Creepy Treats for Halloween

I grew up in Greenwich Village, home of the infamous Village Halloween Parade, and for many years I thought of the evening as an adult holiday where children were tolerated—or more commonly ignored—in a celebration that called for increasingly elaborate and creative costumes and rites. Flash forward a few decades and I am now a mom in one of the most kid-centric neighborhoods in New York. The same amount of creativity is forthcoming on October 31st, except this time around it is channeled into kids’ costumes, bake sale treats, and party snacks.

After several years of cookie-baking marathons and (unappreciated) homemade costumes, I finally feel prepared. My daughter has taken care of her costume (or rather, we bought one at Target) and I have the food covered, thanks to the recipes in Ghoulish Goodies (Storey Publishing, $14.95). The brainchild of Sharon Bowers, a former Food Network staffer, the cookbook is packed with clever, easy, and delightfully gross Halloween treats. Among her offerings: Cheddar Eyeballs (cheese biscuits adorned with pimento-stuffed olives), Swamp Creature Toes (pretzel sticks dipped in chocolate with dyed almond “toenails”), and my favorite, Screaming Red Punch with a Hand. The last is particularly disturbing because it is kept cool with an ice cube in—you guessed it—the shape of a hand. Here’s a picture and the recipe:

116 frozen hand
Screaming Red Punch with a Hand
1 new rubber surgical glove
2 quarts apple juice
2 quarts cranberry juice
2 liters ginger ale

1. Rinse the glove inside and out several times with cold water to make sure it doesn’t have any powder coating. Fill with water and tie the wrist tightly closed with a twist tie. Freeze solid.

2. Mix the juices and ginger ale in a large punch bowl. Cut the glove carefully off the hand and fingers with a sharp scissors and float the molded hand in the punch.

Of course, for some people costumes and food are beside the point. For them, it’s all about the trick-or-treat candy—and they’re willing to get it by any means necessary.

Are you dressing up for Halloween this year? What’s your favorite candy?

—Lygeia Grace

(Photo: Kevin Kennefick for Storey Publishing)