milk and cookies party in pink and white at Christmas
Milk and Cookies

A Milk and Cookies Party is one of the easiest and most fun ways to host a party during the holidays! This idea can be adapted to be a cookie exchange or a “Sweet Shoppe” party- and it is suitable for a range of ages. I am sharing ideas below to help you celebrate the season and to be able to keep it as simple as milk and cookies…or you can always make it as elaborate as you want to make it!

milk and cookies party in pink and white at Christmas
Milk and Cookies Party by Lydia Menzies at The Party Wagon

You could keep this get-together very low-key and simply and literally serve milk and cookies. Let the kids enjoy a game of Holiday Bingo, watch a holiday show or movie, or decorate sugar cookies. If you really want it to be a causal affair, invite your guests to wear their favorite holiday pajamas. I would suggest offering a few savory snack ideas to balance the sweet flavors that you have with the cookies. Serve milk in old-fashioned milk bottles with beautiful labels and paper straws for the prettiest presentation…

milk and cookies party milk bottles decorated for christmas

If you prefer to take the party up a notch, I would suggest preparing for a cookie exchange, setting up a cookie decorating station, and/or maybe even inviting Santa and Mrs. Claus to the party for photos. Encourage your guests to wear festive holiday attire and give everyone a chance to dress up in their Christmas best. Be prepared with aprons for the little ones if they are handling colored icing and candies. Teenage helpers dressed as elves could also add some fun to the get-together!

Whether you decide to go casual or fancy for your party, set the tone for your guests by having a small display of sweets ready when they arrive.

Sweet Shop Sign for milk and cookie holiday party

I especially like the Sweet Holiday paper collection by Loralee Lewis for dressing up the cookie table. The welcome sign has the cutest gingerbread kids depicted along with the gorgeous graphic design and shape. I placed the sign on a plate stand in the center of the table and then displayed beautiful cookies around the sign.

gingerbread decorated sugar cookies

Decorated cookies are always nice to have as a special treat for your guests or for individual party favors. For this party idea, I decided to order sugar cookies decorated as gingerbread men to match the cute gingerbread kids in the paper designs. It would be fun to have gingerbread cookies ready to decorate at the party. This would be the perfect activity for your guests. You could use sugar cookies or gingerbread cookies- whichever you prefer to make (or order). Use cupcake liners, candy cups, or muffin tins to help organize the cookie decorating materials. Roll out a strip of wrapping paper or craft paper to help protect the table and to make clean up easy. Add frosting to piping bags ahead of time- or use zip bags with a small hole snipped at one corner. Your guests will have fun trying their hand at decorating like the pros- and (if they are anything like I am) will have an even bigger appreciation for all cookie decorators! 🙂

milk and cookies gingerbread men on banner and cookies

If you are hosting a cookie exchange party, I think it is a great idea to have some special, decorated cookies for the kids to eat while they trade cookies with each other. For a cookie exchange, invite each guest to bake and bring a few dozen cookies to share. On a large table or kitchen island, set out each set of cookies with the recipe beside the cookies. Be sure to have a bakery box, gable box, or cookie tin available for each guest to fill with a variety of cookies to take home. A cookie exchange is great because it serves as an activity and a party favor, all in one! 🙂 If the party is not too large, you can also offer the recipe for each cookie that was made with the name of the guest who contributed the recipe. This is a fun way to share your favorite family recipes! I always love leaving a party with a new favorite recipe to try (and, as a side note, Loralee’s Sweet Shoppe Collection includes a set of recipe cards that can be used just for this reason). Another little tip…consider having photos with Santa and Mrs. Claus and let the little ones chat with them during the party. A fireside chat and photo opportunity can make for really cute memories! In the past, I have also asked my children’s music teachers if they will play the piano and lead a sing-a-long at parties. This is so much fun for everyone and is a great way to end a party on a literal high note!

sweet shop milk and cookies party display

If you prefer to host a party that includes more than cookies, a Holiday Sweet Shoppe theme is really cute and fun! You can still incorporate many of the ideas above, but add in a variety of treats that you will serve. Just remember that you may want to also serve light sandwiches or finger foods and water for the children to enjoy along with the sweets.

