Archive for October, 2010

October 31st, 2010

Swamp Sangria With Green Slime

Swamp Sangia with Green Slime from Operation Santa | Operation Letter To SantaUp the gore factor with this Halloween Sangria that resembles swamp water but tastes like autumn nectar. All you need to do is add a drizzle of green swamp slime to the rim of the serving glasses.

Making edible slime is a snap and will take you just a minute or two. In a wide, shallow bowl, mix together a few drops of green gel food covering and about 1/2 cup of glucose syrup or light corn syrup. You can find the glucose syrup online and at baking and craft store.

Swamp Sangria Recipe


  • 1 small bunch fresh basil
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 750-milliliter bottle mead (honey wine), chilled
  • 1 cup calvados (apple brandy), chilled
  • 6 cups apple cider, chilled
  • 1 lemon, juiced


  1. In a large pitcher, combine the basil and sugar, Use a wooden spoon to mash the basil into the sugar.
  2. Add remaining ingredients and stir to combine.
  3. Serve well chilled with the green slime drizzled on the rim of the glasses.

Visit Operation Letter To Santa

Santa Claus signature

October 31st, 2010

Witches Brew Halloween Punch

Witches Brew Halloween Punch recipe from Operation Santa | Operation Letters to SantaNothing says Halloween punch like fish eyes. So here is a ghoulish recipe for a party-sized kettle of fruity, bubbly witches brew studded with slippery, slimy, gooey fish eyes!



  • 4 cups water
  • 1 cup tapioca pearls
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 64-ounce  bottle cranberry juice blend, chilled
  • 2-liter bottle lime seltzer water, chilled
  • 12-ounce can frozen peach blend juice concentrate, thawed
  • Gummy worms or other gummy candies 


  1. In a medium saucepan over high heat, bring the water to a boil.
  2. Add the tapioca pearls and sugar, then return to a boil.
  3. Lower the heat to medium and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Transfer the tapioca mixture to a bowl, cover and refrigerate until chilled.
  5. Once the tapioca has chilled, in a large clear punch bowl, combine the cranberry juice blend, seltzer water, peach juice concentrate and chilled tapioca mixture. Stir gently to combine.
  6. Garnish the bowl with Gummy candies.

Visit Operation Letter To Santa

Santa Claus signature

October 30th, 2010

Vampire Bite Halloween Cocktail

Vampire Blood Halloween CocktailHalloween is nigh and that is the night when spirits roam! Here is a Halloween inspired libation for the adult Halloween parties that you are hosting or attending. You can take the recipe and the ingredients as a hostess gift.


This recipe calls for homemade grenadine, which resembles blood in this vampire-inspired cocktail. Don’t be tempted to use purchased grenadine, as it is too sweet, too thin and will change the flavor of the drink.

And if blood oranges aren’t available, use a slice of regular orange that has been soaked in the “blood.”

If you have trouble finding tamarind soda (check the grocer’s ethnic aisle), tamarind juice can be blended with seltzer water.

For the grenadine “blood”:

1/2 cup pomegranate juice

1/2 cup sugar

Several drops orange flower water

For the cocktail:


1 1/2 ounces silver tequila

1/2 ounce Campari

1 ounce blood orange juice

2 ounces tamarind soda

1/2 ounce grenadine “blood”

1 slice blood orange (optional)

To make the grenadine “blood,” in a small saucepan over high heat, combine the pomegranate juice and sugar. Bring to a boil and heat until the sugar is dissolved. Add the orange flower water, then reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat, transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate until chilled.

In a highball glass filled with ice, combine the tequila, Campari, blood orange juice and soda. Lightly stir, then top with grenadine “blood.” Garnish with a slice of blood orange.

— Recipe adapted from Jonathan Pogash of Bookmarks Lounge in New York.

