Happy Halloween children! We’re ready to play with you and feed you and make your life interesting. You could stay forever if you want.
There’s just one thing you need to do first. So sharp you won’t feel a thing.
Step through the little door in the wall and into our Coraline Halloween Feast, full of tasty recipes and games. Everybody loves games.
This Halloween, we gathered ten lucky (?) children to go up against the Other Mother in a series of challenges to win their dinner, and their freedom.
We based our dinner party on both the excellent Neil Gaiman novel and the 2009 film. Our dinner guests would be invited into the Other Mother’s world for a night and made to earn each course and, finally, their escape from the room before we watched the movie together.
We started by sending out creepy invitations, complete with a pair of black buttons sewn into the card.
When each guest confirmed their RSVP we instructed them to download a QR Code onto their phones.
I can’t wait to meet you. We’re going to have so much fun. Forever. Before you arrive, please download a QR Code reader on your phone. It will help in our games. I love games.
Lots and lots of love,
Your Other Mother.
Throughout the novel Coraline travels between her world – full of dreary rainy days and packing boxes – and The Other Mother’s world – filled with wonder and fear.
We wanted the living room to look as though someone had just moved into a very old house, just like Coraline and her family in the book. We emptied the bookshelves and cabinets, leaving the shelves bare, and removed all the furniture apart from the dining table and some small end tables. We brought in multiple lamps to light up the corners, and used flameless candles on the mantle.
We also collected a series of snow globes to place on the mantle, just like the film. Emily recreated the Detroit Zoo snow globe from the film using polymer clay and a “DIY Snowglobe” set from Spotlight.
I covered every wall with patterned wrapping paper, to look like wallpaper. We picked a soft red colour so it wouldn’t be too intense, and an intricate pattern so it wouldn’t matter if it wasn’t aligned properly. I used lots of tiny blobs of blue tack along each edge of the paper to sit it as flush against the wall as possible. Luckily, it didn’t matter if it wasn’t completely neat as we wanted it to look as though the wallpaper was very old and peeling slightly.
To add to the ‘ye olde’ house vibe we mounted our plastic taxidermy animals around the room, strung up some rusted mirrors, and brought in our outdoor tables for our lamps – they normally hold up piles of potted plants and the water marks added to the derelict-chic look we were going for.
On one wall we recreated the little door that Coraline uses to find the Other world. We used the side of a cardboard box, covered with the same wrapping paper as the wall, and used Velcro strips to stick it solidly to the wall.
We set the table simply with a white tablecloth, black crockery, some candlesticks and a scattering of black buttons. At each plate we placed a calico bag for our guests to use throughout the night as they collected the lost souls of the little children who had gone before. To start, each bag contained a green triangular stone just like the one Coraline uses in the film (made from polymer clay) and a QR code clue to be used for the first round of the game.
The final touch was a note we pinned on the door, as a little welcome to our guests from their Other Mother…
Let’s play a game. Everybody loves games!
I’ve set a finding game for you – you’ll need to find the souls of the three other children who’ve come here before you. If you find them all, I will let you leave.
But if you don’t you must promise to stay here and let me love you, and feed you, and play with you, and sew buttons in your eyes so you can stay with me FOREVER.
Lots of love,
your Other Mother.
As each guest arrived we poured them a citrus-y mocktail inspired by the glass of limeade Coraline enjoys in the novel:
The limeade was very interesting. It didn’t taste anything like limes. It tasted bright green and vaguely chemical. Coraline liked it enormously.
Once everyone had arrived, we handed out the first clue card of the night. We scripted the notes as though they were left by the other children that had been trapped by the Other Mother, giving our guests clues and encouragement to escape themselves before it was too late!
We came to play with the Other Mother too, but we never saw our real mothers again. She left us here, she stole our hearts, and she stole our souls, and she took our lives away, and she left us here, and she forgot about us in the dark.
You can win free our souls, and you can win your mama and your papa back from the beldam. Find our secret hearts!
Take these stones – they’re good for bad things sometimes, they may help you on your search. Take these clues and find the first soul.
Be wise. Be brave. Be tricky. Good luck.
We will share the details for the game’s first round (and the recipe for the first course) in our next post, but for now here is the menu for the night, and the recipe for the mocktail.
Coraline Feast Menu
“It Tasted Green” lime and pineapple mocktail
“Dad made a recipe” Pan fried potato gnocchi, sauteed leeks, browned butter and shaved Gruyere
“Other Mother’s Sunday Roast” Individual mushroom pies, mashed potatoes, green peas, gravy
“Other Mother’s Ruin” – rhubarb cheesecake base, infested with gin-based beetles, bugs, and mice!
“It Tasted Green” – Limeade Mocktail
The recipe is very simple: one part lime cordial, one part pineapple juice, two parts sparkling water. You can add gin or vodka if you feel like it. Refreshing and delicious!