There is probably nowhere in the world where Halloween is a more divisive subject than right here in Australia. It’s understandable; the Americanised version of the holiday which has spread so insipidly across the world brings with it connotations of colonialism and globalisation, not to mention the fact that Trick or Treating can be downright dangerous.
Rather than rejecting the holiday completely though, why not use it to your own end and throw a grownups-only party in the comfort of your own home?
Last year the Halloween blog was all about the kids’ recipes. Well, not this year! Prepare for Halloween in style.
You can go as little or as much as you want with this. If you’re short on time or money, some cheap cuts of black cloth draped over tables, mirrors and picture frames will do on their own – add in a couple of gothic candelabras and you’re set. Simply scale this plan up if you want to go a little further by getting lacy black fabric, installing lots of candles (not too close to the draped fabric) and maybe change some central light bulbs with different coloured ones. There is absolutely no need to for cheap and tacky variety store decorations.
Or why not have the party outside? Unlike the rest of the world that will be shivering come Halloween night, we get to enjoy it in Spring. Make the most of that by hosting a garden party with a small (and of course safe) bonfire or barbecue!
Bobbing for apples is so passé – a murder mystery party on the other hand could be great fun! If you feel like your guests might be up for a little drama, you can either set up a story yourself or get in a kit. This is also a great way to get your guests to dress up in a nice way, by making it themed around vintage fashion or gothic Victoriana, and means you can avoid whatever pop culture costume is circulating this year.
A murder mystery can be quite a lot of effort though, and is only really worth it if everyone is happy to really get into it. Games like a horror movie “Who Am I?” are a little more low-key, and only require a basic knowledge of horror films by your guests. Alternatively, if alcohol is the main ingredient to your party you could drink shots whenever something happens in a horror film such as “someone goes down to a dark basement”, or “phones have no signal”. Of course you’ll need to watch the film first to make sure it’s a suitable kind of game.
Whether you choose to make your guests dress up or not is up to you. Some would argue that by not allowing anyone into the party without a costume, you’ll force even your most introverted guests to make a small amount of effort. On the other hand, they might just not come. Unless you know that your guests will be up for some dress-up fun, you may be better off suggesting costumes but not discriminating against those who go without. Just pretend they’re dressed as their own evil twin.
And most importantly…
The recipes in last year’s blog were great for kids – but we’re after a bit more of a grownup feel this year. Start with the savouries and try these simple and elegant bat wings on for size.
- 20 large chicken wings, whole
- 1 cup soy sauce
- ½ cup + 2 tbsps of oyster sauce
- ¼ cup black bean sauce
- ¼ cup light brown sugar
Optional: 1 tsp black food colouring paste
Whisk together the two sauces with the sugar, black bean sauce and food colouring if you desire. Take 1/3 cup of this mixture and put aside.
Put your chicken wings in a sealable plastic bag and pour the sauce mixture over them, sealing the bag. Make sure they are well coated and then leave overnight, turning the wings every now and then.
When you’re about ready to serve, preheat the oven to 375 degrees f.
Take the wings out of the marinade, shaking off the excess and placing them in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
Bake the wings for 20-25 minutes, brushing with the 1/3 cup of sauce you kept aside every ten minutes. Once done, brush with the remainder of the mixture and serve once they’ve slightly cooled.
A Black Devil Martini
A simple, adults-only drink made with dark rum and dry vermouth. Rim a chilled martini glass with orange sugar, then stir and strain the liquor in before garnishing with black olives.
Sophisticated Candied Apples
This might sound like a kid’s snack, but with a little extra work you can make them look like a prop from a horror version of Snow White.
You will need:
- 6 Apples – Red Delicious are a favourite
- 3 cups of sugar
- 1 cup of water
- ½ cup light corn syrup
- ½ tsp cinnamon-flavoured oil
- ¼ tsp red food colouring
- ¼ tsp black food colouring (optional)
Take the stems out of the apples and replace them with skewers
Place the sugar, water and corn syrup in a saucepan over a high heat and stir until the sugar dissolves.
Use a candy thermometer to raise the heat to 310ºF, then remove from the heat and stir in both the oil and food colouring. For black apples, add the food colouring to the already-red syrup.
Dip them one at a time and then transfer to a greased baking sheet to allow to cool.
If you’re worried about getting messy, why not make bite-size versions? Use a small ice cream scoop on an apple to create apple balls, and if you aren’t going to dip them straight away make sure to coat them in lemon juice so they don’t go brown. Pat them dry after coating and before dipping!