From the costumes to the décor to the food, Halloween gatherings are an indispensable part of autumn. Just ask Wisconsin Cheese’s Chief Marketing Officer, Suzanne Fanning, who hosts some of the most creative, and cheesy Halloween parties you’ve ever curd of. Lucky for our fellow cheese lovers, we sat down with Su to learn her secrets to throwing a memorable, cheese-filled party.
While you're thinking about changing up your annual party this year, with some creativity and some delicious Wisconsin cheese, you can celebrate in style. Whether you prefer ghouls or gouda, or mummies or muenster, read on to learn how to throw the Halloween party of your dreams
How to throw the best Halloween party
Throwing a great party can feel a little intimidating, but with a little bit of planning—and a lot of cheese—you’ll be ready to be the “ghostess with the mostess.” Read on for Su’s best-kept secrets to a Halloween party.
It’s all about the experience
A successful party is about creating a unique experience from beginning to end. According to Su, “A great party starts with the invitation.” Including little details that incorporate the theme and add some spooky vibes are an easy way to get invitees excited and ready to RSVP, ASAP. From there, think about what the experience will be once your guests arrive and step out of their car. Outdoor decorations, music, even a fog machine can transform an everyday abode into a haunted house.
“It’s all about the details,” says Su. “It’s the total experience that makes a party memorable.” Don’t leave all the set-up for the day-of, though. Setting up decorations in small pieces in the week leading up will ensure your hosting stays stress-free.
3 things to make a successful party
Overwhelmed by all the details? Su recommends diving into three areas when planning your Halloween party: theme, décor, and food—including cheese, obviously.
Pick a theme
The theme sets the stage for the whole evening. “Always make a theme!” laughs Su. “We’ve had a bunch of fun ones. ‘Come as you aren't’ – where you embody the opposite of your personality. My favorite was ‘Come as what you wanted to be when you were 5.” The theme allows partygoers to get creative, and it’s a guaranteed conversation starter. Don’t be afraid to go big.
The décor creates the mood and bridges the theme. While it might be tempting to haul out the same cobwebs and plastic spiders every year, mixing up your décor will add an element of surprise that keeps guests engaged throughout the whole evening. A crucial part of the décor: your costume! Go all out, and your guests will be inspired to do the same.
Don’t forget the cheese!
Finally, the food. Any socially-anxious partygoer has fond memories of hanging by the underwhelming snack table—after all, that’s where the cheese lives. At Su’s party, however, the snack table gets a major upgrade with a delicious pot of creamy, melted cheese. That’s right: fondue! Su keeps crusty bread and roasted vegetables on hand, as well as lots of toothpicks and napkins. Don’t forget to add in some themed food as well—spooky parmesan chicken “fingers,” asiago bat crackers, and mini pumpkin cheese balls are cute, autumnal, and yummy.
Celebrating at a distance
Responsible Halloween celebrations may look different than the past, but that doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate in style! Su plans on hosting a “drive-in and drive-by” party, with a projector set up to screen Halloween classics outdoors and tons of decorations. “I’m going to make it as visually fun as I can,” says Su, noting that guests can appreciate the décor from afar. As for the fondue and themed dishes? They’ll make an appearance, but just appreciated by immediate family instead of a wide-ranging guest list. Whatever way you choose to celebrate this year, there are still ways to capture the spirit of Halloween!
3 scary-good recipes
Ready to get your Halloween-themed nosh on? Get the recipes for Su’s favorite appetizers below.
Spooky Parmesan Chicken Fingers
Witches’ fingers have never been so delicious. Don’t skimp on a garnish of grated parmesan!
Classic chicken fingers get an upgrade with Weyauwega Star Dairy Parmesan cheese mixed into the breading! Top these baked appetizers with an almond sliver “nail” and serve with green-tinted ranch dipping sauce. Sprinkle with extra grated parm for extra nutty, cheesy goodness!
Weyauwega Star Dairy Parmesan cheese
Get the recipe for our Spooky Parmesan Chicken Fingers here.
Mini Pumpkin Cheese Balls
Garlicky, cheesy, and bite-sized, these cheese balls are decorated to look like pumpkins.
Cheese balls are a classic Midwestern treat this time of year—or any time of year, really. But why share one large cheese ball when you could have a mini one all to yourself? Cheddar garlic cold pack cheese, cream cheese, and mild cheddar are mixed to create the creamy trifecta you’ve only dreamed about. Want to mix it up? Cold pack cheese comes in a number of flavors including bacon, toasted onion, garden vegetable, and more. It’s too hard to pick a favorite—we’ll just take all of them.
Scott's of Wisconsin Cheddar Garlic or Bucky Badger Creamy Garlic Cold Pack cheese
Crystal Farms Cream Cheese
Shullsburg Creamery Mild Cheddar
Recipe Tip: To easily create uniform-sized balls, use a cookie scoop.
Get the recipe for our Mini Pumpkin Cheese Balls here.
Asiago Bat Crackers
These Asiago-filled crackers are a sophisticated version of your favorite childhood snack.
While making homemade crackers might sound like a challenge, these savory asiago crackers come together very easily, right in the bowl of your food processor. Just blend together all the ingredients, roll it out, and cut out your shapes! We love munching on these adorable little bats, but pumpkins, ghosts, and witches’ hats are all fair game, too. Su guarantees that these crackers will fly off your table!
BelGioioso Asiago cheese
Get the recipe for our Asiago Bat Crackers here.
Don't be scared to be cheesy
Although Halloween might look different, the spirit of celebration isn’t going anywhere. If all this talk of cheesy Halloween treats has you feeling hungry, try our selection of over 300 handcrafted recipes featuring Wisconsin cheese. Share your spooky Halloween inspired feast with us on Instagram or Facebook and become part of the largest cheese community in the world. Don’t forget to read our latest Harvest issue of Grate.Pair.Share where you’ll find even more recipes, stories, and Thanksgiving tips!
Searching high-and-low for your favorite Wisconsin cheeses with no luck? You can get all your favorite Wisconsin cheeses and cheese gift baskets delivered right to your door with our continuously updated list of cheesemakers and retailers that allow you to order cheese online. Award-winning Wisconsin cheese is just a click away.