Visit Operation Letter To Santa

Santa Claus signature

October 28th, 2010

Easy Halloween Party Foods

Easy Halloween Snacks and Beverage Ideas from Operation Letters to SantaA party is not a party unless the fun includes plenty of great food and drinks. On Halloween, this calls for special fare. Getting your costumes together may leave little time to bother struggling with a menu. The last thing you want to do is slave in the kitchen making snacks for the family or party guests. The following are ideas for snacks that you can create using store-bought items and a little creativity.

Beverages – You can always count on everyone being thirsty. All you need is some ordinary drinks dressed up a bit.

Punch – One way to wet their whistle is with punch. No matter what the flavor, you want it to look as scary as possible. Use food coloring to darken the punch (black cauldron bubble) or brighten it (bucket of blood punch). To add to the frightful appearance, fashion eyeballs, fingers, or what have you, out of fruit and ice cream and float your ghoulish creations on top of the punch.

Sodas – Ordinary sodas can take on the ghoulish for one night. Use decorative plastic Halloween cups for your sodas. Add different colored whipped cream to the top and orange, black and purple straws.  For more adult beverages, add new labels to the cans and bottles in keeping with the theme of the night (for instance Witch’s Brew, Dracula’s Ale, Lager Of Lost Souls, or Blood Wine).

Finger Foods –In this case, we really may mean “finger foods.” Start with these ideas and see how spooky you can get.

Witch fingers – This is one of the most popular ideas. You can use sugar cookie dough and shape it onto long, thin strips to resemble fingers. While the cookies cool, press half an almond in one end to look like a fingernail. Use red gel to fashion some dripping blood if you like.

Cupcake creations – If you are short on time, buy store cupcakes and add decorative magic. Black or orange icing plus sprinkles or pumpkin candy works for most kids. For older children, add Gummi worms, dirt sprinkles, and skeleton drawings in the icing or licorice strands to become spider legs.

Scary molds – Jell-O molds have been around for a long time. For Halloween use brain molds and also those for creeping hands or skulls. Instead of gelatin, try cheese to fashion the body part along with creepy add-ins like slivered almonds for scales, strawberry or raspberry glaze for blood. Then serve your scary snack with crackers.

You can get as creepy or disgusting as you want with the menu. The scarier, the better. The best part is that the recipes are easy, with many only requiring you use what you already have on hand or can buy cheaply. These Halloween snacks are creepy creativity at its finest!

Visit Operation Letter To Santa

Santa Claus signature

October 20th, 2010

10 Ways To Have A Safe And Fun Halloween

Halloween FunThe history of Halloween may be rooted in fear and scaring away the evil doers with tricks, but these days that is not how we celebrate it. In modern times, it is about having a little fright, a little candy, and a LOT of fun. Keeping it that way is everyone’s responsibility so let’s take a look at how to stay safe while having fun during Halloween:

Trick-or-treat during daylight hours – Nighttime is scarier but it is also a time of greater safety risk. If you have small children, start your journey around the neighborhood well before dark. This ensures that you will be on the home stretch as the sun goes down.

Drive the route – If kids want to go out after dark, chauffeur them around in your car from house to house. Small legs won’t get tired and you can keep tabs better.

Examine all candy first – Before the first piece is eaten, inspect all wrappers for pin holes and any candy that is half wrapped or not wrapped at all. Discard any candy that looks homemade unless you got it from someone you know well.

Stay on the doorstep – When kids go out in groups, remind them not to step any further into the home than the front step. Even friendly looking neighbors may be strangers and precautions need to be taken. You can not be sure your friendly neighbor is the one home to answer the door.

Carry flashlights – Kids and teens that go out at night should be aware of possible dangers such as obstacles in yards and potholes in streets. Stick to the sidewalks, but if you do have to cross the grass, use a flashlight to guide you away from potential hazards.

Use good judgment – When out with a group of friends, the goal is safety and fun. If they want to egg people’s cars and homes, toilet paper trees, or any other mischief, don’t go along with them.  Parents and kids should talk this through before the big night so you already have a plan in place to resist peer pressure.

Stick to sidewalks – Even in your neighborhood, sidewalks is safer than walking in the road. Take a route where you face traffic so you can get out of the way of oncoming cars. 

