Ten Terrific or Terrifying Treats for Halloween

All year long, we try to make food that is appetizing and pleasing to the eye. Then for Halloween, we reverse that and serve food that is ugly, scary, or otherwise appropriate for the holiday. While most of these treats are more cute than scary, they are all exceedingly fitting for a Halloween meal or party.

1. Tentacle Pot Pie

Meagan Reardon of Not Martha disguised pot pies as slithering monsters! Use your favorite pie recipe and dishes that can be baked, and her step-by-step crust instructions. Could this technique be used for fruit pies? I think it would be worth a try!

2. Apple Monsters

These cute Apple Monsters are all mouth! The teeth are almond slivers, and the eyes are miniature marshmallows with icing pupils.

3. Marshmallow Ghosts

Marshmallow Ghosts are simply marshmallows of different sizes and quantities skewered and dipped in a white chocolate coating. The faces are made of nuts, and the decorations were made with skewers dipped in food coloring. You don't have to make them up ahead of time, because making them would be a great activity for your party!

4. Frankenstein Finger Cookies

Gross but delicious. Frankenstein Finger Cookies are made with green dough decorated with almond fingernails and coconut hair. The bloody dip is red gel cake icing.

5. Eerie Edible Eyeballs

Britta Peterson's eyeball recipe was linked here years ago, but she has since updated and simplified it. The main ingredients are marshmallow cream and cream cheese, flavored with pineapple juice, and held together with gelatin. If you can get your guests to try the first one, they won't last long!

6. Mummy Meatloaf

Is the Mummy Meatloaf adorable or frightening? Not that it matters, as long as the kids will eat it! A meatloaf recipe is offered, but you can use your own. Wide flat noodles make the mummy wrap; if you can't find the proper size, trimmed lasagna noodles will work. The eyes are olives!

7. Pumpkin Juice

Harry Potter and his friends enjoy drinking pumpkin juice, and you can buy it bottled. But how much more fun is it to make your own? It's not necessarily a Halloween recipe, but tastes like autumn (apple and pumpkin pie, that is) and goes well with any fall or winter holiday.

8. Skull Truffles

The Skull Truffle project at Make involves making your own skull molds out of silicone. It's a wonderful guide for those who want to do that, but the relevant effect is a walnut half covered in pink candy melt to look like an exposed brain. You can buy skull molds, or if you are in a hurry, you can skip to step 15, the part about making little brains out of walnuts.

9. Frankenstein Marshmallow Pops

Sweet treats on a stick are great for keeping dirty fingers off the food and the food off the kids! Meaghan Mountford of The Decorated Cookie shows you step-by-step how to make your own frightening Frankenstein Marshmallow Pops for a ghoulishly glorious Halloween treat! Any recipe that calls for "candy eyes" is alright by me. Can you get those at the corner market? Also try her Zombie Marshmallow Pops and other Halloween confections.

10. Blood Slide Candy

You rarely see candy cigarettes for sale anymore because someone got the idea that it's not a good idea to give children candy that resembles something they should never, ever ingest. Therefore, I think it would be best to reserve these biohazard candies for adults only. Andrea Newberry was inspired by the TV show Dexter to adapt a lollipop recipe into edible medical slides containing blood samples! Yes, these are homemade, and she has complete instructions for making them.

Bonus: Fake Blood

What you use fake blood for is up to you. That said, most of the recipes at Halloween Web are basically edible. I wouldn't try using the dishwashing liquid recipe in projects that involve someone's mouth, but the rest are alright. Before using any of these on a dinner table, you might want to try a taste test.

See also: 9 Spooky Halloween Party Treats, Creepy Halloween Party Food, and Gruesome Halloween Party Food.

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These Sparrows Have Been Singing the Same Songs for 1500 Years
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iStock

Swamp sparrows are creatures of habit—so much so that they’ve been chirping out the same few tunes for more than 1500 years, Science magazine reports.

