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Halloween Headquarters

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Lisa Thomas (right) serves up pumpkin shaped deviled eggs and spicy blood orange margaritas adorned with creepy-cool spiders (left). Photographs (2) by Katie Thornton

October 18, 2017

Halloween Headquarters
With October 31 just around the corner, event designer Lisa Thomas shares some of her party hosting tips during her annual haunted house celebration

Written by Melissa Bigner

The word “maven” gets tossed around a lot these days, so it’s worth pointing out the real deal. Lisa Thomas—owner of the Old Village’s clothing and gift shop, Out of Hand; its beauty bar, Ooh! Beautiful; its floral biz, Out of the Garden; and its event design firm, Ooh! Events and the mastermind behind the block parties known as the Pitt Street Strolls—is a good-times maven to her core.

Whether she’s making someone’s big day a spectacle to behold; chic-ing up a blue-chip corporation’s dinner; or simply (ha, “simply” and Lisa don’t know each other) handing out candy come October 31, you can bet the happening is definitely happening. But more than just someone who can pull together pretty, Lisa pulls together people.

“Halloween in the Old Village is storybook,” says Lisa of the picket-fenced, cottage-ridden enclave East of the Cooper. “It’s very different from how I grew up in the Pennsylvania country.” There, she explains, they never got a single trick-or-treater. “Here, it’s like a Norman Rockwell dream. I see hundreds of children a night, and the costumes are amazing. The adults get dressed, the dogs even get decked out, and everyone is all kinds of sugared up, which in itself is entertaining.” Here, find her tips, tricks, and recipes to help throw the perfect Halloween bash.

Paint, don’t carve. Painted pumpkins last longer than carved ones in the Lowcountry heat and humidity. Because Lisa couldn’t find enough white pumpkins to suit her vision, she sprayed the standard orange variety—and a host of gourds—with high-sheen car paint.
Enlist the gang. Get neighbors to participate and let each house have its own niche,” says Lisa. Bottomless chili, hay wagon rides, and decorated golf carts are some highlights from her corner of the Old Village.
Pace yourself. Follow Lisa’s game plan and put up decorations (pumpkins, statuary, curtains) in early October, then set up furniture and cut florals Halloween day.
Work with what youve got. Most of Lisa’s porch furniture is there year-round, so she simply accessorizes it for the holiday.
Divide and conquer. Sort out who’s hosting which zones. Pete works the sidewalk crowd, Lisa mans the candy dispensing, and family friends make sure porch pals have drinks and bites.
Make a rain plan. On dark and stormy nights, the action moves inside and trick-or-treaters take over the porch.
Kill the lights. “When we’re out of candy, we just go in and turn off the lights,” she notes.

No party is complete without tasty cocktails. Spice up your Halloween gathering with this fiery blood orange margarita recipe from Katie Poole of Batch.

Spicy Blood Orange Margarita
Note: For more servings, Batch’s Katie Poole says to multiply measurements by the total guest count.

  •     1 slice lime
  •     Black lava salt (to rim glass; find it at Earth Fare)
  •     11/2 oz. tequila (Lunazul Blanco preferred)
  •     1 oz. fresh blood orange juice (find it at WholeFoods Market)
  •     1/2 oz. fresh lime juice
  •     3/4 oz. dry curaçao (Pierre Ferrand preferred)
  •     1 slice serrano pepper        

Run the lime slice around the rim of the serving glass to wet it. Dip glass rim in salt to coat. Combine remaining ingredients and shake with ice. Pour into salted glass.

For more of Lisa Thomas’s tips and recipes, click here.

To read more from our October issue, click here.