Happy Halloween and Blessed Samhain! Below are some scary good treats, ghoulish drinks, and terrifying decor ideas for your next Halloween shindig! Even better, celebrate with a few Pagans to see what Samhain, the darkest night of the year when the veil between the worlds is thinnest, has been celebrated for decades.
BBQ Bat Wings
Finger Cookies… Literally!
Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting
Pumpkin “Goop” (used to replace canned pumpkin)
Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
Sugar Skulls for Day of the Dead
Dress up this recipe for chicken wings by making them — yipes! — bat wings! Black on the outside, white on the inside, delicious all the way around.
Note: This should go without saying that these are definitely not vegetarian.
* 4 pounds chicken wings
* 2 cups ketchup
* 1 1/2 cups molasses
* 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
* 3 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
* 2 tablespoons sugar
* hot sauce to taste
* salt to taste
* black pepper to taste
* black paste food coloring
* blue paste food coloring
* green paste food coloring
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Boil the chicken wings for twenty minutes in a large pot.
2. While the wings are cooking, prepare the sauce. Whisk together the ketchup, molasses, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, sugar, hot sauce, salt, and pepper until smooth in a large roasting pan. Add enough black, blue, and green food colorings to the sauce to make a dark black sauce. Place the pan of sauce in the oven and bake for 10 minutes, stirring once.
3. Drain the wings well and poke the wings liberally with a fork. Add them to the sauce and toss to coat evenly.
4. Bake for 20 minutes, then increase the temperature to 450 degrees. Toss the wings in the sauce again to coat evenly. Bake until the sauce is thickened and slightly blackened, flipping the wings over occasionally, about another 15 minutes. Serve hot or at room temperature.
Nothing’s better than freaking out your guests, and what better way than to dig into a quivering pile of brains! Go on, let the zombie in you out. (Though please, don’t try to become an actual zombie. I don’t think it’d be very successful…)
Note: This recipe is NOT vegetarian, as it contains gelatin.
* 1 cup milk
* 5 tsp unflavored gelatin
* 4 cups heavy cream
* 1 cup + 1 tbsp sugar, divided
* pinch salt
* 2 tbsp vanilla
* 8 oz pomegranate juice
* 1/4 cup cornstarch
1. Place milk in a small bowl and sprinkle gelatin over the top. Stir and let sit for about five minutes so the gelatin can rehydrate a bit.
2. Combine cream and sugar in a pan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla and salt. Add the gelatin mixture and stir again until combined. Pour into (brain) mold, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight or until mixture is completely set.
3. To unmold, gently tilt mold so sides of the panna cotta pull away a bit, then place on platter or plate. You can also dip the bottom of the mold into warm water to help in unmolding.
4. For the pomegranate sauce, I just got a small bottle of Pom Wonderful, added three heaping spoonfuls of sugar so it wasn’t so tart, mixed in about 1/4 cup cornstarch, whisked like crazy, then brought it all to a boil in a small saucepan while stirring. The consistency is rather disgusting, but that’s the whole point!
This looks especially creepy set out on a really nice platter. Also quite effective on a carving board with a large chef’s knife plunged into the center!
Please, don’t provide your own fingers for your Halloween party. Instead, provide these!
* 1 cup butter, softened
* 1 cup powdered sugar
* 1 egg
* 1 tsp almond extract (can sub with vanilla)*
* 1 tsp vanilla
* 2 2/3 cups flour
* 1 tsp baking powder
* 1/4 tsp salt
* 3/4 cup whole blanched almonds (optional)*
* raspberry jelly
1. In a large mixing bowl, beat together butter, sugar, egg, almond extract and vanilla. Whisk dry ingredients together in a medium mixing bowl, then add to wet ingredients and stir thoroughly. Cover and refrigerate 30 minutes.
2. Working with one quarter of the dough at a time and keeping remainder refrigerated, roll a scant tablespoon full of dough into a thin log shape, about 4″ long for each cookie. Squeeze closest to center and close to one end to create knuckle shapes.
