The leaves are falling and there’s a chill in the air. Soon all the ghouls and ghosts will return to walk the earth. This Halloween is going to be different, with many municipalities banning trick-or-treating, parties canceled, and school shutdowns relegating kids’ party contests to Zoom. But there’s no reason you can’t have some of that spooky Halloween spirit in your own home, and what better way to do that then with creepy themed treats? Here are a few ideas.
You can’t talk about Halloween food without talking about Mexico’s centuries-old tradition of making candy skulls for your friends and family. You can go the traditional route and mix sugar with hot water and lemon juice to make a delicious and sculptural paste, or alfenique, reserving some to die with food coloring so you can pipe creative decorations onto the skull’s ghoulish face. Or, if you’re working with kids, skip the hot water and make skull-shaped sugar cookies with colorful icing.
Who doesn’t love a cake pop? Literally the only way to improve on a lollipop is to make it out of cake. And what’s creepier than an eyeball? Put the two together and you’ve got an instant Halloween hit. And the best part is, you can make them in a hurry. Just pull out your favorite easy recipe for cake pops, then dip the finished pops in white icing or white chocolate, stick a blue or green Smartie or candy of similar size and shape onto it, put a black dot in the middle of the candy, and add a few crinkly red veins around the “white.”
Spooky Jell–o molds
For some, molded Jell-o will always be a reminder of mid-twentieth-century suburban kitsch, but it has two distinct advantages when it comes to Halloween treats. One, it comes in all shapes and sizes; if you want to make a Jell-o mold of a brain or heart or burgeoning heap of guts, some macabre mold maker will have you covered. Two, it jiggles. It quivers. It does everything that a disembodied human organ would do. In short, it hits the exact balance of cartoonishness and realism that a good Halloween snack should hit.
They’re just pigs-in-a-blanket, but for Halloween. Instead of wrapping up a cocktail frank in a solid sheet of pastry, you cut the pastry into a long strip and wrap it in a loose spiral around the frank. Then, after baking them according to package instructions, you take two white 4mm sugar balls and put them near one end of the frank to create the illusion of blank, staring eyes. Or, if you feel like pressing your luck, you can check your local Halloween stores for sugar eyes — they come in handy for all kinds of Halloween treats.
Witch’s hat cookies are as simple as they are delicious. You start with your favorite recipe for one- to two-inch chocolate cookies, then, once the cookies are cool, you add a dollop of frosting on top and stick a Hershey’s Kiss right in the middle. Now you have a witch’s hat with a ribbon around the inner brim. Use your frosting to neaten up the ribbon, then draw on a bow or buckle. If you have large, square sprinkles, you could also make the “buckle” out of one of those, or find a suitably buckle-looking candy.
Halloween may be all about creative snacks and desserts, but when you want a festive family meal to top it all off, you want K. Pacho. K. Pacho is a Mexican restaurant, bar, and lounge in New Hyde Park. Dine in or order out before your socially distanced Halloween party.