Halloween Food and Fun (Taste of Home) October 7th, 2008

This comes from a magazine I found some time ago and I finally felt I would come about and do some research and read it and post it. As always this is just the highlights of said thing that I found interesting, you should always check out the whole magazine to get the full effect.


Pumpkin Cookie Dip
yield: 4 cups (32 servings)
A few moments are all you need to whip up this creamy dip that goes perfectly with store bought gingersnaps.
By: Gloria Kirchman, Eden Prairie, Minnesota

1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
2 jars (7 ounces each) marshmallow crème
1 can (15 ounces) solid-pack pumpkin
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon grated orange peel
Gingersnaps or vanilla wafers

In a large mixing bowl, beat cream cheese and marshmallow crème until smooth. Stir in the pumpkin, cinnamon and orange peel, serve as a dip with cookies. Store in the refrigerator.

Mummies on a Stick
yield: 10 servings
Those little hot dogs are all “wrapped up” in Halloween fun. Kids especially enjoy them.
By: Taste of home test kitchen

1 package (11 ounces) refrigerated bread sticks
10 Popsicle sticks
10 hot dogs
prepared mustard

-Separate dough, roll 10 pieces into a 24-inch rope. Insert sticks into hot dogs. Starting at the stick end, wrap on dough rope around each hot dog, leaving 2 in. of the hot dog uncovered at the top for the mummy head.
-Place mummies 1 in. a part on a greased baking sheet. Place remaining bread sticks on another baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 18-20 minutes. Add dots of mustard for eyes. Save left over bread sticks for another use.

Sweet 'n' Savory Snack Treat
yield: 11 cups (22 servings)
Serve this yummy Halloween mix in colorful snack cups or cake ice cream cones so guests can mingle while they munch. You can use different colored M&Ms for other festive occasions.
By: Betty Sitzman, Wray, Colorado

3 cups Wheat Chex
3 cups Rice Chex
3 cups miniature cheese crackers
1 cup fresh pumpkin seeds, washed and dried
¼ cup butter, cube
1 ½ teaspoons seasoned salt
1 ½ teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon hot pepper sauce
2 cups milk chocolate M&Ms

-In a large bowl, combine the cereal, crackers and pumpkin seeds. In a small sauce pan, melt butter. Stir in the seasoned salt, Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder and pepper sauce. Drizzle over cereal mix and toss to coat.
-Spread into a greased 15 in. X 10 in. baking pan. Bake at 250 degrees for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Cool completely on a wire rack. Transfer to a large bowl, stir in M&Ms, store in an airtight container.

Mulled Cider
yield: 18 servings
I dress up apple cider using lemonade juice, honey and spices. It makes a welcome treat for a party.
By: Genna Tooman, Boise, Idaho

4 cups water
2 teaspoons ground allspice
1 cinnamon stick (3 inches)
Dash ground cloves
1 gallon apple cider or juice
1 can (12 ounces) frozen lemonade concentrate, thawed
¾ cup orange juice
1/3 cup honey
1 individual tea bag

In a large kettle, combine the water, allspice, cinnamon stick and cloves. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes.
Add the remaining ingredients. Return just to a boil. Discard cinnamon stick and tea bag. Stir and serve warm.

Apple Pizza
yield: 10-12 servings
Pizza is a favorite at our house, so when I had some apples touch up, I started searching for an apple pizza recipe. I tailored this one to fit my family's tastes.
By: Brenda Mowroy, Taylors, South Carolina

2 1/3 to 3 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1 package (¼ ounce) active dry yeast
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup water
¼ cup milk
¼ cup butter, cubed

Apple topping:
4 cups sliced peeled Granny Smith apples
2 tablespoons butter
½ cup sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Cheese topping:
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
¼ cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons caramel ice cream topping

