For an evening that will make their skin crawl, plan a hair-raising Halloween bash. Get in the “spirit” of things by asking your guests to pick their potion – a spooky Ghost Martini floating a ghostly Peep (WOW – who knew that a Peep could be so delicious?), a coffee-flavored Midnight Martini with “bleeding heart” garnish, or a glass of Slime Punch clouded in a fog of dry ice.
The “Frightful Halloween Fare” begins with a trifecta of ghoulish dips: Guacamoldy, Wormy Onion and Wilted Swamp Grass served with a bowl of blue corn chips. And don’t forget to include a Dirt Cheese Ball, Bedeviled Goblin Eggs, Bleeding Heart Brie and a bowl of homemade Blood and Guts. For a tasty nibble, serve a bowl of Witch’s Toenails.
As the main dish, a normal casserole turns into an Earthworm Bake when you use squiggly noodles and creatively slice hot dogs to resemble “worms.”
But no Halloween table would be complete without eerie desserts. The Nest of Spiders Cheesecake contains hidden cherry pie filling – because who wouldn’t want to draw blood when carving up cheesecake? And the Scary SkullPound Cake is covered in gray frosting and silver sanding sugar. The pound cake recipe comes along with the 3-D cake pan from Williams Sonoma. What an eerie feeling to hack into the skull and eat a slice of its head …
Many of these ghastly recipes were adapted from normal recipes, but I also perused the many Halloween magazines on bookstands, as well as online sources like Martha Stewart, Food Network (Sandra Lee is a Halloween nut!), Kraft, etc.
- 8 hot dogs, quartered lengthwise (or sliced in rings any other day)
- ½ medium onion, diced
- 1 can tomato soup
- ½ cup water
- 1 tsp. mustard
- 2 cups Trottole noodles (or any noodle)
- ¼ cup buttered, browned breadcrumbs
Brown hot dogs and onions in olive oil. Place in casserole with soup, water, mustard and noodles. Stir to combine, then sprinkle breadcrumbs on top. Bake 30 minutes in 350-degree oven. Serves 4.
(If you’re in a hurry, forego the baking step by adding the noodles, soup, water and mustard to the pan after sautéing the hot dogs and onions. Cook a few minutes to warm everything up and the sauce reduces and thickens a bit. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs on top and the dish is ready to serve in about 15 minutes.)
BLEEDING HEART BRIE
Score the top of the brie, making sure to cut through the rind, which will curl up and reveal the brie during baking – about 10 minutes in a 350-degree oven (don’t overheat or brie will be too runny). When warm, top with cherry preserves and serve with crackers.
- 2-3 avocados, cut into small cubes
- Lime juice
- 2 Roma tomatoes, diced
- Jalapeño, seeded and deveined, diced
- ½ red onion, diced
- Salt & pepper
Much of this recipe is to taste – add as much as you want, even red pepper flakes for more heat. Mash the avocado for a creamier dip, or gently mix together for a chunkier version.
- Onion soup packet
- 16-oz. carton sour cream
- ½ onion, sliced in rings and sautéed in olive oil until brown
The old standby – mix the sour cream and onion soup mix, and refrigerate preferably overnight to develop the flavor. Top with the browned “wormy” onions.
BLOOD AND GUTS
- 16-oz. shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- 4-oz. jar pimientos
- Lite mayonnaise
Mix all ingredients together, using as much mayo as you like. Save a few pimientos to decorate top of dip. This is best made the day before also.
WILTED SWAMP GRASS
- 8-oz. package cream cheese, softened
- 2 – 6-oz. jars marinated artichoke hearts, drained and diced
- 10-oz. bag frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed in a dish towel to drain
- ½ cup shredded Mozzarella cheese
- ½ cup grated Parmesan
- ½ tsp. garlic powder
Mix all ingredients in an ovenproof dish. Bake 20 minutes at 350 degrees until heated through. Serve with crackers or tortilla chips. For a change, stir in a dollop of sour cream after baking, and serve a bowl of your favorite salsa alongside.
Toast the pumpkin seeds in an iron skillet over medium heat. When they start to brown, they may crackle and even pop. Remove from heat, stir in olive oil, then sprinkle with salt and seasoning and stir until well mixed. Allow to coolbefore serving. You can substitute other dry seasonings, like cumin, curry or chipotle chili, but keep the amount to about 1 T.
DIRT CHEESE BALL
- 2 – 8-oz. packages cream cheese, softened
- 3 T. olive oil
- 4-oz. package crumbled feta cheese
- ½ cup sliced green onions
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 T. each – chopped fresh dill and parsley
- 1 tsp. chopped fresh rosemary
- ½ tsp. kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Black sesame seeds (either bulk or in a jar)
Sauté garlic in olive oil until just beginning to brown. Allow to cool, then add to the cream cheese in large bowl. Beat until smooth. Stir in feta, green onions, herbs and seasoning. Cover and refrigerate 1 hour.
Remove from refrigerator and form into a large ball. Rollin the black sesame seeds, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate until ready to serve. You could substitute chopped chives and chopped fresh dill instead of the black sesame seeds for a different taste.
BEDEVILED GOBLIN EGGS
Make your favorite deviled eggs, adding the fresh chopped herbs. Put the egg halves together, allowing some of the filling to ooze out. Decorate with additional fresh dill and chives.
