The National Retail Federation estimates that people will spend a whopping 10.14 Billion on Halloween this year. That’s a record. The average consumer is estimated to spend over $100 to decorate, buy candy and costume themselves, children and pets this year. There are a number of ways to celebrate spookiness and kids and grownups alike can have a safe and fun Halloween. Some people will opt for more intimate gatherings, or parties with family and close friends and others will no doubt hit the streets to collect as much candy as possible. Even if the guest list is small, there are many creative ways to celebrate.
Food is always the headliner in any party and Halloween food gives creative cooks the green light to be as wacky as possible. Some easy finger foods are of course the miniature candy bars that seem to be everywhere at this time of year. Many of the commercial snack and cookie companies offer special Halloween cakes and edibles too. However, if you really want to get creative, you can make some treats yourself. One of the easiest and most spectacular is to take a plain white or chocolate layer cake (bakery or one you’ve made) and pour warm strawberry jelly over the top until it runs down the sides. Chill in the refrigerator. Bury your biggest carving knife in it and you have tasty blood and gore sure to please. For a main course, cook up some eyeball meatballs. Use your own recipe, or simply grab a bag of pre-made ones at the grocery store. Cook, and add to some commercial spaghetti sauce and pop an eyeball made of sliced string cheese and black olives on each one. Make cookies and use a gingerbread man cutter, drizzle some white icing ‘bandages’ across them and you have some easy-peasy mummy cookies. Nutter Butter cookies are another perfect treat if you don’t want to bake. Just dip them in some white almond bark, add some icing eyes and mouth and voila, ghost cookies. For a savory main course, slice some crescent roll dough into thin strips and wrap around hot dogs and bake. Add some eyes and you’ve got mummy dogs. Even if you’re not very artistic, well-placed gummy worms and plastic spiders immediately turn an ordinary snack table into a Halloween party. However, if you are determined to have a healthy Halloween snack table, then spook up some fruits and veggies. They can be just as cute as the sugary snacks.
Spooky drinks are also important for a Halloween party and nothing says spooky like a cocktail with smoke bubbling over the rim. You’ll need dry ice for this and not just any dry ice, food-grade dry ice. You can usually pick this up at a Wal-Mart, Sam’s, Albertson’s and even Kroger. You may have to order it several days in advance, however most major supermarkets can get it for you. Just place a few chips in the bottom of the drink glass and pour your favorite elixir over. Dry ice won’t change the flavor of the drink and is a great way to spice up the party. For the kiddos, it might be safer to add a chunk of it to the punch bowl to keep the party going for hours. Just remember that you need food-grade and not to handle it with your bare skin. Use tongs and don’t swallow it. It isn’t harmful, however it is much colder than regular ice and can cause frostbite. Even if you don’t choose to go the dry ice route, spider and eyeball ice cubes are easy to make and are just as festive. Make a pan of brownies and give blobs of white icing some eyes to make them ghosty. There’s tons of fun things you can do with food that aren’t that hard or expensive.
Halloween gives everyone the chance for some creative fun and both grownups and children have the permission of society to be as outrageous and wacky as they want. Dress up as your favorite book or TV character. This is the season for hobbits, wizards, and white walkers. You can even don a wig and beard and be Bob Ross and paint happy little bats. Marvel’s Universe is full of awesome ideas and of course there’s always Darth Vaders, Yodas and Luke Skywalkers. There’s a perfect costume for every personality and everyone is ready for some fun. Halloween will definitely be a major holiday this season, so get that hot dog costume ready for your wiener dog and prepare to celebrate.
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