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Neat -- or Stupid-- Food & Food Props for Halloween

Here is a start: "The Scream" ice cubes: http://foolishgadgets.com/201009/ice-...

gin and "titonic" ice tray with ocean liner and iceberg ice moids: http://www.stupid.com/fun/GTIC.html

synthetic blood "energy drink" http://www.stupid.com/fun/halloween_c...

scary spirit gelatin: http://www.wilton.com/idea/Scary-Spir...

pond worms in slime: http://www.busy-moms-online.com/525/p...

the green gelatin brain: http://thirteenforhalloween.com/index...

skull on a stick cookies: http://thirteenforhalloween.com/index...

halloween haunted house (gingerbread molds): http://www.williams-sonoma.com/produc...

a bunch of stuff: http://www.amazingmoms.com/htm/Hallow...

oreo spider cookies: http://www.bettycrocker.com/recipes/s...

ok, enough about me. whatcha got?

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  1. I've actually been debating doing my own take on the "box of horrors" that were popular when I was young, but instead of spaghetti, mashed jello and peeled grapes, serving fried lamb brains with curried yogurt, braised tripe and chorizo with chickpeas and something else. I've not thought of the appropriate substitute for eyes.

    The punch bowl, however, will still sit in a bubbling pool of dry ice.

    1 Reply
    1. re: JungMann

      I'm sorry Mr. Mann...I won't be able to make it to your dinner party.

    2. I always liked the "old-school", cheapster's Halloween punch bowl tricks: freezing water in two latex gloves and an aluminum foil mold of your face, then floating them in the punch to make it look like ghost in your punch bowl.

      I haven't seen that one in ages, though!

      3 Replies
      1. re: yfunk3

        that sounds great!

        i saw somewhere that you can get a jello mold made of your face. a kid said, "oh it looks like i'm eating my own face." uh....yep! http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releas...

        it's called "eat yer face" and here is its creator: http://www.ereleases.com/pic/2010-Sam... he wrote the "special effects cookbook." http://www.specialeffectscookbook.com...

        in the kit: "Mom always said the best gift is the gift of one's self. So I created the ultimate in personalized gifts - an easy and safe way to cast your face in gelatin and serve it up on a platter at your next party or special occasion. It's guaranteed to be the hit of your Halloween celebration."
        Edible gelatin molds can be made from other body parts.
        Each kit contains enough material for two small children's faces or one adult face. Each mold can be used over and over again for different occasions throughout the year if kept sealed in a ziplock bag and stored in the refrigerator."

        1. re: alkapal

          If you use tonic water to make the jello (in place of plain water), the jello will glow under black light. Although the tonic water is a little bitter so it might affect the taste.

          The green colored jello flavors work well for this.

          1. re: pamf

            glows from the quinine, huh? does that explain how i look after a couple of g&ts? ;-).

      2. For dessert to feed a big crowd, try Kitty Litter Cake. It's not my recipe, so I won't post it here, but just Google it and you'll see plenty of recipes and pictures. I've made it a couple of times, once for a potluck at work, once for a large party, and it was the star attraction. And in spite of the fact that's it's made from nothing but mixes and packaged cookies, it actually tastes pretty good!

        1. For the non-edible food props...Martha Stewart used to put a fennel bulb in water with red food coloring...looked like a heart in a lab jar.

          1. I just had fresh longans for the first time. Much more like eyeballs than olives. They are called Dragons' eyes in Chinese. http://pickmeyard.files.wordpress.com...

            1 Reply
            1. re: calliope_nh

              oh...yeah! those are eyeball-ish. maybe jung mann can include these in his gross-out menu.

            2. Good old real cranberry/vodka shooters in test tubes, in racks.

              3 Replies
              1. re: mamachef

                Martha Stewart aslo did cookies shaped like fingers and the nails I think were painted with chocolate. I believe Bon Appetit did something similiar this last issue

                1. re: mamachef

                  the test tubes would be good for bloody marys, too. i like the concept -- for anytime, actually. pretty fun idea.

                  1. re: alkapal

                    welcome to my laboratory of horror-itory.

                2. I don't like to be very gross with food for Halloween.

                  Witch Fingers - meringue fingers with sliced almond fingernails.
                  Meringue Ghosts - pipe the meringue in a ghost shape and use little candy decorations for eyes.
                  Meringue Bones - pipe meringue in the shape of the tibia bone.

                  An idea from Martha Stewart - creature chips. Cut out tortillas with Halloween shaped cookie cutters (I like to use bats, cats and owls), season, and toast. Depending on the seasoning, serve with sweet or savoury dips. I usually do cinnamon and black sugar on the chips for pumpkin/cream cheese dip, though Martha did them with pepper and such to serve with guacamole.

                  This year I want to do a take-off on Rachel Ray's Yummy Mummy:

                  We like to have a Soup Party for Halloween. Several times I have filled these jars with Halloween candies and used them for decorating and eating at the party. I also fill half-pint jars with a mixture of the different candies for take-home favours.

