Thursday, October 27, 2011

Blood Red Halloween Cocktails: Halloween or Vampire Party?

Halloween is fast approaching, and if you're throwing a party, you'll want to have some Bloody Drinks available. The following are a few awesome cocktails. Throw in some rubber spiders or eyeballs as garnish.


1 Part Tequila Silver
1 Part Strawberry Liqueur

Shake with ice, and strain into a shot glass.


1 Part Tequila Reposado
1 Part Grenadine

Shake with ice and strain into shot glass


1 part Iceberg Vodka
1 part peach schnapps
1 part Jagermeister
1 part cranberry juice

Chill all ingredients. Combine in a shaker with ice. Strain into a shot glass. shoot!


2 oz VeeV Acai Spirit
1 oz acai juice
1/2 oz fresh lime juice
Top with fresh champagne
lime wedge for garnish

Combine VeeV, Acai juice and fresh lime with fresh ice in a cocktail shaker and shake.
Strain into a chilled martini glass and top with champagne.
Serve with a fresh lime wedge.


3/4 ounce Scotch
3/4 ounce cherry liqueur
3/4 ounce sweet vermouth
3/4 ounce orange juice
1 thin strip orange zest

In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, combine the liquids. Strain into a martini glass, then garnish with the strip of zest.
(recipe from Bank Cafe & Bar in Napa)


1 ounce gin
1 ounce Lillet (blanc)
1 ounce triple sec
Juice of half a lemon
5 drops of absinthe
1 thin slice orange

In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, combine the liquids. Strain into a martini glass, then garnish with the orange slice.

(Recipe from Epic Roasthouse in San Francisco)

VAMPIRE BLOOD PUNCH (Makes 6-8 servings)

4 cups cranberry raspberry juice (or cranberry juice cocktail)
2 cups natural pineapple juice (100% juice)
2 cups raspberry-flavored seltzer water
wormy ice cubes (optional)

Mix all of the ingredients together, and pour into a large, decorative punch bowl.
Serve the punch with wormy ice cubes if desired.


1 1/2 parts Corzo Silver Tequila
1/2 parts Campari
1 part fresh blood orange juice
1/4 parts blood (aka home-made grenadine) **
2 parts Jarritos Tamarindo Soda

Build all ingredients into a highball glass filled with ice. Add the “blood” at the end.
Garnish: Blood orange wheel and strawberry syrup

** Home-made grenadine: Add equal parts white sugar and POM pomegranate juice together and dissolve sugar over high on stove-top. When dissolved, add several drops of orange flower water, simmer on low heat for 10 mins., chill, and serve.

MIDORI MELON EYE-TINI (Rob Husted of Florida)

1 1⁄4 parts Midori Melon liqueur
3⁄4 parts SKYY Infusions Citrus
1⁄2 part Finest Call Agave Syrup
2 parts of Canada Dry Green Tea Ginger Ale
2 parts Finest Call Sweet & Sour Mix
3 Orange Wedges
2 Fresh Ripped Basil Leaves
Strawberry Sundae Syrup

 In a shaker glass combine Midori Melon liqueur, SKYY infusions Citrus, Finest Call Agave Syrup, 3 Orange Wedges and 2 Fresh Ripped Basil Leaves. Muddle ingredients together. Add ice and Finest Call Sweet & Sour Mix. Shake for 10 seconds. Add Canada Dry Green Tea Ginger Ale and roll drink back and forth between your mixing tin and shaker glass. Strain into a chilled martini glass drizzled with Strawberry Sundae Syrup to give an effect of a bloodshot eye.

Garnish: Chilled red seedless grape at bottom of glass (to look like an eyeball) and bruised basil leaf floated on top of cocktail for aroma.

For a Fabulous List of Halloween Cocktails, go to

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Killer Vampire Party

Halloween is right around the corner. Have you planned your Halloween Party yet? Penny Warner, author and party planner, shares tips for a Killer Vampire Party!

Penny Warner has more than 25 years of experience as an author and party planner and writes for party websites, such as She has published more than 50 books, including 16 specific to parties. Her latest books include LADIES’ NIGHT, HOW TO HOST A KILLER PARTY, and HOW TO CRASH A KILLER BASH. HOW TO SURVIVE A KILLER S√ČANCE  and HOW TO PARTY WITH A KILLER VAMPIRE.


Vampire Parties are all the rage, thanks to books, TV shows, and movies like Twilight, True Blood, and Vampire Diaries. While plotting my latest Presley Parker, event planner mystery, I decided to wrap the plot around a Vampire Party…held in the local cemetery. So I had big-time movie producer Lucas Cruz celebrate his latest film release—a vampire parody—by throwing a lavish party in a graveyard. It’s a pretty gloomy venue for Presley, but she’s hoping to make it so much fun that partygoers won’t even notice there are more dead than living guests in How To Party With A Killer Vampire

Since Presley is a party planner, I thought I’d share her Vampire Party tips with you, so you can host your own “Got Blood” event—in a cemetery, a haunted house, or even your own home.


