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13 Gross Foods for Haunted Houses

13 Gross Foods for Haunted Houses


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Halloween is the one time of year where grossing out friends and family with spiderweb cupcakes, worm-studded treats, and kitty litter cake is encouraged. If you’ve ever been “sliced” with a shard of glass — with a sharp-edged ice cube, or a chunk of candy glass, of course — then you know the kinds of tricks that are admissible.

Click here to see the 13 Gross Foods for Haunted Houses (Slideshow)

If not, try it for yourself this year. Turn off the lights, and have your “victim” roll up their sleeve. Then complete the experience with a dribble of "blood" for an authentic experience right out of a horror movie. Or instead, opt for another one of these gross tricks you can play with food.

Whether you’re hosting a haunted house, adding some tricks to your trick-or-treating toolbox, or are looking to add a stomach-churning effect to a Halloween cocktail or dinner party, serve something disgusting to delight your guests, like witches' boogers or werewolf hairballs. Mmm, delicious. Or assemble a series of touch boxes made of a shoebox lined with large plastic baggies or garbage bags. Fill the bags with a vile substance, be it warlock vomit or the hearts of pets, then have each visitor to your house of horrors stick their hand inside and guess what it is.

Sticking your hand in a bowl of cold, slimy spaghetti — or, guts, as you might hear on Halloween — is a bit too predictable, for some (especially if you did it last year). This year, up the ante and invite guests into your lair for an evening of gruesome gastronomic delights. Guide them, blindfolded, through a series of bowls and boxes filled with ears, thumbs, and the like. Then before the night is over, surprise them with a wolf kiss — a stroke on the cheek with a sliced dill pickle — and a spoonful of brain.

This article was originally published October 18, 2011


13 Gross Foods for Haunted Houses - Recipes

THE SHOW

Thank you for making the inaugural Unhinged an unforgettable experience.

DATES & TICKETS

(click to view calendars larger)

ESTATE ACTIVITIES

Celebrate the Halloween season with a variety of fun activities around the estate. Axe Throwing (18 & older) & Midway Games like Skeleball, Knockdown, and High-Striker are open during all nights of Unhinged.

Food & Drinks

The Winchester Cafe is open during all nights of Unhinged, and will be serving a variety of delicious food & dessert items! The cafe, as well as bars around the estate, will be serving beer, wine, and specialty Halloween themed cocktails!

REVIEWS

/>&ldquoI loved the "Unhinged" Tour, it exceeded my expectations in every way!&rdquo Hannah K. />

"For Halloween 2019, Winchester Mystery House: Unhinged ups the ante by moving the majority of the haunt inside the house. It far exceeds their previous effort, ranking as the most extensive haunted house we have ever walked through."

Hollywood Gothique "Unhinged is a walkthrough Halloween extravaganza held on select evenings through Nov. 2. It&rsquos intended to shiver your timbers and thrill your soul, but not in a jump-out-with-a-chainsaw kind of way. Oh, there are some startles and blood-curdling screams, but that&rsquos mostly from the guests. This is immersive theater with talented actors performing vignettes in various rooms, some moaning as lingering spirits, others warning you to vacate the premises &hellip or DIE!&rdquo Angela Hill, Bay Area News Group &ldquoIf you are someone that chases the world of the scary or love historic spooky locations, look no further than in San Jose and the Winchester Mystery House." Dustin Dorsey, ABC7 News &ldquoAwesome night visiting for their Unhinged event! Great night!&rdquo Angelina Bruno &ldquoMy boyfriend and I went to the opening of the unhinged experience and we absolutely loved it! The cast was very talented and the experience was closer to a suspenseful story than a 'Jump Scare Horror Tour.' You do NOT get to see the entire house on this tour so please visit it during the day as well to round out your experiences there. The Light Show at night is TO DIE FOR and very technologically impressive. And don't forget to tour the gift shop to see the 500lb gingerbread replica of the Winchester Mystery House!" Patrick Benight &ldquoTonight, we did the Unhinged tour. One of the best haunted house experiences! It was so well thought out and put together. The actors were great - and very spooky!&rdquo Kimberly Meade "Loved it! Not for small kids. And there are small passages and funky stairs but this is a fun and scary directed venture thru part of this massive house. It was scary without being terrifying and not bloody or gross. Excellent staging and makeup and well run and organized. And then the light show was excellent too. If you want a fun evening and like this house, you will certainly enjoy this!" Alex Cruz "We took our teen daughter last night to Unhinged and had an amazing time! The actors did an excellent job, there was a fair amount of "jump" scares mixed with interactive story telling, and they kept us moving through the tour at a good pace. The light show afterward was very impressive and a great way to end the night!" Stephanie K. &ldquoUltimately, Unhinged is an effective, well produced, visually striking experience made all the more unnerving by its storied setting.&rdquo Brian Resler, No Proscenium


13 Gross Foods for Haunted Houses - Recipes

These have all been verified for 2002.
Click on the titles above for details and click on the titles below to visit their web sites for schedules.


Click on the name for info on each house.

Who am I to say what is good or bad?

I have not gone through any special training on haunted houses and I am no more an expert than anyone else who has been to way too many haunted houses. I have simply seen a lot and I know what I like. If you agree with my Good and Bad criteria above, you are more likely to agree with my reviews. If you are considering haunted houses for small children, note that I am not a small child so your child's opinions are likely to vary from mine.