                  Chocolate Witch Hat Cakes: chocolate cake baked in paper water cooler cups, chocolate shortbread rims and decorated as desired. My younger daughter decorated these, but you can be as elaborate if you like.

                  For a prop, I've gotten the supplies to make Martha Stewart's Head Waiter Tray.

                  Another prop - really cool witch footed cake stand. This year I'm going to make a chocolate pistachio cake to serve on it. Dark chocolate and green should look Halloweenish.

                  Cute cake idea came in a Sur la Table e-mail a couple of years ago. Use a castle shaped cake pan to make a Spooky Castle Cake.

                  Wilton does a Candy Corn Cake:

                  We love Halloween at this house and I'm always in the market for new ideas. Great thread alkapal!

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: decolady

                    wow, you have some great ideas. martha stewart's "head waiter" was so funny! do you think that is all the hired help that she can afford these days? LOL!

                    ps that wicked witch spider cakestand is really superb!

                    i like the little witch hat cupcakes, too. cute! ultra-decadent: dip the chocolate shortbread in chocolate to cover!

                    1. re: alkapal

                      Thanks! I fell in love with that cake stand as soon as I saw it. It's Krinkles by Dept. 56. They also make a non-Halloween one with red shoes! That's the one I got first. LOL

                      The Head Waiter tray called to me as soon as I saw it, too. While I think Martha is in many ways overrated, she has come up with some great Halloween ideas over the years.

                  2. This year I'm making haunted houses out of chocolate graham crackers (instead of winter graham cracker houses) with the 10 year olds I teach. I'm super excited to see how they turn out :)

                    2 Replies
                      1. re: alkapal

                        With orange colored royal icing.

                    1. http://www.toppartyideas.com/hallowee...


                      Also, make the witches' fingers cookies using a cheese straw dough for a savory version. Use a slivered almond for the nail, squish red food coloring with grated cheddar to make blood to pipe around the fingernail.

                      1. Alka, I did one some years ago that was a spectacular success. Start with a small but tightly inflated balloon and a lot of whipped cream. Shape it into a nice tall, cylindrical cake on a big cake plate, and go with Halloweenie trimmings and candles, and give a good friend a long, sharp tipped carving knife to do the honors of the first slice.

                        5 Replies
                        1. re: Veggo

                          ha-ha! that'll get 'em!

                          ps, do you then bill them to clean your carpet? heh heh!

                          1. re: alkapal

                            If you can find a copy at your bookstore (it will be somewhere in the Fantasy section) you may want to pick up a copy of "Nanny Ogg's Cookbook" which as many haloween appropritae dishes. While none of the odder recipes were created with the intent of being for haloween (they're meant to emulate foods eaten by other races, (such as dwarves) who have different culinary traditions, many of them might be good for a haloween fete. In pariculary the sheep's eyballs (made of onions and cream cheese) toffe rat onna stick and quatro rodennti pizza might be good for a few screams.

                                1. re: cgarner

                                  That is incredible!

                                  The whole time I was reading - I was facinated by all the work and artistry that she put into that cake, and my favorite bit was her saying how proud of her jelly-roll she was!!
                                  That brilliant masterpiece - and she was proud of her jellyroll!! LOL!!

                          2. From my current favorite magazine food site, Canadian Living's...
                            (You can take the girl out of Canada but you can't take the Canada out of the girl.)

                            4 Replies
                              1. re: buttertart

                                We had a Halloween cake competition here at work… I did a twist on a graveyard cake,

                                Molded a headstone out of rice-krispy treats, covered with fondant which I divided and tinted three different colors of grey and bought one black fondant. I kneaded and rolled to look like old dark veiney marble
                                Indented RIP in the rice krispy treats… (you have to really SMOOSH the RKT together otherwise it just goes limp) I covered with the fondant and brushed the inside of the indent with black food dye and swiped it out to look just OLD and dirty.
                                Stuck pretzel rods into the base so that it would sink into the cake when I got to work
                                EVERYTHING had to be edible…. No wooden dowels permitted)

                                I made a rich dark chocolate cake and filled with raspberry and chocolate butter cream

                                Then covered the cake with more chocolate butter cream and brown/green tinted toasted coconut to look like old dried withered grass, also used some of the cake crumbs from cutting the cake in half to sprinkle in as dirty.

                                I made an entire hand out of that severed finger cookie dough and curved it over a small bowl in the oven so it wasn’t just FLAT

                                I painted the hand a bit in the creases and tried my best for realism

                                The hardest part was ‘breaking’ into the cake so I could have the hand sticking out as if it were bursting through.

                                I molded a skull and some bones out of white fondant and scattered them about the cake.

                                When I got to work, I sunk the head stone into the cake and set up the hand coming out of the grave.

                                (take that pumpkin jack-o-lantern bundt cake!)