Use lights for pumpkins – It is eerie to use a candle but they can fall over and catch something on fire. Especially for parties, use flickering battery-operated bulbs for jack-o-lanterns and window illumination.

Wear costumes with full movement and vision – Oh, I know those masks are cute, but if they obstruct your child’s peripheral vision, don’t let them wear it.  The same goes for tight dresses that restrict walking.  If your child is in danger of tripping or not seeing oncoming traffic, choose a different costume.

Wear light colored costumes – Choose a costume with glitter, sparkle, and light colors for trick-or-treating.  You may even want to attach some reflective tape to your child’s costume.  You may be watching for cars and assume the car coming sees you because you see it.  That’s an assumption that can not and should not be made.

As you prepare for Halloween, remember that staying safe is the first priority.  Once you’re safe, you can start having fun!

Visit Operation Letter To Santa

Santa Claus signature

October 18th, 2010

Choose A Halloween Party Theme

SpiritHalloween.comBefore you know it, it will be October 31st. Where will you be and what will you be doing on that date? If you are planning a Halloween party, here are some great ideas to keep your party eerie, frightening, and fun.

Start with Spooky 

Halloween is the one time of year when it is permitted to scare the ‘be-jeebers’ out of everybody. Nothing is off limits; the spookier, the better. Fine tune your scare tactics and bring your most ghoulish dreams to reality with a spooky Halloween party.

Pick a Theme 

You may want your party to revolve around something hideous and creepy, but there are so many variations on that idea. Here are some themes you can use for the different age groups:

Youth Theme Party Ideas 

  • Scary Monster Theme
  • Bad Guy Theme
  • Favorite Movie or Television Character
  • Jack-o-lantern Costume Theme
  • Princess Costume Theme

With kids, the possibilities are endless because they have so many interests, not the least of which is dressing up… for everything!

Teenage Theme Party Ideas 

  • Vampire Party
  • Favorite Undead Character
  • Favorite Ghoulish Mask
  • Twilight
  • Psychedelic

Using the same basic concept for teens as for younger children, you just think of popular television and movie characters and stories and pick a theme. For teenagers, just step it up a notch and give them more bizarre options. Throw out some ideas and let your teen run with it.

Adult Theme Party Ideas

  • So Sexy Monster Theme
  • Murder Mystery Night
  • Re-visit the 60s, 70s, 80s,or 90s
  • Nightie Night Pajama Party

If you are throwing an all-adult party, be sure to plan for a long night. Make it fun and worth the extra effort it takes to plan and execute a costume to fit the theme.  Find a babysitter whose willing to stay into the wee hours so you and your guests can howl at the moon. Couple parties as well as all-girl or guys night parties are especially fun for Halloween. Create some fun with this night away from the stress of work and family responsibilities.

The Planning 

As with any party, the first step is the planning. If Halloween falls on a weekend, great. Otherwise, choose a non-workday and non-school day that’s close to Halloween for the best result. If you pick a day too far before or after Halloween, you will lose the festive feeling. Unlike Christmas, the ‘season’ for Halloween is short.

Halloween falls on the same day every year, so we all know it’s coming, and when!  Sometimes the success of a party boils down to who gets their invitations out first. You will need to send out invitations before the social calendars fill up. Hash out the particulars of your party and let everyone know about the theme so they can get their costumes together.  Once the invitations are out, get the decorations and food planned and ready.  And, don’t forget your own costume!

Pick a theme for your Halloween party this year to make it even more spectacular.  Make the theme scary if you like, or just make it fun.  It doesn’t matter just as long as everyone’s having a good time!

Easy Halloween Costume Ideas 

Each year, people spend hundreds of dollars getting tricked out and trussed up for the spookiest night of the year. We’re talking about Halloween, of course. But, at what cost? You want to keep more money in your pocket, and we want to help you do just that.  Here are some easy Halloween costume ideas that are great for kids and adults alike, and that won’t put your budget at risk.

