Don't Forget the Cookie Monsters on Halloween

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by Sue Doeden

pumpkin-cookies.jpgLittle munchkins and monsters, big ones, too, will be looking for special treats this weekend. Why not have some cookies to tuck into their hands?

My little two-year-old grandmunchkin will be with us this weekend. She’s one of the muffin monsters in our family. I don’t have muffins ready for her yet, but I think these cookies may be a good substitute.

Butterscotch Pumpkin Spice Cookies are not cloyingly sweet, although a thick smear of Maple Cream Cheese Frosting topping each cookie does add a fair amount of sweetness. Chopped butterscotch morsels stirred into the dough add flavor without big hard chunks  in each bite. Old-fashioned oats add a nice bit of chewy texture.

The Vampire Dialogues

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by Ann Nichols

vampirediaries.jpg“No,” I said to my husband, “you don’t get it. You can be born a vampire, or you can be made a vampire. Like being in the mob.”

“So how did Damon and Stefan get to be vampires – were they born that way?” he inquired gamely, steering the car through college town traffic on a bright, October Saturday.

“Well, in the book and the show, you know, they’re different in a lot of ways, but in the book and the show they only talk about ‘made’ vampires. In the book they became vampires because of Katherine. If a vampire drinks your blood and nothing else happens, you just die – like that girl Vicky – but if they drink your blood and then you drink some of theirs, you become a vampire, and live forever. You have to go through a lot of changes, but eventually you’re a vampire.”

“They must be great in bed after a few hundred years as guys in their twenties,” he mused.

Adam's Scary Apples

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by Matt Armendariz

spooky-apples.jpgFull confession: When I was about 4 or 5 years old I was so utterly terrified of Halloween that I once ran from the dinner table to the bedroom where I locked myself inside it for 20 minutes while Trick or Treaters came to the front door of the house. I’m not sure why I did that exactly as I wasn’t normally a timid or shy child; I think my dramatic exit had more to do with the fact that I enjoyed that sense of fright, darkness and mystery that rolls around every October. I like to be scared when I know nothing bad will actually happen.

This explains my interest in fright nights, scary movies, haunted houses, macabre scenarios, you name it. I think there’s a part of all of us that likes that thrill…why else would we visit haunted houses, watch slasher films, and listen to Paris Hilton songs and videos?

Not that I’ve done the latter. Even that’s too scary for me.

When I mentioned to Adam that I wanted to do my first Halloween blog post about a cocktail I tried he quickly informed me that it would neither be a) exciting b) deep enough or c) have enough pizazz. “What’s so exciting about a cocktail, all by itself?”  he asked. I could see his point as there are tons of others who focus on spirits and do a much better job. Besides, this drink wasn’t anything exciting or thrilling but perfect for the grown-ups at any Halloween party. “Give me a few minutes and I’ll help you out” said Adam.

Wow. Was my drink really that lackluster that it needed help? Apparently so.

Forty Cloves of Garlic Soup with Pistachio-Crusted Shrimp

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by Joseph Erdos

garlicshrimp.jpg Despite my family of garlic haters, I love garlic. And I love lots of it in all forms. A very close older family friend eats it raw and rubbed on toast, then spread with butter or rendered duck fat. It's now his daily health ritual since he learned garlic has been shown to keep the heart healthy and keep cancer at bay. Maybe he knows a thing or two, because he's going to be 90 next year. Sometimes I even indulge in a slice of garlic toast too. Though I try to keep the practice at a minimum because I don't want to go around smelling. Even so, almost all my cooking and the recipes on this site start with sautéing garlic. Garlic is just one of those vegetables that many people use and it crosses many cultural boundaries. It's a base flavor in Mediterranean, Asian, and North African cuisine. I have always wanted to use garlic for something more than just a base, instead a main ingredient.

A few weeks ago I had the idea of making garlic soup. With the chilly weather here in the Northeast, I was craving a warming and comforting soup packed with flavor. But when thinking about garlic soup, 'comforting' might not be the exact word that comes to mind for everybody. Most people hate garlic for its pungent taste and odor, but boiling it really tames its pungency. The garlic becomes mellow but still keeps all the wonderful properties of its unique flavor. Another bonus of this preparation is that there is much less smell after eating compared to sautéed garlic. Garlic haters might actually change their minds after eating this soup.

Let The Hijinks Begin...Blood Red Punch

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by Cathy Pollak

Image Boo!

I told you I loved Halloween!

And what would a Halloween celebration be without Blood Red Punch? It would be boring, that's what.

Seriously, a Halloween party needs a scary drink. However, if you are a Halloween nut like me, you don't need a party to make a wicked drink.

My kids love this punch anytime but love the ice cube spiders more. I always make a couple trays of these cubes in October and pop them into whatever they are drinking. They love it...and so do I.

This punch is kid-friendly (alcohol-free) but can be easily transformed into an adult beverage.

Candy Corn Cake

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by Cathy Pollak

cathy7.img.jpgIt’s officially autumn, and you can feel the magic in the air. While some are sad to see the summer weather disappear, I welcome the new chillier climate with open arms.