I get emails sometimes from folks who disagree with my ratings, and sometimes they are not one of the haunted house owners. :) If you agree with my method but not my madness (you agree with my rating system above but not with my rating), it is likely we did not have the same haunted house experience. I generally go to haunted houses early in the season. Some houses are at their best because their actors haven't gotten sick of doing it yet, while others are at their worst because they are behind schedule and generally not ready to open yet. Some haunted houses invite me to a "press night" where they are being extra careful to put forth their best performance for the press. If this performance is not consistent when open to the public, your mileage may vary. Generally speaking the best time to go to a haunted house is their SECOND weekend. In theory they will have fixed the bugs by then and the actors won't have grown weary yet. If you go on a night where they have so many people waiting in line that they have to rush people through faster, you will not get the same experience as a "normal" night. Then again if you go on a night where the actors aren't prepared because it's been so dead they didn't realize there were people coming, you also will get a less than perfect experience. I get that a lot since I tend to go opening weekend to most houses. A good haunt should be ready for a perfect tour during all posted operating hours.


Recipe Summary

  • 1 brain-shaped gelatin mold
  • 4 (3 ounce) packages peach flavored Jell-O® mix
  • 3 cups boiling water
  • 1 (12 fluid ounce) can evaporated milk
  • 1 ½ cups peach schnapps
  • 4 drops blue food coloring
  • 2 drops red food coloring
  • 2 teaspoons water

Lightly oil a brain-shaped gelatin mold.

Stir the peach gelatin mix with boiling water in a bowl to dissolve the gelatin. Allow to cool to room temperature, about 20 minutes. Mix in the evaporated milk and peach schnapps pour into the prepared mold. Refrigerate until set, 4 to 6 hours.

To decorate, dip the mold in very warm water (don't let the water enter the top of the mold) to loosen invert the mold on a serving platter and lift to leave the brain in place. Mix blue and red food coloring in a small bowl with 2 teaspoons of water. Use a small clean paintbrush to paint the coloring into the grooves of the brain. Return the brain to the refrigerator until the food coloring sets. Serve cold.


Adult Halloween Party Ideas

Spike the punch, create adult size snacks, and prepare for an awesome Halloween party for adults you know. Consider a theme for your adult party and build your food, games, and party decorations around it.

Halloween Party Games for Adults

  • Ghost Story. Start a scary story, perhaps in a graveyard or haunted mansion. Each guest adds a sentence or two until everyone has had at least one turn (or two if you group is small).
  • Candy Corn Relay Race. Have each adult attempt to move candy corn from one bucket to another with a spoon held in their mouth. This crazy game can be played with teams if you wish. The first to move all the candy successfully wins the game.
  • Halloween Movie Marathon. Watch clips of famous scary movies, then have your guests write their own scary scene and act them out for the other guests. Provide props and some thrift store costumes. Add some fake blood and other Halloween makeup for a fun time.
  • Costume Contest. Tell your guests before the party that you will have a costume party and offer several prizes for:
    • The scariest
    • The funniest
    • The most original
    • The most colorful

    Halloween Decorations for Adult Parties

    Create a romantically spooky feeling with candles for lighting. Choose two primary colors red and black are sophisticated and spooky colors, or go with the traditional orange and black. Build your food choices and table décor around a theme, such as one of the following:

    • Vampires
    • Dead bodies
    • Murder
    • Graveyard
    • Spooky Jack-o-Lanterns

    Don’t forget to set the stage on your patio, front porch, or front door decoration. Try Gothic organ music to create a spooky vibe. Make spider webs by folding black trash bags into a circle and cutting a web design. Cover windows with gauze to dim the interior if your party begins before dark.


    Lindsay Listanski

    Lindsay is the the Director of Media Engagement for Coldwell Banker Real Estate and manages the brand’s media and social media department. She is also a licensed real estate professional. In 2017 & 2018, she was named a top 20 social influencer in the real estate industry in the annual Swanepoel 200 power rankings.

    Lindsay lives in Livingston, NJ with her college sweetheart and now husband Joe and rwelcomed another Joe into her life as she became a mom in June 2016.


    8. Konnyaku

    Wobbly and low in calories, this rubbery rectangular lump is loved by dieters. Konnyaku is made from the wild Konnyaku potato. It’s very high in dietary fiber, which gets your system clean while expanding in your tummy and tricking you into feeling full.

    You may identify konnyaku immediately in the nabemono (hot pot) because it’s slippery body is very difficult to grasp with chopsticks.


    NQN's Hellish Halloween Party!

    So there I was, waiting for a batch of blood for my annual Halloween party. Not the human kind mind you, but nevertheless a batch of blood. The only problem? It was about to arrive when I was going to have a meeting with my book publishers at Penguin to discuss publicity for my upcoming book.

    "What am I going to do?" I asked Mr NQN. "It needs to be fresh, and I can't pick it up any other time"

    "Bring it with you to the meeting?" he suggested.

    "I suppose, I can't be the only author that has brought a bag of blood to a meeting, can I?" I reasoned.

    Well as it turns out, blood isn't the easiest thing to get and it ended up being late which saved me from a fate of explaining why I was carry half a litre of cryovaced pigs's blood (well at least it wasn't in a bucket and I wasn't in a 70's style prom dress I didn't have said bucket tipped over me a la Carrie. ).