3. Press almond firmly into the end of the cookie for nail. (If not using almonds, simply make an indent with your [real] finger.) Using a paring knife, make slashes in several places to form knuckles. You want them a bit thin and gangly looking, since they’ll puff a little when you bake them.
4. Place on lightly greased baking sheets and bake in 325F oven for 20-25 minutes or until pale golden. Let cool for a few minutes.
5. Meanwhile, melt jelly over low heat in a small saucepan.
6. Carefully lift almond off of each finger, spoon a tiny amount of jelly onto nail bed, and press almond back in place so the jelly oozes out from underneath. You can also make slashes in the finger and fill them with “blood.” (Again, if not using almonds, fill the nail beds with jelly. Even creepier, as they’re missing fingernails!)
* I have tree nut allergies, so I tend to stay away from things like almonds. If you’re good with them, use the recipe as stated! If not, well, you both feel my pain and use my adaptation.
* 2 cups of fresh cooked pumpkin
* 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (not self-rising flour)
* 2 tsp. baking soda
* 2 cups sugar
* 1 cup brown sugar
* 4 eggs, beaten
* 1 cup vegetable oil
* 1 1/2 tsp. salt
* 2 tsp. cinnamon
* 2 tsp. nutmeg
1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
2. In a large mixing bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and sugar (both).
3. Add the eggs, water, oil and pumpkin goop.
4. Stir with a whisk until blended. (This will take a while… gotta make it really smooth.)
5. Pour into two lightly greased and floured loaf pans (mine were about 3×5″, and rather deep).
6. Bake for 1 hour at 350 F (175 C). Test at the 45-minute mark. Do the knife test: stick a clean knife in. It’s done if it removes cleanly.
7. Remove from the oven and cool slightly (10 minutes).
8. Take out of pans to let cool on a rack.
These delicious cupcakes are reminiscent of autumn days, crisp brown leaves, and a cool snap in the air. Top off with a piece of candy corn and transport yourself back to childhood, too!
* 2 cups all-purpose flour
* 1 teaspoon baking soda
* 1 teaspoon baking powder
* 1 teaspoon coarse salt
* 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
* 1 teaspoon ground ginger
* 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
* 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
* 1 cup packed light-brown sugar
* 1 cup granulated sugar
* 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
* 4 large eggs, lightly beaten
* 1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin goop
For cream cheese frosting:
* 8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
* 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces, room temperature
* 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
* 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake pans with paper liners; set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and allspice; set aside.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together, brown sugar, granulated sugar, butter, and eggs. Add dry ingredients, and whisk until smooth. Whisk in pumpkin puree.
3. Divide batter evenly among liners, filling each about halfway. Bake until tops spring back when touched, and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes, rotating pans once if needed. Transfer to a wire rack; let cool completely.
4. While baking, place cream cheese in a medium mixing bowl. Using a rubber spatula, soften cream cheese. Gradually add butter, and continue beating until smooth and well blended. Sift in confectioners’ sugar, and continue beating until smooth. Add vanilla, and stir to combine.
5. Top with this cream cheese frosting, and finish off with a piece of candy corn.
Once you give this recipe for straight-from-the-pumpkin goop, you’ll never go back to the canned stuff ever again! And trust us, it’s a lot easier than you think.
* one pie pumpkin (they’re also known as sugar pumpkins)
* a large, shallow bowl
Cut the pie pumpkin in half and gut the insides. Set aside the seeds for later! Cut the pumpkin into quarters, and put the pieces into a bowl filled with a couple inches of water. Microwave for about 7 minutes, then set aside to cool. The pumpkin should be easily poked with a fork. Scrape the pumpkin from the shell, and if you have a food processor, blend until smooth. Now you have pumpkin goop! Use for any recipe that calls for canned pumpkin.
Each sugar pie pumpkin yields about 15 oz.
