It’s officially ’Spooky Season’, which means a month of horror movie marathons, telling scary stories, shopping for costumes and indulging in everything pumpkin-spice-flavoured in the build-up to Halloween on October 31.
Although the holiday originated in the US, the festive fun has spilled over into other parts of the world, including South Africa. From themed meals at restaurants and fancy dress parties to trick or treating, there are many ways to celebrate.
A big part of Halloween is definitely the food – especially if you prefer treats over tricks. Getting creative in the kitchen with spooky-themed dishes is a fun way for children and parents to participate in the action.
7 spooky ideas for Halloween treats
Pumpkin spice is a medley of spices used to season pumpkin pies traditionally eaten on Thanksgiving in the US. However, its flavour has become synonymous with autumn and everything from lattes to sandwich spreads has been infused with its warm cinnamon and nutmeg taste. Swirl the mixture of spices into porridge or cream cheese to be smeared on toasted bagels, mix it into your buttercream icing or simply add a few pinches into your cake batter for that spicy festive feel.
From hot dogs to cookies and even pretzel sticks, practically any food can take on a super scary mummy look with a few DIY skills. For sweet treats, fill a piping bag with melted white chocolate or buttercream icing. Ice your treats using a zig-zag motion to create the illusion of a bandaged mummy. For savouries such as hot dogs or veggies, use thin strips of pastry for the wrapping and bake.
Raspberry jam and berry coulis have an intensely red colour that perfectly mimics blood. Use the condiments to splash over baked goods for an extra gory finish. As a bonus, berries pair well with a variety of flavours, balancing the richness of vanilla, chocolate and butter, perking up your sweet treats with a fresh, fruity flavour. For savouries, you can’t go wrong with tomato sauce.
Bring your creations to life with edible eyes. These can be purchased at bakeware stores, but if you prefer to get creative, make your own with icing or fondant. Pipe your eyeballs on to cupcakes, biscuits and chocolate-dipped strawberries to see how they transform each dish. Not every Halloween treat needs two eyeballs; use just one to create the illusion of a one-eyed monster.
You could create a scary face with a plate of bacon and eggs or even pipe a grisly smile on to a waffle with whipped cream, but for a little more of a Halloween-y feel, try carving instead. Pumpkin carving is a big part of Halloween tradition. The hollowed-out gourds have cut-outs that create faces which come to life when a candle is lit inside them. If you can’t get hold of a pumpkin, try carving out peppers then stuffing them with all your favourite ingredients (quinoa, mincemeat, chopped veggies and cheese) and bake in the oven. The result is deliciously wicked.
When it comes to icing options, choose colours like orange, green, blue, pink, purple, yellow and red as they are playfully vibrant and perfect for ’Spooky Season’. Pair contrasting colours together for that shock factor and don’t forget to add sprinkles and other decorations like edible cobwebs, gummy worms and googly eyes.
There’s nothing quite like the right presentation to really take your spooky treats to the next level. Display your snacks in potjie pots (cauldrons) or hollowed-out pumpkin heads (lined with wax wrap). For drinks, makeshift potion bottles are magical.