Beth Jackson Klosterboer
Beth Jackson Klosterboer

9 Gross and Gruesome Goodies for Your Halloween Party

Beth Jackson Klosterboer
Beth Jackson Klosterboer

The treats in this list are all totally edible, despite their appearance. They were designed mostly for Halloween parties, but if you are planning a get-together for the premiere of the new season of The Walking Dead this weekend, these offerings will fit the theme perfectly. The foods are arranged in order of least to most gross, so you can stop whenever you start to become queasy.

1. Sweet Cookies and Cream Cheese Ball Rat

This sculpture of a rat is made from cream cheese and cookies, for a sweet spread at your party. Roll the body in crushed cookies to give him fur, and trim with pink cream cheese frosting for the details. You find complete instructions at Hungry Happenings.

2. Anatomically Correct Chocolates

Visual Anatomy Limited offers medical illustrations and chocolate. While those two businesses don't appear to really mesh, the chocolates come in the shapes of bodily organs. You can get chocolate brains, hearts, livers, colons, ears, eyes, skulls, pancreases, kidneys, or other organs, in small or large sizes, or in assorted gift boxes. Some are even available on a stick!

3. Demonic Deviled Eggs

Let's take a little detour on the subject of deviled eggs. The term "deviled" means "spiced" eggs, which in modern times is achieved with mustard, pickles, and paprika -or other spices if you prefer. But they still have a devilish name, and they somewhat resemble eyeballs, so they fit in well with Halloween feasts. You can make them seasonal but innocuous by dressing them up as little pumpkins. Or you can go all out to make your eggs resemble the evil Eye of Sauron, like the egg pictured here. The look is dependent on food coloring and black olives.

Or you can try to hit a sweet spot in between innocent and frightening, with deviled eggs covered in spiders made from black olives.

4. Pizza Pie-eye

Beth Jackson Klosterboer at Hungry Happenings had a party once in which every treat resembled an eyeball! The main dish was an eyeball pizza, made with black and green olives arranged on a background of cheese. There were also three kinds of dip and meatballs that all resembled eyes.

5. Brains in a Jar Cupcakes

This dessert looks creepy, but it's actually delicious cake with brain-shaped frosting and a bit of raspberry jelly for blood, all stuffed on a jar. The instructions for making your own are at Living Locurto. The website has kindly included printable labels for your jars!

6. Sweet or Savory Specimen Jars

Photograph by Flickr user Windell Oskay.

These specimens in jars look pretty nasty, and the labels make them seem even worse. But believe it or not, they are all not only edible, but tasty! They contain unfamiliar fruits (lychees, jackfruit, tapioca), or other foods like sausages cut into odd shapes. The sweet treats are packed in syrup, and the savory items can be displayed in chicken broth. Your Halloween guests will be delighted, if they can get over the willies and try them out. Get the instructions at Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories.

7. Zombie Brains Jello Shots

When you bite open these little brains, you'll find they are filled with delicious but frighteningly red raspberry sauce! If you serve a full platter of them, be sure to cut one open to show your guests what they are in for. The presentation makes all the difference! The gelatin is flavored with hazelnut and raspberry liqueur in addition to vodka, which both lend a bit of authentic coloring to the condensed milk-colored gelatin. The raspberry filling can be homemade, as the recipe is included, or you can take the shortcut of using raspberry pie filling.

A little raspberry syrup drizzled over the top completes the look. Just pretend you are a zombie, for which brain-eating comes naturally. These will work for your premiere party for The Walking Dead next weekend, or for any Halloween party. The complete instructions are at WikiHow.

8. The Noshing Dead: Bloody Banana Guts

These overripe bananas look thoroughly disgusting covered in brown sugar and food coloring, but they're tasty when spread on a graham cracker or cookie! This recipe was inspired by The Walking Dead visuals, but you don't need to think about that while you're eating. The recipe at Kitchen Overlord comes with a cute zombie story, too.

9. The Grossest Cupcake Ever

The cupcake you see here will be sold at the Eat Your Heart Out 2013 pop-up cake shop in London, England, open October 25-27. Food artists will be offering the world's most gruesome and delicious treats. These cupcakes are made by Twisted Fondant, a macabre, x-rated division of Fantasy Fondant. What makes them so gruesome?

They are called Mango Fly Larva Cupcakes. They are served with a glove and a pair of tweezers so you can do the deed, as shown in this photo series, which may be disturbing. Just keep reminding yourself that no matter what it looks like, this is all delicious cake and edible icing.

If you've made it this far, you may also want to check out our previous recipe roundups:
Gruesome Halloween Party Food
Creepy Halloween Party Food
Ten Terrific or Terrifying Treats for Halloween
9 Spooky Halloween Party Treats

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Feeling Down? Lifting Weights Can Lift Your Mood, Too
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There’s plenty of research that suggests that exercise can be an effective treatment for depression. In some cases of depression, in fact—particularly less-severe ones—scientists have found that exercise can be as effective as antidepressants, which don’t work for everyone and can come with some annoying side effects. Previous studies have largely concentrated on aerobic exercise, like running, but new research shows that weight lifting can be a useful depression treatment, too.

The study in JAMA Psychiatry, led by sports scientists at the University of Limerick in Ireland, examined the results of 33 previous clinical trials that analyzed a total of 1877 participants. It found that resistance training—lifting weights, using resistance bands, doing push ups, and any other exercises targeted at strengthening muscles rather than increasing heart rate—significantly reduced symptoms of depression.

This held true regardless of how healthy people were overall, how much of the exercises they were assigned to do, or how much stronger they got as a result. While the effect wasn’t as strong in blinded trials—where the assessors don’t know who is in the control group and who isn’t, as is the case in higher-quality studies—it was still notable. According to first author Brett Gordon, these trials showed a medium effect, while others showed a large effect, but both were statistically significant.

The studies in the paper all looked at the effects of these training regimes on people with mild to moderate depression, and the results might not translate to people with severe depression. Unfortunately, many of the studies analyzed didn’t include information on whether or not the patients were taking antidepressants, so the researchers weren’t able to determine what role medications might play in this. However, Gordon tells Mental Floss in an email that “the available evidence supports that [resistance training] may be an effective alternative and/or adjuvant therapy for depressive symptoms that could be prescribed on its own and/or in conjunction with other depression treatments,” like therapy or medication.

There haven’t been a lot of studies yet comparing whether aerobic exercise or resistance training might be better at alleviating depressive symptoms, and future research might tackle that question. Even if one does turn out to be better than the other, though, it seems that just getting to the gym can make a big difference.

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