2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
¼ cold butter, cubed

In a large mixing bowl, combine 1 ½ cups flour, sugar, yeast and salt. In a sauce pan heat water, milk and butter to 120-130 degrees. Add to dry ingredients; beat for 2 minutes stir in enough remaining flour to form a firm dough. Turn onto a floured surface; cover and let rest for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook and stir apples in butter over medium heat for 2 minutes. Combine the sugar, flour and cinnamon; stir into skillet. Cook 3 minutes longer. Reduce heat to low, cook, uncovered, for 4-6 minutes until apples are tender, stirring frequently.
In a small mixing bowl, combine the cheese topping ingredients. For streusel, in a small bowl, combine flour and sugar: cut in butter until crumby.

Pat dough onto a greased 14 in pizza pan, building up edges slightly. Spread with cheese topping, then apple toppings. Sprinkle with streusel. Bake at 375 degrees for 20-25minutes until crust is golden brown. Serve warm or cold.

Parmesan Party Mix
yield: 8 cups (8 servings)
This is our favorite mix. The combination of seasonings gives it just the right flavor, and it's a snap to toss together.
By: Karen Smith, Thornton, Colorado

7 cups Crispix
2 cups cheese flavored snack crackers
1 cup pretzel sticks
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
¼ teaspoon fennel seed, crushed
1/8 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
½ cup grated Parmesan or Romano cheese

In a 2 gallon resealable plastic bag, combine the cereal, crackers and pretzels. In a small bowl, combine the oil, Italian season, fennel seed and hot pepper sauce. Pour over cereal mixture, seal bag and toss to coat. Add Parmesan cheese; seal bag and toss to coat. Store in an airtight container.

Spider Cupcakes
yield: 1 dozen
The batter and frosting for these cupcakes contain orange flavors to give them a refreshing, from-scratch taste.
By: Janis Plourde Smooth Rock falls, Ontario

6 tablespoons butter, softened
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
½ cup unsweetened apple sauce
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon grated orange peel
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon baking soda
½ cup chopped pecans

1 ¼ cup butter, softened
2 cups confectioners' sugar
1 ½ teaspoons grated orange peel
orange paste food coloring
2 to 4 teaspoons orange juice
½ cup chocolate frosting
black shoestring licorice
12 black sundrops

In a small mixing bowl, cream butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg; beat well. Beat in apple sauce, vanilla and orange peel. Combine the flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda; gradually add to the creamed mixture. Stir in pecans.

Filled paper-lined muffin cups half full. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack to cool completely.

For frosting, in a small mixing bowl, cream butter, and confectioners' sugar. Add orange peel, food coloring and enough orange juice to achieve spreading consistency. Set aside ¼ cup orange frosting. Frost cupcakes.

Transfer chocolate frosting to a heavy-duty resealable bag, cut a small hole in a corner of bag. Pipe a circle of chocolate in center of each cupcake. Pipe evenly spaced thin concentric circles about ¼ in apart. Beginning with the center circle, gent pull a toothpick through circles toward outer edge. Wipe toothpick clean. Repeat to complete web pattern.

Cut licorice into 2 in pieces; press eight pieces into each sundrop for legs. Place reserved orange frosting in a heavy-duty resealable bag. At a small hole in a corner of the bag. Pipe eyes on each spider gundrop. Position on cupcakes.

Pumpkin-shaped rollouts
yield: about 3 ½ dozen
These cookies, cut out in the traditional pumpkin shape, have a non-traditional Halloween flavor added-orange peel. They're scrumptious !
By: Margaret Hancock, Camp Verde, Arizona

2/3 cups shortening
¾ cup sugar
½ to 1 teaspoon grated orange peel
1 egg
4 teaspoons milk
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt

½ cup butter, softened
4 cups confectioners' sugar
½ teaspoon grated orange peel
2 to 4 tablespoons orange juice
green and orange food coloring

In a large mixing bowl, cream the shortening, sugar and orange peel until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg, milk and vanilla. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt; gradually add to the creamed mixture.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out to ¼ in thickness. Cut with 2 ½ inch pumpkin cookie cutters dipped in flour. Place 1 in apart on grease baking sheets. Bake at 350 degrees for 6-8 minutes or until lightly brown. Remove to wire rack to cool.
In a small mixing bowl, combine the butter, confectioners' sugar, vanilla, orange peel and enough orange juice to achieve spreading consistency. Remove ½ cup frosting, tint green. Tint remaining frosting orange. Frost cookies with orange frosting, and leaves and vines using reserved green frosting.

