Throwing a Halloween party this year? Here are our favourite suggestions for nightmarish nibbles and demonic drinks with which to wow the ghosts, ghouls and goblins who appear out of thin air to enjoy the festivities.
Eating eyeballs (aka the chocolate treat as guests walk through the door)
We’re not going to lie to you: these chocs from really are pretty gruesome-looking things. They split opinion in the office – some thought they were hilarious, others actually gasped. Not least because on biting into the ‘eyeball’ reveals an inside of disturbingly mushy blood-red stuff that feels almost convincing. (Never having eaten an eyeball, it’s hard to be certain.)
They’re the brainchild of boutique English chocolate makers Choc on Choc, who also make a set of Dracula teeth and various other skull chocolates.
But we have to admit that it’s the eyeballs (£9.99 for a box of four) which were the real showstopper: they’re hand-crafted from a blend of milk and white Belgian chocolate and filled with a oozy strawberry cream.
Spooky pumpkin juice (aka the welcome drink)
From a pair of teeth to aperitif (we’re not apologising for that one), we now move on to a liqueur which, if we’re honest, is the most orange substance we’ve ever consumed. Yes, even more so than an actual orange. Mozart’s Pumpkin Spice Chocolate Liqueur – available for £15.99 at Wine Rack – and the pumpkin-shaped bottle alone will be a real conversation starter.
While it looks orange, this Austrian concoction certainly doesn’t taste fruity. It’s made with chocolate, caramel, natural pumpkin juice, cinnamon, clove, vanilla and a touch of chilli – there’s no heat in it, but the latter certainly stops it being too sweet.
It’s certainly the sort of thing that gets people talking. The bottle’s arrival brought the Country Life office to a standstill, and one of the willing guinea pigs summed it up perfectly: ‘You think it’s going to be horrible, but then it’s actually a very nice surprise. But then when you go to take another sip you somehow still think it’s going to be horrible, and you’re nicely surprised again.’
If you’re working on a tighter budget, Aldi also have their own pumpkin spiced Irish cream liqueur. It’s very nice, and a bargain at £6.99, but we can’t help feeling that the cool bottle is what makes the Mozart version that much more special.
Zombie chunks (aka pumpkin fudge)
This recipe makes enough fudge for 16 people.
- Line a 9in tin with foil and set aside
- Heat ¼ pint of milk and 18oz of sugar in a saucepan over a medium heat. Bring to the boil, stirring occasionally
- Add 6½oz of pumpkin and 1tsp of cinnamon and bring back to the boil
- Stir in 7oz of marshmallows and 2tbsp of butter and boil, stirring occasionally, for 18 minutes
- Remove from the heat and add 6oz chocolate chips and 1tsp vanilla extract. Stir until creamy and melted.
- Pour the mixture into the tin and cool. Then remove and cut into squares.
Slices of real hobgoblin (aka the nibbles)
Okay, so they’re just crisps.
But they are devilishly good crisps, and very in keeping with our Halloween theme. The Wychwood brewery has made these with Burt’s thick cup crips, and both beer-infused flavours are delicious: Hamageddon (ham and pickle with a kick of beer) and Spit Roast Steak (smoky barbecue beef flavour, with the same beer edge). They’re priced around 79p for a 40g bag.
Drinking blood (aka the wine)
Bright orange novelty drinks are all well and good, but you wouldn’t want more than a sherry glass or two. So how do you find a suitably-Halloweeny wine to go with your evening? Well, Apothic Dark fits the bill. And not just because of the fittingly-Gothic label.
This is a wine so dark it’s almost black rather than red, it’s a blend of Petite Sirah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel and Petit Verdot that is smooth. Blood smooth. Smooth like the velvet lining of Dracula’s coffin, if you like. It’s £10 a bottle, though Tesco currently have it priced at £8.
This lovely pumpkin pie recipe serves eight.
- Preheat the oven to 180ºC (350ºF). Steam 1lb of pumpkin flesh, cut into 1in chunks, then place it into a sieve and press lightly to extract excess water
- Lightly whisk two large eggs and the yolk of a third together.
- Place 1tsp of ground cinnamon, ½tsp of grated nutmeg, ½ tsp of ground cloves, ½ tsp of ground ginger, 3oz of soft dark brown sugar and 10fl oz of double cream into a pan, bring it to simmering point and whisk together
- Pour the mixture over the eggs and whisk together, then add the pumpkin and whisk again
- Put the filling into a sweet crust pastry case, 9in in diameter and 1½in deep, and bake for 35 minutes, by which time it should be puffed around the edges and slightly soft in the centre
- Remove it from the oven and cool it on a wire rack. Serve at room temperature with cream or crème fraïche.
Eating vampire caterpillar (aka a nice slice of cake)
Marks and Spencer have gone a bit Halloween crazy this year – even poor little Percy Pig has a seasonal pumpkin edition.
We’ve always been able to take or leave Percy, but his cake friend Colin the Caterpillar is a failsafe stalwart of celebrations across the country – they’re even making giant versions these days, and special ones for weddings. The Halloween special version does Colin proud – he costs £7 from M&S.
Devouring a ghoul’s head (aka eating some pizza)
Dead simple: grab a couple of those Napolina pizza bases and turn it into a ‘terrifying’ ghoul with spiky teeth. Unlike many of the things on this menu, this is one you can share with the kids!
You could also try out our pumpkin and butternut squash soup. Though it’s not exactly scary unless you have a morbid terror of yellow.
This recipe came to us via Slingsby Rhubarb gin – the garnish is made with frozen flower petals, rosemary and dehydrated orange as well as crushed ice.
- 1 part rhubarb gin
- 1 part pink grapefruit juice
- ½ part elderflower cordial
- 2 parts prosecco
Toxic swamp gunge (aka a spooky smoothie)
For those who are driving, or not old enough to enjoy the alcoholic options above, food blogger Helen Best-Shaw has this smoothie recipe which looks ghoulishly green.
Simply blitz a couple of bananas, two small bottle of banana milk (or yoghurt) and a handful of spinach together and you’ll get the vile-looking green concoction above. To make the ‘swamp mud’ version, add a tablespoon of cocoa powder and a bit of honey.