An elegant, spooky Halloween party inspired by Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion ride
It’s been six long months since I posted a Disney Dinner and I just couldn’t resist celebrating such a milestone anniversary. The Haunted Mansion ride at Disneyland in Anaheim, California opened 50 years ago this fall! To celebrate the 50th anniversary, I hosted a Haunted Mansion themed dinner party for my friends. Here’s how I did it, recipes and all!
The Rose Table is in no way affiliated with The Walt Disney Company.
Everybody knows what a Disney fan I am. I think the past two years of Disney-themed dinner parties proves that! But do you know what a Disneyland fan I am? Some of my happiest memories include bouncing around the park with my family and friends, watching my brother and sister-in-law get engaged in front of the castle, eating at Napa Rose with my girlfriends on my birthday, stepping out onto the Grand Californian hotel balcony and hearing the cheerful music of Downtown Disney knowing what a great day it’s going to be, waving at all Pirates of the Caribbean boats from a table at Blue Bayou, Soarin’ Over California, seeing my niece’s face as she saw Mickey Mouse for the first time, hearing all of Disneyland sing “happy birthday to you, Katie-Rose” on my seventeenth birthday. I could go on! I’m honestly a bit teary eyed just thinking of it all.
The thing is, Disneyland and I just get each other. I went for my birthday a few years ago (if I could, I’d wake up at Disneyland on my birthday every year for the rest of time) and my friend Katie linked her arm in mine as we walked out of the park one night and said, “If everyone could see Disneyland, they’d really understand. You just try to recreate this magic every day.” And she said that a whole year before I started Disney Dinners! This is my very first Disney Dinner based solely on a ride and I could not have had more fun with it. I hope you enjoy this ride as much as I enjoy a day at the park.
I recreated the Haunted Mansion atmosphere by hanging black tattered fabric around the dining room, tilting my artwork and covering paintings in spiderwebs, and using indoor flood lights to wash the walls with purple and green lighting. I also employed my fog machine for a spooky affect and, most notably, I used my AtmosFX machine to project dancing skeletons on the wall.
AtmosFX is the same projector that I used to project fireworks at my Disney Dinners: Snow White dinner party and my Cinderella Ball but AtmosFX is primarily used for Halloween haunts. I’m obsessed with this thing. There’s just so many different ways you can use it! I was so happy to discover that one of the Halloween scenes just so happens to be dancing skeletons, which was absolutely perfect for recreating the ride’s scene where ghosts dance in the dining room.
I’m in love with this table! I took my black tablecloth from Disney Dinners: Pirates of the Caribbean and stretched a tiny $0.10 piece of spider web down the center to act as a runner. How easy and cheap is that for a spooky table? I wanted the rest of the table to be reminiscent of the antique dining room scene in the ride so I used a silver candelabra for a classic centerpiece. I also added a crystal ball as a nod to Madam Leota, the fortuneteller who casts a spell at the start of the ride.
I styled two floral arrangements in short, fat vases on either side of the candelabra. I used purple alstroemeria, green hydrangeas to signify the Haunted Mansion cast members’ uniforms, and white roses for the bride in the ride. I love how these colors look together!
The Place Settings
For the place settings, I used my silver chargers paired with the silver cups from my Kentucky Derby party, purple napkins, and spooky black rose napkin rings.
I styled my side table with a spell book, Haunted House sign, and a pumpkin as a nod to Jack Skellington, who takes over the Haunted Mansion from October through December.
Fashion is part of the fun of parties! My friends got really into it. Didn’t they look fun? I especially have to highlight Jacob’s dark Mickey (red pants, a black top, and classic ears), and Mark’s incredible Cruella Disney bounding. Wow. Mind = blown!
For my look, I went with my favorite little black dress paired with purple stilettos, purple earrings, purple nail polish and purple lipstick. I even sprayed some L’Oreal color spray in my hair for purple curls!
Meet the Foolish Mortal: a three-ingredient drink that’s as haunting as it is tasty. This delightful drink is just pineapple juice, a splash of St. Germain, and Midori, a bright green-hued Japanese melon liquor. The pineapple and melon balance each other nicely and the elderflower liquor makes it taste all sorts of fancy. Get the recipe here.
I have always, always, always wanted to use dry ice in a Halloween drink but I’ve chickened out year after year. I have to thank my friend Anthony for research dry ice and sending me great articles that made me confident enough to try it out. I’ve compiled everything I’ve learned here so that you can have the most magical Halloween cocktails possible! Learn how to safely use dry ice in drinks here.
I prefer wine with dinner. I paired Gnarly Head Wines Old Vine Zin with the gruyere in my signature alfredo sauce. I almost always have a bottle of Gnarly Head in the house. The Old Vine Zin has dark berry flavors that go nicely with nutty cheeses such as gruyere.
Ah, the food! This recipe was incredibly easy to execute. I baked the cakes in the morning, had the hand pies ready to go in the oven before my guests arrived, and the Graveyard Pasta only takes ten or fifteen minutes to throw together.
Ghost (and coffin!) Hand Pies
There may be 999 haunts in the Haunted Mansion, but there were only 12 ghost hand pies in the first course. These buttery, flaky pastries are cute enough for company but easy enough for kids to help you with! They’re the perfect Halloween party appetizer, especially when paired with a simple salad of spinach, blackberries, plums, pumpkin seeds, and balsamic vinaigrette. Get the recipe here.
Spinach and Blackberry Salad
I wasn’t originally going to write this up as a recipe but it got rave reviews from my friends and I wanted to remember how to make it! Get the recipe here.
Much of the Haunted Mansion ride takes place in a graveyard setting so I wanted to emulate that with the main course. Hence, Graveyard Pasta! I tinted my favorite alfredo sauce black, added toasted Panko breadcrumbs, and added tombstone toasts for a spooky dish. Caution: this will turn your mouth black. You’ve been warned! Get the recipe here.
Haunted Mansion Minnie Mouse Ear Cakes
I have to give a shoutout to my friend Jason for this genius idea. I wanted a dessert that truly celebrated the ride, not just the spooky components inside the ride. What better way to do that than with edible ears? Anybody who has spent time in a Disney park knows how obsessed with mouse ears Disney fans are. Get the recipe and learn how to make your own mouse ear cakes here.
Happy 50th, Haunted Mansion! Want to see more? Watch the Haunted Mansion episode of The Rose Table:
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Make your own magic,