Monster Caramel Apples
yield: 8-10 servings
Our home economists used Karen's delicious recipe. For caramel apples and added fun ingredients to make these special Halloween creations.
By: Karen Ann Bland, Grove, Kansas

8 to 10 medium apples
8 to 10 wooden sticks
32 cream-filled chocolate sandwich cookies, coarsely chopped
1 cup butter, cubed
2 cups packed brown sugar
1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
1 cup light corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
8 squares (1 ounce each) white candy coating, coarsely chopped
½ cup orange and brown sprinkles

Wash and thoroughly dry apples; insert a wooden stick into each. Place onto a waxed paper-lined baking sheet; chill. Place cooking crumbs in a shallow dish; set aside.
In a heavy 3 quart sauce pan, combine butter, brown sugar, milk and corn syrup; bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook and stir until mixture reaches 248 degrees (firm-ball stage) on a candy thermometer, about 30-40 minutes. Remove from the heat; stir in vanilla.
Dip each apple into hot caramel mixture to completely coat, then dip the bottom in cookie crumbs, pressing lightly to adhere. Return to baking sheet to cool.
In a small microwave-safe bowl, heat white candy coating at 50 % power for 1-2 minutes or until melted; stir until smooth. Transfer to a small plastic bag; cut a small hole in a corner of the bag. Drizzle coating over apples. Decorate with sprinkles.
Note: we recommend that you test your candy thermometer before each use by bringing water a boil; the thermometer should read 212 degrees. Adjust your temperature up or own based on your test.

Tombstone Cupcakes
yield: 2 dozen
A cake mix speeds up the prep of these creepy little cakes. Chow Mein noodles are the “fingers” that reach out from the cupcake grave.
By: Taste of home test kitchen

1 package (18 ¼ ounces) cake mix of your choice
1/3 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
24 Milano cookies
1 can (16 ounces) vanilla frosting
½ cup chocolate wafer crumbs
1 cup Chow Mein noodles
24 orange gumdrops
3 green gumdrops, cut into small pieces

Prepare and bake cake mix according to package direction for cupcakes; cook completely.
For tombstones; in the microwave, melt chocolate chips. Pipe “RIP” onto cookies; place on waxed paper to dry.
Frost cupcakes; sprinkle with chocolate wafer crumbs. Carefully insert tombstones into cupcakes. Arrange Chow Mein noodles to resemble fingers. Use gumdrops to make pumpkins; place in front of tombstones.

Scaredy-Cat Cupcakes
yield: 2 dozen
Get your kids in on the fun by letting them add the faces to these feline cupcakes. Adults can pipe on the frosting while the kids decorate.
By: Taste of the home test kitchen

1 package (18 ¼ ounces) cake mix of your choice
1 can (16 ounces) vanilla frosting
Orange paste food coloring
1 cup Chow Mein noodles
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking soda
48 nacho tortilla chips; broken
Assorted candies; green M&M's, miniature semi sweet chocolate chips, black licorice twists and shoestring licorice

Prepare and bake cake mix according to package directions for cupcakes; cool completely. Tint vanilla frosting orange, using a star tip, pipe orange frosting onto cupcakes.
For whiskers, in a small bowl, combine the Chow Mein noodles, sugar and cocoa, set aside.
For cat ears, insert nacho chips with pointed tips up. Use M&M's and miniature chocolate chips for eyes, pieces of licorice twists for noses and shoestring licorice for mouths.
Arrange reserved chow mein noodles on cupcakes for whiskers.

