We asked readers who love this holiday to contribute their recipes and ideas for treats to satisfy tricksters. We got a wonderful response and want to thank everyone who took time to write.
Of course, we had to give your ideas a try. Here are some of grossest and grandest.
Warning: Please don't scare yourself. To keep you safe, we've rated the recipes "Cute" or "Gross".
Cynthia Petryszak of Cooper City says her favorite Halloween dish is so easy she's not even sure it's a recipe. She takes store-bought Moon Pies. Then she melts some chocolate chips in a small zip-seal bag in a microwave. She cuts a small piece from a corner of the bag. She then inserts an ice cream or craft stick into the marshmallow between the cookies in the pie. She uses the melted chocolate to "cement" the stick. Then she gives the "pops" to kids to decorate with frostings and a variety of colorful holiday candies.
For parties, she ties orange ribbons around the sticks and places the pops in a tin bucket filled with floral foam covered with moss. "The kids can help themselves," she says. She also recommends this as a classroom project.
The eyes have it
Trim both ends of a radish. Scoop a hole in one end and insert a small, stuffed green olive. It'll look like a "bloodshoot eyeball." Freeze these in ice cubes. "They are great for scary cocktails," says Colleen Brangan of Pompano Beach.
We tried it: The tool you use to core zucchini or eggplants, which is available at Middle Eastern grocery stores, works great for coring the radish. Use tiny manzanilla olives that fit perfectly into the hole. The longer the radish freezes in the ice cube, the more red and "bloodshot" it looks. You can leave some of the radish sticking out of the ice cube. It looks particularly bloodshot and scary.
What's in a creepy name
When Phyllis Petrella of Tamarac makes a Halloween party (it's also her birthday), she offers a menu of "bloody stew" (chili), "gargoyle eyeballs" (meatballs), "pus dip" (guacamole), "baked skin" (potato chips) and "witches brew" (punch).
"We do it up right," she says.
A juicy idea
When the trick-or-treat candy ran out last Halloween, Colleen Brangan of Pompano Beach passed out juice boxes. "The kids loved them," she says. Their parents probably did, too.
Loretta Badder of Davie works at the Hollywood Beach Reading Center Library and takes Witch Hats to her customers. She makes them by attaching a Hershey's Kiss to a chocolate-covered graham cookie with a squirt of orange icing. "Happy Halloween is my favorite holiday," she says.
We tried it: These very cute, tasty hats are made by taking Keebler Fudge Shoppe Deluxe fudge-covered graham crackers and topping them with an unwrapped Hershey's Kiss. Choose the flavor Kiss you want (we went for the dark chocolate). If you use marshmallow creme instead of icing to hold them together, these Witch Hats taste like s'mores.
The mother of four children, Tracy Petik of Fort Lauderdale makes some monster munchies. Think bat wings: whole chicken wings (all three pieces) hanging on the edge of a bowl with dip in the bowl. Or Lumberjack's Fingers made from hot dogs, crescent dough wrapped around them for knuckles and radish slices for the nail. And don't forget the ketchup blood.
"These freaked out the kids so much they wouldn't eat them they looked so real," she says.
We tried it: Lumberjack's Fingers are indeed scary looking. For an additional bit of terror, try serving them on a cutting board with a plastic ax. Everyone will go home hungry.
Gremlin-Witches are on the menu for Chelly Silverberg's three children at her Delray Beach home. Chelly learned to love them when her mom made them for her.
For these, she buys extra-long franks or knackwursts and slits both ends twice leaving 3 to 4 inches in the center uncut. Then she grills, broils or deep fries the franks so their ends curl. "They look rather strange," she says. Her children take a break from trick or treating to come home for this dinner. "Always with plenty of friends," she says.
We tried it: These work great when made with Sabrett beef frankfurters that measure 7 inches long. We cooked them in the microwave 10 seconds at a time until the cut ends had minds of their own and curled up. They looked pretty ghoulish.
Anthony Casales of Davie calls himself a "lifetime horrophile." His eldest son was even born on Halloween. Today, that son is 37, but Mom and Dad are still celebrating Halloween with spider cookies made by sticking licorice strings in the sides of Oreo cookies as spider legs and two red hots in the icing as eyes. They also make a Black Cat Cake fashioned from two 9-inch layers and chocolate icing.
We tried it: We show you how to cut the 9-inch layers or visit our Web site, www.sun-sentinel.com/ catcake, which offers the recipe and a life-size template you can print from your computer and use to cut the cakes before icing and decorating.
Icy spiders, fingers and bats
Vicki Bir of Pompano Beach remember the Witch's Brew she made for co-workers a number of years ago. It was a pleasant enough mulled apple juice with orange overtones. But the fun began when she made an Eerie Ice Ring studded with spiders, bats, eyeballs and fingers to keep the punch cool.
We tried it: The lemony flavor of the Witch's Brew gives it a bit of an evil but delicious taste. We made the ice ring with glow-in-the-dark aliens and had lizards climbing out of the ice. It glowed beautifully -- or shall I say frightfully -- in the dark.