    Every year I look forward to my favourite time of the year, Halloween where I get to say goodbye to the pretty and embrace the ghoulishly morbid. This year for Halloween I ended up making 14 items - I know 13 is a lucky or unlucky number depending on who you talk to but an additional thing just slipped in in my excitement. I prepped the party for the week prior to it-I was holding it early as I wasn't able to hold it on the last weekend of October and I also figured if anyone wanted to cook the recipes they would have time in order to make them. As I have for the past few years, I went to my favourite party supply store The Party People for items including a backdrop that would transform our neutral toned apartment into a dungeon and for good measure I hired a fog machine so that guests could be treated to the sight of a foggy, misty Halloween evening! I do love the delightfully creepy!

    A few days before the party I sent around a little reminder to my guests:

    I've been busy mixing up spiders and gruel

    That will give you a fright

    See you on Saturday at 7pm, don't forget there's only one rule.

    Well I never laid claim to any poetic talents. So without any further dithering allow me, dressed as your Disneyland Haunted Mansion Maid wearing a costume made by my mother, to present you with my hellishly horrible Halloween party of 2011!

    Press the doorbell to enter.

    My esteemed guests, let us start with something to drink. Some blood punch Madam or Sir? Presented most delightfully in a clear blood fountain, the mistress of the manor likes to drink blood so she thought you might like to try some. Perhaps you'll get a taste for it like she has.

    Please help yourself to anything on the dining table. it's all gruesomely edible.

    Have you ever visited a pet cemetery? Here is a haunted one made of an avocado, spinach and chickpea hummus dip where ghosts abound visiting tombstone crackers and pretzel fences keep them in.

    If you haven't visited a dentist lately I wouldn't recommend these apple rotting teeth with caramel peanuts.

    This was the brain of someone that displeased the mansion's mistress. She's a little despotic so she decided off with his head and that she would share it with all of you.

    Oh dear, and here is the rest of the man that displeased the mansion mistress. Apart from being a despot she also has a nicer side and believes in nose to tail eating. So she thought that we should eat all of him from his bbq pork ribs to his spicy sausage intestines! With a bloody tomato sauce of course )

    Smokey pumpkin cheese ball

    Made with freshly roasted pumpkin, smoked cheese and cream cheese this lil smokey pumpkin cheese ball was served with garlic bagel chips. Obviously not for the vampires amongst us.

    The mansion mistress told me to go out and buy some blood so I did and I made some Finnish blood pancakes with blood clots. They're her favourite and seeing as she cuts off people's heads, I tend to follow orders.

    And if guests are in need of cooling off, here are some ghost ice pops made with pear and apple blackcurrant juice-they feel as cold and dead as some of the ghouls that wander these halls!

    Don't mind the fog coming up, that's perfectly natural at this time of year, especially in a dungeon.

    This one I'm afraid is a mummy pizza. Not the mothering kind but a much more frightening kind.

    Some sunken ghosties, these didn't work so well although they tasted just like pumpkin pie. I'm sure I'll get in trouble with the mansion mistress for these frightened little ghosties!

    Here is the Rat Queen who lives in the basement with her families of rats. She is watching over them as they devour a human arm. Sweet isn't it?

    May I offer you a shrunken head?

    And a confidante Sheb told me about these Twisties ghost chips which I could only find at one service station where I randomly stopped to fill up the mistresses ancient Bentley! So of course I bought all four bags that they had. They taste like Toobs!

    Haunted Graveyard

    **

    At last year's Halloween party I dressed the dining table as a large graveyard with tombstones for every guest. This year the graveyard was a pet cemetery made out of hummus, avocado and spinach dip, with cracker tombstones, a pretzel fence, quail egg ghosts and broccoli and celery trees. Once the dip is made (and I ended up making a lot) putting it together and quite easy and fun and I was pleasantly surprised at how it turned out!

    Firstly measure how much capacity your rectangular tray will hold mine was about 6-7 cups. Adjust the recipe below according depending on how big your dish is. Inspired by the Disney Family Fun site

    • 1 bunch English spinach
    • 4-6 garlic cloves
    • 4x 400g tins chickpeas, rinsed well and drained
    • 1 ripe avocado
    • 6 tablespoons smooth peanut butter or tahini
    • 8 tablespoons or 1/2 cup lemon juice
    • 8 tablespoons or 1/2 cup olive oil
    • Salt and pepper to season
    • Rectangular shaped crackers (for tombstones)
    • Pretzels (for fence)
    • Quail eggs
    • Edible black pen to draw faces and write on tombstones
    • 1 small head broccoli
    • A couple of celery tops with leaves
    • A rectangular tray

    Step 1 - First, blanch the spinach in some water until it is wilted. Run cold water over the spinach and then squeeze all of the water out of the spinach-this takes a few minutes as there is a lot of water in the spinach and just when you think there isn't any more, there is! It's important to get all of the water out though as you don't want a runny dip-otherwise the broccoli and celery will have trouble standing up in a runny or soft dip.

    Step 2 - In a food processor, process the garlic first to break it up and then add the well drained chickpeas, spinach, avocado, peanut butter or tahini, lemon juice and oil and process until smooth. It is a large mixture so it will take a few minutes to get to a smooth stage. Then place in a large airtight container covering the dip directly on the surface with cling wrap. Refrigerate until needed (this can be done the day before).

