Keep the Ghouls and Goblins Interested in Dinner
When I was younger, I always remember mom making a quick and easy dinner on Halloween night so that she could still answer the door and pass out treats to the early bird trick-or-treaters and so that we could get an early start on donning our costumes and heading out to collect our goodies. Hot dogs and chili was always a favorite of mine and still conjures up memories of the excitement and anticipation of a night full of tricks and treats. Here are a couple of twists on some quick and easy recipes to server your little ghouls for dinner, sure to keep them interested and excited about eating dinner before their big adventure.
Broken Finger Hot Dogs
1 – 2 hot dogs per person
Appropriate number of hot dog buns
French fries or shoe string potato chips
Before cooking each hotdog, use a paring knife to carve out a fingernail as well as the knuckles in each hot dog. This is done by removing the darker outer skin of a hotdog and allowing the lighter inside of the hotdog to form the shape of the fingernail and skin folds of the knuckle. Remove a small section of hotdog end opposite of the fingernail. Cook the hotdogs according to directions but note that grilling the hot dogs adds an extra bit of gore by “burning” the “skin”. Before serving, stuff a French fry or shoe string potato chip into the end of the hotdog that you cut off (to simulate the bone). Place in a bun and allow each goblin to add their own condiments – ketchup (especially the green ketchup), mustard, and bottled cheese make these treats exceptionally ghoulish.
Brain Spaghetti In a Head Bread Bowl
Bottle of spaghetti sauce
Small loaves of bread
Boil the spaghetti and warm the spaghetti sauce according to the directions. While the spaghetti is cooking and the sauce is warming, take each small loaf of bread and hollow it out to make an individual bowl. Using a paring knife, carve a jack-o-lantern in each of the bread bowls. Once cooked, mix the spaghetti and sauce and then spoon it into the bread bowls. You don’t need to worry about making a mess with the sauce, a little extra gore never hurt anyone! Sprinkle each bowl with some mozzarella cheese and place the bowls on a cookie sheet lined with tinfoil. Place the cookie sheet on the top rack of the oven and broil until the cheese is melted and slightly browned. Allow to cool slightly before serving.
This is an interesting side dish that’s a great way to get your kids to eat potatoes. It also makes a great side dish for a grown-up party that pleases the kid in each of us.
Small baking potatoes
Thoroughly rinse each potato before starting. Use a melon baller to hollow out each potato from the “top” of the potato. Remove a small section of the bottom of the potato so that it will stand up on its own. Using a paring knife, carve out a jack-o-lantern face in each potato. Lightly brush each potato with oil and salt the potato. Wrap each potato in tin foil and cook in the oven or on a grill. You won’t need to cook them as long as a normal potato as they are hollow. When done, let them stand to cool slightly and then unwrap each potato. Fill each potato with chili, bacon bits, cheese, and whatever other condiments you like. Kids seem to like ketchup on their potatoes and this adds a bit more excitement to the “brains” that are spilling out of their potato-lantern.
Keep the meal interesting with some extras like green cool-aid with some dime-store bug ice cubes and call it “bug juice”. Extra snacks like finger carrots or a handful of dried “fly” raisins will keep your kids energized for a night full of fun, treats and maybe the occasional trick. Be sure to keep a couple of “toned down” and not so frightening servings for the younger or more timid children just in case your creations are a little “too” scary.