milk and cookies party with cupcakes

A Sweet Shoppe theme opens up the dessert table to a host of ideas. Cupcakes are always a hit and look extra cute with adorable gingerbread boys and girls. I love serving cupcakes with toppers because they are easy to make or buy and look so pretty with a cupcake wrapper and rosette topper. Minimal effort with maximum effect! And, then cookies ordered from Bambella Cookies always fall into that category for me, too! 🙂

milk and cookies party with sweet shop sign
milk and cookies with decorated cookies and glass bottles

Another easy way to add a sweet treat to your Sweet Shoppe party without a lot of fuss, is to order doughnuts and embellish them. I ordered these doughnuts from Dunkin Doughnuts and added wreath icing toppers made by A Party Made Perfect. Place them on a festive plate, add a colorful napkin, and let them shine! Your guests will love these!

milk and cookies and doughnuts with wreaths

Aren’t those so pretty? I love the simplicity of the pink iced doughnut topped with the pretty green royal icing wreath…

pink doughnuts with green icing wreaths
milk and cookies with donuts and royal icing green wreaths
milk and cookies party with sweet shop sign

So, whether you prefer milk and cookies, a cookie exchange, or a full sweet shop idea for a party, you can use these ideas as a guideline for hosting the holiday party that fits best for you and your family! I look forward to sharing some recipes that I could recommend for holiday parties soon. Check back as I add more ways to celebrate the everyday with you! In the meantime, enjoy these parties here, here, and here too!

Also, here is where to find the beautiful Sweet Holiday Collection from Loralee Lewis

To order cookies from Bambella Cookies, you can find Tara here.

To order royal icing wreaths from A Party Made Perfect, you can contact Jennifer here.

thanksgiving table decorations and place settings
Thanksgiving Table Decoration Ideas

Thanksgiving table decoration ideas that are easy to create are my favorites. I had a chance to set our Thanksgiving table for the first time this past year as my husband and I hosted Thanksgiving at our house. In the past, Thanksgiving lunch has been at my parents’ house or my aunt and uncle’s house. The Saturday after Thanksgiving, we would celebrate with my mom-in-law at her house. This time, we invited everyone to our house for a big ole’ feast. All of the moms in our families are great cooks, and so they offered to bring their favorite Thanksgiving side dishes so that all of the family and the family-favorites would be together under one roof! We were in charge of cooking the turkey and a few sides- which left plenty of time for me to set the tables and get the house ready.

thanksgiving table setting with green and white plates
thanksgiving table with turkey salt and pepper shakers
thanksgiving table decoration ideas

When our family arrived, we had light appetizers to enjoy while everyone trickled in- and I prepared a punch bowl with a Thanksgiving cocktail…

Thanksgiving appetizers and turkey napkins

For the cranberry cocktail, I served it in a brass punch bowl so that everyone could serve themselves. I had the bar cart ready to serve when they arrived and added the ice ring to the bowl last so that it looked its best.

cranberry cocktail served in a brass bowl with ice ring

I wanted to add foliage or flowers around the house, and so I put cabbage in my Majolica pots and set them out. This was such an easy way to add greenery – and I could plant the cabbage later. 🙂 . I like to decorate with food items for Thanksgiving to go along with the idea of a bounty of a harvest.

antique majolica pot with cabbage plant inside

For that same reason, I chose pepper plants to use as the centerpiece for the dining table. I put them in my dough bowl and added pumpkins and ornamental corn. I loved the flowing, nonchalant grouping of the pepper plants and pumpkins paired with the more formal look of the roses and hydrangeas.

thanksgiving table decorations and place settings

I have never been a big fan of orange roses until recently. My friend, Lance (who is so talented with flower arranging), won me over with his beautiful use of them. After seeing how pretty they look arranged, I decided to try them to add in the traditional orange for Thanksgiving. I paired them with lime green hydrangeas, and I loved how they turned out…

blue and white porcelain vase with orange roses and limelight hydrangeas
green majolica plates paired with orange roses and hydrangeas on thanksgiving table
Thanksgiving table setting with green white and orange