(I triedcracking the hard-boiled egg shells but not peeling them, and immersing them in water that was dyed green with food coloring and a bit of cider vinegar. After an hour, I peeled the eggs, but the dye didn’t penetrate the egg membrane, so I didn’t get veiny lines on my eggs. Let me know if this works for you.)
NEST OF SPIDERS CHEESECAKE
- Crust: 1/3 cup sugar
- 2 cups chocolate graham crackers, processed until fine
- 1 ½ sticks melted butter
- Pinch of salt
Filling:4 – 8-oz. packages cream cheese
- 1 ½ cups sugar
- ¼ tsp. salt
- 3 T. fresh lemon juice
- 1 ½ cups whipping cream
- 1 ½ sticks butter, melted
- 1 can cherry pie filling
Topping:2 oz. bittersweet or semi-sweet baking chocolate, chopped
2 oz. heavy cream
Mix the chocolate crumbs, sugar, melted butter and salt. Pat into bottom and sides of greased 10-inch springform pan. Refrigerate while preparing filling.
Beat cream cheese until fluffy. Reduce speed to low and add sugar and salt. Turn mixer to high speed and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in lemon juice.
Beat 1 ½ cups heavy cream until nearly stiff. Gently fold half into the cream cheese mixture; fold in the remainder and set aside. Pour the can of cherry pie filling over the chocolate crust and smooth out to the sides of the pan. Pour the cream cheese over the cherries, and tap pan on the counter to remove any air bubbles.
Heat cream until just beginning to bubble, and pour over the chocolate. Stir until all the chocolate has melted, and is creamy and shiny. Allow to cool slightly, then transfer into a plastic zipper bag. Cut a small hole in one corner and, starting in the center, pipe a chocolate spiral all around the cheesecake until you run out of room. Then take a wooden skewer and pull through the chocolate from the center to the outer edge of the pan to form a spider web – repeat all around cheesecake.
Cover and freeze for 1 hour, then keep in refrigerator until ready to serve. Decorate with a candy or plastic spider. When serving, the cherry pie filling will ooze out like blood!
SCARY SKULL POUND CAKE
Any pound cake recipe would work, but the only change I would make is to add some cocoa powder for a chocolate pound cake. Don’t try this with a regular cake – this needs to be a firm cake to stand up properly.
Frosting this cake was very tricky – I tinted royal icing gray using black food gel, spread it all over the skull, then sprinkled silver sanding sugar all over. I used black gel icing in the eye and nose holes, and “painted” the teeth as well. A baker at the Williams Sonoma store used a pastry brush to “paint” black royal icing on her cake, and sprinkled black sanding sugar all over. This is a great look, but didn’t show up very well amid all the black decorations.
- 3 oz. half-and-half
- 2 oz. white chocolate liqueur
- 2 oz. vanilla vodka
Dip the rim of a martini glass in corn syrup, then green or black sanding sugar. For a dripping blood effect, pipe red gel icing around the rim and allow to drip down the outside of the glass. Pour all ingredients into a cocktail shaker along with ice, and shake about 30 seconds. Carefully pour into the glass, then float a ghost Peep on top. (On a normal day, top with white chocolate shavings.)
- ¼ cup coffee liqueur
- 1 cup strong brewed coffee, chilled
- ½ cup black vodka
- ¼ cup dark crème de cocoa
- ¼ cup vanilla vodka
Rim martini glass with green sugar (Food Network suggests dipping the glass in a shallow bowl of coffee liqueur, then into crushed chocolate-covered espresso beans.) Mix all ingredients in a pitcher with ice, stirring to chill. Carefully strainand pour into martini glasses. Garnish with a dark cherry on a Halloween cocktailpick.
GREEN SLIME PUNCH
- 2 packets of lemon-lime drink mix
- 1 ½ cups sugar
- 1 46-oz. can pineapple juice
- 16 oz. cold water
- 1 – 12-oz. can frozen lime juice, thawed
- 16 oz. lime vodka
- 1 – 2-liter bottle ginger ale
Pour water into a one-gallon container, and add the drink mixes and sugar. Stir until dissolved. Add the remaining ingredients except ginger ale and stir; refrigerate until ready to serve. Before serving, pour into your punch bowl and add the ginger ale. (If serving to kids, replace the vodka with water.)
Just before party time: If using dry ice (always use gloves when handling dry ice), place the ice into the bottom of a large punch bowl. On top of this, place another glass bowl, into which you will pour the punch. When your guests arrive, add the ginger ale into the punch bowl. Pour water over the dry ice and watch the fun! (Do not put dry ice directly into the punch or drinks. Dry ice may crack glass, so you may want to use a metal cauldron instead.)
Pour a small amount of punch into glass test tubes, then add a small piece of dry ice to each tube.
Try adding a few drops of green liquid dish soap to the dry ice, which will create waves of smoky bubbles. Fabulous special effect! Just make sure you don’t get the bubbles into the punch.
If not using dry ice, make up a batch of punch beforehand and freeze into large cubes using silicone ice cube trays. In each cube, place candy worms, spiders, eyeballs, etc. Float ice cubes in the punch just before serving, and place a cube in each glass.