Kids and Teens Costumes 

When you think “easy” you think readily accessible materials, quick, and very little cost. Never fear, brave parents. You can create great costumes with materials you already have at home.  Very often these costumes are from ideas provided by your kids.

For the younger set, you may very likely need two costumes. Why two costumes? Kids like to dress up for their class Halloween party as well as trick-or-treating. Most kids like having a different costume for each party. After all, part of the fun of the Halloween costume is the surprise, or even shock. Those elements can be lost if the costume is worn twice.

To get started on a costume, look in the kids’ closets. If your kids are like most kids, they have a collection of play clothes including princess dresses, tiaras, cowboy hats, lassos, themed pajamas, and all sorts of accessories. The closets and dress-up bins are treasure troves.

Here’s an example for a young girl who wants to be a princess. If she has ever been to a Disney store or a Disney theme park, she may already have at least one princess dress. Start with that dress as the basis for your costume. Fancy it up with a tiara, a magic wand, and a pair of old shoes sprayed with glitter paint. What you don’t have can be found at the dollar store or in your closet. Try some simple face painting makeup to give her a resemblance of her favorite storybook royalty.

As an example for a teen who wants to be an old time rock and roll star, you may want to raid your own closet. Grab some old T-shirts and tear off the sleeves. Then find old jeans you can cut up and shred a bit. An old wig is fun, too, especially if the costume is more of a ‘heavy metal’ style rocker. Have your teen look through your old albums to get ideas, then go ahead and drag out that big box of old clothes and dig in.

Adult Costumes 

Here is where the process gets easier still. You don’t have to go to a costume shop to rent or buy a witch’s outfit or Dracula costume. It’s time to hit the closet again.

Let’s start with the guys. Do you like gumshoe detectives; Spade, Marlow, Columbo? If you have a long trench coat, all you need is a wrinkled shirt, slacks, a hat, and a fake cigarette. Is surfer dude more your speed? Grab the board, put on your wetsuit and slick that hair up. A pair of silky pajamas and a silky scarf tied around your neck and you are the world’s most famous playboy.

We haven’t left you out, girls. What about your favorite little black dress? Add some spider webbed gloves, stilettos, a long black wig, red lipstick and fangs, and you are the sexy vamp ready for a night of bloodletting. You can also raid his closet and work wonders with one of his old suits. Grab a martini glass and you are the perfect Madison Avenue advertising executive.

Looking your best on Halloween doesn’t have to mean a trip to the costume store to buy an expensive get up. Start with what you have right in your home and accessorize to the hilt. Instead of spending hundreds of dollars on a costume, you can shop at home and look like a million bucks.

Visit Operation Letter To Santa

Santa Claus signature

October 11th, 2010

Top Halloween Party Games For Adults

It isn’t just the kids who want to have fun on Halloween. Even though adults don’t trick-or-treat anymore, they can still throw a mean bash and invite all their friends.

Free ground shipping on orders over $100!Here are some ideas for great grownup party games:

Truth or Dare – This game can take on all sorts of nuances and innuendo. It all depends on the group you’re throwing the party for. Write up a pile of questions and dares ahead of time, throw them in a bowl, and let the games begin.

Charades – Everyone loves a good game of guessing. Use Halloween themes for the game topics. Pick teams such as guys against gals, ghouls against goblins, or even dead against undead.

Name that Ghostly Tune – See which team can name the most Halloween classics from snippets played for them. For a real brain teaser, ask them to name the artist as well.

Karaoke – This game always brings out the laughter and fun. Sing your heart out to your favorite monster jam and ask everyone else to join in. Let judges decide who has the best rendition and offer a prize.

Who’s Who – This game involves the costume you choose.  For example, the invitation may state that you should come as your favorite scary character.  At a chosen time during the party, everyone will go into character, giving everyone else time to guess who they are and write it down. Keep the characters as obscure as possible to keep the guessing going.

