Trick-or-treaters don't eat homemade Halloween treats anymore, which is a shame for imaginative chefs. For those of you throwing a Halloween party, the sky is the limit for spooky, clever, and downright gruesome food and drinks. Try these out ahead of time, just in case your technique needs to be tweaked before the event.
1. Eyeball Martini
This is a regular martini with a very special olive garnish. The secret is small radishes, peeled to resemble eyeballs with veins and stuffed with olives. Be sure to leave the root trailing for the optic nerve! If you're not serving martinis, these look good on a vegetable tray.
A simple meat and vegetable tray will "impress and distress" your guests when it's served as a meathead! Cold cuts are plastered to a plastic skull with gelatin, so they are easy to peel off and eat.
3. Stuffed Cockroaches
Make these stuffed cockroaches with pitted dates (for looks), walnuts (for crunch) and cream cheese (for goo). To get a larger picture than the one shown with the recipe, I searched for an image of "stuffed cockroaches", which I do not recommend, as most results are not Halloween recipes. But I found this picture at Almost Vegan in Paradise, where Alina Niemi used the same recipe with a vegan cream cheese alternative and added slivers of scallions for the antenna so they look perfect! Perfectly roachlike, that is. Check out her deviled egg eyeballs as well.
4. Jason Voorhees Jello Shots
From a blog that uses Jello shots as an art medium, here is an alcoholic treat from the Friday the 13th movie series. Jason Voorhees' ski mask is a Jello shot containing sweetened condensed milk for color, decorated with chocolate chips, chopped cherries, and red sorrel syrup.
5. Swamp Juice
This slightly green punch contains worms, fish, and aquatic "eggs" made of cooked tapioca pearls. I happen to like tapioca, but the appearance of these slimy balls can make any drink look gruesome, like these cocktails. Note the pearls can be colored, an idea which can lead to your own innovations.
6. Monster Toes
Monster Toes are made from cocktail franks with mustard nails and ketchup blood. They could also be passed off as monster fingers if your franks are long enough. A variation that might improve the appearance would be to insert almond slices for the fingernails.
7. The Morphing Martini
Not only does this drink drip fog like a mad scientist's formula, it also changes from blue to fuchsia as it cools. The secret is cabbage juice acting as a litmus test! Complete directions for making these can be found at Instructables. Better partying through chemistry!
8. Bleeding Brain Dessert
This molded gelatin brain recipe skipped the gray matter idea because people don't really want to eat gray food. The flavor is peach. It's still gruesome enough for Halloween because when you cut into it, raspberry pie filling spills out like blood from a injury.
9. Zombie Cake
Barbara Jo and Barbara May are known for their imaginative recipes. This Zombie Cake is a classic. They named him Orville. The eyes are cherries soaked in brandy, and the blood is raspberry jelly. See the process of making this confection at Do It Myself!
Talented as individuals and magnificent as a team, the Marx Brothers conquered every medium from the vaudeville stage to the silver screen. Today, we’re tipping our hats (and tooting our horns) to Groucho, Harpo, Chico, Zeppo, and Gummo—on the 50th anniversary of Groucho's passing.
1. A RUNAWAY MULE INSPIRED THEM TO TAKE A STAB AT COMEDY.
Julius, Milton, and Arthur Marx originally aspired to be professional singers. In 1907, the boys joined a group called “The Three Nightingales.” Managed by their mother, Minnie, the ensemble performed covers of popular songs in theaters all over the country. As Nightingales, the brothers enjoyed some moderate success, but they might never have found their true calling if it weren’t for an unruly equid. During a 1907 gig at the Nacogdoches Opera House in East Texas, someone interrupted the performance by barging in and shouting “Mule’s loose!” Immediately, the crowd raced out to watch the newly-liberated animal. Back inside, Julius seethed. Furious at having lost the spotlight, he skewered his audience upon their return. “The jackass is the finest flower of Tex-ass!” he shouted, among many other ad-libbed jabs. Rather than boo, the patrons roared with laughter. Word of his wit soon spread and demand for these Marx brothers grew.
2. THEY RECEIVED THEIR STAGE NAMES DURING A POKER GAME.
In May of 1914, the five Marxes were playing cards with standup comedian Art Fisher. Inspired by a popular comic strip character known as “Sherlocko the Monk,” he decided that the boys could use some new nicknames. Leonard’s was a no-brainer. Given his girl-crazy, “chick-chasing” lifestyle, Fisher dubbed him “Chicko” (later, this was shortened to “Chico”). Arthur loved playing the harp and thus became “Harpo.” An affinity for soft gumshoes earned Milton the alias “Gummo.” Finally, Julius was both cynical and often seen wearing a “grouch bag”—wherein he’d store small objects like marbles and candy—around his neck. Thus, “Groucho” was born. For the record, nobody knows how Herbert Marx came to be known as “Zeppo.”
