A few years ago I won first prize for best costume at a Halloween party. I was a pirate fashioned after a famous movie character that year. Not really me, dressing up at costume parties and such. But there I was, eyeliner and all, holding a gift basket as my prize, filled with fruit, cookies and candy. It was fun. The real highlight for me, however, was the food served at the party. Not only delicious, but very inventive. It’s like that with Halloween get-togethers. Folks unleash their creativity, and craft ghoulishly delectable appetizers and treats to accompany the décor of the evening.
A Halloween themed menu is so easy it’s scary. A no brainer, so to speak. Just a few tricks of the trade can turn your party fare into the most awful – and luscious – looking display you could hope for. Of course, you need to horridly set the stage. Along with lots of store bought decorations, old tree twigs, branches, dead leaves and moss can be strewn across the serving table. Tarnished silver candlesticks, serving dishes and trays will add a haunted house appearance. Distressed dolls can help set the mood, too. And don’t forget the lighting. Keep it low, with just table lamps and floor lamps. Candles are good too, if they are kept safely out of the traffic flow.
Now, how about some terribly terrifying food ideas. Edible body parts seemed to be all the rage at the frightening fetes I’ve attended. Eyeballs, for instance, can be made from hard boiled eggs, halved and deviled, with green pimento stuffed olives for the pupils and sliced black olives for the lashes. A red food dye will assist in creating a blood-shot look for the whites of the eggs. Pimento stuffed olives are also effective when stuck onto meatballs. Eyeballs can also be made from sliced carrot rounds, flavored cream cheese and black olives.
Severed Fingers are fun too. Cut mozzarella string cheese to finger length, and then cut down the length to half. Make a trench for the finger nail and carve grooves for upper finger joints. Add imperfect fingernails made of green and red pepper into the trenches and there you have it. That’s what I call finger food!
Tongues carved from sliced bologna are best when curled and protruding from sandwiches or tomatoes stuffed with tuna salad. As for brains, used sliced avocado with just a thin layer of sour cream for that extra gooey effect. Add an onion dip mix to the sour cream for an even tastier experience. Serve using a carved out and decorated squash or gourd as the head.
Moving away from body parts, let’s talk bugs. Edible, of course. Spiders can be assembled from sandwich cookies, with pretzels for legs and raisins for eyes. You may use cream cheese to adhere the pretzels and raisins. Or you can utilize a small peach for the body. Or match a meatball with Chinese noodles or thin string beans for legs, with olives for eyes. Worms can be carved from curled bologna slices and jumbled into tomato soup or onto a bun, open faced. For a sweet beverage, you can pick up “gummy” worm candies. Use them, or gummy bugs, frozen into ice cubes for fun soda or cold drinks. Speaking of beverages, a refreshing punch is always in order. Check out Phyllis’ recipe below, and note the “frozen hand” she adds as an extra frightening touch.
Now, all this nightmare fare may be a supplement to your more hearty offerings. In fact, you can use any of the above suggestions to garnish cold cut and sandwich platters, as well as salads and cooked entrees. The point is, Halloween is about getting a good fright, all in good fun. Just a few twists on your usual dishes will add smiles, and maybe even a few howls to your evening’s festivities.
Crimson Halloween Punch with Frozen Ice Hands
What would your Halloween party be without a ghoulish punch? This one only looks creepy, but tastes refreshing and crisp. For a children’s party, just omit the vodka.
1 6 oz. can frozen lemonade concentrate, thawed
1 6 oz. can frozen orange concentrate, thawed
1 6 oz. can frozen pineapple juice concentrate, thawed
1 46 oz. can Hawaiian fruit punch, chilled
1 28 oz. bottle seltzer, chilled
1 (4/5 qt.) bottle vodka
Combine ingredients in a large punch bowl. Stir well. Cover with creepy ice “hands.” Makes 3 ½ quarts.
Frozen Ice Hands
To turn your punch into a ghoulish presentation, float severed “hands” in the punch bowl. Make them by filling clear plastic kitchen gloves or vinyl gloves (obviously not powdered) with grape juice. A drop of purple food coloring will provide a deeper contrast to the punch. Tie the gloved hand with the kind of knot you would use to tie a balloon and pull it tight against the juice filled gloves. You can also secure tightly with a rubber band. Place on a sheet pan. Freeze hard.
To remove hands, cut below the knot and carefully peel back plastic or vinyl. When you get down to the fingers, be careful not to break them off (although floating fingers work, too). With sharp pointed scissors cut along fingers carefully removing glove. Place in punch just before serving. They will float as they are lighter than the liquid.
Cheers to a very scary Halloween!
Photographer Bill Brady <a href=”http://bit.ly/9wFYxm” target=”_blank”>http://bit.ly/9wFYxm</a>
Written by Victor Ribaudo <a href=”http://theribaudogroup.com” target=”_blank”>theribaudogroup.com</a> theribaudogroup.comRecipe Provided by Phyllis Kirigin, aka sweetpaprika <a href=”http://sweetpaprika.wordpress.com” target=”_blank”>http://sweetpaprika.wordpress.com</a> http://sweetpaprika.wordpress.comFood Stylist <a href=”http://www.preston-campbell.com” target=”_blank”>Brian Preston Campbell</a>Blog syndicated at the datingsymbol.com <a href=”http://datingsymbol.com/” target=”_blank”>http://datingsymbol.com/</a>http://datingsymbol.com/