She Wanted a Beetlejuice-inspired Birthday Party

By Libbie Summers
Assisted by David Dempsey 

A small group of friends from all over the United States gathered together in Savannah, GA for a Beetlejuice themed birthday celebration. The client/guest of honor contacted me to design the dinner table at a boutique hotel where the event would be taking place. When I spoke with the client about the party, her only direction was “You do you. I’m looking for a Libbie Summers take on the dinner scene in the movie”.  When I pushed her further, she mentioned how funny Wynona Ryder’s character, Lydia Deetz, was when she was wearing black lace over her face…and THAT nugget is where the ideation for the table design began.

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For Cocktails: Guests arrived for specialty cocktails in the downstairs lounge of the hotel where they opened an antique dictionary the size of Montana to choose their drink. Prayer candles ran down the bar to add just the right amount of light (see craft below).
For Dinner: Guests walked through draped black lace to enter the space.
The table was layered with a rich grey velvet and then topped with black lace.
Antique silver candle sticks ran down the middle of the table while lace covered led lights were dimly lit overhead.
Fruit and vegetables painted black were wrapped around the candle sticks as beetles peeked around the corners when guests weren’t looking.
Dark grey linens from the Yum Yum Smile Shop were at each place setting with a simply printed menu card.
Facing each guest…propped on a vintage book was a floral head draped in black lace. (NOTE: Staff removed heads before dinner service began and placed them against the wall behind each chair…again creepy cool.)

Craft Takeaways: 
1. Freaky Chic Florals: At each place setting and as the floral element, styrofoam heads were decoupaged with cut up prints of Dutch still life paintings. The day of the party, humble florals (there was a budget here) were pinned into the heads as hairstyles. Some heads were lit with small twinkle lights among the flowers. Finally, black lace was draped over each head before guests arrived.
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2. Beetlejuice Character Prayer Candles: Inexpensive prayer candles were used to make these fun character candles for the cocktail portion of this party. Labels were soaked off the original candles (found in the grocery story at $1.50 each) in hot water and characters from the movie were printed out on regular printer paper and decoupaged using Modge Podge onto the outside of the candles. Make sure to coat the entire candle, even the parts that don’t have the picture on them.
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She said “This party was EVERYTHING. It was a better party than my first wedding.”
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Bats, Sprinkles, and Halloween!

By Libbie Summers
Assisted by David Dempsey
Photography by Teresa Earnest
Bat Hat and Cape Set from Lovelane Designs

Lovelane Designs: “We want to make you and The Bitch a Halloween costume. What would you like to be?”
Me: “A bat.”

Sprinkles and Bat Inspired Halloween by Libbie Summers

Nailed it.
Sprinkles and Bat Inspired Halloween by Libbie Summers

This look inspired me to make bat-shaped cookies to sprinkle my Hobgoblin Sprinkles over from Yum Yum Smile Shop!
Sprinkles and Bat Inspired Halloween by Libbie Summers

The Only Sugar Cookie Recipe You Will Ever Need
makes 3 dozen (depending on cookie cutter size)

What you need:
3 cups all-purpose flour (plus more for bench flour)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla paste (can sub vanilla extract)
1/2 teaspoon almond extract Buttercream frosting or royal icing for decorating
Yum Yum Smile Shop Sprinkles for decorating…natch!

What to do:
1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
2. In a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
3. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in egg, paste and extract.
4. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. The dough should be stiff.
5. Do not chill the dough…just get right into it! Lightly flour a work surface and cut off enough dough to be workable. Roll out to a 1/4-inch thickness and cut with your cookie cutters. Place on the prepared baking trays and bake for 6-8 minutes.
6. Allow to cool completely before frosting and decorating.


DIY: Pom Pom Clown Shoes

By Libbie Summers
Assisted by David Dempsey

Clown Portrait: Liesa Cole Photography
Clown Stylist: Mindi Shapiro
Clown Hair: Mark Hyde
Clown Makeup: Erin London

Clowns get a bad wrap. I always thought it was about those oversized shiny red shoes. I’m changing the way clowns are perceived…starting with the feet up! 

