Thursday, October 11, 2012

Giant Halloween Party, Friday, October 26 @ 4:00

Time for me to dust off my witch's toes recipes and start fermenting my swamp brew. 

Wear your Halloween costume to the Gulf Beaches Library and mingle with all the other superheroes, princesses and pirates

Get ready to play unwrap the mummy and make some crafts with us. Know any ghost stories? 

I do.

The HORROR: Monstrous (but easy) Halloween party food

Every year I throw a Halloween party at my library. You guessed it, public library = small budget no prep time. But I looooove Halloween, and I've come up with a nightmarishly fast and easy Halloween party menu. Like most schools, libraries have rules about serving the public from vats of swamp juice they've mixed up in their home cauldrons, so most of these menu items call for shopping rather than baking.

I made these cute Frankensteins the night before, iced them with green icing, stuck on M & M eyes and noses, and dotted eyeballs and drew on grimaces with black tube icing. They also have jujube ears. They were a bit fiddly to do, but so much fun that my sister asked if she could pitch in and we did them together in front of the TV.

Photo: TF Sherman

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My guests are age four and five at the youngest, and I don't want to scare the bejeez out of them. I skip the ghoulish. No corpses or rotting flesh at my parties.

I love getting out my Halloween creatures: rats and crows and owls and spiders every year. Consider these a great investment. You can use your owl to scare hawks away from your chickens. If you have any chickens. The bugs are an absolute must for any Halloween table. I do steer clear of plastic cockroaches. I live in Florida, and here in Florida, cockroach jokes just aren't funny.
Small Fake Crow Prop

Small Fake Crow Prop

There's nothing small or fake about these. Quoth the Raven...

Fake Rubber Rat

Fake Rubber Rat

You'll use it again and again. Get a couple -- a swarm of rats is always more effective.

I recommend serving witch's toes, the graveyard all-you-can-eat, the bubbling black cauldron, a plate of candy corn, because they look so pretty esp. with bugs in them, the Rice Krispies Frankensteins, because they're fairly light, and then EITHER witch's hats Or gingerbread men OR Oreo owls and a punch, because that's a lot of sugar!
  1. Witch's Toes
  2. Hey, Zombies! A Graveyard All-You-Can-Eat
  3. Fruit? For the Undead?
  4. Some Delicious Brooms to Gnaw On
  5. Bubbling black cauldron
  6. Witch's Hats
  7. Fanged Gingerbread Men
  8. Mummy Gingerbread Men
  9. Oreo owls
  10. Revolting beverage
  11. More revolting beverages

Witch's Toes

Truly Gross looking, huh?

Here’s a little protein to give your party menu substance.
  • Serves: 40 because they look so disgusting the squeamish won't eat them.
  • Prep Time: 
  • Total Time: 


  • cocktail franks
  • barbecue sauce


Cocktail franks look pretty disgusting right out of the package, but when you slice out a little nailbed from one end and decorate with blood red barbecue sauce, no Tinkerbell will touch them. Very tasty; full of protein and nitrates. P.S. the cheap ones really don't taste as good. These have become quite the tradition at my library; at least one dad comes back for them every year.

Hey, Zombies! A Graveyard All-You-Can-Eat

A salad bar for the dead

REALLY down and dirty, this graveyard all-you-can-eat is an edible gross out! I printed out the names of the ingredients in Chiller font and set out all the ingredients in bottles and jars. The kids could make their own disgusting concoctions. It was more fun that way, and a lot easier than serving.
  • Serves: 40
  • Prep Time: 


  • Mud (chocolate pudding)
  • Dirt (cookie crumbs. (use the other half of the Oreos from the owls!)
  • Slime (pistachio pudding with just a few rice noodles cooked in for textures)
  • Worms (gummi of course)
  • Candy pumpkins
  • miniature Halloween candies
  • Bones (white chocolate pretzels -- a little expensive but easy to make)


Fruit? For the Undead?

A bag of easy-to-peel mandarin oranges. Brilliant! And easy do aheads.

Photo: Under Construction by Haworth Handmade

Some Delicious Brooms to Gnaw On

Witch BroomsChef Catman tells us these things are simple to make: fold the cheese slice in half and fringe with scissors. Tie around the pretzel/broomstick and tie on with a piece of dill. He says it takes 20 minutes to make a dozen, but I hope I could turn out 2 dozen in that time if I had a little assembly line going.