I have always enjoyed the history of why we celebrate Thanksgiving- the positive sides of the celebration…surviving the harsh conditions, growing and thriving in spite of all of the setbacks, coming together in unity and friendship, the teaching and learning that was an integral part of the journey. For this table, I wanted to have small touches of history and harvest and that is how the idea of the antique dough bowl with plants, corn, and pumpkins came to be. A little bit of a rustic look coupled with more formal touches represented the history and the present day. I went with the same idea for the dishes- using antique plates (made in England) paired with present-day white plates (designed in New England).

thanksgiving table centerpiece with pepper plants pumpkins corn in dough bowl

Name cards are also a nice touch to add to a table so that everyone knows which place is just for them. It eliminates the sometimes awkward moments of trying to seat everyone at the same time- it takes the guess work out of “where should I sit” for your guests and makes the table feel a little more special. I also like to add more than one set of salt and pepper shakers to the table for convenience for guests. Below you can see the two small turkeys…they are perfect for adding a whimsical touch that also makes the table feel warm and welcoming rather than formal and stuffy. You can also see that I tied a plaid, silk ribbon around each napkin to add the colors that I wanted to add. This is always a pretty and simple way to tie in the colors of any table setting or party.

thanksgiving fall table setting with turkey shakers

Here are my y suggestions for creating a look you love for your own Thanksgiving table…

  1. Start with a tablecloth and build from there. I knew I wanted a tablecloth with a white background with green because I wanted the overall look to be light and colorful. Decide if you want light and bright or darker and moody.
  2. Choose a charger that coordinates and gives you a different texture or color. I chose brown rattan because I like how they grounded the table and kept it from feeling overly formal. The brown also coordinated well with the dough bowl in the center of the table and the chairs all around the table.
  3. Choose the plates that you want to use and layer them to add interest to the table. I decided to only go with a salad and dinner plate because I liked the design of the green plate and wanted it to be what we noticed first in the place settings.
  4. Coordinate the napkins. Again, I liked the lighter shade of brown for the napkins and I really loved the green border. I wanted to have the napkins monogrammed, but opted for tying a ribbon around them instead. The ribbon added color and interest.
  5. Decide on the centerpieces and be creative when choosing plants or blooms. Remember to add fruits, veggies, herbs for different colors and textures. Or, if you are doing a more formal centerpiece, add something such as berries or small branches in seasonal colors to counterbalance the formality.
  6. Choose glasses that coordinate or blend well. Stemmed glasses often look the prettiest.
  7. Add silverware/utensils- if you have different types, choose the best color or material that suits your table. Some of the types that look great on a table are silver, gold, bamboo, Mother of Pearl.
  8. Make place cards or be creative with name cards. You can put them in fruit with a skewer or add them to a napkin ring. Simple or a little extra- either way shows your thoughtfulness.
  9. Add personality to the table with mismatched or miniature salt and pepper shakers. Or, add an interesting salt bowl or butter dish. It is okay, and often more fun, to have a few conversation starters at the Thanksgiving table.
  10. Make sure everyone has enough space at their place setting and can sit and chat comfortably.

Now that you have the adult table set, remember to make a special table for the kids, too! All of the “kids” at the kids’ table at our house ranged in age from 13-25 and so I set more of a “young adult table”. I wanted it to be casual, comfortable, and pretty. I also thought a more minimal approach would be a good idea. 🙂

thanksgiving table set with white

I kept the centerpiece simply with a pretty orchid and bowls of acorns. The tabletop is mirrored and I added a gold confetti charger and then the white plates with green cabbage leaf plates. I topped the plates with pumpkin mugs or pumpkin bowls to use with the seafood soup we served.

minimal thanksgiving table decorations
white pumpkin mug
thanksgiving-table-setting-ideas

I hope you have found inspiration in some of these ideas! I enjoy mixing and matching and finding a pretty balance in all of the choices. Most importantly, I love how Thanksgiving brings us together to catch up, reminisce, enjoy a meal, and celebrate togetherness. It is one of my favorite holidays! Happy Thanksgiving!

For more Thanksgiving inspo…see this for rustic Thanksgiving ideas, this one for woodsy, organic Thanksgiving ideas, this for whimsical Thanksgiving ideas. Here you can find cute Thanksgiving craft ideas. And, here are some of my older recipes that I make at Thanksgiving plus a recipe for Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies. Enjoy!

