Delight and scare Halloween revelers of all ages

Adrienne Freeman/Contributing Writer Published October 31, 2013 at 12:00 a.m.
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Adrienne Freeman/Contributing Photographer

Beware: These colorful, eerie varieties of Witches’ Brew will most likely be a hit with children and adults at Halloween gatherings of all sorts.

Whatever your Halloween practices are, most of us enjoy passing out treats and watching the kids dress up. Chances are, when discussing the day with anyone over 40, you often hear, “That’s not how we used to do it.” Gone are the days of kids freely roaming the neighborhoods in costumed masses and gathering sugar-shock amounts of candy.

Safety concerns mean that more kids will be found at church gatherings or community Halloween fairs, and sometimes a coalition of businesses will form a “trick-or-treat trail” to accommodate the little ghosts and goblins.

Following are some great ideas for Halloween treats:

Nutty Ghosts: Peanut-butter cookies lend their distinctive shape easily to ghosts. Melt white candy bark in the microwave, dip cookies, and add mini chocolate chips for eyes.

Candy Pumpkins: Use orange candy melts (like Wilton), and dip chocolate cookies. Add a small pretzel stem. Using green frosting or gel in a tube, pipe it onto the leaves.

Mummy Fingers: Slice an individual serving of string cheese at an angle. With a sharp knife, make shallow cuts for skin folds at knuckles. Use just a dab of cream cheese to attach slivered almonds as the fingernail. Using a toothpick, add a little red cake gel around the edges of the almond slice as “blood.”

Witches’ Brew: Any drink can be transformed into Witches’ Brew. Use any drink mix, add food coloring if desired, and at the last minute, add small pieces of dry ice. The drink will bubble and smoke, delighting all ages. If a larger punch bowl is used, use larger pieces of dry ice.

Juice-Box Mummies: Wrap juice boxes in masking tape and add stick-on googly eyes.

When the goblins come home, serve warm Blood and Guts (Spaghetti and Meatballs) to finish out the night. Feel free to form the meat mixture into organ shapes — kidneys and hearts — to add to the festivity. Happy Halloween!

BLOOD AND GUTS

(Spaghetti and Meatballs)

Ingredients:

1 medium onion

2 tablespoons garlic, minced fine

3 tablespoons extra-virgin oil

4 slices fresh white bread

1/3 to ½ cup milk

1 egg

1/3 cup tablespoons freshly-grated Parmesan cheese

1 1/2 pounds ground beef

1 1/2 pounds ground pork

Salt and pepper

6-8 basil leaves or 1/2 teaspoon dried

18 ounces spaghetti sauce of your choice

1 pound pasta, cooked to package directions

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Dice onions and garlic, lightly sauté for 3 minutes, and set aside.

Remove the crusts from four slices of bread, roughly break the bread into pieces, and soak in milk. Allow the milk to soak into the bread.

To make the meatballs: Place garlic/onion mixture, meat, milk-soaked bread, egg, Parmesan cheese and ground meat in a large bowl; add salt and pepper to taste. Mix well.

Shape into 2-inch balls, and bake on nonstick baking sheet in the oven for 10 minutes until brown. Drain most of the grease from the meatballs.

Place meatballs and spaghetti sauce into a large pot. (A crock pot set to your specifications will work, too.) Simmer slowly for 30 to 45 minutes until meatballs are cooked through. Cooking the meatballs in the acidic tomato sauce helps to tenderize them.

Add salt to simmering water, and cook pasta according to package directions for al dente. Serve in a large dish, adding sauce over warm pasta to allow it to soak into the pasta a little. Garnish with additional Parmesan cheese.

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