Weird October Food 2018: The DIY Edition

Here we go — my favorite post of the year! The annual round-up of all the weird things I can find happening in the culinary scene during the witching season.

This post always takes a different turn, and this year, it’s a decidedly do-it-your-damn-self kind of list.

Bone In

Take, for instance, the Skeleton Table trend. A few years ago, it was all about Meatheads, but this takes the undead party-platter idea a few femurs further by filling a skeleton’s rib cage with delicious fixin’s. In my research, I found appetizer corpses, dinner bladders, and gut-busting desserts, all laid out in situ.

Thanks for sticking with me through the puns there.

Noodle Nocturne

Squid ink ramen

The trend of black or blackened foods has come up here before, but never before have I stumbled on something so beautiful as Daniel Gritzer’s Halloween Ramen Bowl.

It’s right in the pocket of what I love to write about this time of year — not kitsch, but pure yumminess of the season. Plus, his post lead me to a few otherHalloween Ramenrecipes, including a pumpkin ramen, Hell Ramen, and Dracula Ramen.

Patient Churro

Another hot take on party food I’ve seen recently are Zombie Nachos — especially of the dessert variety. A little cinnamon, a little sugar, a drizzle of raspberry pie filling, and bwa-ha-ha-la.

Of course, if you’re more a fan of the savory undead, there are several more appetizer-centric versions of the zombie nacho platter.

Sleepy Swallows

There’s never a shortage of creepy cocktail ideas this time of year, and it can be hard to pick just one out of the endless recipes for embalming fluid, witches brew, and pumpkin punch.

I thought this sipper looked pretty smokin’, though (sorry, sorry), with a dash of gothic literary charm: the Sleepy Hollow Cocktail, featuring absinthe, Angostura bitters, and a sprig of rosemary set to smudge. This (frankly delightful) blog also has a Raven cocktail and another called Nosferatu’s Blood, for those looking to make a night of it. But I also found a few other Sleepy Hollow drink recipes, plus an Ichabod Crane, so I this may be a head-start on a great themed party.

2018 October Food Trends Spotted at:

In Katrina’s Kitchen

SeriousEats

Jewels of New York

Shaken Together Life

The Making of the Mummy

A Blogtoberfest Guest Post — and craft tutorial! — by Cory of Juniper Studio

We are a fall family. Hikes, cranberry bogs, roasting chicken, apple picking. It’s the best. The boys are in LOVE with the acorns and vibrant leaves and pumpkins, or as Lucas calls them, pumpies. Gosh, I hope he never stops calling them pumpies.

To celebrate the season, we made mummies. This thing came out WAY spookier than I expected. Perfect for Halloween!

We started by pilfering my husband’s white undershirt collection. Tee hee. I cut a small slit in each piece of fabric and the boys ripped strip after strip after strip. They loved this SO. MUCH. Jackson talked about the noise it made and the lengths and widths of each strip. Such a simple, satisfying activity for my boys, and great for their hand muscle development. Sanctioned destruction. Big mama points.

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Once we had a pile of fabric strips, we made two large bowls of “dye”, one tea and one coffee. Both boys smelled the tea bags and the coffee grounds and helped stir each liquid. They listened to the drip of the coffee maker, felt the sides of the warm bowls, and watched the swirling steam. A sweet sensory component to this activity. We always try to savor the simple things.

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The boys lowered each strip into the liquids and poked them with spoons to make sure they were fully submerged. We checked on them after just a few minutes and they had already absorbed quite a bit of color. Jackson helped pour out the excess liquid, and we hung them on the deck to dry.

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Now that we had our fabric prepped, it was time to assemble our mummy. We used a Styrofoam head base (a few dollars at a local arts and crafts store), googly eyes (any excuse to use googly eyes), and a hot glue gun. Jackson carefully placed every strip, applying a dab of glue to secure each end to the head. It was amazing to watch the emergence of this guy’s personality!

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What I loved most about this activity was the integration of a variety of opportunities for focus and discussion and learning: motor work ripping the fabric, sensory exposure brewing coffee and tea, science experimentation dyeing the fabric, spatial awareness and problem solving wrapping the strips around the head.

This is how kids learn, by doing and trying and experiencing and talking. In this case, we also got a pretty neat mummy friend out of the process. Boo!

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From Juniper Studio: My babies have been the perfect test subjects for the countless projects I have on my “To Try” list… eager to paint and swirl shaving cream and try yoga poses, and easily paid with food and hugs. Pretty sweet.

Two all-beef patties of cute

Here’s a quick tutorial: The one-time use hamburger costume for toddlers, brought to you by Procrastination Parenting.

It’s two halves of a burger made from poster board (or felt, construction paper, old grocery bags, what-have-you…seriously. Whatever you have) and held together by two straps made of equally immediately available materials.

First, I cut out two circles of ‘bun colored’ paper and two larger circles of black for the patty. I used a file folder for the bun (art by necessity!), so creating two identical circles was simple. For the patty, I just folded the poster board in half.

Then it was on to the fixins… I used red poster board cut into wavy strips for ketchup (it was green on the other side, as seen in the photo above) and yellow triangles for cheese, eyeballing the front every now and then as I glued. Using green tissue paper for lettuce, I ripped each sheet into four squares, did a quick fan-fold, smooshed (very technical) the ends down flat in the middle and glued one on top of the other. I used Elmer’s carpenter glue, which is really thick and held the many smooshed leaves of lettuce together nicely. I imagine liberal amounts of regular Elmer’s would work just fine.

I cut another circle of paper when I was done with the lettuce, so I’d have a smooth surface on which to mount the shoulder straps — made from every procrastinator’s favorite product, duct tape. Ribbon or strips of fabric would probably suffice…it’s about whatever’s lying around the house, after all.

