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.

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tompkinshalloween.jpgThere’s nothing like Halloween in New York City. New York is home to some of the most artistic and creative people on the planet, most of whom will jump at any opportunity to put on a show. Consider the city’s eight hundred thousand drag queens, who, just to take a trip out to the deli, will put on seven-inch platforms, a sequined butterfly shawl and a two-foot wig. In the weeks before Halloween, the whole city began to fill with a fizzy, randy excitement. Shop windows were crammed with bondage gear, feather boas, broquaded undies and outrageous wigs, and the window boxes of the West Village overflowed with chrysanthemums and pumpkins and squash—all in their final bursts of color before the decay of the winter set in. And all those flamboyant colors; all those sequins, feathers and rubber masks started to bring out everyone’s inner drag queen. And it was no different for the dog people. There are more that thirty dog runs in the city, and therefore more than thirty annual doggie costume parades.

At that point in time (1998) we had just started taking Wallace to the Tompkins Square Park dog run. Each run in the city has its own flavor and “First Run” as it was called (because it was the first in NYC) was known for 1) the youth of its doggie parents (most were East Village kids in their twenties); 2) the number of pit-bull mixes (most of the young doggie parents adopted pits from the ASCPA in the East 90’s, or found them on the streets); 3) the number of dog-brawls that occurred daily (it was a transient neighborhood, with a lot of new dogs); and 4) The legendary First Run Annual Halloween Costume Contest, which drew the likes of Iggy Pop and Lou Reed.

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j0422837.jpgIn Philadelphia there is an apartment complex on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway called Park Towne Place. It is a cluster of four high rises – cleverly called East, West, North and South. I had three friends who lived there – Laura, Adam and Erik – and most years I spent Halloween night with them, riding the elevators in our costumes and tearing through the hallways, ringing every bell we could get our little hands on in an effort to collect maximum quantities of candy.

It was widely understood that trick-or-treating in an apartment building was the most efficient way to trick-or-treat, and for that reason Park Towne Place was the ne plus ultra because there were four apartment buildings arranged in one lucky clover shape – the prospect of that much candy simply boggled the nine-year-old mind. Our method was to exit the elevator, dash up and down the hallways ringing every bell, and then we’d wait a breathless moment to see who answered their door.

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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.

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bandaidcookies.jpgIt's that time of year of again...where gross food is welcomed by the little boys that inhabit my house. Nothing brings a smile to their face like something bloody, goopy, poopy or oozy when Halloween is in the air. They love it.

I saw these cookies and thought, my kids need to be welcomed home from school with these somewhat authentic looking bloody band-aids.

Sure enough, they were a hit. And really, these are not even a recipe, I mean there is nothing to their construction, but they got rave reviews. I could have baked all day from scratch and not gotten the fan fare these received. Go figure.

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