    Step 3 - When ready to serve, draw faces on the quail eggs (drying the surface of the egg first on a paper towel) and crackers. Then stand a small head of broccoli in the dip and then the celery next to it (the celery needs the broccoli to lean against). Then place the gravestones and quail eggs. Place pretzels around the edge and voila! You have your graveyard.

    Note: the crackers get a touch wet if they sit around in the dip all night so insert the crackers close to serving time and offer your guests a bowl of fresh crackers and pretzels too.

    Melon Brain

    **

    As soon as I saw the idea of this I loved it. Little did I know how exhausting peeling a whole watermelon is! Luckily Mr NQN stepped in as I was making slow progress getting the green off the melon and with some peeling and a few deft hacks we had a brain! I wanted to have some sort of fresh fruit component as every year the weather is warm and people's costumes can be heavy so we try and keep guests refreshed-in the most morbid way possible of course )

    Slicing off the bottom to make a base

    Step 1 - Slice a slice off the bottom of the watermelon to give it a flat base to sit on. Peel the green layer off and then get down to the white layer. Using a sharp paring knife cut swirls into the watermelon getting to the pink layer below.

    Smokey Pumpkin Cheese Ball

    **

    Another dip but in the form of a pumpkin cheese ball this is really easy to make and* is best made the day ahead* so that the dip can "set". The recipe is inspired by Amy Sedaris's lil smokey cheesball and involves blending up cheeses together with some cold, previously roasted pumpkin and then placing it in a cling wrap lined bowl. Then just take a toothpick and run some lines down it like a pumpkin and then stick a bit of broccoli stem on top and some bagel chips around the side and you're done!

    • 1 cup shredded smoked cheese
    • 500g/1 pound cream cheese
    • 60g/2 ozs butter
    • 2 teaspoons steak or bbq sauce
    • 1 cup pumpkin
    • Salt and pepper to taste
    • A little liquid smoke (optional)
    • 1 small broccoli stem
    • Crackers to serve

    Step 1 - In a food processor blend all of the ingredients except for the broccoli and crackers until smooth. Spoon into a cling wrap lined bowl, press down gently to get rid of any air holes and cover with more cling wrap. Refrigerate for several hours or overnight. When ready to serve, unmold onto a serving plate and place upturned broccoli stem on top. Serve with crackers (I used bagel crisps as they were hard enough so that people could dip them into the cheese ball).

    Blood Punch

    **

    When Queen Viv first told me that Nigella had a clear drinks fountain and that I could use it to spurt out bloody looking drinks I was instantly sold. However in this case determination had to match desire as I looked everywhere for a clear drinks fountain and there were plenty of these in the US but none here and ebay sellers wouldn't ship it here. I finally found one place in Australia who had just one left and she sent to me. I put it together and voila, we had our blood spurting fountain! I'm hoping some True Blood vampires might stop by.

    Step 1 - Mix all together and serve out of clear crystal fountain!

    Rib cage ribs and intestines

    **

    When I went to the butchers I had to call him aside. "Um excuse me, I need some American pork ribs but they have to look like matching human ribs. it's for an early Halloween party" I said clocking his slightly alarmed look. I knew that there would be plenty of sweet food but I needed to put savouries out and I thought that this was an effectively gruesome way to feed people savouries. It is also very easy. You just marinate two racks of ribs in your favourite bbq sauce overnight (I also used some bbq spice rub to add some spiciness) and then bake them for an hour popping in your "intestines" or sausages in half way through. Just add a faux skeleton on top and you have a dish that would frighten the mask off Mr NQN's vegan mother Tuulikki!

    • 2 racks of American ribs, about the same length and width ideally
    • 1 bottle bbq sauce
    • 3 tablespoon dry spice rub (I used a Le Spice one)
    • 500g/1 pound spicy sausages (or really whatever sausage you like)
    • 1 faux skull to serve

    Step 1 - Marinate the ribs with the bbq sauce and dry spice rub in a zip lock bag for several hours or overnight ideally.

    Step 2 - An hour before you bake them take out from the fridge and allow to come to room temperature. Preheat oven to 200C/400F and line a baking tray with parchment. Place the ribs on the tray with the excess sauce and bake for 1 hour. After 30 minutes place the sausages on another tray and bake these too-mine seemed already arranged in an intestinal pattern but if yours aren't then arrange them now as they will hold their configuration roughly. When done, carefully lift them onto a serving tray and place intestines underneath the ribs and the skull atop. Give scissors or a knife and napkins for guests.

    **

    These were a cute idea and I wanted to a pumpkin pie type of filling topped with whipped cream. If I had done it again I would have made these closer to the time because it was a hot day and the cream, which I have to admit came out of an aerosol can because I just couldn't be bothered whipping up some cream and filling a piping bag with the real stuff which would have been more stable, so the ghosts sank a little.

    • 1 cup roasted or tinned pumpkin (well drained)
    • 1/2 cup cream
    • 1/2 cup brown sugar
    • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
    • pinch of salt
    • 300ml whipped cream
    • silver cachous for eyes

    Step 1 - In a food processor blend the pumpkin, cream, brown sugar, nutmeg and salt until smooth. Refrigerate until needed (can be done 2-3 days ahead and stored in an airtight container). Spoon or pipe into small white cups. Pipe cream on top using a plain unfluted nozzle and then place silver cachous for eyes.