                                Feel free to steal this idea. I’m not really that talented with cakes, and it looked pretty darn cool and won the competition.

                                1. re: cgarner

                                  that sounds very elaborate. do you have any photos? i'd love to see it.

                                  1. re: alkapal

                                    I don't I wish I did. I didn't take any pictures at home and I don't know where the ones from here at work got to.

                                    it was a lot of steps but none of it was hard. I think the hardest part was making the cookie hand. I made three of them to make sure I had a back up or two. (it is a tasty recipe for the cookies)

                              2. This is absolutely evil, but one year my husband made one of those "reach in and guess what you're touching" boxes for a family H'ween party we hosted in our barn, but instead of using fake things like cooked spaghetti for guts he used real bones and guts. He got a couple of marrow bones, some calf's liver, and fish guts from the grocery store, then went to a sporting goods store for live bait. He just put them all in a cardboard box with a hole cut out for people to reach in, and encouraged everyone to give it a try. People were expecting what they touched to be fake, so of course they were shocked when they discovered that yes, that really was a real liver they'd been squeezing.

                                Be sure to have wipes and Purell on hand if you try this.

                                7 Replies
                                1. re: Isolda

                                  ..and a bucket for...er... the inevitable upchuck. eugh!

                                    1. re: buttertart

                                      you pull your hand out, and it smells like the butcher's dump. i'd wretch, and....be very pissed off, frankly!

                                        1. re: buttertart

                                          gyaack. i'd reach back in, pull some out, and probably do something that i'd be ashamed about the next morning. i don't go down lightly.

                                        2. re: alkapal

                                          Surprisingly, all the men loved it! One of them even asked us to recreate it for his party the following year. The kids just thought it was gross in a good way. The women, well, yeah, the two who tried it were pretty wigged out at first, but no one got angry.

                                          1. re: Isolda

                                            nobody got angry? well, that is surprising.

                                  1. I saw this recently and really want to try making them this year (although it does seem like it could be hard to get the set jello out of the drinking straws in tact):

                                    Blood worms! http://boingboing.net/2010/10/13/howt...

                                    1. The lovely people at Canadian Living have come up with another witchy-ish cookie...

                                      1. At a halloween party a couple years back I served korean silkworn larvae. a delicacy... and scary. yes they do taste like you think they would but there is also a refined subtlety to the flavor.

                                        1. Screwdrivers made with black vodka. I'm not generally good at layering drinks, but this layers quite well . . .

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: guilty

                                            black vodka? i guess i'm a fuddy duddy because i've never heard of such a thing.

                                              1. The Monster of a Chocolate Pistachio Cake - keep in mind that in my family my sister is a professional cake baker. There are only a few cakes I ever bake because normally if I need a cake, I call her. However, I decided to try this one myself.

                                                Recipe and more pics here:

                                                  1. Kitty litter cake -- apologies if it's already been suggested. http://www.fabulousfoods.com/recipes/...

                                                    1. I came across this the other day and remembered this thread:


                                                      They do look gross, and could be a fun way to introduce new foods.

                                                      2 Replies
                                                      1. re: sarahjay

                                                        interesting…and i'd not wanna try them…they look gross. LOL

                                                        i wouldn't do raw sausage like that (did she cook it?…even so), and i wondered how the mustard greens were not green.

                                                        otherwise, i'm sure the jars would be a big hit at a party -- where the kids would dare each other to try them.

                                                        1. re: alkapal

                                                          They WERE cooked - he mentions cutting them partially at the "knuckle" so they'll crook when cooked. Then "preserved" in soup broth. I suspect the mustard greens were pickled/already preserved before they hit the jars, since it looks like most of the groceries were purchased at Asian groceries. :)

                                                          The major limitation from a dining perspective is that each "specimen" can really only have a couple of ingredients, so I have a hard time imagining making particularly interesting main dishes out of them. But for appetizers/antipasti...brilliant. :D

                                                          Also brilliant: edible googly eyes.

                                                      2. King Arthur Flour Co. has some great ideas for Halloween and autumn. http://www.kingarthurflour.com/hallow...

                                                        1. Here is the offering of ideas from Land o' Lakes butter… http://www.landolakes.com/recipe/coll...

                                                            1. The gang Mrs. O works with have requested a rerun of last year's devilled egg zombie eyeballs, so that's what I'm doing tomorrow afternoon. The egg mixture: rub hard-cooked yolks through a wire strainer, add a good pinch of salt per dozen, plus enough Trader Joe's wasabi mayonnaise* to make a pipeable mixture. Add a drop or so of green food coloring to heighten the effect. Using a pastry bag or similar item pipe a nice rounded glob of goo into each egg half. Using a very fine brush and red food coloring, draw "bloodshot" lines on the tops of the whites, then top each egg with a slice of black olive. Ghoulishly delicious.

                                                              * If you are in some poor backwater that still has no Trader Joe's, just make your favorite devilled eggs with a few drops of green or blue coloring beaten into the yolk mixture.