Taping two pieces together to make straps, I laid them out with the two halves of the burger on either end and eyeballed the distance so it would be easily slipped over my toddler’s head and wouldn’t slip off.

Because it was nap-time during this entire endeavor (obvi), I kept the strips of tape holding the straps on to the paper loose in case I had to re-position. When I was sure they were good to go, I glued one more circle of poster board over the tape to clean things up and give it one more layer of substance.

I covered the duct-straps with more tissue paper and flipped over for the finishing touches (sesame seed buns, of course)…


…and made a pickle topper and pinned it to a hat with one of Dada’s tie clips.


By the by, if you’re wondering why we went with ‘hamburger’ for a costume choice, it was to complement the parental ensemble; an homage to Bob and Linda Belcher of Bob’s Burgers, also DIYed:

Our little slider wasn’t bothered by the costume and it also hung well when she was in her stroller, so that was a win overall for a Halloween night that included marching in a parade, trick-or-treating, and visiting with friends.

Whatever works, that’s my motto!

Taking Candy From Strangers

 I grew up in the 80’s and 90’s on Cape Cod, and I think back to when I was a kid, and it makes me sad how Halloween has died.

Today, most kids have everything, and a lot of them don’t know they should be appreciative for it. They have time with their parents, and have their focus, clothing, homes, food and access to technology at a pretty early age. There are a lot of kids that lack the ability to play, in fear of getting hurt. They always win and never suffer disappointment.

I know, I should’ve let go when I was too old to go trick-or-treating.

There was all of this fear propaganda in the 80’s about hippies that handed out stickers laced with LSD, they put razor blades and needles in candy bars! (the razor blade and needles thing did actually happen- I looked it up on snopes.com.) Anyway, my family wasn’t really into Halloween. My stepfather’s brother was murdered on Halloween in ’87 in Providence, and the rest of my family didn’t really celebrate it.

https://i2.wp.com/static.yourtango.com/cdn/farfuture/Peqwht_LR0naWOSonMtFBRw0GY4X1XF4KgjYPzeSvcA/mtime:1378397686/sites/default/files/image_list/clarissa.jpgI always dressed up like a punk every year, or what I thought that was. I was drawn to that type of anti-fashion by eight years old. It was cheap, fun, and colorful, and I thought I was awesome. Come to think of it, the 80’s and 90’s were a mash-up of disgusting patterns, colors and VESTS. Really, everyone was in a costume for two decades.

When I was a teenager, Halloween was a tradition of petty vandalism. We’d get a bunch of plastic utensils and stick them into people’s lawns. In those scary times with the acid hippies, bad hairstyles and baggy

pants, our parents gave us the freedom to go door to door, leave the house, and make mistakes.

My first experience in Salem, Mass., I was 17 and I was with a group of friends and we decided to drop acid. I don’t believe we obtained it from hippies. We started to peak a half hour upon arrival; we were sitting on the corner of this tire place, and I watched as everything was changing, moving, breathing. This guy from Ireland was with us. He was hired to work at a motel in Hyannis that my friend’s dad managed.

We decided to go to a haunted house. I couldn’t stop laughing because everyone was really animated. I was also completely insane, in my own world having my own experience. We turn a corner, and some rubber masked ghoul thing jumps out and grabs at the Irish kid, so the Irish kid reacts by punching him in the stomach, so we were all thrown out.

Hanging figures, Salem Witch Dungeon, Keith TylerThe trip turned bad for me when everyone was scrambling to figure out who would be driving home.
I was laying in the back seat of some girl’s car and just closed my eyes the whole way home. It was my 2nd trip, and honestly- neither were the fun I anticipated.

The next day, the back pain and weirdness settling in- that I didn’t like the intensity of the trip, and I wasn’t the type that can live in that reality/delusion for long periods of time. It wasn’t something I wanted to do again. (even if I did.) I was just a confused kid, just trying to figure things out in the world. Feeling a little out of place in the world, yet I was so curious about the world. So, I’d seek anything I was told was dangerous, because I wanted to know why. (even if I was told.) Those were my choices.

I’ve lived back on the Cape for six years. I have not seen any trick-or-treaters. Simple fun things like that have become so regimented with Nazi-esque curfews and scheduled play dates with other doting helicopter parents.

Perhaps the parents of today were reckless and criminal at their age, like I was, and they don’t want their kid to get the candy bar with the razor blade or the LSD. I know, it’s your job to protect them, but acid hippies aren’t wearing a special costume to let you know, and they probably don’t use social media.

I think about what it must be like to grow up in today’s stifling world. Growing up with technology, a wealth of information and distraction.

With knowledge comes responsibility.

So, the more we read about mass murderers, abductions, rapists, etc. the more fearful and inward we turn. When in reality, all of these things were happening when your grandparents were children.

1794995043_7306b61c4f_zI’m not saying let them drop acid or take candy from the creepy guy in the van. I’m saying stop policing, scheduling, or taking away kids fun over fear campaigns and your own personal attachment to making sure they always make the right choice. Avoiding everything that may hurt is a stagnant life, and a fearful life. How does a person pick themselves up after a fall and shake it off if you’re always there to prevent it, and how does a person truly have fun when everything is about being controlled, repressed and monitored?

Halloween is supposed to be fun for kids. They can be whatever they’d like for a day and get to eat tons of candy and have fun with their friends. I’ve heard some schools don’t even have Halloween parties anymore. Maybe those people are those hippies that put razor blades in candy bars.

I will always take candy from strangers on Halloween. (especially the ones that leave a bowl of it outside.)

 

Sara Wentworth is an artist based on Cape Cod. She and her husband Adam are the crazed minds behind Secret Society Art.

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