    Rotting Apple Teeth

    The best thing about these teeth is the more discoloured the apples get the more authentic they look! These were another idea from the Family Fun site and just a few apples go a long way. Just in case, I did soak the apple quarters in lemon juice water and then stuck in some peanuts mixed with dulce de leche or caramel into them. I did find the tooth adding process a bit hard and some fell out so this was a bit fiddlier than I thought.

    • 3 red apples (Sundowners or round shaped apples are best as opposed to apples like red delicious)
    • 30g/1 oz roasted peanuts
    • 2 teaspoons caramel top and fill or dulce de leche
    • A large bowl of lemon water

    Step 1 - Core and quarter apples and place in the lemon water. Slice out a roughly 90 degree section from the skin side as shown-you may have to slice a few times to get enough out to fit in the peanut "teeth". Coat the peanuts in the caramel and then flipping the apple so that you are pushing down the teeth into the apple vertically, insert four or five teeth per apple.

    Blood Pancakes

    **

    I got the idea to make these real blood pancakes while chatting to Mr NQN's aunt Paivi who told us of having blood pancakes growing up back home in Finland. I beseeched her for the recipe and she gave me not one but two, one from her friend Heli whose daughter happens to live in Sydney whom Heli was visiting at the time. Heli and her daughter Kristiina loaned me a Finnish pancake pan which makes all of the pancakes the perfect size and is also non stick. The blood? Well yes it is real pig's blood and you can order it from your butcher-just give them a few days to get it in.

    These pancakes are just like eating black pudding and there was a flavour of bone marrow to them. They are very rich and a few went a long way but they were actually quite nice-salty and served with a cranberry sauce to give them a sweetness. They actually turn a dark brown or black when done giving them more of an interesting look and could fool people into eating them, if you wished to )

    • 300ml/10.6ozs calf or pig blood
    • 300ml/10.6ozs beer or milk
    • 1 egg
    • 1/2 onion (fry in little butter till golden and cooled)
    • 100g/3.5ozs butter melted
    • 100g/3.5ozs barley flour (you can use wheat flour instead for both of these flour)
    • 100g/3.5ozs rye flour
    • 1 tbsp salt and white pepper
    • 1/2 tsp marjoram
    • butter for frying
    • cranberry sauce for serving

    Step 1 - In a large jug mix the blood, egg, beer or milk, onion and butter and then add to dry ingredients in a large bowl and fry in buttered pan with butter (the mixture is quite runny). With blood you need to mix fairly vigorously so that it doesn't set. Serve with cranberry sauce

    **

    These ended up being one of the most popular items. The recipe for brownie rat bites is here and I managed to find a massive nasty looking mother rat that looked like she was protecting her brood of baby rats feeding. Isn't that sort of a sweet picture? No? ) OK let's move on then.

    Mummy Pizzas

    **

    These mummy pizzas were very easy to make and can be made ahead of time (both prerequisites when you are making 14 items). I used pre sliced cheese and layered the cheese-admittedly all of the lines blurred together as the cheese melted so just make sure to leave a gap for the eyes which you can make out of a few things-I used mushrooms as the olives were a bit too small. I ended up making a vegetarian margarita version and a version using spicy sopressa salami layered between the tomato and cheese.

    • 2 pizza bases
    • 150g pizza sauce
    • 250g/1/2 pound packet of cheese slices with 12 slices
    • 12 slices of Sopressa salami (for vegetarian pizza, omit this item)
    • 4 button mushrooms

    Step 1 - Spread the bases with the pizza sauce and place the salami slices on the pizza sauce. Slice the block of cheese slices vertically into quarters so that you get long slices of cheese as shown. Place the cheese on the pizza leaving a space for the eyes.

    Step 2 - To make the eyes, remove the stem and slice the mushrooms creating an eyeball. Place in the area for the eyes. You can freeze them with parchment paper between them if you want to cook them at a later time or bake them in a 200C/400F oven for 10 minutes.

    I was playing with my new Zoku ice block maker (a more comprehensive review to come) and I decided to do some pops. This is because during the night we always play games and it's always so hot every Halloween especially for those of us in costume so it's nice to offer a icy refreshment to guests. Keen eyed readers may notice that the sign says Vampire Pops. Well they were supposed to be icy pops where there was a filling of runny blood aka berry gel but that didn't work at all so I made it a simpler pop and cut out a ghost figure in a thin slice of pear, stuck it to the side of the pop maker and then poured apple and blackcurrant juice in it. If you don't have a Zoku pop maker you can still do these and you stick the ghost on the outside of the pop-when it is frozen most things will stick to an ice pop.

    • 1 pear
    • Apple and blackcurrant juice (or any dark red juice of choice)
    • Icy pop molds

    Step 1 - If using a Zoku pop maker slice the pear very thinly and with a paring knife cut out ghosts (or use a ghost cutter if you have a suitable sized one). Stick the ghosts to the side walls of the Zoku, pop the stick in and then fill with the juice and freeze.

    Step 2 - If not using a Zoku pop maker and using regular icy pop molds freeze the juice until the hard. Then slice the ghosts out of the pear and then stick them on at the end just before serving.

