Last weekend, I hosted a watch party for the Hocus Pocus sequel. Back in September, my friend Elizabeth texted a few of us when we first heard a sequel was coming out, and I said I’d be happy to host a watch party. It had been so long since I’d hosted a party, and as it turns out, my friends really missed them! I had a number of people tell me how excited they were for me to organize events again.
Anyway, this was no big extravaganza – I had less than a dozen people attend. But I had a lot of fun putting together a menu and figuring out some cute dishes to make! I decided to go “90s Halloween” with the theme – serving up 90s fare with some spooky twists.
For appetizers, I made a “Snackery Binx” board of fruits and veggies, which I served alongside a copycat TGI Friday’s spinach artichoke dip (this, to me, is classic 90s, since my high school friends and I used to go to Friday’s all the time), Dunkaroos dip, and monster munch chex mix. For the entree, I made an American-style “Ghoulash“, which is actually a homemade version of Hamburger Helper. (I never ate Hamburger Helper as a kid, but it’s still definitely classic 90s.) And for dessert, I made these healthy five ingredient pumpkin brownies that I stuck fake eyeballs in so they looked like Winifred’s Magic Book, and pumpkin spice rice krispie treats with this recipe for the base (I just added the pumpkin spices and food coloring from the first recipe).
Finally, to drink, I had apple cider that people could either drink on its own or add bourbon to, and then “burning rain of death” cocktails that were actually color-changing margaritas. It was a great lineup, and not too hard to put together! I made the chex mix and butterfly pea ice cubes the night before, the dips and desserts in the morning, and then just had to throw together the “ghoulash” and rice krispie treats right before the party.
Honestly, I thought all the dishes came out good, but the pumpkin spice rice krispie treats were my favorite. They were so gooey and yummy, and I loved the addition of the pumpkin spice flavor! The only thing that was a bit disappointing was the color changing margarita recipe – I just didn’t find that the butterfly pea ice cubes gave as much of a dramatic effect as I was expecting. But, I have a ton of this butterfly pea tea now, so I’ll probably try again – it certainly wasn’t hard to freeze a few ice cubes!
Part of the reason I had stopped throwing parties was COVID, but part of it was that throwing parties was starting to feel burdensome. With this party, though, I realized it was because my favorite part of throwing a party is all the planning: I love picking out recipes, organizing a menu, and figuring out how to make everything themed and cohesive. When I reuse a party menu from a previous year, it’s certainly more efficient, but it turns the cooking into a bit of a chore rather than something fun and exciting and experimental. Planning this Hocus Pocus 2 watch party was so much fun – and it was another notch in boosting my confidence after this spring’s IVF mess, making me feel like I’m getting back to myself again.
As for the movie? I wasn’t expecting much – I feel like sequels are notoriously terrible. But I actually thought Hocus Pocus 2 was even better than the original (and I loved the original). My guests were split – half thought this was better, half thought the original was better. I think it just depends on whether you like the trope of “villain has a heart and there is a sappy moment”, which I do 🙂
Now the biggest traditional cooking holiday of all, Thanksgiving, is coming up. Based on my realization of how much I enjoy planning themed dishes, maybe this should be the year I deviate from my honed-to-perfection Thanksgiving menu and try starting from scratch? We’ll see…