Frightening Fun – Without the costume!

It's a rubbish photo - to prove that dressing up isn't for everyone this Halloween!

It’s a rubbish photo – to prove that dressing up isn’t for everyone this Halloween!

So it’s nearly¬†here – 31st October, or as is known to many of us – Halloween. Traditionally a time to remember the dead, Halloween is also known for confronting the power of death with humour and ridicule – or as the more cynical of us will put it – the principles of American consumerism. You will have already seen, perhaps, the amusing costumes that pepper all the supermarkets. They are eager for you to dress up as a skeleton, a zombie, a ghostbuster. However dressing up isn’t for everyone – so if you want to get into the Halloween spirit in other ways, here are five ideas….

1. Watch a scary film (or not!)

It doesn’t matter what film I suggest here, some people will not find the film scary. However with the blinds and curtains sealed shut, the door sealed and a bag of popcorn you can set the right atmosphere to watch any scary film. For some of my friends this may involve watching High School Musical – nothing scarier than watching a bunch of high school children singing and bouncing up and down. Truly terrifying! For others, this may involve genuinely delving into the horror genre. This is where I, as a horror avoider, will let you down. My scary film of choice is Scream – but let’s be honest, it’s not that scary and Matthew Lillard cracks me up at the end of the film with his not so classic line: ‘My Mum’s gonna kill me!’. Let’s move on….

2. Make some spooky treats

You know it’s going to happen. The lights maybe off outside, you may have parked your car around the corner – just in case people suspect you’re in. Then it comes ‘knock, knock’. You open the door – and are confronted with three or four badly dressed seven year olds screaming ‘Trick or Treat’ at you. Seven year olds who mostly have no response if you say trick at them and quite simply just want the sweets!

In preparation for this, why not make some cupcakes. Take 225g of butter and sugar – mix together. Then add four eggs and some vanilla essence before finally adding 225g of self raising flour. If you want chocolate – replace 25g of flour with 2 tablespoons of cocoa. Put into cupcake cases and cook for 20 minutes (180C) until done. Then ice and decorate in a spooky fashion. I suggest black food colouring, some halloween themed cupcake ‘transfers’ and if you want to make that plate of cupcakes look extra spooky, heat some sugar and water in a saucepan until boiling and create some spun sugar spider webs to go over the top of them. If you don’t know how to make spun sugar, then check out the video below – either way these treats will be deliciously frightening!

3. Check out the latest spooky goings on in Ramsay Street

Ramsay Street I hear you say? What has Channel 5’s Australian import got to do with Halloween? This year the guys and gals at Neighbours have created a real treat in the Neighbours vs Zombies series which has been steadily released on YouTube all this week. Featuring departed character Mason Turner (Taylor Glockner) and random Ramsay Street link Hope Gotlieb (Louna Maroun), this is the night when the dead have returned to Ramsay Street. So far the Ramsay Street regulars to come back from the dead have included David Bishop (Kevin Harrington), Stingray Timmins (Ben Nicholas) and Drew Kirk (Dan Paris) and it’s been a real treat for any fan past or present of the show to watch. Still not convinced? Watch Part 1 below!

4. Listen to some spooky music…

Darkness falls across the land, the midnight hour is at hand… When I was younger those words were quite scary – but then this was the mid to late 1980s and I was only a toddler. I am, of course, referring to Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’ that was released in November 1983 and has continued to spook many a disco since. Despite its iconic status, Thriller is not the only spooky tune that could keep you amused and get you into the Halloween spirit this year. There’s the ‘Monster Mash’ (Bobby ‘Boris’ Pickett); ