Park your broom and sit for a spell! It’s Halloween!
There it is, right around the corner, taking quick peeks to see if you are ready for the sweet and spooky celebration. Or probably, it’s just a ghost yard stake, which your neighbor has set up on their lawn.
So, let’s look through your Halloween checklist and see what else can help you throw a spook-tacular bash for your dearest and nearest.
One: Your Haunted House Decor
It is the right time to search for the boxes with the holiday decorations in the wardrobe, attic, or garage. Yet, you always have Amazon or Etsy to order something new and creepy. Jack-o-lanterns, witch or scarecrow garden stakes, wreaths, cobweb and spiders, bats, rats, owls of all sizes – whatever you prefer to see inside and outside your house.
These ornaments create the magic and eerie atmosphere for which we anticipate and love Halloween. All in all, we can enjoy it only once in a year. Why not go a little freaky on this holiday?
Two: The Spine-Chilling Outfits
Next, the costumes. Today it is difficult to imagine Halloween without dressing up as a witch, vampire, avocado, or Chewbacca from Star Wars. Erma Bombeck, the American humorist and writer, famously noted that our grandmothers would always pretend they didn’t know who we were on Halloween.
But the tradition of disguising on All Hallows Evening is as old as the hills.
The Celts and Romans, whose fall festivals of harvest and honoring the dead transformed into our Halloween, wore animal skins and heads to connect to their ancestors and keep away evil spirits at the night of celebration.
Three: The Festive Treats
Under the influence of Christianity, after the pagan festival turned to All Saints Eve, the tradition of “souling” emerged.
Today we know it as kids’ trick-or-treat. But in the Middle Ages poor people would go to wealthy families to ask for food in the evening of the holiday. You may tell it the kids who will come to you on Halloween. And then make sure they get candy corns, chocolates, or gums from you.
It’s not very clear why sweets have become such an integral part of the celebration. However, there is one interesting fact about the food that the Celtic people prepared for Samhain – their original October festival.
They left bowls with cooked crops and vegetables on the thresholds of their houses. The Celts believed the meals could placate evil spirits that tried to get inside people’s homes.
And what about the Halloween foods that the living can enjoy?
Four: The Fang-tastic Menu
Halloween is that very holiday when the dishes you cook become real decorations of the room where your guests are going to eat them. If the folks dare, of course.
Here are a few frightfully tasty ideas for your Halloween celebration. They are inspired by our all-time favorite holiday characters. These otherworldly guys may be horrible and frightening. But let’s cook them so that when your living guests see them, it will be love at first fright.
What is funny and delicious cannot be scary, right?
Here are a few creative ideas. And you need nothing otherworldly to bring them to life.
Spiders, bats, and worms
No, no, you will not need to cook them unless you want something really bizarre on the festive table.
But you can use absolutely normal, edible ingredients to make tasteful starters in form of these creatures.
Until today, they have been associated with witchcraft and attributed mystical meaning. For example, spiders’ cobwebs symbolize the natural life cycle, passing of time, and fate. Since Celtic Samhain marked the end of the warm period and the beginning of the cold, no wonder cobwebs have turned into one of the most popular decorations of modern Halloween.
Bats were common guests at ancient Samhain celebrations. Big night bonfires attracted moths and mosquitoes that would attract many bats. Besides, we all still remember those hair-rising stories about vampires and witches that can turn into little black beasts.
So, serving the morsels that look like little spiders, bats, and worms on Halloween will be right up-to-date.
Let’s start from spider hot dogs.
You will need 1 can of refrigerated crescent rolls, 1 package of hot dogs or other sausages (spicy chorizo or merguez), and pitted green olives.
While the oven is preheating to 375ºF,
- Cut the ends of each sausage into quarters, but leave 1 inch in the middle uncut
- Divide the crescent rolls into triangles and cut each triangle in half
- In the middle of each cut sausage wrap one dough triangle and top the dough with two slices of olives to make eyes.
Place the spiders on the baking sheet and bake for 25 minutes, until the dough gets golden brown.
Now, cream cheese bat bites.
Here’s the list of ingredients:
- 8 oz. goat cheese
- 1 package cream cheese
- pitted black olives, sliced
- 1/4 c. pesto
- peppercorns (for eyes)
- 2-3 tbsp. poppy seeds
- 2-3 tbsp. ground pepper
- blue corn chips or free-form wing shapes (for wings).
Just mash the cheeses and pesto together, and chill the mixture for 40 minutes.
Then shape the chilled mixture into 2-inch balls, about 1 heaping teaspoon each. Roll the balls in black pepper and poppy seeds. Press the olive slices into the cheese balls to make eyes and in centers, place peppercorns to make pupils.
On each side of each ball insert a chip to make wings. And serve.
And what about these slithering hummus bites?
You will need:
- 1 package roasted pepper hummus
- 1 can sweet pepper (for filling and for tails)
- pitted black olives
- 2 packages frozen miniature phyllo tart shells
- salt to taste.
Got it? Now, cut the sweet pepper into strips to make tails. Cut and mix the remaining pepper with the hummus if you like. Fill in the shells with the mixture. Stuff a pepper strip into each olive and place the “worms” on the shells.
Again, you can try a real snake if you and your dearest don’t mind such exotica, and if you live not far from a restaurant that dares offer such treat.
But also, you can try the recipe below and create a scrumptious snake appetizer to heat up your guests’ appetites.
Why the snake? You may like the meanings of this ancient symbol: change, rebirth, or dualism of good and evil. Or you may just like the look of the dish.
Check the ingredients:
- 2 loaves frozen bread dough, thawed
- 1 package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
- 4 c. Mozzarella cheese, shredded
- 1/4 c. Parmesan cheese, grated
- 1 lb. Italian sausage
- 2 roasted sweet pepper strips
- black olives, pitted
- 2 egg yolks
- 2 tbsp. butter
- 1 tsp. dried oregano
- 1/2 tbsp. garlic powder
- 4 drops each red, yellow, and green food coloring, optional.
- While the bread dough is thawing, in a large skillet over medium heat, cook the sausage until it’s no longer pink, then drain the meat, and transfer to a separate large bowl.
- Add the spinach, cheeses, oregano, and garlic powder. Mix and set aside.
- Roll each portion of the dough into a 14×12-inch rectangle. Spread the mixture lengthwise down the center of each rectangle. Press the filling down and dot with the butter.
- Bring the edges of each dough rectangle to the center over the filling. Pinch to seal. Place each loaf seam side down on a baking sheet, greased in advance. Tuck the ends under and form the loaves into a snake shape.
- Place the egg yolks in two separate small bowls. If you like, use the colorings to tint the yolks and to brush ornaments on the snakes.
- Bake at 350°F until the dough gets golden brown, for 30 minutes.
- Before serving, cut two small holes for eyes at the end of each loaf, press in the olives. Below the eyes, cut a slit to insert the red pepper strip for the tongue.
Since old days, All Hallows Eve has been considered the time when souls of the dead could roam the world of the living from dusk to dawn. Even the modern holiday can hardly be observed without these tales.
Or not tales?
Whether you and your guests believe in them or not, these cute ghost pizzas and sandwiches will be a bewitching complement to any Halloween meal. Your kid may take them to school for the lunch. Or your second half may take them to work and enjoy the lunch break with a cup of coffee.
Let’s check out these versatile recipes.
So, ghost pizza bagels.
To make them, you’ll need to stock up on Provolone or Fontina (as many slices as many pizzas you’re going to cook), 8-10 mini bagels (or more), black olives (for eyes), and marinara or your favorite tomato sauce.
While the oven is preheating to 350°F, cut the cheese slices into ghost shapes. Spread the sauce over the bagel slices and top each with a cheese ghost. Bake for 7-10 minutes, until the cheese slightly melts. Dot the ghosts with little olive pieces to make the eyes. And serve.
Along with these little ghost sandwiches.
Make sure you have a ghost-shaped cookie cutter or a sharp paring knife.
You’ll need firm white bread, canned tuna, cream cheese, and black olives for eyes and mouths.
Cut out ghost shapes from the bread slices and use the tuna to make sandwiches. Then, thinly and evenly spread the cream cheese over the top bread slice. Decorate with olive eyes and mouths.
The Halloween menu can never go without it and its fabulous combinations with other foods. Choose your favorite ones or try new pairings.
- Pickles and chili
- Fried bacon
- Black truffles
- Chestnuts and nuts
- Cinnamon and nutmeg.
And don’t forget to place a few jack-o-lanterns around the house. They will make the atmosphere ghoulishly delightful and cozy.
Enjoy your Halloween time! Happy Howl-aday!