Cheers xo,

Lydia

halloween cakes on 3 round tables with balloon garland in the background
Sweet Sixteen Halloween Party Ideas

Sweet Sixteen and Halloween aren’t the typical party ideas that come together for one theme! Ha! But…I went for it for our Supper Club because we had to skip September’s Supper Club. Our dog had surgery and needed constant care, and so we postponed the Sweet 16 theme and rolled it into the next month. That is how Sweet Sixteen Halloween came to be! It was actually really fun to plan. I had so many ideas of what I wanted to do, and I feel like this theme could be expanded in so many ways.

halloween cakes in pink orange yellow

I wanted to do a grouping of 16 somewhere at the party. I thought about doing 16 candles down the center of a really long table, but I always get a little worried about flames and lots of teens around one table. Even though they are old enough to drive, I still feel like too many candles could be a problem. 🙂 Maybe I just still think of them as 6 instead of 16? I don’t know, but I picture long hair inadvertently ending up too close to a flame.

pink halloween cake with black spiders

Instead of candles, I decided to go with 16 cakes. I wanted the colors to reflect the “sweet” and then I wanted to add in Halloween decorations to the cakes. Originally, I wanted to have only 4-inch cakes but then changed to a mixture of 6-inch and 4-inch. I liked the variety of sizes, but I really loved the size of the 4-inch. The girls liked the smaller cakes, too. They were really cute and miniature.

orange halloween cake with candy bones and candy eyes
sweet sixteen halloween cake with gold letters
halloween cakes in a grouping on a round table

I ordered the cakes from Emilee Hain, of Keelime Culinary. Emilee used to own a restaurant in town and now she is a personal chef and baker. I was so happy when she agreed to give this idea a try- I knew I needed help to pull off 16 cakes all at one time. Emilee baked and frosted the cakes- I sent her photos of the colors that I wanted to use. I also wanted to use separate tables for the cakes. I used 3 round tables and set them all out before I decorated them.

pink yellow orange peach colored cakes in a group on round tables

And, then I just started decorating based on height and colors. It was fun trying to make each one a little different.

halloween-cake-ideas-witch-spiders

I added a balloon garland to the wall before I set up the cakes. The colors were a unique twist for Halloween, but I like how the black touches bring out the holiday vibe.

halloween cakes on 3 round tables with balloon garland in the background

I have mentioned on Instagram that watching your daughter learn to drive (and being in the car while that learning takes place), can be a little nerve-racking. For me, it has been the hardest milestone yet. It is tough not to be the one driving her and to trust that she is ready for so much responsibility. Because of that, I jokingly nicknamed this party, “Driving me Batty”. I had a little drawing at the party to commemorate this phase of parenting. 🙂

illustration of a pink car with blonde teen girl driver with pumpkins and bats

For the “supper” part of Supper Club, I set the tables with 9 girls at each table. I used Halloween napkins, cups, and straws and put fresh flowers in the center.

halloween party table set with flowers plates cups and napkins

I also added Sweet Sixteen headbands and candy sticks to the table.

Halloween party table setting with headbands and flowers

My daughter chose the menu and asked for Chicken Enchiladas. My husband made the enchiladas, and then I added a veggie tray, a bowl of fruit, chips, salsa, and avacados.

front porch halloween decorations with blue door and clay jack o lanterns

I set up the front porch with pumpkins and jack-o-lanterns for a warm welcome. The jack-o-lanterns are made of clay and are from a shop in northeast Georgia called Craven Pottery. They doubled as party favors for the girls to take home at the end of the night…

halloween front porch with jack o lanterns glowing on each step
group of teen girls sitting on front porch steps holdling jack o lanterns

One of the most fun parts of the night was that Supper Club happen to hit on the date of one of the girls’ actual 16th birthday! It was so fun to be able to celebrate it with her! It was a fun time and I enjoy hosting with my daughter each time! Feel free to ask me any questions about our Supper Clubs- or anything else that you see that you would like to know! To see last year’s Halloween Supper Club click here. You can find other Supper Club ideas here and here. Thanks for being here!

sweet sixteen party with 16 cakes

Cheers xo,

Lydia

lady in front of blue door with computer and boxes introducing her square online store
Welcome to My New Shop with Square
Several years ago (about 5 years, I think), my children’s school hosted its first-ever Holiday Market. I was asked if I would be interested in having a booth to make and sell something to help raise money for the school. I decided to go for it; even though I didn’t have a product to sell. I then went to work to figure out what I could make. After asking about the Market’s offerings, I realized there weren’t many options in the children’s toy category.