Mystery Whodunit – The invitation for this type of party should stress an RSVP. Upon arrival, each guest gets a piece of paper detailing who they are to play in the mystery as well as instructions for their character. The host is the detective who helps solve the crime. Choose someone in your family who agrees ahead of time to play the murder victim. At the prescribed time, each person goes into character.  When the lights go out, the murder occurs. When you turn the lights back on, there are clues to find out whodunit.

Fear Factor – Blindfold those who dare take the challenge and have them touch a series of things and try to guess what they are. It can be a bowl of cold spaghetti worms, gelatin brains, peeled grape eyeballs, or anything else that makes your guests get all creepy crawly inside.

Halloween is the one holiday we get to pull out all the stops and anything goes.  Make your party as spooky and eerie as you like. Pick a fun and freaky party theme and start planning today!

Visit Operation Letter To Santa

Santa Claus signature

October 6th, 2010

Black Bean and Pumpkin Chili

Black Bean and Pumpkin Chili | Operation Santa

Black Bean and Pumpkin Chili

This is a healthy and quite delicious recipe that everybody in the family will love, especially on blustery autumn days! It’s a wonderful variation on standard chili that freezes well and tastes even better as leftovers.


  • 1 med onion, chopped
  • 1 med. yellow pepper, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 3 cups of chicken broth
  • 2 cans of black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 1/2 cups of cubed, cooked turkey or chicken
  • 1 can of solid pack pumpkin
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes UNDRAINED
  • 2 tsp. parsley flakes
  • 2 tsp. chili powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 1/2 tsp. cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. salt


  1. In a large skillet, saute the onions, peppers and garlic until tender.
  2. Transfer to a slow-cooker. Stir in the remaining ingredients.
  3. Cover and cook on low 4-5 hours or until heated through.
  4. Enjoy!!

Visit Operation Letter To Santa

Santa Claus signature

October 3rd, 2010

Halloween Twilight Character Ideas

Twilight has joined the ranks of famous movie characters and has spawned costume ideas that will be quite hot this Halloween. To be cool at your favorite party this year, who will you be?

A Bit of Background About the Characters

So, here’s what everyone is raving about. A big city girl named Bella Swann moves away from her mom and in with her dad in the tiny, tiny backwater that is Forks, Washington. In the first movie, just from the scenery, you can tell this is going to be both gothic and strangely romantic.

To continue; Bella meets the sun-challenged Edward Cullen. His blazing eyes and porcelain skin suck her in right away (no pun intended). She is enamored with him even more when he saves her life from a runaway truck. It is here that our detective beauty embarks on a journey to find out who Edward really is – a vampire.

Jacob Black is the tanned, dark-haired friend of Bella Swan and also a member of the Quileute tribe on the local Indian reservation. Jacob likes Bella very much, and has an intense distrust of the Cullen’s (especially Edward) that she can’t understand.

Now that you have a quick synopsis, let’s discuss the look.

Costume Couture for Gals

For the gals, this is a no-brainer. Even though there are some gals in the Cullen household who could turn a guy’s head (Alice and Rosalie) – and not just to bite them – most girls want to play the love interest of the deeply mysterious Edward. That would be Bella Swann.

To pull off this look, you don’t need much. These are actually some of the easiest characters to portray without spending loads of cash. If you are a natural brunette, you are one step ahead of the others. If not, invest in a good long brunette wig.

Bella’s dress is simple: peasant shirts, boot cut jeans, garden variety blue kicks, and a jean jacket. Where you will stand out is the accessories: bracelets, rings, dark headband, and pale pink lipstick.

Costume Couture for Guys 

So are you for Team Edward or Team Jacob? Playing upon your natural coloring may decide for you. For instance, a deep tan will naturally give you a head start on Team Jacob. If you are fair skinned, then Team Edward would be your natural choice.

Now guys, you will have to put on a little makeup if you want to have that undead look. Sweep the hair upward with styling gel and have those eyebrows arched. To shock and appeal to the ladies, brush a bit of sparkling body glitter just above your neckline to give them a hint of your vampire side.

As for clothes, you might already have them in your wardrobe: solid white or blue shirt, skinny but manly jeans, black Nike’s, long jacket, and cuff bracelet.