There are lots of vampire-related party supplies available, but you can easily make your own invitations and personalize them to your theme. For a Coffin Invitation, fold a sheet of black construction paper in half. Draw the shape of a coffin on the paper, making sure one side of the coffin is on the fold. Cut out the coffin and write “Do not open until midnight” or “Open at your own risk” on the front using a sparkly pen. Or you can type it up on the computer using a spooky font, print it, cut it out, and glue it to the front. Next find a picture of your favorite vampire on the Internet or in a fan magazine and copy it for each invitation. Open the coffin and glue the picture on the right-hand side. On the opposite side, write the party details. For added fun, cut out drops of “blood” from red paper and place them in the envelope. Or add a set of vampire teeth.


Ask your guests to come as their favorite vampire—or werewolf—past or present. When they arrive, offer them face paints, vampire teeth, and vials of fake blood to add to their costumes. Make simple capes out of black fabric and hand them out to guests.


Create a gothic atmosphere with helium-inflated black and red balloons. Tie the balloons onto furniture, to backs of chairs, and float them to the ceiling. Turn the lights down and light candles, or string holiday lights around the room. Replace regular light bulbs with black lights and red bulbs. Make a giant coffin using a large appliance box. Paint it black, add a string of garlic or a wooden cross to the top, and place it in the center of the room to use for setting out snacks.

Place vampire fangs, garlic, and plastic bats around the room or hang them from the ceiling. Cover your mirrors and black out your windows. Set the table with a black cloth and bright red paper products. Use vampire teeth as napkin rings. Make a centerpiece using a glass bowl, fill it with red tinted water, and float black candles. Make some personalized tombstones from cardboard or foam, and write epitaphs on them for each guest. Set them around the room. Play Clair de Lune, Muse, and Coldplay music in the background.

Games and Activities

Team Trivia. Divide guests into two teams and have them answer trivia questions about vampires and such from Twilight, True Blood, or Vampire Diaries.
Quote the Vampire. Write down quotes from the vampire books or shows and have guests try to identify the speaker.
Vamping Vampires. Write down scenes from your favorite vampire film, book, or show, and have guests act them out for one another to guess.
Vampire Shirt. Let guests make their own t-shirts with their favorite vampires or sayings on them. Print pictures of vampires and sayings on iron-on paper using the computer, and then let guests iron them on and decorate with glitter glue, sequins, and other embellishments.
Vampire Videos. Watch videos of your favorite vampire films or TV shows. Don’t forget the originals, such as Dracula, or the popular Buffy the Vampire Slayer.


Serve lots of red-colored food to satisfy that thirst for blood—red licorice, sliced red peppers, strawberries, red apples, red salsa with red tortilla chips, French fries with ketchup dip. Ask the bakery to tint a loaf of bread red, then make sandwiches with red jam. Cut out bat-shaped cookies, bake them, and spread with chocolate icing.

Offer a variety of red-colored drinks for the vampire guests, such as tomato juice, cranberry juice cocktail, red punch, red sports drink, etc. Freeze gummy worms in red water to make ice cubes for the drinks.
Make a coffin-shaped or tombstone-shaped red velvet cake, covered with chocolate icing.

Frightening Favors

Give the vampires plastic teeth, black capes, fake blood, posters of hot vampires, face painting makeup, videos of the shows, or other vampire related gifts—there are lots available!

If you have any creepy ideas for a Vampire Party, I’d love to hear them!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Murder in the Library: Murder on the Menu

Sleuths to gather Saturday at Scotts Valley library for murder-mystery fundraiser
By KIMBERLY WHITE -- Santa Cruz Sentinel

SCOTTS VALLEY (CA) - By the time the sleuths arrive Saturday night, only the victim's outline will remain at the scene of the crime, and the suspects who were there when the murder took place will have already been sequestered.

Someone's going to be "murdered" at the Scotts Valley library Saturday, and a murder-mystery fundraiser calls for patrons to don their sleuthing hats for the next several hours, taking cues from a detective to interview suspects and solve the classic whodunit.

But the event also includes an educational component. While talking about their relationships with the victim, and what they were doing at the library in the first place, the suspects will also provide information about the Children, Teen and other areas where they've been confined for questioning.

"For people who haven't been in the library before, they'll learn about the library and what's available in each of the areas," said Janet Rudolph, who founded Murder on the Menu, a professional, Berkeley-based company that designs mystery plots for meetings, fundraisers and other events.

Members of the Friends of the Scotts Valley Library will participate by leading the patrons to the different stations, but the detective and suspects are seasoned actors provided by the company.

"This is not a couple local people cooking up a mystery - these are people who make a living doing this," said Jim Reed, a city councilman and member of the Friends of the Scotts Valley Library.

Debra Van Bruggen, vice president of the Friends of the Scotts Valley Library, said the idea to host a murder mystery came up while members were discussing ideas for the group's annual fundraiser. They agreed to tie it in with this month's Big Read celebration of Edgar Allan Poe, the 19th-century author who penned classics such as "The Raven" and "The Tell-Tale Heart."

"We had this idea (for the murder mystery), and when we heard about the Big Read and how Santa Cruz County was featuring Poe, we thought he'd make a perfect character" because he was so mysterious, she said.

