Our Third Annual Halloween Bash was a quieter affair than years’ past, but I’m heartened by the growing Australian response to this holiday. I just wish I’d remember to take more pictures! I didn’t get good shots of half the guests and I really meant to show you our guest bathroom with the tub full of scary balloons. Next year, folks… Next year.
The Snook and I probably spent over twelve hours all up putting this year’s sweets together. From left to right in the back row you have: Fairy Bread, the Enormous Crocodile, and Faux Chex Mix. Second row: Spiced Pumpkin Muffins, Meringue Bones, (the dreaded) Peeps, Witches’ Fingers, and a big bucket o’ candy. Front row: Bread and dips, Candy Sashimi, Candy Sushi, and Buck Eye Balls. We also circulated homemade savouries too: Beef and Tomato Pies and Bleu Cheese and Spinach Vol au Vents.
A close-up of my Buck Eye Balls, which I originally detailed on the site here. These were definitely a hit.
These are made from rolled up Rice Krispie Treats with sour gummi worms in the middle. The “seaweed” is made from fruit roll-up. (I couldn’t find plain old green fruit roll-ups here; you can only seem to get “wacky” combinations these days. This one was sorta green & purple, which was as close as I could get.)
Again with the Rice Krispie Treats. Unfortunately my mixture of marshmallow to cereal was kinda off, and these turned out a little too crumbly. (Or maybe it was just the extreme humidity – more on that in a minute.) Did you know gummi fish are really hard to find? These all came from the Candy Shop in Leura, NSW. The black ones are particularly evil; they’re Swedish Salted Licorice Herrings.
I don’t know why I bother with cupcakes; nobody ever eats them at parties. They’re just too much, you know? But I got totally entranced by the possibilities of this recipe. They were supposed to be all decorated with frosting but with time running out, I decided a quick shake of sprinkles would have to suffice. Behind them are the Snook’s Famous Fairy Bread, which is an Australian kids’ party institution. Basically, you get the most nutritionally-devoid white bread you can find, spread it with margarine, cut the crusts off, and sprinkle it with, uh, sprinkles. Everybody here loves it. (Incidentally, all sprinkles are courtesy of the amazing Samantha.)
The Snook’s done these the last few years. They’re your basic meringue (egg whites and sugar), piped out into bone shapes and left to dry out in a cool oven for a long time. We let them get a little too brown this year, but unfortunately that was just the start of our problems. The night of the party was so humid and hot that these treats went from light and crispy to a droopy sodden mass within about twenty minutes. Shame.
I’ve made these the last couple years and they’re always a crowd pleaser. My sister sent me the recipe. They’re basically an almond-flavored shortbread cookie dyed green with food colouring. The “nail” is a blanched almond, and the blood is red decorating gel.
I wanted a dramatic centerpiece and this is what I came up with. This guy is, of course, from a Roald Dahl book and the recipe appears in Revolting Recipes. He turned out pretty well despite being slapped together by me about an hour before the party. His body is a baguette covered with spinach. (He’s actually a sandwich; his back half is filled with egg salad.) His scales are artichoke leaves and his legs are made out of sausages and pickles. Inside his mouth you can just make out his tongue (a slice of ham) and some broken off teeth (blanched almonds). His eyes are, of course, hard-boiled eggs with olives on top. The bloody finger is my own special touch; I made a point of setting aside some witches’ finger dough to make it. (Seriously though, the “recipe” for this fellow is a joke. They made me boil two whole artichokes for, like, ten leaves. Oh, and getting chopped spinach to stick to the sides of a baguette is impossible. That’s why I set this guy in profile; his entire back side is unfinished. Everything was vague, difficult, and obviously not user-tested. I got the impression that somebody had made up the production model using every trick in the book and then decided to try to write a recipe to replicate it. It doesn’t work.)
The Snook and I have been wanting to do a big Rasterbated image for some time, and this was the perfect opportunity. We measured our wall, generated the image, and then I printed it out on the laser printer at work and guillotined all the pages to fit together precisely. It looks so good we’re going to keep it up for a while! And check out that curtain of spiders! A lot of the decorations this year were sent to me by my friend Nat, and the actual hanging thereof was done by Amy, Rob, and Helen. Thanks, everybody!
Our front window decorations. The skeleton lights were part of the package from Nat. Unfortunately I didn’t realize that you can’t just whack an adapter on the plug and expect American fairy lights to work in Australia. Apparently the voltage is much higher here and they’ll explode. The Snook thought he might be able to drill into the control box and somehow fiddle with them, but I didn’t want to destroy the way cool blinking options. Thus I went to the nearest electronics store to purchase a voltage adapter. My cunning plan to return it four days later was foiled when the kindly old shop clerk informed me that voltage adapters are non-returnable on account of unscrupulous Americans who buy them on holiday and then return them two weeks later. So I had to buy the sucker. Oh well. My blinkenlights ruled and I’m happy.