Jacob is buff, so guys, start doing your crunches now. You can be Jacob in Twilight with the long silky dark hair or in Eclipse with a short sexy slightly spiked coif.

As far as wardrobe, you can go with a pair of jeans. Jacob is often seen without a shirt, but October may not be the month to go shirtless, so try out a black muscle shirt for the look.

Who will you be?  Let your inner Bella, Edward, or Jacob shine through with a bit of over-the-top clothing, hair, and makeup to inspire your best “fright night” ever.

Visit Operation Letter To Santa

Santa Claus signature

October 2nd, 2010

Healthy Halloween Treats Kids Will Love

Just because it’s Halloween doesn’t mean you have to forget your family’s health. There are more nutritious ways to enjoy the night. By all means let your kids hit the neighborhood and gather a bag of goodies, but temper that with a few nutritious treats of your own. If you are planning a Halloween party for the kids, put out a mix of healthy treats alongside the not-so-healthy favorites.

Here are a few ideas for healthy ghostly treats for your kids:

Trail Mix – This is a mix of snack foods that kids will love. Pick raisins, nuts, cereals, and any other dry foods your kids like to eat. Mix it all together and place it front-and-center so they can grab a handful as they run from one game to the next.


  • 1 cup combination diced dried fruit, such as prunes, apricots, pears and apples
  • 1/2 cup raisins and/or dried cherries or cranberries
  • 1 1/2 cups unsalted sunflower seeds
  • 1 cup unsalted dry-roasted peanuts (or honey-roasted peanuts, chopped walnuts or unsalted almonds)


Mix all together and then place in air-tight container for storage. Makes 4 cups.

Halloween Veggie SkeletonCelery and carrot skeleton – Cut thin strips of celery and carrots and arrange them to create a skeleton body on the plate. Form a low-fat cheese ball creation for the skull, carve out the eye sockets and fill with raisins. Stick the cheese knife right into the skull for more eerie fun.

Pumpkin seeds – When you carve up the pumpkins don’t forget to save the seeds. Roasted and salted pumpkin seeds are a good after-carving snack. Let kids lay them flat on a baking sheet and watch them roast in a 400 degree oven.  Click here for some fun and easy pumpkin seed recipes.

Muffins – Finger foods like muffins can be sweet tasting like cupcakes but more nutritious. Try pumpkin muffins, zucchini muffins, or banana muffins for great taste and less sugar. Decorate the muffins just like you would cupcakes.

Chocolate spoons – Make your own chocolate treats using dark chocolate. It is healthier than milk chocolate because it contains more cocoa solids. Melt dark chocolate onto black and orange plastic spoons. Freeze them until the chocolate sets. Wrap them in cellophane and place them on the party table. The kids can lick them as a treat or swish them around in a cup of hot chocolate for extra flavor.


  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 3/4 cup milk chocolate chips
  • Black and orange Halloween plastic spoons


  1. In a microwave safe bowl, melt semisweet chocolate pieces in microwave for 2 to 3 minutes and stir until smooth. Dip spoons into chocolate. Put spoons onto wax paper and refrigerate until chocolate hardens.
  2. Melt milk chocolate pieces in microwave for 2 to 3 minutes and stir until smooth. Place chocolate into plastic bag and cut off a corner. Drizzle melted chocolate over spoons. Refrigerate until chocolate hardens.
  3. Wrap each spoon separately and store in a cool dry place.

Caramel apples – Slice the apples for easier eating. Put the slices in individual bowls and drizzle the caramel over the top. You can sprinkle the apples with chopped nuts if you wish. A little caramel goes a long way, and it keeps the calories and sugar at a minimum.

What will your kids eat this Halloween? It doesn’t just have to be candy. Give them candy in moderation, but let the bulk of the snacks you create be of a healthier variety.

Visit Operation Letter To Santa

Santa Claus signature

snowflake snowflake snowflake snowflake snowflake snowflake snowflake snowflake snowflake snowflake