You can do the same thing with ice cubes -- just be sure people are aware of the choking danger of having a plastic item in their drink.
Point a (witch's) finger
Barbara McCormick of Lauderdale-by-the-Sea fashions Witch's Fingers from dough. Then she dyes sliced almonds to look like red fingernails, which she inserts into the dough "fingers." These look amazingly authentic.
Myra Miller of Coconut Creek makes a similar treat using a peanut butter-based dough.
We tried it: Both versions are easy, fun to make and quite disgusting. They taste good, too. Let the kids help -- if they dare.
When a birthday is in the same month as Halloween, it calls for a special celebration, says Debbie Moriconi of Plantation. Almost every year the family celebrates her daughter Emily's day with a Halloween costume party. The kids play Halloween games and dance to music like the Monster Mash. One of Emily's favorite parts of the party is the Jack -O'-Lantern Cake.
"I always bake it from scratch and it's always a hit with the kids," Moriconi says. It's fashioned from a Bundt cake covered with orange frosting. An inverted green ice cream cone forms a stem; colored icing forms the jack-o'-lantern's smile.
We tried it: This cake is easy to make and looks great. If the lines in the Bundt cake don't stand out to form the ridges on the pumpkin, use an icing spatula drawn from top to bottom to form them. Leaf-shaped butter cookies from the bakery or icing leaves at the top of the cake are nice additions to the "pumpkin" stem.
For a party activity, play Pumpkin Putt. Carve a number of pumpkins with mouths large enough to accommodate a golf ball. Then let children hit the ball into the mouths of the pumpkins, suggests Cynthia Petryszak of Cooper City.
ENTREETRACY PETIK'S LUMBERJACK'S FINGERS
- 9 hot dogs
- 6 refrigerated crescent roll dough triangles
- Ketchup, for garnish
- 3 radishes
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut hot dogs in half crosswise so you have 18 pieces. Cut each crescent roll along the long edge into three pieces or strips. Place the hot dogs on a baking sheet and wrap cut end with a strip of dough. Bake 8 to 10 minutes until lightly browned.
Remove from oven and cut a notch about 3/4 inch from the rounded end of each hot dog. Cut each radish into slices. Cut edges of each slice off straight to resemble a fingernail. Slip nail into notch so the rounded edge is parallel to the rounded edge of the hot dog and it looks like a fingernail on a finger. Drizzle some ketchup between end of the baked crescent dough knuckle and the radish nail. Serve with ketchup for dipping. Makes 9 fingers.
Per finger: 229 calories, 71 percent calories from fat, 18 grams total fat, 30 milligrams cholesterol, 7 grams saturated fat, 7 grams protein, 10 grams carbohydrates, .07 gram total fiber, 574 milligrams sodium, 2 grams total sugars.
COOKIEMYRA MILLER'S PEANUT BUTTER WITCH'S FINGERS
- About 30 almond slices
- Red food coloring, as needed
- 1 cup peanut butter
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 egg
Pick over sliced almonds to find those that most resemble human fingernails. Place in red food coloring. They will absorb the color immediately. Drain and place on paper towels.
Combine peanut butter, sugar and egg. Roll 1 teaspoon dough between your palms to form a slim fingerlike shape about 2-3 inches long. Place on a baking sheet. Place a red almond slice into the end of the dough "finger" like a fingernail. Repeat until all dough is used. Make "knuckle" marks on other dough fingers with the tip of a spoon. Make about three lines crosswise.
Bake 12 minutes at 325 degrees until set and golden. Makes 30 cookies.
Per cookie: 70 calories, 61 percent calories from fat, 5 grams total fat, 6 milligrams cholesterol, .87 gram saturated fat, 2 grams protein, 5 grams carbohydrates, .62 gram total fiber, 44 milligrams sodium, 4 grams total sugars.
BEVERAGEVICKI BIR'S WITCH'S BREW WITH EERIE ICE
- Eerie Ice:
- Small plastic items such as spiders, bats, eyeballs and fingers
- Witch's Brew:
- 2 quarts apple juice
- 1 tablespoon whole cloves
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 1 cup orange juice
- 1/2 cup lemon juice
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
To make ice: Select a ring mold smaller than the bowl in which you plan to serve the brew. Fill it halfway with water. Place in freezer until frozen hard. Place a layer of plastic items decoratively atop the ice. Add just enough water to hold decorations in place and return to freezer. If decorations extend above the top of the ice, it will look better.
To make brew: Place apple juice in nonreactive, deep saucepan. Place cloves and cinnamon in a piece of cheesecloth and tie into a small bag. Add to pan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes. Remove cheesecloth bag. Add orange juice, lemon juice and brown sugar. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently, and when sugar dissolves, remove from heat. Let cool.
