What better way to keep in the spirit of Halloween than by turning your buffet table into a feast that may almost turn their appetites off instead of on. Creating a “dead body buffet” will let them enjoy what you have prepared and leave a lasting impression when it comes to your party decorating skills. There are a good many ways to get this done. Let's start with the basic supplies and then move on to the food possibilities.
- 6 foot long table
- Black table cloth (8ft or larger)
- Battery Operated Candles and/or table lights (safety first! battery operated please)
- Various sizes of serving dishes
- Wig (for “head” area – optional)
- Old Men's Dress Shirt
- Pair of Old Pants
- Various food items (see below)
The art of creating a dead body buffet lies in the strategic placement of the applicable food items. The goal is to create a tasty buffet of food that resembles a dead body, and additional portions of the creations are placed in front of the body for easy serving. You can start with the body's accessories – a wig, large shirt and pants. The wig is easy, that is the head. When it comes to the shirt, it should only be buttoned on the “neck” area, and draped over the tablecloth open, as an additional decoration (sleeves are laid on the table flat). The pants are the same… use an old pair, leave the button and zipper open, and put a serving dish of whatever you are using for the intestine/stomach section. For the pant legs, however, cut each pant leg down the front center, just below the crotch, stopping before the hemline. Fold open and arrange serving bowls and dishes inside. It helps to shred the clothes up a little for added effect. There are endless ways to vary the buffet and the above is just one example to get your creative juices flowing.
As far as the food goes, try these options on for size:
Head – Eyes, Bloody Ears and Brain Matter are key here. First, however, place an appropriately sized bowl in a wig. This will be your head. Fill with brain matter (either leafy salad,pasta salad, or a specialty brain appetizer – like a cheese ball made from a “brain mold”) and garnish with your choice of edible eyeball creations. It can be a good idea to make the head area an appetizer section, so that the actual head has one selection, allowing you to place two more additional appetizers like a bowl of Eyeballs (gelatinous eyeballs, deviled egg eyeballs, etc.) or a platter of Bloody Ears (shrimp “ears” and cocktail sauce).
Neck/Shoulders – Not a lot to do here. If you are using the shirt, you may want to button it up over a box and use this area for illumination effects and decorations… like a battery operated flickering candle with some spiders and spiderwebs.
Ribs/Chest – Place a serving dish (crock pot, casserole or pan) in the rib area and fill with boneless barbecue rib meat. Stack bone-in ribs in another serving dish at an angle in front of the boneless rib meat to create the “ribs” of the body. If you would rather, you can get some fake bones from a party supply or ask for some bones from a butcher that you can set out purely as a decoration, keeping the center meat in a heated dish.
Stomach/Intestines – Inside the pant torso, place your crock pot or serving dish filled with things like spaghetti (or any pasta of your choice), bratwurst, or any large sausage… really it can be filled with anything you think intestines or a stomach would look like. You may choose to just fill it with sweet and sour chicken (red sauce is pretty grotesque), or even some fried chicken gizzards complete with a little bloody dipping sauce (Marinara, or Red Ranch Dip)
Hands – the actual arms will be under some serving dishes, silverware or napkins, but the cuff of the sleeve can be adjusted to border the bowl or platter where you can serve appetizer “fingers”. There are many kinds of recipes for fingers, ranging from shrimp to cookies. It will be your choice here. Make sure to make a display hand and have the actual items in separate bowls. You can even create a hand out of dead finger appetizers and buffalo wings – using the drummette as a bloated rotting thumb (a light application of BBQ sauce with a little red food dye works great for this effect).
Legs – This is the area where you can stuff the pant legs with Breadstick Bones, Tinted Kneecaps (dinner rolls), or make them bloody-style by having a little marinara sauce handy.
Feet – You can create some toes the same way you do fingers, or you can just set aside this section for condiments and silverware, or other additional dishes and desserts you want to place on the table. Just decorate it with old boots or shoes (please wash first!). Slide the boots and shoes up against the furthest side of the table (eg: against the wall) and cover with fake spider webs, bugs,worms, spiders, etc.
All that is left is to put the table together. Drape the tablecloth over the table, then arrange the food in accordance with their respective body parts and clothing. Finish by arranging lights and fake spider webs to create the appropriate spooky effect. Since all party sizes are different, use your imagination to arrange the accessories and make your dead body buffet the life of the party!