    Friday the 13th faces

    **

    These were a last minute addition to feed the vegetarians. I'm not sure if they turned out exactly how I wanted them to, perhaps not, but I suppose you could interpret them any way you wanted. Mr NQN thought that they looked like Hannibal Lecter's mask, I thought they looked mummified or like shrunken heads.

    You will also need a paring knife, a couple of straws and a chopstick

    Step 1 - Preheat oven to 180C/350F. Remove the mushroom stems. With a paring knife shape the round mushrooms to more of a mask or skull shape (just trimming the bottom sides to make a jaw is all that is needed). With the straw, poke holes to make eyes. Then using the chopstick make little marks on the face. Brush with garlic oil.

    Step 2 - Bake for 20 minutes until soft. Season with salt and pepper.

    Haunted Mansion and Black Crow Cupcakes

    **

    Last week I posted the Haunted House cupcakes and I have a story on the black crow cupcakes to come. The crow cupcakes were also inspired by Zilly Rosen's fantastic Zombie Cupcakes book and are a combination of two cupcakes. The crows are meant to be picking at a bloody wound and they have a little flesh in their mouth. See? Who says that I don't bring you the prettiest stuff? )

    Item #14: a surprise item coming up! )

    And next I show you my lovely guests because a party isn't a party without guests!

    A very sad and unhappy Haunted Mansion maid offers some shrunken mummified heads

    A Gypsy pair then turn up with champagne-not your usual gypsies!

    A pirate girl brandished a pirate's dagger to get the champagne!

    Then a real Housewife of Atlanta turned up with big hair and a baby pumpkin

    And then the Black Swan came out pirouetting!

    While a pain lover showed us his scars and bandages..

    It's Baba Yaga! Did you know about baba yaga? Apparently she was a witchy type that flies around on a pestle, steals children and lives in a house that has chicken's legs. Hence the baba yaga house!

    And here's my very own Harry Potter-Mr NQN learned how to do two spells in time for the party! Although don't tell him but he is a slightly dementor looking here.

    Guests helped themselves to ribs and intestines cutting them up with scissors

    And negotiated the fog around the table

    Black Swan makes out with the two headed beheaded!

    And as the crow knows, there's no party without games. Hidden in the house were references to five horror movies in the decorations. And Laporello was the first to guess all five which were: The Crow.

    As well as Sweeney Todd (the butcher shop sign) and Dracula (the hanging bats)!

    Throughout the night we played the winking murder game which started with slips of paper in a skull bowl-one for every person present. There was one murderer and the rest of the guests were victims who had to die a certain, unique way. Once the murderer winked at them they had three minutes to die an elaborate and dramatic death such as being stung by killer bees, being burned to death, being scared to death and choking to death among others. The most Oscar winning performance won a prize and throughout the night, there were creative deaths including this one where we heard a loud scream from the bathroom only to see.

    Laporello who had been shocked to death! And do you know who the murderer was?

    The wizard spring onion above whispered to the ghost egg "It was Lorraine!". Yes, completely randomly, I had drawn the murderer card! I winked at people all night causing them to fall over and die a most dramatic, horrible death. And of course there were times when I didn't wink at anyone and they died-Miss America apparently had accidentally winked at some people so we had an inadvertent Red Herring which was brilliant for me to get away with things.

    The performances of the dying were outstanding and there were times that we were worried about some people. Tuulikki's choking was very realistic we waited with bated breath to see her arm move and Alison enlisted the help of Mr NQN to create smoke with the fog machine while she was burning to death.

    Now melted witchy, that's not nice, be nice to guests!

    We ended off the evening with Halloween themed charades although it has to be said that one team's interpretation of scary was a little loose (i.e. tax and maths!). As always Miss America forgot which he was answering for and Queen Viv acting out Pauline Hanson was hilarious. And when I drew the show True Blood it took Alison all of two seconds once I acted out that it was a tv show with two words to guess correctly!

    As the maid of the Haunted Mansion I'd like to thank you for being such delightful guests and coming with me on a tour of the Haunted Mansion curtsy

    Lorraine, The Haunted Mansion maid

    So tell me Dear Reader, when you throw parties do you like to play games? And will you celebrate Halloween at all this year? And what is your favourite holiday of the year?


    100+ Spooky Halloween Vocabulary Words for Kids

    Halloween is a great time to combine fun with education—here are some spooky vocabulary words you can use in your celebrations.

    This autumn, make vocabulary fun by incorporating word exercises into your children&aposs Halloween celebrations. The words in these lists can be used in charades, story-writing, word searches, and other fun activities to introduce an educational twist to this year&aposs Halloween.

    Over 100 Halloween-related words are included in these vocabulary lists. Topics include trick or treating, monsters, scary sounds, gross materials, body parts, mad science, magic, and more! Spanish and French Halloween vocabulary is included as well.


    Where to Eat In and Around Phoenix

    Go beyond the cowboy steaks and traditional Mexican fare that are often associated with Phoenix and celebrate the city with these dishes inspired by international cuisines, as well as local trends and influences.

    Related To:

    Photo By: Jackie Alpers ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

    Photo By: Jackie Alpers ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

    Photo By: Jackie Alpers ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

    Photo By: Debby Wolvos/Wrigley Mansion

    Photo By: Jackie Alpers ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

    Cotton & Copper

    Chef Tamara Stanger is an artist, and her clarity of vision is evident in the dishes that she has created for Cotton & Copper. Her thoughtfully crafted and plated entrees are served on antique-patterned plates, and include both foraged and locally sourced, hand-picked ingredients. This beautiful O'odham bean spread is made with tepary beans, which have been local to this area since pre-Columbian times. The plate is studded with mildly pickled vegetables that include cholla cactus buds.

    Worth Takeaway

    Worth Takeaway in Mesa is a reminder that you can take it with you. In the middle of a busy day, it&rsquos nice to be able to stop and enjoy an exceptional sandwich made with care and love, like this roast beef, cheddar and horseradish with house made giardiniera. A happy lunch sets the pace for a happy afternoon.

    Phoenix Public Market Café

    The light, bright and colorful Forbidden Rice Bowl packs a punch of healthy carbs to fuel your afternoon at the Phoenix Public Market Café. Black jasmine forbidden rice tossed with a sweet and spicy vinaigrette adds substance to the seasonal vegetables from the adjacent farmer&rsquos market, with the option to add salmon, rotisserie chicken or NY strip steak.

    Crujiente Tacos

    Surf and turf takes a taco form at Crujiente Tacos. A Texas Wagyu beef taco with soy-pickled shimeji mushrooms, fresh horseradish, Japanese mustard and cilantro "mojo" is served alongside the seared shrimp taco, with pickled vegetables, Thai green curry and basil. Both are served on blue corn tortillas.

    SumoMaya

    1/3 Asian dishes + 1/3 Mexican dishes + 1/3 Asian/Mexican fusion dishes = an extremely popular formula for dinner at Sumomaya in Scottsdale. Even at Sunday brunch the crowd is well dressed, and the Mimosas, Bloody Marys and Micheladas are bottomless (for an extra $10). Pictured is one of their fusion dishes, the Pork Al Pastor Pad Thai, which is served with endless appetizers and desserts when ordered at brunch.

    Southern Rail

    Southern Rail serves elevated comfort food that reflects chef Justin Beckett&rsquos memoires around the kitchen table. He says that his chicken and biscuit dumplings are a classic example of a dish that brings his customers back to "those special home cooked moments."

    Ocotillo

    The beef ribs with Mole Negro BBQ Sauce at Ocotillo are from ranches native to the Sonoran Desert. The Ocotillo Chicken utilizes local honey, chiles, pecans and citrus cooked on mesquite and pecan wood from the pecan orchards between Phoenix and Tucson. Chef Walter Sterling loves food and he loves making people happy &mdash and it shows.

    Welcome Diner

    A lot of the menu items at the Welcome Diner were named after songs by the band Ween, which pretty much sums up this restaurant&rsquos vibe. The play list is usually excellent, the bar always open and the food is creative diner fare. Yep, that&rsquos fried chicken and sausage gravy underneath that egg on the "Big Jim," which also has melted cheddar cheese and bacon underneath that big biscuit.

    Drunken Tiger

    We loved this image of head chef Justin Park cooking ramen noodles for a spicy kimchi dish at Drunken Tiger. This is food to drink by, and a party atmosphere prevails as the karaoke machine hums and the night saunters on.

    Taqueria Centro

    The ambiance at Taqueria Centro is light and airy with white floors and floor to ceiling windows on three sides with sweeping views of Phoenix&rsquos Camelback Mountain helmed by Chopped champion Laura Gonzalez. The food is Sonoran and central Mexican. The carne asada fries fall somewhere between cheese fries and nachos. You can&rsquot really scoop the carne asada, guacamole and pico de gallo salsa up with a fry like you can with a tortilla chip, so a fork is recommended to get all of the parts speared in a way where they can go evenly into your mouth.

    Piefection

    Order some of Piefection&rsquos insanely popular sweet or savory pies in advance, then sit down and have a slice of pie and a cup of coffee when you pick up your order at the shop. This showstopping red, white and blue cheesecake pie is one of over 70 varieties of dessert pies available. The savory chicken, beef and pork pot pies are available frozen so be sure stock up.

    Chula Seafood

    Chula Seafood, a popular family-owned supplier of house-smoked and fresh seafood to local restaurants, opened a restaurant alongside their fish market serving their own creations. The family takes seafood seriously &mdash they even have their own fishing boat. All of their seafood is sustainably harvested or caught, and they use as much of the whole fish as possible. Try the fabulous smoked fish platter, which pays tribute to the delicate fish without ever overwhelming the flavor or texture.

    Lux Central Coffee Shop

    Lux Central&rsquos Irish Coffee is not just coffee. It&rsquos not even just spiked coffee. It&rsquos house-roasted spiked coffee. Open from 6 a.m. until the wee hours of the night, Lux Central always has something going on.

    Culinary Dropout

    Culinary Dropout caters to both college and young parental crowds in a huge, hip space. Their Southwestern-style green chile and pork stew is both warm and hearty. It comes served with a slightly sweet hunk of cornbread and a fried egg on top. The results are a creamy, hearty, bean-laden stew that appeals on a cold winter day in the desert or, for Phoenix natives, anytime it&rsquos less than 70 degrees.

    Fat Ox

    Olives, citrus and tomatoes are a few shared ingredients found in both Italy and Arizona. In fact, many ingredients popular in Italian cuisine were brought there by Spanish Conquistadors and vice versa. The chefs at Fat Ox pride themselves on their use of ingredients common to the regions of old-world Italy and new-world Arizona in their interpretation of modern Italian cuisine, including in mozzarella with orange and garlic-honey vinaigrette.

    Cafe Lalibela

    Family-owned and -operated for over two decades, Cafe Lalibela is beloved for its delicious vegetarian options and signature Ethiopian coffee. Served on puffy injera bread, the dishes are ideal for sharing.

    Ghost Ranch

    Cousins and co-chefs Roberto Centeno and Rene Andrade bring Southwest cuisine from back home to Phoenix with dishes that are reflective of the Sonoran-style Mexican food that they grew up eating in Nogales, Arizona, a border town located 60 miles south of Tucson. Gooey, cheesy, creamy Aztec cakes were a way to use up day-old tortillas. At Ghost Ranch they are baked with roasted green chiles, corn and shredded chicken and served in a tiny cast iron pot.

    Brat Haus

    All you should need to know about Brat Haus is that they have giant pretzels. GIANT PRETZELS. Obviously that should be enough, but the exciting news doesn&rsquot stop there. Brat Haus also boasts 28 craft beers on tap and an open-air patio/beer garden in lovely Old Town Scottsdale. It&rsquos the perfect environment to treat yourself to a giant 40-ounce beer and a foot-long brat that goes by the name of "Big Weenie."

    Citizen Public House

    The chopped salad at Citizen Public House is so popular that it has it's own Facebook page, and it is quite a remarkable salad, made with a crazy/brilliant combination of Israeli couscous, sweet dried corn, smoked salmon, asiago, pepitas, tomatoes, currants and arugula with a basil ranch dressing.

    Barrio Queen

    Molletes are a Mexican staple, traditionally made with a refried beans- and cheese-slathered toasted bolillo, which is same type of soft, sweet roll that the famed Sonoran hot dog is encased in. The molletes at Barrio Queen are then topped with avocado, tomato, picked onion, and chorizo. Two eggs are served on the side for a traditional Mexican breakfast any time of the day.

    Pane Bianco

    It&rsquos important to remember that the famous Pizzeria Bianco folks also have a downtown sandwich shop, Pane Bianco, which doesn&rsquot usually have the hours-long wait time of its sister. The popular Caprese has fresh basil, house-made mozzarella & locally sourced tomatoes stuffed between a split wood fired focaccia for what will surely be one of the best sandwiches you've ever had. And remember to pick up some of their specially made house canned tomatoes and sauce while you are there.

    Geordie’s at Wrigley Mansion

    Christopher Gross is a local icon and James Beard Award winner. His latest endeavor, Geordie&rsquos, is located in the spectacular and allegedly haunted historic Phoenix landmark Wrigley Mansion. Try the stunning black goat cheese-filled tortellini with delicata squash, wild mushroom and asparagus.

    Located inside the Native American-owned Sheraton Grand Resort at Wildhorse Pass, Kai means "seed" in the Pima language. Native technique and locally sourced ingredients, many from the Gila River Indian Community, are carefully selected and arranged for multi-sensory appeal.

    Angry Crab Shack

    It&rsquos a choose-your-own-adventure dinner at Angry Crab Shack. Options include crawfish, blue crabs and shrimp (heads on or off). Optional additions include sausage (YES!), corn (yes!) or potatoes (of course!). Then the kitchen adds your choice of spices to your predetermined heat level and an indeterminate, but large amount of butter, all served it up in a steamer bag right to your table which is lined with craft paper so that you can be as messy as you want.

    Takamatsu

    It is exceptionally fun to grill your own meat, at your own table, inside a restaurant. It&rsquos even more entertaining to load your cooked creation into lettuce leaf cups and to then decide which of the provided accoutrements to pile on top. Takamatsu is a Japanese/Korean restaurant, meaning you can order up a side of your favorite nigiri to enjoy as you fire up your dinner. or if it&rsquos too hot outside to sit that close to an open flame, sit at the sushi bar instead.

    Original Cuisine

    Original Cuisine opened to great anticipation and fanfare as a well-executed expression of Szechuan cuisine. Modern interpretations of classic dishes abound, including dry pot-style spare ribs, which are a little bit salty and a little bit crunchy. The peanuts, veggies and chiles spooned over the top add a little kick of crunch and spice.

    Vincent on Camelback

    Vincent Guerithault has been declared the grand-dad of French-Southwestern fusion cuisine. In the mid-80s he was the first high-powered chef in the Phoenix area to include local ingredients and cooking techniques in an upscale restaurant, Vincent on Camelback, fusing dishes with his training in classic French cuisine. His lobster chimichangas and duck tamales are still legendary. and still available at Vincent&rsquos, which has now been a Phoenix icon for over 30 years.

    Obon Sushi and Ramen crafts both of its namesake specialties equally well. The Tataki Maki roll, which has shrimp tempura, spicy crab, cucumber, seared tuna and avocado, is topped with micro basil, marinated tomatoes and chimichurri. Order it alongside a bowl of tonkotsu or vegetarian red miso ramen.

    The Gladly

    The addictive pistachio chicken liver pate at The Gladly was inspired by a recipe from chef Bernie Kantak&rsquos German grandfather. It&rsquos served with crostini, sage mustard, pickled onion, capers. Pair it with one of the Gladly&rsquos 250 kinds of Whisky and think about your own ancestors and the food they&rsquove brought here from the places they came from.



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