These findings, published in the journal Nature Communications, resulted from an analysis of the songs of 615 adult male swamp sparrows found in six different areas of the northeastern U.S. Researchers learned that young swamp sparrows pick up these songs from the adults around them and are able to mimic the notes with astounding accuracy.

Here’s what one of their songs sounds like:

“We were able to show that swamp sparrows very rarely make mistakes when they learn their songs, and they don't just learn songs at random; they pick up commoner songs rather than rarer songs,” Robert Lachlan, a biologist at London’s Queen Mary University and the study’s lead author, tells National Geographic.

Put differently, the birds don’t mimic every song their elders crank out. Instead, they memorize the ones they hear most often, and scientists say this form of “conformist bias” was previously thought to be a uniquely human behavior.

Using acoustic analysis software, researchers broke down each individual note of the sparrows’ songs—160 different syllables in total—and discovered that only 2 percent of sparrows deviated from the norm. They then used a statistical method to determine how the songs would have evolved over time. With recordings from 2009 and the 1970s, they were able to estimate that the oldest swamp sparrow songs date back 1537 years on average.

The swamp sparrow’s dedication to accuracy sets the species apart from other songbirds, according to researchers. “Among songbirds, it is clear that some species of birds learn precisely, such as swamp sparrows, while others rarely learn all parts of a demonstrator’s song precisely,” they write.

According to the Audubon Guide to North American Birds, swamp sparrows are similar to other sparrows, like the Lincoln’s sparrow, song sparrow, and chipping sparrow. They’re frequently found in marshes throughout the Northeast and Midwest, as well as much of Canada. They’re known for their piercing call notes and may respond to birders who make loud squeaking sounds in their habitat.

[h/t Science magazine]

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18 Smart Products To Help You Kick Off Summer
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iStock

Whether you’re trying to spiff up your backyard barbeque or cultivate your green thumb, these summertime gadgets will help you celebrate the season from solstice to the dog days.

1. ROSÉ WINE GLASSES; $60

Rosé Wine Glass
Amazon

Why It’s Cool: Wine not? When the temperature rises and beer isn’t your thing, reach for the rosé. Riedel’s machine-blown SST (see, smell, taste) wine glasses will give the sparkly stuff ample room to breathe, making every refreshing sip worthwhile.

Find It: Amazon

2. NERF N-STRIKE ELITE SURGEFIRE; $25

Nerf SurgeFire
Hasbro

Why It’s Cool: The N-Strike Elite SurgeFire (say that five-times-fast) sports a pump-action rotating drum for maximum foam-based firepower and holds up to 15 Nerf darts in its arsenal.

Find It: Hasbro Toy Shop

3. BUSHEL & BERRY PLANTS; $34

plant
Amazon

Why It’s Cool: You don’t need to have a green thumb to create a brag-worthy garden this summer. Besides producing snackable mid-season berries, these open-growing bushes can be planted immediately for easy set-up to make you look like a botanical pro.

Find It: Amazon

4. INFLATABLE DONUT; $17

Doughnut float
Amazon

Why It’s Cool: When the only dunking you’re doing is taking a dip in the pool, a 48-inch inflatable donut is the perfect way to stay afloat.

Find It: Amazon

5. STAR SPANGLED SPATULA; $21

American flag spatula
Amazon

Why It’s Cool: O say can you see by your grill’s charcoal light / Meats so proudly we cooked ... with a star spangled spatula. Depending on the specific model, these all-American grilling tools (designed in New Jersey and made in Chicago) are made of a combination of walnut and stainless steel or nylon. As an added bonus: 5 percent of the proceeds go to the Penn Abramson Cancer Center.

Find It: Amazon

6. MLB HOT DOG BRANDERS; $8 AND UP

MLB San Diego Padres Hot Dog BBQ Brander
Amazon

Why It’s Cool: Take your hot dogs, sausages, brats, and more out to the ballgame without ever leaving your grill. These branders from Pangea Brands are dishwasher-safe and made of ceramic-coated cast iron.