In fact, the tell-tale thump-thump of a heartbeat will indicate to the groups that it's time to move on to the next station, each of which will feature hors d' oeuvres, beer and wine. Just before the culprit's revealed, organizers will auction off several weekend packages, including a sleepover at the library that includes a pizza dinner, dessert and breakfast.

The Friends group hopes to raise $15,000, which will be used to construct a back patio, Van Bruggen said, thereby creating more usable space at the library.


WHEN: 7-10 p.m. Saturday
WHERE: Scotts Valley library, 251 Kings Village Road, Scotts Valley
COST: $50 per person (adults only)
INFORMATION: Jim Reed at 707-4993, Debra Van Bruggen at 588-5401 or

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Operation Red Wagon: Philanthropic Team Building

TeamBuilding Unlimited loves working with companies on Charity Challenges. Here are two more philanthropic events for your team!  Contact us for more information. TeamBuilding Unlimited works with groups of 5 to 300. Anywhere in the World.

The Charity Challenge: Operation Red Wagon

The Red Wagon has become a symbol of American childhood. Teams work together to build wagons that will be donated to shelters, hospitals or child care centers. Our Red Wagons feature full-sized all-steel seamless body with no scratch edges, extra-long handle that folds under and steel wheels with semi-pneumatic rubber tires.

Each team will receive the same Red Wagon parts, and our trained facilitators will supervise the event. The reward for building the Wagons is the reward of giving back to the community. What a great teambonding activity for your team! In addition, each team will design and execute a child's t-shirt to go with the donation of the Red Wagon. An optional series of children’s games can be added to this event.

Everyone is a Winner in this Philanthropic Teambuilding Activity!

Operation Red Wagon II: Welcome Wagons

This is a twist on our traditional Red Wagon team building event. Wagons will be filled with various supplies depending on the receiving organization: Children or Families. We even have an optional Library Wagon that participants fill with Books!

Included in this event is everything in Operation Red Wagon I, with the addition that teams will also use their points from the “competitive childrens’ games to ‘shop’ for specific items to include in the wagons. In this format, the high-energy activity quickly shifts from competitive to collaborative while trying to fill all wagons to capacity. Red Wagons can be filled with household supplies or children’s toys, school supplies or a mixture.

Working together each team becomes part of an even bigger team that makes a difference by providing basic supplies for families in need.

Besides teambuilding skills, a lot of team bonding goes on during this meaningful and fun charity challenge!

Team Benefits: 
Give back to the community
Get to know your team
Build team spirit

Friday, October 14, 2011

Murder in the Library: October 22

The Friends of the Scotts Valley Library invite you to join them for their third annual fundraiser.... "Murder in the Library".

This engaging and interactive evening at the new Scotts Valley Library will be scripted and performed by Janet A. Rudolph’s Murder on the Menu. Appetizer stations will be woven around the murder mystery, a no-host bar will be offered, and a live auction for five “big ticket” items will be held just before the arrest of the guilty person that evening. Tickets limited, so don’t delay!

Solve the Mystery on: Saturday, October 22
Scene of the Crime: Scotts Valley Library
First Clue Time of Death: 7pm to 10pm

Tickets: $50 per person (adults only)

Available at: The Scotts Valley Library,
Please make checks payable to:
"Friends of the Scotts Valley Library"

Evening highlights:

Whodunit... you solve the mystery, play the game.
Gastronomical delights served progressive style
Murder's signature lethal potions
"Un-Silent" auction
Optional dress code - dress as your favorite sleuth
No host bar

Proceeds from this fundraising event will benefit the library's new back patio.

- Space is limited and tickets are available on a first come basis.
- If you would like to volunteer and help with this event email us.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Sweet TeamBuilding: Charity Challenge Cupcake Decorating & Donating

TeamBuilding Unlimited is known for its sweet team events, but our Cupcake Challenge can be a great interactive and delicious activity that capitalizes on your team's creativity and sweet tooth. This is a great event to do before or after a meal and can be incorporated into your lunch, dinner or afternoon teambuilding treat. These cupcakes can be eaten by your group or donated to a local charity--or both!

Each team will be given paper to start, so they can create a Team Chef’s Hat! Individuals decorate their chef's hat with their team name and anything else they feel is appropriate..or not.

Then the real fun begins. Teams are challenged to Decorate their Cupcakes so that they symbolize the team itself, the company, the theme of the meeting, their positions at the company, or another theme.

In addition each team will be given materials to create a ‘DISPLAY’ in which they’ll be able to stack their treats into showpieces. Prizes will be given to best overall display!

Each team will be given Cupcakes that can be decorated or left as is. With a variety of cupcake design supplies, instructions on technique, tools and assorted decorating materials, your team will turn their concept into reality. Basics on cupcake decoration start the teams off, but very soon, your group's creativity takes over. After the cupcakes are designed, decorated and displayed, each team will create a ‘commercial’ to present their cupcakes to the entire group.

And last but not least, participants can enjoy or donate their creations--or both.

You can have your Cupcake and Eat it, too!

Contact TeamBuilding Unlimited for more information