Lady in red shirt and blue jeans holding pan of brownies with square store logo and balloon letters spelling square

I’ve spent a lot of time with kids through the years. Before becoming a mom, I was a babysitter, nanny, second grade teacher, private tutor, and children’s event coordinator- I knew I wanted to offer something that would be fun, creative, educational, and hands-on.

Around that time, I had ordered hand-painted, wooden peg dolls to use as decoration on a table at my daughter’s Lilly Pulitzer birthday party. I didn’t realize the girls (11 and 12 years old at the time) would actually want the dolls to take home with them. I was happily surprised that 12-year-olds still found them interesting and adorable.

That party made me realize the appeal that these little wooden peg dolls had to a range of ages. The peg dolls also reminded me of something my mom would have painted or played with as a child. I was drawn to their tiny size and their vintage feel (with fresh Lilly outfits on, though :)…

I decided to paint my own dolls, enlisting my artistic mom in this little painting adventure. She is retired and often enjoys taking painting classes and so this seemed like a perfect fit for her, too. I thought we would be a good team- I could place the orders for materials and work the booth, and she could do the painting.

When the materials first came in (wooden peg dolls and paint), I couldn’t resist trying to paint one myself. My first one was a funny failure but I kept trying to get it- so that I could contribute to the “making” part of it, too. While I was showing my mom how we could do this, I became hooked on painting these little cuties. The more I painted, the more ideas I had of what I wanted to try to paint. It unleashed a side of me I didn’t know about yet. I learned to start simple and to learn along the way, and suddenly I had painted 100 peg dolls to sell for the Holiday Market.

Those little peg dolls raised a good chunk of change for our school, and I was gifted with a new hobby. The reactions of everyone who saw them also made me realize what a draw they were and that I should consider selling them year-round. The biggest hurdle that was stopping me was being able to organize the actual “selling” part of it- keeping track of orders, costs, profits, shipping, etc. I waited and waited- only selling at the school fund raiser, a few craft markets, and handmade shops- until Square came along.

hand painted dalmatian peg dolls

Originally, I was introduced to Square by asking merchants what they were using when they ran my card through that “little white square”. I was amazed at the simplicity of being able to take credit cards with a mobile phone or tablet. I was intrigued by how it worked and signed up for a Square account so that I could start learning about it.

Then, I began noticing that the system had become a lot more than just a little white reader, – I asked a shop owner about it once, and he showed me all of the things he could do with Square in his brick and mortar shop. I realized then that Square offered a host of operating options and systems. Everywhere I went, it seemed like small businesses were using and loving Square.

Fast forward a couple more years to where we are now, and I am ready to grow and open my own online shop- with the help of Square! The exciting part is that I am also expanding my shop offerings and adding a new line of items for children! If you follow me on Instagram, you saw that my kids and I made sensory boxes in lots of different themes.

We shipped them all over and asked for feedback. You all on Instagram helped tremendously this summer by answering questions and helping us realize what works best with this new product. I am so excited to unveil to you our new additions and our new shop! Here are 2 photos for a quick peek into what’s coming…

dinosaur sensory bin large by the party wagon
medium dinosaur sensory bin by the party wagon

Building my shop with Square has been easy and quick- I have had the best care with the Square platform. I have been so thrilled with their courtesy and patience. The directions have been thorough and the responses to my questions have been timely and helpful. What I have really loved is how encouraging Square has been as they see the shop coming together. We have hopped on calls when needed and emailed as needed to bring the store to life together.

