Spook up your spread this Halloween

It may not be possible to celebrate Halloween on as grand a scale as you would normally, but there are still ways to bring the terror to your table. No black magic required – just a couple of tricks and a whole lot of treats.

Halloween requires both effort and enthusiasm – fact. The haunting holiday celebrated annually on 31 October originated with Samhain, the ancient Celtic festival, and the tradition involved lighting bonfires and wearing costumers in the hopes of warding off ghosts. This Halloween may not give us the scope to throw a huge ghoulish gathering, but we can still mark the occasion by putting on a freakishly fine feast.

Here’s some food for (evil) thought…

Forbidden fruit
Make like Snow White and give into temptation with this autumnal favourite: the tantalising (toffee) apple. You can’t go wrong with this creepy classic, especially as it’s so easy to do! Simply place the apples into a bowl and cover with boiling water to wash away any waxy residue. Insert skewers and then make the toffee by heating sugar and water in a pan until it dissolves and turns into a rich caramel colour. Dip the apples in the toffee and leave to set.

Finger food
The witching hour is upon us… so make it known with some ghoulish ‘witches fingers’. Think hotdogs, but with a terrifying twist. Use a fork to make markings in the sausage so that it resembles the creases in a finger, and scrape off a bit of skin at the top so that it looks like a nail. For further fear factor, add a little blood (and by blood we mean ketchup, obviously).

Creature comforts
It’s okay to crave your favourite treats or feel the need to settle on your seasonal staples. You can still ‘freakify’ them for the good of your buffet! For example, you can take a whole array of fresh vegetables and use a carving knife to create scary shapes, before roasting them – take sweet potato jack-o-lanterns and witches hat beets as a couple of examples. If you have a sweet tooth, you could bake some gingerbread cookies, but instead of decorating with chocolate buttons, you can use white icing to draw out a skeleton on each.

Flesh it out
Showcase your cold cuts with a creepy centrepiece. Take a plastic skull and pop it in the middle of a round platter. You can be creative with the display – arrange cheese slices around the base to make a culinary collarbone, and lay strips of meat across the entire skull to give a monstrously moreish marbling effect. It will be a real head-turner!

No guts, no glory
Sometimes it’s all about the presentation. Take a toy skeleton and break away the ribcage so there’s space inside to stash a truly terrible treasure trove of ghoulish goodies (cakes, biscuits, sweets and savoury snacks would all work well). Your pumpkin could double up as a serving platter, too – fill it with a chilling cocktail or frightful fruit punch to really set the spook-tastic scene.

Happy Halloween!

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