Serve in punch bowl. At serving time, unmold the ice ring by dipping the mold in hot water for a moment or placing a hot towel around it until it comes loose from the mold. Serve brew with Eerie Ice, decorated side up. Dip punch from center of ice ring. Makes 16 servings.
Per serving: 87 calories, no fat, no cholesterol, .04 gram protein, 22 grams carbohydrates, .21 gram total fiber, 6 milligrams sodium, 20 grams total sugars.
COOKIESBARBARA MCCORMICK'S WITCH'S FINGERS
- 3/4 cup almonds, pecans or walnuts
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup butter
- Pinch salt
- 2 teaspoons almond extract
- About 45 almond slices
- Red food coloring
In a food processor fitted with the metal blade, use on/off pulses to process nuts until finely chopped. Add sugar, flour, butter, salt and almond extract. Pulse until well combined, then process until dough forms a ball. Form into a disc, wrap in plastic wrap and chill until firm.
Meanwhile, pick over sliced almonds to find those that most resemble human fingernails. Place in red food coloring. They will absorb the color immediately. Drain and place on paper towels.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Roll 1 teaspoon dough between your palms to form a slim finger-like shape about 2-3 inches long. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Place a red almond slice into the end of the dough "finger" like a fingernail.
Repeat until all dough is used. Make "knuckle" marks on other dough fingers with the back of a small knife. Make about three lines crosswise.
Bake in the middle of the oven 20 minutes until firm but not browned. Slip parchment from baking sheets onto wire racks and let cookies cool before removing from paper. Store in tins lined with wax paper or freeze. Makes about 45 cookies.
Per cookie: 50 calories, 64 percent calories from fat, 4 grams total fat, 5 milligrams cholesterol, 1 gram saturated fat, .53 gram protein, 4 grams carbohydrates, .31 gram total fiber, 4 milligrams sodium, 1 gram total sugars.
DESSERTDEBBIE MORICONI'S JACK-O'-LANTERN CAKE
- Hershey's Perfectly Chocolate Chocolate Cake:
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup cocoa
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup milk
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 cup boiling water
- Better Homes White and Decorative Icing:
- 1/3 cup butter, softened
- 4 1/2 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
- 1/4 cup milk plus more as needed
- Red food coloring, as needed
- Yellow food coloring, as needed
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
- 1 green ice cream cone
- 3 pistachio tea cookies*
- 1 tube black or brown decorating gel
- 1 tube green decorating frosting
To make cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a Bundt cake pan. Combine dry ingredients in large bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of electric mixer 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin). Pour into prepared pan. Bake 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool 20 minutes and remove from pan to wire rack. Cool completely
To make frosting: In a bowl, beat butter until fluffy. Gradually add 2 cups sugar, beating well. Slowly beat in 1/4 cup milk and vanilla. Slowly beat in remaining sugar. Beat in additional milk as needed to make of spreading consistency. Tint with red and yellow food coloring to make vibrant orange.
To decorate: Place cake on serving platter. Frost the cake with orange icing being sure to accentuate the lines on the Bundt cake. If you can't do that, run the icing spatula from the top to bottom of the cake at about 2 inch intervals to make lines. Place a green ice cream cone, upside down, covering the central hole of the cake like a stem. Place cookies around the "stem" as "leaves."
Use green frosting to make decorative edge around bottom of cake. Use gel to make Jack -o'-lantern face on side of cake. Makes 16 servings.
Per serving: 406 calories, 27 percent calories from fat, 12 grams total fat, 34 milligrams cholesterol, 3 grams saturated fat, 3 grams protein, 73 grams carbohydrates, 2 grams total fiber, 308 milligrams sodium, 60 grams total sugars.
DESSERTANTHONY CASALE'S BLACK CAT CAKE
- 1 (18.25-ounce) box Betty Crocker Super Moist Devil's Food Cake Mix
- 1 1/3 cups water
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 3 eggs
- 1 (16-ounce) can chocolate frosting
- Assorted candies such as Lifesavers, Twizzlers, Circus Peanuts, Lemon Drops or gel frostings for decoration as desired
Bake chocolate cake according to package directions using the water, oil and eggs. Bake in 2 (9-inch) round pans. When cakes are cooled, remove from pans and place 1 cake on work surface to form body of cat.
Cut a 6-inch round out of the center of the second cake. From the circle that is left, cut two rectangular paws, two triangular ears and use the rest for the tail as shown in the drawing at right. Place tail and paws or feet at bottom of the whole cake that forms the body. Put head at top and ears on head.
Frost with chocolate frosting. Use candies such a Lifesavers or Lemon Drops for eyes. Cut Twizzlers in half lengthwise and then in lengths crosswise for whiskers or use white gel frosting. Use a Circus Peanut cut in half for a nose, if desired. Makes 12 servings.
Per serving: 430 calories, 43 percent calories from fat, 21 grams total fat, 46 milligrams cholesterol, 4 grams saturated fat, 3 grams protein, 56 grams carbohydrates, 1 gram total fiber, 450 milligrams sodium, 36 grams total sugars.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun