The Bofingers’ Halloween party a holiday treat for neighborhood

All holidays are a big deal at Lacy and George Bofinger’s home, but the most elaborate bash is reserved for the family’s “absolute favorite” — Halloween.

It’s been “10 years since Bofinger bats flew and we became a wicked crew!,” says this year’s invitation to their haunted house’s big night. They expect anywhere from 75 to 300 guests. Most, adults and children alike, will be in costume.

Everyone in their Baton Rouge neighborhood gets invited. Guests always include the classmates of their two children, Thomas, 12, and McCoy, 8.

Festivities start at 5 p.m., with time set aside for trick-or-treating. Aunts and uncles hand out candy to young Halloween visitors and greet party guests while the Bofinger clan goes trick-or-treating. They then return to preside over their party and keep the food flowing.

“Every year I change up the menu and theme,” said Lacy Bofinger, who prepares some of the food herself and orders other items, such as chicken salad sandwiches, from local grocery stores.

The menu also includes peanut butter-and-jelly sandwiches for the smallest guests. They used to rent machines for making cotton candy and popcorn until it became too difficult for George Bofinger to handle those, plus the daiquiri machine with which he makes White Russian cocktails.

Decorations for this year’s black-and-white theme include black owls, bats, birds and cats. Last year Lacy Bofinger turned the dining room into an apothecary shop with red, purple and green “potions” in decanters and Red Hots candy “eyeballs” in glass canning jars.

The family’s costumes generally follow the party’s theme, but not always, Lacy Bofinger said. “Sometimes we dress all alike and sometimes the kids have their own theme.”

“Two years ago, we were Starsky and Hutch and Charlie’s Angels,” George Bofinger recalled. “Last year it was the Lone Ranger and Tonto.”

“My favorite year was when Thomas was a pirate, Captain Hook, and George was Peter Pan,” Lacy Bofinger said. “But, I couldn’t get him in tights so I found him some green pants. Everyone thought George was the Jolly Green Giant.”

Thomas Bofinger fondly recalls the year that all the neighborhood kids dressed as the T-birds and Pink Ladies from the movie “Grease.”

Preparing food for a huge crowd doesn’t faze Lacy Bofinger, who operated What’s for Dinner? for seven years with her mother, Missy McCoy Waguespack. “I was single when we started the business. I cooked and we had a trained chef on board plus ‘Miss Marion’ Jackson.” Customers could purchase prepared food like veal Parmesan or twice-baked potatoes from the deli case or freezer.

“I still miss catering and cooking,” Lacy Bofinger said. “That’s why I love doing these things (big parties). Christmas is my other big holiday. I do Christmas morning breakfast” with homemade coffee cake and cinnamon rolls for her extended family.

She also prepares a sit-down Christmas dinner for the 22 employees of George Bofinger’s tree service and their spouses.

“I decorate for everything and usually too early,” she laughed. “We used to do a big St. Patrick’s Day party but that moved to a friend’s house.”

For the Halloween party, she prepares “a lot of different things,” she said. “I set out all the food and refill as it goes. I do baked brie, chips and salsa, a corn dip and guacamole. I always have vegetables with Ranch buttermilk dip for George. The years it was cold I would do chili, hot dogs or Frito pies with chili. Sometimes I make chicken and wild rice casserole. Guests will show up with trick-or-treat candy or desserts. I’m more a cook than a baker.”

She tries to prepare “heavier foods because the kids get so much candy there’s no need to go heavy on desserts,” she said.