Groan up Halloween
By Eleni Collins and CK Wolfson
Published: October 29, 2009
There is something irresistible about a holiday that gives you permission to assume an alter ego, flaunt pretense, summon spirits, encourage theatricality, and temporarily believe in magic. Watching adults celebrate Halloween is a litmus test for discovering who among us is a child at heart.
While children go about doing what they do all the time - run about in packs squealing and begging for sweets - adults get to revert back, to pretend, to be silly and feel clever, and to step outside usual protocols.
Plans for a grown-up Halloween party can be as inventive as one has time to implement. Download eerie music - anything from the medieval Carmina Burana, or "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" from Disney's "Fantasia," or sound effects - moaning zombies, rattling chains, and squeaking doors. Put a scary old (or sexy new) vampire movie in your DVD player, turn off the lights, put candles in gourds and jack-o'-lanterns and anything else that won't combust, make gory still-lifes, hang up cut-outs of cats and witches hats, and let the fun begin.
But in planning a party for adults, more important than lighting effects and charades and word games using monster themes is the food and its presentation.
Turn your bowls and glassware into jack-o'-lanterns and your serving dishes into body parts. Make ice cubes with fake insects inside. Think green and black, orange, and red. Serve something slimy that wiggles, use red food coloring liberally, and a bowl of dry ice set under your punch bowl sends out a ghostly exhaust.
Now, what to serve?
Serve dips such as vegetable, seafood, guacamole, or salsa in halved squashes, and put orange or green food coloring in lighter color dips.
Pumpkin Cheese Ball
2 (8-oz.) blocks extra-sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
8 oz. chive and onion cream cheese, softened
2 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. ground red pepper
1 broccoli stalk
apple slices shaped like half moons, spooky objects or witches hats
Combine first five ingredients in bowl until blended. Cover and chill at least four hours. Shape mixture into pumpkin-shape, smooth surface with spatula. Cut stalk to resemble pumpkin stem by removing florets. Serve with crackers, apples, etc.
Use cookie cutters shaped like witches, cats, spiders, skeletons, pumpkins, and ghosts. Frost sugar cookies with orange and black frosting, and candy corn. Serve on a decorated platter.
Make cupcakes with a huge dollop of white frosting to look ghost-like. Add eyeballs with gel frosting.
Make cupcakes and frost with a color that resembles brains or intestines (yum) by pipe frosting in a squiggly pile on top of cupcake like a brain.
Dip apples in caramel sauce and chopped up orange and black M&M's for a new take on the caramel apple.
It's too bad the U.S. does not carry Blavod, a black vodka only carried in the U.K. When used in martinis and other cocktails it makes for a scary sight. The following are tips for serving beverages:
Fill an ice ring with water and plastic spiders/halved pimento-stuffed olives/or plastic eyeballs. Or, use the tricks in single ice cubes.
Fill latex gloves with water and freeze them, preferably hanging from the top. When frozen, run lukewarm water on them to loosen gloves from ice. Use as ice in punch bowl.
Combine corn syrup and red food coloring for red-rimmed glasses. Works great with pina coladas.
Serve drinks in lab beakers with black, green, or orange straws.
1 part apple cider
2 parts ginger ale
1 part light rum
Combine ingredients and serve in hollowed out pumpkin with floating pumpkin chunks.
Brenda's Black Brew
1 oz. Malibu rum
3/4 oz. Blue Curacao
3/4 oz. Chambord raspberry liqueur
1/2 oz. Grenadine
Combine ingredients with a full glass of ice filled halfway with cranberry juice.
Non-alcoholic Witch's Brew punch
1/2 cup sugar
2 quarts water
1 can frozen limeade
1 can pineapple juice
1 quart ginger ale
1 tablespoon green food coloring
Dissolve sugar and water. Stir in remaining ingredients. Chill. Place punch bowl into larger ice bowl, and add dry ice to larger bowl. Do not touch dry ice with hands; use tongs to move.