* 1 1/2 cups raw whole pumpkin seeds
* 2 teaspoons butter, melted (or sub olive oil)
* 1 pinch salt
1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F (150 degrees C).
2. Toss seeds in a bowl with the melted butter and salt. Spread the seeds in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake for about 45 minutes or until golden brown; stir occasionally.
You may also add your favorite herbs and spices! Matt and I are partial to garlic salt and oregano. Sweet seeds can be made with sugar (instead of salt) and cinnamon. Come up with your own combination and let us know what you come up with!
For these, you’ll need the silicone skull-shaped ice trays from the Dollar Tree. They’re available only during Halloween, so snatch yours up while you still can! And the best part? They’re reusable as, well, ice cube trays.
* 1 cup granulated white sugar
* 2 teaspoons water
* silicone ice cube mold
* cookie sheet on hand
1. Put 1 cup of granulated white sugar in a mixing bowl. Make an indentation in the middle of the sugar and add 2 teaspoons (yes, teaspoons!) of water into it. Squish the mixture with your fingers for about one minute until completely incorporated. Make sure there are no lumps of dry sugar. When it’s mixed, it should feel like wet sand.
2. Fill the molds with sugar and pack tightly. Level top off with a flat spatula or scraper.
3. Put a cookie sheet or piece of cardboard on top of the mold, then turn over and quickly unmold the skulls.
4. Let the skulls dry 5 hours or overnight, or put them in a 200° F oven for 5-10 minutes to help them dry more quickly. When they’re dry, you can decorate them! Use royal icing, mini tubes of frosting from the grocery store, or colored candy melts to decorate the skulls to resemble the colorful Day of the Dead skulls.
* 1 750 ml bottle Vodka
* 2 packets Grape Kool Aid
* 3 quarts Water
* 2 cups Sugar
* 1 liter Ginger Ale
* block of ice (regular or dry)
1. In a large punch bowl, prepare Kool Aid according to instructions using the water, sugar and Kool Aid.
2. After sugar is dissolved, add a block of ice or dry ice.
3. Mix in the vodka. When ready to serve, add the ginger ale.
* 1 oz vanilla vodka
* 1/2 oz Liquor 43
* 1 oz pumpkin liqueur
* 1/2 oz Bailey’s Irish Cream
* splash of butterscotch Schnapps
* sprinkle of pumpkin pie spice
In a martini shaker, combine all ingredients except pumpkin pie spice and shake until cold. Take a martini glass and pour the mix into the glass, then top with a sprinkle of pumpkin pie spice. Garnish with a cinnamon stick.
* 1 oz Malibu rum
* 3/4 oz blue curacao
* 3/4 oz chambord raspberry liqueur
* 1/2 oz grenadine
* fill with cranberry juice and ice
In a shaker, combine all ingredients and shake until cold. Pour into a chilled glass and garnish with a gummy worm.
* 2 bottles of champagne
* 1 gallon orange juice
* 1/2 gallon orange sherbert
* 1 bunch peeled black grapes
* sugar to taste
* 1 bottle (2l) lemon-lime soda
* 1 bottle vodka (or, if you want it weaker, only 1/2 bottle)
* small pieces of dry ice
* bunches of grapes for garnish
1. In a large punch bowl, mix champagne and orange juice, then scoop sherbet into bowl until it has produced a nice film over the top. Add sugar to taste.
2. Float peeled grapes in mixture, and garnish the bowl with the rest of the grapes.
3. Drop in pieces of dry ice for effect (do not eat dry ice!!).
If you want to raise or lower the alcohol content in the punch, add vodka or clear soda.
Okay, so you’re all wondering how to decorate your place, right? While everyone’s taste is certainly different, you can find what you’re looking for by checking out places like Party City and websites like MarthaStewart.com. These places have great accessories, props, dishware, and best of all, ideas to turn your home into a haunted mansion! Toss in some music, a fog machine, and some of your closest friends, and you have a frightfully awesome party that’s sure to spook!