It has been a wish come true to work with Square, and I am extremely grateful that they offered to create a shop for me. Knowing that I have a system in place and the tools I need to stay organized in every aspect of running the business makes me feel at ease about this step into owning my own shop. Square has given me the confidence to go for it with the support to back me up as I run this small, one-person business.

square spelled in gold letter balloons with lady working on computer in front of it

And, so…here we go! Welcome to my new Square Online Store! I hope you love what we have created!

lady in front of blue door with computer and boxes introducing her square online store

Thank you to Square for kindly sponsoring this post. All opinions are 100% honest & completely my own.

bar cart decorated for halloween with cupcakes drinks popcorn candles
Classic Halloween Supper Club for Teens

Halloween party ideas are always some of my favorites to create! As my children have gotten older, it is fun to adapt to their age group and find ways to make parties interesting and age-appropriate for teens. The best lesson I have gained from having a house full of teens is that they just mostly enjoy being together- kind of just like I remember feeling as a teen! Although some things change from being the teen to being the mom of teens, some things really don’t change…like being with people that make you laugh and enjoying a good meal together. I enjoy decorating for the get-togethers, and I love seeing them all together at our Supper Clubs each time we host. For this Supper Club, I kept the decorations classic and traditional, the meal easy by ordering the food, and the desserts simple but fun.

bar cart decorated for halloween with cupcakes drinks popcorn candles

When the girls arrived, we served popcorn in the popcorn boxes you see on the bar cart. It gives them something to munch on while they wait for dinner and helps those who came hungry. And, it is easy for the hostess to serve- especially because the girls are great at helping pop the popcorn and fill the boxes. They always willingly jump in when they arrive and help in the kitchen or where ever they are needed.

glass bottles with Halloween straws and straw flags and monster eye rings on the rim

My friend Loralee Lewis sent me the beautiful Halloween paper collection as a gift, and I was so happy to put it to good use at our Supper Club. All of the details of the paper products dress up the party in the perfect way to me- youthful with a sophisticated twist. The fancy fonts on the straw flags combined with the fun little monster eye rings gave me the chance to combine those two looks to get the feel I was going for. The girls loved the rings and several of them had fun wearing them.

green pitcher with glass bottles decorated with monster eyes and halloween straws

Funny little Halloween signs and sayings were also a perfect touch to add to this get-together…aren’t Loralee Lewis’s designs so pretty?

halloween sign that reads one bite won't kill you in orange and black

I absolutely love the sign that Loralee designed just for the Supper Club- what a great way to add a special touch. It is one that I will save and use again!

We had plates to match and more funny signs to add to the party. “Please check broomsticks, bats, and toads at the door” makes me laugh- Loralee has a great sense of humor that always shines through on her clever sayings. She also added touches of encouragement on each plate which is a bonus to me when hoping to encourage girls to feel confident- and it is subtle and sweet.

I ordered these pottery ghost candles and really loved the look of them- I like grouping them together or spreading them down the center of a table or on a mantle. I use them with battery operated candles but they look so pretty with real candles, too. I just feel a little better knowing the flames aren’t real when having a house full of friends. I added the ribbon on two of the ghost candles but, even without the bows, the ghosts have lots of personality and expression.

halloween-ghost-candles-mollie-jenkins-pottery

Halloween candy boxes shaped like a piece of candy were so pretty and cute, too! I assembled the boxes, added the small candy (Hershey’s Kisses and Starburts), tied the ribbon at both ends and added the sticker to keep the boxes closed at the seam. I put them at the place setting of each girl.

halloween candy box party favors shaped like candy

October in Georgia is usually a beautiful month and mostly mild- we were lucky to have a great night to set up the tables outside. Our garage is black and white, and so my husband and I set up the tables on the driveway in front of the garage. I really wanted to decorate the garage doors with balloons, but I just didn’t have time.

halloween party place setting in orange and black
terra cotta jack o lantern on table
halloween party table setting with boo bucket with green plant inside

I always like to have the food fit the theme in some way–for this Halloween dinner, we decided on crepes from a local food truck called Holy Crepe. They were totally game to go along with my Halloween food fun with my little buffet sign from Loralee…

holy crepe food truck owner cooking at private party

It was really fun to have Holy Crepe set up his on-site crepe cooker (I don’t know what to call it- griddle, maybe?) on our back porch and make the crepes on the spot. He set up his menu sign and the girls could place their orders and watch it being made. They also enjoyed chatting with the owner who is from France- there were lots of questions about France and his experiences there.

menu for holy crepes food truck athens ga
teen girls around the dinner table at a halloween party

We set up 3 tables, but they always end up squeezing everyone around 2 tables- which I love to see. To keep their drinks filled, I rolled the bar cart outside during dinner and set up a serve-yourself drink station. I served iced tea (eyes-tea), L(eye)made, and water on the bar cart.