Bubbling black cauldron

  • Serves: everyone who dares
  • Prep Time: 


  • Candy
  • preferably some Halloween eyeball candy
  • dry ice
  • green food coloring
  • black cauldron and black goblet


  1. Add hot water to the cauldron and then drop a few small cubes of dry ice in. (Dry ice tip: Break up into smaller chunks; it stops bubbling when it's coated with frozen water, and that doesn't happen as quickly if you use a lot of little chunks instead of one big one.) Add a little green food coloring to turn the smoke green. (Oh, another dry ice tip: If you handle the stuff with your bare fingers, your fingers may break off or your skin detach, so use tongs!)
  2. In the center of the cauldron, place your black goblet filled with candy. Then casually walk around your and offer your partygoers a piece of candy. They'll have to reach through the green smoky cloud to reach the candy, and this thrills them to the core. It thrills me to the core too. They always accuse me of trying to poison them. It's true that I'm dressed as a witch, but like all children in fairy tales, they can't help but reach through the billowing green for those candies.

Witch's Hats


  • Keebler's chocolate striped shortbreads
  • Orange or green or purple icing
  • Hershey's kisses


  1. I just made these again yesterday, and really, unwrapping the Hershey's kisses is the most time consuming part of it. Blob a bit of icing on the bottom of the kiss, enough so that when you mash it over the hole in the striped shortbread cookie, a ring of icing appears neatly around it. This icing will be all the glue you'll need to hold these together. Feel free to use orange, green or purple for the icing. These were a big hit.
  2. Photo courtesy of Barbara J Schram,

Fanged Gingerbread Men

Ha ha ha ha


  1. Pepperidge Farms sells boxes of gingerbread men in the fall. Just get a couple and add fangs! Too funny!
  2. Photo courtesy: The Glass Eye on Flickr

Mummy Gingerbread Men

Super SUPER Fast

I’ve given the recipe for royal icing and some day I really do intend to have meringue powder in stock. But today I just bought a can of white icing from the supermarket, loaded it into a baggy, cut off a tiny tip and squirted those mummy gingerbread guys. Super fast, super easy — why heck, it was even fun. Tip: when filling a baggy with icing, put the baggy in a cup. The cup will hold the baggy open for you and the icing will go right to the bottom.


  • 3 Tablespoon Meringue Powder. Wilton makes it
  • and it's a super subsitute for trying to make royal icing with indigestible raw egg whites.
  • 4 cups confectioner's sugar
  • 6 Tablespoons (or so) of water
  • Oh yeah -- the bag of storebought gingerbread cookies.


  1. Beat the ingredients together until icing forms peaks, 7-10 minutes at low speed with a heavy-duty mixer, 10-12 minutes at high speed with a hand-held mixer. This stuff dries so solid you can throw out your Elmer's and E-6000 and just use this for minor repairs. This is the stuff they assemble gingerbread castles with, and yet it won't break your teeth and tastes great.
  2. Photo:

Oreo owls

Too cute


  • chocolate cupcakes
  • oreos
  • candy corn for the beak
  • chocolate icing as glue


  1. Twist open two Oreo cookies. Voila, two eyeballs. Break one of the naked halves in two for eyebrows, and reserve the other for graveyard dirt (see salad bar above.) Stick them onto cupcakes or brownies with icing.
  2. Photo courtesy: The Berry,

Revolting beverage

No one would drink it


  • V-8 juice or tomato juice


Print out some gothic labels that say "Blood" and stick them on to small clear glass bottles. Type A, Type O, Type AB. But no one would drink them, which is OK, they certainly provided atmosphere.

More revolting beverages

Hmmmm, not sure

I’ve tried a variety of things, and I’m still dissatisfied with my recipes. I’ve used the witch’s hand — green liquid in a plastic glove — twice, but if you try to get the thing out of the glove, the fingers break off. I’ve tried swamp juice, but again, no one would drink it because it looked tooooo revolting, and that was even though I left out the tapioca pearl-fish eggs. I tried vampire blood punch, but I personally find grape Koolaid frightening, and I don’t like to serve it to my guests. I recommend freezing gummy worms in ice cubes made of the same punch you will serve. They make a nice effect as they melt.

Shopping List

Rice Krispies treats
Keebler striped shortbread
Gingerbread men
Icing, vanilla & chocolate
Food coloring
Chocolate pudding
Pistachio pudding
candy corn & candy corn pumpkins
white chocolate pretzels
Pack of M & M’s, jujubes or dots
Hershey’s kisses
Gummi worms
hard candies
cocktail franks
barbecue sauce
dry ice (my grocery store sells it)
whatever punch you dream up

KaCHING! Not too bad!

Party UnFavors

Remarkable OK Halloween Jokes
I keep a jack o'lantern full of these, on the grounds that all the major holidays should be observed with bad jokes.  An excellent literacy exercise.

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