Find It: Amazon

7. UNA GRILL; $139

grill
MoMA Shop

Why It’s Cool: This portable charcoal-heated grill is as efficient as it is stylish. The compact size lets you cook at the park, after hitting up MoMA, or anywhere in between.

Find It: MoMa Shop

8. HAMBURGER GRILLING BASKET; $21


Why It’s Cool: Made of steel and finished with a non-stick coating, this grilling tool flips four burgers at once and maintains perfect burger proportions to guarantee nobody stays hungry for long.

Find It: Amazon

9. COPPER FIRE PIT; $121

metal fire pit
Amazon

Why It’s Cool: The grill isn’t the only place for a roaring fire this summer. This 100 percent solid copper fire pit makes for the perfect gathering spot at your next BBQ, or just to warm up after a cool summer evening.

Find It: Amazon

10. BENDY STRAW POOL NOODLE FLOAT; $10

Bendy Straw Inflatable Pool Float
Amazon

Why It’s Cool: Inflatable pool floats shouldn’t be boring, and this bendy straw float definitely does not suck. This unique spin on traditional pool noodles is sure to make for some cheesy jokes, but at least you’ll be comfortable floating in the pool or at the beach.

Find It: Amazon

11. GRIDDLER DELUXE; $111

Cuisinart GR-150 Griddler Deluxe
Amazon

Why It’s Cool: If you’re looking for some serious panini power, this griddler offers up a versatile lineup of six cooking options in one. And with dual-zone functions you can sling burgers while searing filets and sautéeing vegetables all at the same time.

Find It: Amazon

12. VINTAGE SNOW CONE MAKER; $30

Vintage Snow Cone Maker
Amazon

Why It’s Cool: With its old-timey design, dual cone shelf, and endless flavor options, this snow cone maker is guaranteed create a cool treat.

Find It: Amazon

13. DACHSHUND CORN ON THE COB HOLDERS; $7

Dog Corn Holders
Amazon

Why It’s Cool: While meat-lovers will inevitably scarf down a lot of hot dogs this summer, vegetarians who happen to love another kind of dog will be smitten with these stainless steel, Dachshund-shaped corn on the cob prongs. They’re a fun spin on a summer grilling favorite.

Find It: Amazon

14. ICE CREAM SANDWICH MAKER; $16

Ice Cream Sandwich Maker
Amazon

Why It’s Cool: Four sandwiches are better than one, especially when they're of the ice cream variety. Make four ice cream sandwiches at once with this homemade spin on a classic cold treat.

Find It: Amazon

15. UE WONDERBOOM; $68

Bluetooth speaker
Amazon

Why It’s Cool: Besides delicious food and great company, some memorable tunes are required for the quintessential barbeque. This portable bluetooth speaker offers up some booming sound in a small package, and with a battery power of 10 hours on a single charge you can keep the party going all night.

Find It: Amazon

16. ROLLORS GAME; $38

Rollors Backyard Game
Amazon

Why It’s Cool: When you’re sick of bocce, hate horseshoes, and you’re over cornhole, you might want to take up “rollors,” a family-friendly game that combines your favorite traditional backyard festivities into one game for people of all ages.

Find It: Amazon

17. HAMMOCK; $174

hammock
Amazon

Why It’s Cool: Rest easy knowing that this 100 percent hand-woven and hand-dyed cotton hammock contributes to artisan job-creation in Thailand.

Find It: Amazon

18. VSSL SURVIVAL ESSENTIALS; $59

Emergency Survival Tent Outdoors
Amazon

Why It’s Cool: Compact, convenient, and durable, the VSSL Shelter can come in handy when things don’t go quite as planned. The device—which features a lightweight emergency shelter all within the handle of a compact, weather-resistant aluminum LED flashlight—is designed to keep you safe under the worst conditions.

Find It: Amazon

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