As the colors of fall slowly emerge, bold crimsons, brawny browns and golds, I find myself easily seduced by the changing landscape. The rattling bronze oak leaves – some already dark chocolate and crisping at the edges – seem to awaken and enhance my imagination. In one swirling breeze I am energized and inspired unlike any other season of the year.

However, it’s the dashes of unexpected brightness brought about by Halloween that give me my biggest thrill. I have always admittedly been a "Halloween junkie." I can’t remember a time I haven’t been up for a little Halloween hijinks, including some kind of playful hocus pocus, a pumpkin palooza party or trick-or-treat fun.

My irresistible attraction to this holiday overflows into my cooking. I enjoy creating fun Halloween treats from common, everyday foods. This creation takes a classic white cake and icing recipe and easily transforms them into these individual candy corn cakes with orange-cream Icing. 


The Keene Pumpkin Festival

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by Susan Russo

keenepumpkin.jpg I love living in Southern California, except in the autumn. The weather's hot, there's no foliage, and the pumpkin population is pathetically small. That's why Jeff and I go home to New England every October. There's chilly weather, brilliant foliage, apple picking, cornstalks, scarecrows, and thousands of pumpkins to be seen and eaten.

This year there was pumpkin bread, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin cookies, and, one of my favorites: Pumpkin Bread Pudding with Maple and Pecans. More on the pudding (along with the recipe) in a minute. But first, let's talk pumpkins.

Walk neighborhoods in New England in October, and you'll see scores of jack 'o lanterns smiling (or grimacing) at you. They're often propped atop a big bale of hay, accompanied by some tall cornstalks and a spooky black cat. There is one New England town, in particular, that reigns supreme when it comes to jack o' lanterns: Keene, NH. This was the first year I visited, and just the festival itself was worth the cross country trip.

My Halloween

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by Joshua Heller

trickortreat.jpgI particularly like Halloween, because its one of those few times in American culture, when people are encouraged to talk to their neighbors. Bands of spookily clad folks roam through neighborhoods, and nobody calls the police. People gainfully reclaim public space, and redefine how they interact with others. We need more citizen-driven spectacle, so I really support this holiday.

I’ve loved Halloween since I was a kid. I remember when I was in junior high I told a girl: “I wish Halloween could last for 30 days like Ramadan!” She said “um… I’m not Jewish.”

That being said, I haven’t had a proper Halloween in years. In college I remember doing several costume changes over the days leading up to the 31st. I dressed like a “slutty soldier” and “a notable reggae performer.” One year my roommates and I dressed as Otter Pops, the flavored icicles. We also found corresponding flavors of MD 20/20, a fortified wine. (MD 20/20 stands for Mogen David, so I think it’s the premier “Kosher bum wine.”)

After college I lived in Mexico. They don’t celebrate the Americanized version of the holiday (though they’re starting to) because they observe their own pre-Hispanic semi-religious un-official holiday: “Dia de los Muertos.”

I Love Horror

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by Laraine Newman

draculahorror.jpgWhen my brother and I were 4 1/2 we were taken to see a movie called X-76 Bloodrust. I can’t find a single living soul who has ever heard of this movie. Not even John Landis.  What I gleaned about the plot, which was observed through a space between two fingers covering my eyes, was that this undulating creature (that looked like vomit, by the way) was created in a Sparkletts bottle, and if it touched you, you would die. I think it might have been the poorer cousin of The Blob.

The denouement had this vomit creature trying to force its way out of a baggage hold in an airplane and the passengers freaking out. My brother slept with a nightlight for the next 11 years. His head wrapped tightly with the sheet and just the tip of his nose poking out so he could breath, because we all know that monsters can’t touch sheets or blankets. I on the other hand became fascinated with Science Fiction and horror.

Charles Laughton’s Quasimodo, Boris Karloff’s Frankenstein, Bela Lugosi’s and Christopher Lee’s Dracula and Henry Hull’s Werewolf of London (definitely more sexy than Lon Chaney Jr.) I even remember an early Humphrey Bogart chiller called The Return of Dr.X. where he played a man who had been executed and was brought back to life by the laziest of plot devices: electricity. His line to the girl he kidnapped and brought to a remote cabin will stay with me forever: “Don’t bother to scream, no one can hear you”, as he pulls out the biggest fuckin’ hypodermic needle I’d ever seen. Thass what I’m talking ‘bout!

Halloween: I'll Pass

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by Tom Maxwell

halloween-party1.jpgEach holiday comes with it’s own brand of unpleasantness and disappointment.  New Year’s Eve offers forced joviality along with the prospect of being French kissed by a blowzy stranger with Cold Duck on her breath.  Christmas means spending lots of thought and money on presents for people who already have way too much stuff and enduring long hours with folks you’d never spend five minutes with if you didn’t share a smidge of DNA.     

However, most holidays also have an upside.  Thanksgiving often brings out the charitable side of people who donate to food drives and volunteer too serve dinner to those in need.  Easter signals the final days of winter and sometimes the final round of the Masters.

Then, there’s Halloween, the holiday, with no redeeming features. For starters, it’s not even a proper “holiday” because nobody gets to miss school or work. 


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