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DIY: Pom Pom Clown Shoes
makes 1 pair
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What you need: 
1 glue gun with glue sticks
Premade pom poms in 2 sizes (each pair of shoes used approximately 240 small and 100 medium)
1 pair shoes (I used pale pink “faux keds” from Target)
2 (24-inch) pieces of ribbon (I used grey)
2 small handmade yarn pom poms (get Pom Pom DIY HERE)
2 medium-sized handmade pom poms
1 pair scissors

What to do: 
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Step One: Using a hot glue gun attach the medium-sized pom poms around the base of the shoe (making sure to leave a little gap from the bottom of the shoe). Then fill in the other area on the top of the shoe and back of the shoe with the small pom poms. Continue until both shoes are covered.
Pro Tip: I pulled all the colors of pom poms I wanted to use together first and separated them into piles of the same color. It made it easier to not use the same color next to each other.
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Step Two: Remove old shoe laces and replace them with a big ribbon.
PRO TIP: Never throw away a new shoe lace. They are fun to mix and match between shoes…it’s what a lazy clown would do
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Step Three: Tie the handmade pom poms onto the ribbon shoe laces.
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Striped Socks Optional.



DIY Vintage Paper Mache Candy Buckets

By Libbie Summers
Assisted by David Dempsey

The years before I turned 8 years old (and felt to be cool I had to collect my Halloween candy loot in a pillow case), I carried a homemade candy bucket just like these. Mine was a creepy pumpkin, the color faded from bright orange to a certain shade of peach and the edges tattered.

I love the imperfection and homemade chic quality of these vintage candy buckets…makes me wish I had never switched to a pillow case. 

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1 Medium Plastic Pumpkin Bucket
1 Local News Paper Cut Into 1″ x 8″ Strips
1 Large Piece of Card Stock
1 Pair Scissors
16 oz White Glue
16 oz Water
1 Roll of Painters Tape
1 Paint Brush
4-5 Acrylic Paints (based on what type of bucket design you are working on)

What to do: 

Step 01:
Cut nose, horns, and cheek bone shapes out of card stock. Use painters tape and attach to the pumpkin form. Using a pumpkin form will help determine where features go.

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Step 02:
Mix together 16oz White glue and 16oz Water.

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Step 03:
Dip a strip of newspaper into glue and water mixture. Apply one at a time over the card stock shapes and onto the remainder of the pumpkin shape. Let dry overnight, you may need to add an additional layer of newspaper when dry.

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Step 04:
When fully dry, mix together some black and white paint to make a light gray base. Paint entire form and ensure no newspaper is showing through or visible.

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Step 05:
When dry, get creative and design your own spooky or cute and fun candy buckets. Finish with fabric bow around the handle for more effect!

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Candy Corn Marshmallow Popcorn Balls

by Libbie Summers
Assisted by David Dempsey

The first step to making popcorn balls is this recipe. The marshmallow “glue” is your baby step into making those with hot sugar! I added the candy corn because I love it and it seemed fitting for Halloween. Pretzels and peanuts are fun additions too. Basically, just have a blast and have the kids help!
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Candy Corn Marshmallow Popcorn Balls
makes about a dozen softball sized balls

What you need:
1 cup uncooked popcorn kernels (I love Orville Redenbacher)
6 tablespoons vegetable oil
Cooking spray
2 cups candy corn
2 (10 ounce) bags mini marshmallows
10 tablespoons unsalted butter

What to do:
1. Line a baking sheet with wax paper and set aside.

2. In a large saucepan with a tight-fitting lid, add the oil and 2 popcorn kernels. Cook over high heat until the kernels pop, then add the remaining popcorn, cover and lower the heat to medium-high. Cook until the kernels stop popping, shaking the pan often. Discard any unpopped kernels.  Spray a large mixing bowl with non-stick spray and add popcorn and candy corn. Set aside.

3. In a large pot over medium-high heat, add the butter and marshmallows. Cook, stirring, until melted and smooth (about 6 minutes).

4. Pour the melted marshmallow mixture over the popcorn mixture and gently toss to coat.

5. Coat your hands with cooking spray, then shape the into balls (have everyone help!). Place balls on the prepared baking sheet and refrigerate until firm.


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