Yes, many Halloween parties are either canceled or altered from their original state. BUT. Halloween celebrations don’t have to die, they can still be just as fun than years past! I am having a few kids in the back yard to watch Hocus Pocus on a projection screen. Everyone has their own blanket and snacks and will sit far apart, bundled in snow suits if necessary. If you have a friend hosting a Halloween bash and want to thank him or her, here are a few Halloween Hostess Gifts that will let them know how much you (s)care. (And FYI– host/hostess gifts are NOT necessary. Most people throw parties just for the pleasure of your company. If you feel moved to give them something as a token of your appreciation, it doesn’t have to be expensive or over the top. That is just what it is- a token!)
Unless your host/hostess doesn’t drink, alcohol can be the gift that keeps on giving, allowing them to replenish their stash or savor it later on their own. There are three ways to go about this. You can purchase something that you already know they love, or find something new for them to try that you enjoy. The third way is to grab something kitschy or seasonal, but that can be hit or miss. Many seasonal items, in my opinion, aren’t as tried and true as a well-tested favorite. I would rather gift something I know tastes divine!
Whichever route you choose to go, make sure to add a personal touch. Quite often, there are bottles of booze or wine lined up on the host/hostess’ counter and they don’t know from whom they were gifted. Distinguish your gift with a themed tag tied onto the bottle with twine or ribbon and make sure to sign your name with a short, personal note.
Shopping local is more important than ever right now. We WILL be losing small businesses due to the pandemic, so please try your absolute best to support them. My favorite wine store is The Bottle Shop in Wilmette. Amy, the owner, is my guru. I walk in, tell her a little bit about my likes, and she picks the perfect bottle. She has a wide (and affordable) selection of low sugar/biodynamic wines that are so lovely and don’t give me massive hangovers.
Here are a couple of bottle tags you can print out- just right-click or control + click, save, and print! No cardstock? Grab an old card, print the tag out on regular paper, and affix it to the old card to make it more substantial, cutting along the lines of the new tag.
Homemade Sweet Treats
Like I mentioned above, Halloween hostess gifts don’t have to be lavish or expensive. Homemade treats are perfect- they show your host that you care, and they get to enjoy your efforts after everyone heads home!
My kids and I love to make banana bread out of ripe bananas. This is an ideal project to tackle with your kids- they can peel and mash bananas, measure and pour ingredients, and pop in the oven. OR try to make pumpkin bread from those cute pie pumpkins you see at the store (OR just buy canned pumpkin because that is a huelluva project). Wrap your bread in a kitschy kitchen towel, like these available at Hubba Hubba in Wilmette:
Simple Banana Bread Recipe
2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs, beaten
3 mashed bananas (about 2 cups, give or take; bananas should be yellow with black polka dots in terms of ripeness)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9×5″ loaf pan.
- In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. In a separate bowl, cream together butter and brown sugar, then stir in eggs and mashed bananas. Stir banana mixture into flour mixture- don’t overmix.
- Pour batter into loaf pan and bake for approximately one hour- until toothpick comes out clean.
Soap & Skin Stuff
Usually, I would say hand soaps for Halloween hostess gifts is a bit blah, but right now it is a HOT commodity! And I love bringing the scent of the season into the routine hand washing that I do about 50 times per day. I found this local Chicago company, Soap Distillery, that makes booze-themed unisex bath and body care. I am DYING to try the Beer + Cigarettes Hand and Body Wash- it supposedly smells like tobacco leaves, lavender, and oakmoss. Many seasonal/holiday products are very feminine (sugary, candy-scented) which can leave others in the household a little grumpy. I adore unisex scents, especially woodsy, clean, fresh ones.
They also have candles, bar soap and body oil that features spirit scents like bourbon, whiskey, and gin. Think outside the Bath and Bodyworks box and grab a local product that is handmade with healthy ingredients. Or try making your own soap or candles! DIY is the theme of COVID quarantine, right? Here is a post from PBS Kids that outlines how to make soap with kids.
Cheers to Halloween Hostess Gifts that don’t cost an arm and a leg, and show your host/hostess how much you appreciate their socially distant party efforts!