Halloween used to be a kid's holiday. Now, it's a major party holiday for adults.
But you can't set up a bucket of candy near the front door and expect your guests to be thrilled. Well, some might be, but the older crowd might be looking for something better-suited for its adult tastes. Many people come to parties expecting tasty drinks and fancy hors d'ouevres, and Halloween gives you a chance to turn these things into clever, spooky treats that fit the spirit.
If your next Monster Bash is for a more mature guest list, check out these suggestions for some ghoulish and ghastly Halloween-themed treats for grown-up palates.
Grog & Spirits
Welcome your guests in from the cold with warm mulled cider or wine. Just add mulling spices to apple cider or red wine and heat in your slow cooker. Then, get them into party spirit with a frightful delight!
Invent your own cocktail using seasonal flavored alcohols, like pumpkin-pie flavored vodka. Mix it up in a large beaker like a mad scientist. Next, use strawberry syrup or light corn syrup colored with food dye to rim your cocktail glasses, letting the goo ooze down the sides to form "bloody" drips.
For "on-the-rocks" beverages, freeze gummy worms into ice cubes.
Rising from the Grave Cheese Ghoul
Turn a traditional cheese ball into a ghoulish sculpture. Use white cheeses in your recipe to give it a ghostly color. Shape the ball upward into a rising-from-the-grave ghostly head. Add green olives for eyes and a black olive for a gaping, gasping mouth.
If you want to go all out, serve your Cheese Ghoul on a bed of shredded cabbage (to represent grass) with a scattering of coarse-ground coffee (for disturbed earth). Don't forget to put a headstone behind him!
You don't have to invent new hors d'oeuvres for a Halloween-themed party. Just add spooky touches and a creepy name to tried and true favorites.
- Shelob's Leavings. Pipe sour cream spider webs onto guacamole dip.
- Hag Fingers. Spread cream cheese on salami slices, roll up, and add sliced almonds at one end for finger nails.
- Dismembered Mummy Morsels. Bake cheese inside refrigerator crescent rolls for soft tissue parts. For arms and legs, bake breadstick dough around hot dogs.
- Dippin' Bones. Tie a small knot in the ends of breadsticks before baking. Serve these "bones" with spinach dip.
Disguise giant strawberries as miniature Jack-o-Lanterns. Add a few drops of red and twice as many drops of yellow food coloring to a bag of white chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl. Melt the chips and stir in the food dye. Dip strawberries into the orange-colored chocolate and place on waxed paper to cool and harden. Melt some brown chocolate chips and use an icing bag to draw Jack-O-Lantern faces onto the yummy treats.
Growing up doesn't mean losing your sweet tooth! Halloween is all about indulgence, so the more sweets there are, the better. Treat your guests an assortment of home-baked cookies, bite-sized bakery pastries, caramel apples and cupcakes with creepy decorations -- anything you can eat with your hands.
Really, when it comes to treats, desserts and fun holidays like Halloween, there's no reason we can't still act like kids!
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- Benedict, Jeanne. "Gruesome Gourmet: Spider Web Design on a Triple Layer Guacamole, Egg, and Cream Cheese Torte." Celebrations.com. (Sept. 1, 2010) http://www.celebrations.com/content/gruesome-gourmet-spider-web-design-on-a-triple-layer-guacamole-egg-and-cream-cheese-torte
- "Boo, Y'all." Southern Living 2008 Annual Recipes. "October," pg. 223. Birmingham, AL: Oxmoor House, 2008.
- Deen, Paula. "Cheese Ball Goblin." The Food Network. (Sept. 1, 2010) http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/paula-deen/cheese-ball-goblin-recipe/index.html
- Fillion, Roger. "Partying adults make Halloween big business." Small Business on MSNBC.com. Oct. 27, 2009. (Sept. 1, 2010) http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/33401685
- "Fright Night." Taste of Home, October/November 2009: pp. 76-81.
- Lee, Sandra. "Strawberry Jack-O-Lanterns." Sandra's Spooky Halloween Recipes and Costumes. The Food Network. (Sept. 1, 2010) http://www.foodnetwork.com/sandras-spooky-halloween-recipes-and-costumes/video/index.html
- Regan, Gary. The Bartender's Bible. New York: HarperPaperbacks, 1991.