Tips

One response to “Plan to Entertain: Halloween

  1. Pingback: Ready to Entertain: A Halloween Postscript « At Home By Steve Poses Blog

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