FYI: Recipe Note Tips - Halloween - Fun with Tricks and Treats

Fun Tricks with Halloween Treats
You can talk about healthy snacks 'til the cows come home, but we all know that the real delight of Halloween is in the bulging trick-or-treat sacks ripe from a long, hard night of doorbell ringing; candy of every imaginable variety; sticky caramel apples; craftily decorated cookies, cupcakes and pies; and punchbowls full of brightly colored beverages. Here are some ways to put the finishing touches on your favorite Halloween treats.

Fruity Fun. Caramel apples are perfect to make as a party activity or to give as favors and gifts. Once you've dipped the apples in caramel, you can roll them in chopped nuts, crushed cookies, black and orange sprinkles, mini chocolate chips, or make faces on them with candy. Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar to make an 'apple pie on a stick'. Melt chocolate, white chocolate, butterscotch or peanut butter chips in the microwave (stir every 30 seconds) and drizzle onto the finished apples. Also try carving small holes into the apples and sticking in halved gummy worms! Flat wooden craft sticks or pairs of disposable chopsticks that are still attached to each other work better than skewers for caramel apples. If you want to get fancy, use long cinnamon sticks instead!

Witch and Wizard Sundaes! To make wizard hats, dip sugar cones in melted chocolate. Let the excess drip off and set them on wax paper. Before the chocolate is completely dry, use colored sugar or edible glitter to stencil moons and stars onto the hats! To make the sundaes, put a big scoop of ice cream in each person's bowl, put a 'hat' on each scoop, and let everyone decorate their own witches and wizards. Use crispy chow mein noodles or chocolate sprinkles for hair, and thin licorice laces for glasses. Use all kinds of small, colorful candies for making facial features.

Weave a Tangled Web. Create a spider web on top of a cake! Start by spreading a round cake with white or orange frosting. Thin some chocolate frosting with milk until it's about the consistency of melted chocolate, and place it in a piping bag with a 1/4 inch tip. Starting in the center, pipe a spiral pattern radiating out until you come within an inch of the edge of the cake. Now, pretending the cake top is the face of a clock, gently drag the tip of a toothpick from the center to 12 o'clock, continuing all the way to the edge of the cake. Drag the toothpick from 1 o'clock back to the center, and then from the center to 2 o'clock. Continue in this fashion until you have completed the circle. You can also do this on a smaller scale with cookies and cupcakes. Decorate your 'web' with plastic spiders and bugs!

Spooky Parties
Decorating the house, pulling together a fantastic costume and stocking your CD, record player or tape deck with suitably scary mood music are only the tip of the Halloween party iceberg! Undoubtedly, at some point during the evening, every guest at your party will find themselves sniffing around the snack table, so why not make it a truly spirited destination? Showcase food and drink in the spookiest ways possible -- partially obscured by cobwebs!
* Halloween-shaped cookie cutters are perfect when used to cut out deli meats, breads and cheeses into scary party shapes!
* Float "eyeballs" in drinks! Place one grape in each segment of an ice cube tray, and then fill the ice cube tray with colored water or juice before freezing completely.
* Decorate the table with cobwebs! Cotton candy pulled into strands makes excellent edible cobwebs when used as a decoration. Be sure to let your guests know which spider webs are edible and which aren't!
* Make a pile of gorey hands! Fill cleaned and sanitized rubber hand gloves with plain or multi-flavored gelatin. Tie the glove off at the open end and refrigerate until the gelatin is completely set. Carefully cut or peel the glove off of the gelatin and pile the gelatin hands in an artful mound. For an added thrill, let a batch of red-colored gelatin begin to set and pour the partially set gelatin over the pile of hands - it'll look like they are dripping blood!


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