3. GROUCHO WORE HIS TRADEMARK GREASEPAINT MUSTACHE BECAUSE HE HATED MORE REALISTIC MODELS.
Michael Ochs Archives/Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Phony, glue-on facial hair can be a pain to remove and reapply, so Groucho would simply paint a ‘stache and some exaggerated eyebrows onto his face. However, the mustache he later rocked as the host of his famous quiz show You Bet Your Life was 100 percent real.
4. HARPO WAS A SELF-TAUGHT HARPIST.
Without any formal training (or the ability to read sheet music), the second-oldest Marx brother developed a unique style that he never stopped improving upon. “Dad really loved playing the harp, and he did it constantly,” his son, Bill Marx, wrote. “Maybe the first multi-tasker ever, he even had a harp in the bathroom so he could play when he sat on the toilet!”
5. THE VERY FIRST MARX BROTHERS MOVIE WAS NEVER RELEASED.
Financed by Groucho, Chico, Harpo, Zeppo, and a handful of other investors, Humor Risk was filmed in 1921. Accounts differ, but most scholars agree that the silent picture—which would have served as the family’s cinematic debut—never saw completion. Despite this, an early screening of the work-in-progress was reportedly held in the Bronx. When Humor Risk failed to impress there, production halted. By Marx Brothers standards, it would’ve been an unusual flick, with Harpo playing a heroic detective opposite a villainous Groucho character.
6. GUMMO AND ZEPPO BECAME TALENT AGENTS.
World War I forced Gummo to quit the stage. Following his return, the veteran decided that performing was no longer for him and instead started a raincoat business. Zeppo—the youngest brother—then assumed Gummo’s role as the troupe’s straight-talking foil. A brilliant businessman, Zeppo eventually break away to found the talent agency Zeppo Marx Inc., which grew into Hollywood’s third-largest, representing superstars like Clark Gable, Lucille Ball, and—of course—the other three Marx Brothers. Gummo, who joined the company in 1935, was charged with handling Groucho, Harpo, and Chico’s needs.
7. CHICO ONCE LAUNCHED A BIG BAND GROUP.
Chico took advantage of an extended break between Marx brothers movies to realize a lifelong dream. A few months before The Big Store hit cinemas in 1941, he co-founded the Chico Marx Orchestra: a swinging jazz band that lasted until July of 1943. Short-lived as the group was, however, it still managed to recruit some amazing talent—including singer/composer Mel Tormé, who would go on to help write the “The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire)” in 1945.
8. THEY TESTED OUT NEW MATERIAL FOR A NIGHT AT THE OPERA IN FRONT OF LIVE AUDIENCES.
With the script still being drafted, MGM made the inspired choice to let the brothers perform key scenes in such places as Seattle, Salt Lake City, and San Francisco. Once a given joke was made, the Marxes meticulously timed the ensuing laughter, which let them know exactly how much silence to leave after repeating the gag on film. According to Harpo, this had the added benefit of shortening A Night at the Opera’s production period. “We didn’t have to rehearse,” he explained. “[We just] got onto the set and let the cameras roll.”
9. GROUCHO TEMPORARILY HOSTED THE TONIGHT SHOW.
Jack Paar bid the job farewell on March 29, 1962. Months before their star’s departure, NBC offered Paar’s Tonight Show seat to Groucho, who had established himself as a razor-sharp, well-liked host during You Bet Your Life’s 14-year run. Though Marx turned the network down, he later served as a guest host for two weeks while Johnny Carson prepared to take over the gig. When Carson finally made his Tonight Show debut on October 1, it was Groucho who introduced him.
10. SPY MAGAZINE USED A MARX BROTHERS MOVIE TO PRANK U.S. CONGRESSMEN.
Duck Soup takes place in Freedonia, a fictional country over which the eccentric Rufus T. Firefly (Groucho) presides. In 1993, 60 years after the movie’s release, this imaginary nation made headlines by embarrassing some real-life politicians. Staffers from Spy got in touch with around 20 freshmen in the House of Representatives, asking some variation on the question “Do you approve of what we’re doing to stop ethnic cleansing in Freedonia?” A few lawmakers took the bait. Representative Corrine Brown (D-Florida) professed to approve of America’s presence in Freedonia, saying “I think all of those situations are very, very sad, and I just think we need to take action to assist the people.” Across the aisle, Steve Buyer (R-Indiana) concurred. “Yeah,” he said, “it’s a different situation than the Middle East.”
As a recurring feature, our team combs the Web and shares some amazing Amazon deals we’ve turned up. Here’s what caught our eye today, August 19.
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