girls at halloween party sitting around dinner table

For dessert, these ice cream sandwiches were a huge hit! The girls loved the rename and play on words- and dessert doesn’t get any easier than this! 🙂 We also served Brownie Tr(eye)fles as you can see a little further down…

halloween ice cream sandwiches with san witch stickers on them

I put my daughter and a friend in charge of making the Brownie Trifles for the party, and they did such a great job with them! They layered brownies, chocolate pudding, and Cool Whip– and then topped with candy eyes. I put a spoon in each one just before we served them, and they were ready to go! I like having options for dessert, but it usually ends up that they all like them all of it and devour everything pretty quickly. Haha!

Individual servings of brownie trifles with candy eyes and gold spoons

This was definitely one of my favorite Halloween parties- and each Supper Club becomes really fun memories. If you ever have questions about how I host these, please let me know. I hope you are inspired by what you see and read- I would love to see if you do something similar! Comments on my blog were turned off because bots make it almost impossible to keep comments turned on – but feel free to message me if you have questions! Thanks for reading, and have a Happy Halloween! You can find more of my Halloween ideas and favorite parties here, here, and here!

girls at halloween party on front steps of home

Cheers and xo,

Lydia

skull cookies with bright colors and flowers painted on them for day of the dead
Day of the Dead Cake and Cookies by “For Heaven Bakes”

Today, I am bringing back one of my favorite cake and cookie designers to help teach us all a little more about creating show-stopping desserts! I asked my friend, Julie, of For Heaven Bakes, to share tips that we regular folks could use to up our decorating game.

Skull cookie being painted with paint brush with bright colors and flowers
Cookie and Tutorial by Julie of For Heaven Bakes/ Photo by Abby Murphy Photos

Julie created a jaw dropping (LOL) dessert and she is going to tell you all about it! Read on to hear from Julie…and to see how she created the cookies to complement this cake (insert that jaw drop here)…

Lady in purple holding Day of the Dead Skull cake
Cake by Julie McAllister of For Heaven Bakes/ Photo by Abby Murphy

Julie says…

For Halloween this year, I wanted to do a cake that was fun and colorful, and not just limiting the colors to the traditional orange and black. A Day of the Dead-themed party cake and cookies were perfect for this!

Day of the Dead Skull Cake with flowers
Cake by Julie McAllister of For Heaven Bakes/ Photo by Abby Murphy

The skull was sculpted from 5 cake layers (yes, he’s entirely edible!) and vanilla buttercream, then covered in fondant and topped with gum paste flowers. The skull design was entirely hand-painted, which took more than 3 hours to paint the whole head.

side view of day of dead skull cake handpainted with bright colors
Cake by Julie McAllister of For Heaven Bakes/ Photo by Abby Murphy

To make the party dessert setup complete, I wanted to add some fun cookies—these mini Day of the Dead skulls were the perfect complement to the cake!

hand painted skull cookies for day of the dead
Cookies by Julie of For Heaven Bakes/ Photo by Abby Murphy

My goal was to show a couple of different ways to decorate Day of the Dead cookies that a baker of any skill level could use as inspiration. Both designs use a combination of royal icing and fondant, and the general steps are outlined below. 

skull cookies with bright colors and flowers painted on them for day of the dead
Cookies by Julie of For Heaven Bakes/ Photo by Abby Murphy

How to Hand-Paint Skull Cookies

Day of the Dead Sugar Cookies Two Ways

Design 1: Hand-painted

Things You’ll Need

Skull-shaped sugar cookies, baked and cooled

–Skull-shaped cookie cutter (same that you used for the cookies)


–Small liner and wide paint brushes (I like Wilton’s cake brush sets)

–Corn syrup

–Assortment of gel food coloring (I used sky blue, mint green, rose pink, orange and black)

–1-2 tbsp vodka


Step 1. Roll out your homemade or pre-made fondant until it’s about 1/8″ thick.

baker pressing skull cookie cutter into white fondant
Photo by Abby Murphy

2. Using your skull-shaped cookie cutter, cut out as many skulls as you have cookies. (Optional: If your cutter is also a cookie stamp, stamp the design into the fondant after it’s cutout.)