Bowl of Bones
yield: 1 ½ dozen (18 servings)
These tender, saucy wings have a hint of sweet and tangy lime flavor. Your guests will devour them!
By: Taste of home test kitchen

½ cup soy sauce
½ cup lime juice, divided
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger root, divided
2 pounds chicken wingettes and drumettes
½ cup apricot jam
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
dash onion powder

In a large resealable plastic bag, combine the soy sauce, ¼ cup lime juice, garlic and 1 teaspoon ginger; add the chicken. Seal bag and turn to coat. Refrigerate over night, turning occasionally.
Drain and discard marinate. Place chicken on a greased rack in a foil-tined 15 in x 1 in pan. Bake at 375 degrees for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a small sauce pan, combine the jam, salt, cayenne, garlic powder, onion powder, and remaining lime juice and ginger. Bring a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 2 minutes. Brush over wings. Bake 40 minutes longer or until juices run clean, basting and turning ever 10 minutes.

Trick or Treat Safety

Plan a costume that is bright and reflective. An all-black costume may be amusing, but it is difficult to see in the dark.

Add reflective tape or stripping to costumes or trick or treat bag so oncoming cars can see you and your children.

Avoid costumes with a mask, draping hat or other items that obscure vision. Nothing is as dangerous for children walking along streets than having their view blocked. Opt instead for face paint.

Make sure costumes are no longer than ankle-length. A longer costume is more likely to cause a youngster to trip and fall. Also make sure any overflowing pieces- such as dinosaur tails or Dracula capes- stay completely off the ground.

Wear comfortable every day shoes to go trick or treating. A clown's big shoes or a princess' high heels are too unstable for hiking around in. put poms-poms on a clown's sneaker and let a princess wear her low-heeled party shoes.

Give flashlights to each of your trick or treaters; they can carry them in their trick or treat bags. Make sure they all have fresh batteries inside.

Never cut through backyards or roam around in someone's yard.

Before they head out the door, remind your children of the key rules of the street: never run out from between cars when they see a friend, always look both ways when crossing, keep alert any time they are near the road. If there is no sidewalk, walk on the edge of the road facing oncoming traffic, and step off the road the moment they see a car approaching.

Be sure to use a flame-resistant fabric on your costumes, or if buying the costume, check the package to make sure it is flame-resistant.

Pass by houses without their door lights on, not to avoid malicious grouches, but to not bother families that for- whatever reason- don't want to be disturbed.

Remind older kids that tricks are often the same as vandalism and that they could spoil the holidays for years to come. The days of egg throwing, covering trees with toilet paper and soaping car windows are long gone. Such actions just aren't tolerated today.

Insist that your children don't eat any of their treats they've collected until they get home and you can sort them together look carefully for signs of tampering, and discard any suspect sweets. Then work with the children to sort of what is left. Sweets that they don't like can be immediately discarded (or sent to the office the next morning) with no regrets. The ones they like most should be parceled out carefully to make them last one or two a day in the lunch box, for example. The rest can be saved for occasional treats.

Spider-wrapped candy

These easy treats are fun to hand out at classroom parties or to trick or treaters. To dress them up with color, use markers to fill in the spider's eyes and body, then create eye catching borders with contrasting Halloween colors.

60 mini-chocolate bars, such as Hersey Nuggests
2 sheets of 30 plain white 1 x 2 5/8 inch address labels
30 clear 2 x ¾ inch plastic craft bags
White card stock cut into 30 pieces of 1 7/8 x 2 ¼ inches
Black card stock cut into 30 pieces of 2 ½ x 4 ¼ inches
1 small spider rubber stamp
1 large spider rubber stamp
1 black dye-based ink pad
Double-sided tape or mono-adhesive stapler
Yellow, orange, purple and green markers, optional

With black ink, stamp small spiders on length wise on white labels.
Remove outer wrapper from candy bars and replace with stamped labels.
Place two candy bars in each mini bag.
With black ink, stamp 3 large spiders on each piece of white card stock.
Fold each piece of black card stock in half.
Center white card stock on black and adhere, with fold at top.
Place black card stock around plastic bag and staple at bottom to hold.
Use markers to color in spiders and/or add colored borders to edge of white card stock.

Pumpkin-Carving Fiesta

Getting started.

On the weekend before Halloween, invite friends to a BYOP (bring your own pumpkin) carving party. Dazzle your friends with a well-equipped outdoor workshop (or garage) for the task and add in fun music and finger foods appropriate for the messy fun. It'll be like having two Halloweens in one week!

The best place for your party is outdoors (among the changing leaves and cool breezes of autumn. But have a backup plan for indoors, just in case of rain. Wherever you are, be prepared for a mess! If you can, collect all pumpkin waste for composting or pumpkin seed roasting). Also have garbage cans around for the soiled newspapers and paper towels. Don't crowd your artists. You'll probably want no more than three pumpkins being worked on at any given table so be sure to have ample work space.
Have diversions ready for the kids. It can take more than an hour to carve a pumpkin, and kids often get antsy before the work is complete. Have some mini-pumpkins available for painting, face-painting kits, scarecrow-building supplies and party games ready.
Decorate! Help create a Halloween mood by decorating your work shop with hay bales, finished jack-o-lanterns, ground displays and more. And don't forget to provide the perfect ambiance with some spooky Halloween music.

What you'll need.

Several sturdy tables covered with newspapers
Cleaning gear
Old T-shirts or smocks
A pumpkin-carving or ice-cream scoop
Sharp kitchen knife
Large, strong spoon or ice-cream scoop
Sharp-tip water marker
Screwdriver or drill with varying bit sizes
Thin-blade serrated saws
Bucket for seeds
Decorating supplies for kids; paints; stickers; etc.

10 tips for perfect Jack-o-lanterns.

1. Never carry your pumpkin by the stem. It's part of the visual allure, and if it snaps, it can accelerate the pumpkin's rotting. Always carry the pumpkin from the bottom.

2. Store your uncut pumpkin in a cool, dry place. Once pumpkins ripen, they will deteriorate fast- heat and light speed up the process.

3. Wash the exterior of the pumpkin before carving. Use a solution of 1 gallon water and 1 teaspoon chlorine bleach. This will help prevent mold.

4. Draw your pattern on paper. Just enlarge the templates on a copier, and you're ready to go!

5. To transfer a template to the pumpkin, enlarge it. Cut it out and adhere it to the pumpkin with masking tape. Then either pinpricks to mark the shapes and lines on the pumpkin or use a craft or utility knife and cut through the design to score it on the surface.

6. Don't just think of face designs. Moon, stars, cats and witches are all fun and easy to do. You can even use a drill to make patterned light holes.

7. Consider buying a pumpkin-carving kit. They can often be found for just a few dollars. Kits usually contain small scoops and serrated saws that aren't commonly found in the typical tool box. They're great for detailed carving work.

8. When cutting out your shapes, always use a sawing motion. Go slowly and gently. A small serrated saw is best for the details. Never try to forcefully cut your pumpkin with a straight-edge razor- you'll damage the pumpkin, hurt the knife and possibly cut yourself!

9. The more pumpkins in your display, the better. Four or five small pumpkins have much more visual impact than one large one.

10. If scraping out a pumpkin is too much hassle for you, consider buying a hallow acrylic craft pumpkin. These are becoming increasingly popular, thanks to their realistic appearance and their ease at carving. Yes, you carve these soft plastic pumpkins just like a real one; most are made to be about ¼ inch thick with inside colors that match a real pumpkin. And they last forever, meaning instant Jack-o-lanterns for next year!

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