day-of-the-dead-skull-cookie-fondant-corn-syrup
Photo by Abby Murphy

3. Using your wide paint brush, lightly brush a small amount of corn syrup onto the cookie, then place the cutout fondant skull onto the cookie. Using your fingers, smooth out any bumps.

baker smoothing white fondant on top of skull cookie
Photo by Abby Murphy

4. Place 1-2 drops of each gel food coloring you’re using into separate small ramekins (or a ceramic egg holder works great for this!), then add 1 drop of vodka to each color. Wait a few seconds, then mix together with a paint brush. Do this for every color (the vodka allows the food coloring to dry quickly). 

cookie artist painting day of the dead skull cookies with brush
Cookie by Julie of For Heaven Bakes/ Photo by Abby Murphy

5. Time to start decorating! I find it’s easiest to paint your “anchors” first, which are the eyes, nose and mouth. The great thing about Day of the Dead designs are that they are very unique and personal, and there are no wrong options! Using your different colors, try painting different swirls, flowers and dots all around the face until you’re happy with your design. 

Cookie by Julie of For Heaven Bakes/ Photo by Abby Murphy

6. Set cookies on a cooling rack to dry. Enjoy! 🙂

How to Decorate Skull Cookies Using Fondant

day-of-the-dead-skull-cookies-fondant-only
Cookies by Julie of For Heaven Bakes/ Photo by Abby Murphy


Design 2: Fondant Details Using a Royal Icing Base

Things You’ll Need

–Skull-shaped sugar cookies, baked and cooled

–Royal icing

 –Homemade or pre-made fondant

–Assortment of gel food coloring (I used sky blue, mint green, rose pink, orange and black)
–1-2 tbsp vodka
–Small liner paint brushes (I like Wilton’s cake brush sets)

–Any standard piping tip (you’ll be using the wide base and not the tip itself)

–Small heart cookie cutter

–Small rectangle cookie cutter

–Assortment of flower fondant stamps

–X-acto knife 


Step 1. Outline your skull cookies with royal icing and allow to dry. Once set, flood your royal icing and fill each outline. Allow at least 5 hours to fully dry, but I find it works best to let dry overnight. 

2. Using your various food coloring, color a small amount of fondant for each different color. 

3. Roll out your homemade or pre-made fondant until it’s about 1/8″ thick.

4. As with the first design, I find it’s easiest to start with your “anchors” first, which are the eyes, nose and mouth. And as I mentioned above, the great thing about Day of the Dead designs are that they are very unique and personal, and there are no wrong options!

For the eyes, use the base of your piping tip to cutout two circles (I used black for this).

day-of-the-dead-skull-cookies-with royal icing being decorated
Cookies by Julie of For Heaven Bakes/ Photo by Abby Murphy

Using a different color, cutout two flowers, using one of your flower stamps. Using your paint brush, add a small dab of royal icing to the back of each flower and then adhere to the cutout circles. Set aside to dry and firm up. Do two of these for every skull cookie you have.

5. Using your small heart cookie cutter, cutout a “nose” for each cookie. Set aside to dry and firm up.

cookie decorator adding nost to skull cookie for day of the dead
Cookies by Julie of For Heaven Bakes/ Photo by Abby Murphy

6. Using the rest of your colored fondant and flower stamps, continue to cutout various flowers in different sizes and colors. Set aside to dry and firm up.

7. Once all of your fondant toppers are firm, adhere to each cookie by placing a small dab of royal icing on your paint brush and then placing onto each cookie. 

cake stand with day of dead skull cookies in two different styles
Cookies by Julie of For Heaven Bakes/ Photo by Abby Murphy

8. Set cookies aside on a cooling rack so royal icing can fully dry. Enjoy! 🙂

Julie! Thank you for teaching us your techniques for decorating skull cookies for Day of the Dead. These are incredible! Okay, Friends, it is time for us to have a go. Which ones would you try to make first? I think I would go with the fondant covered cookies while I learn how to make and flood royal icing. I am guessing all of it would be a huge hit. And, I am still amazed by that cake!! Julie- you have so much talent!! You can see more of Julie’s talent here (you really should go see what she makes!).

3 photos combined to show baker holding day of dead skull cake
Julie McAllister/For Heaven Bakes/ Photo by Abby Murphy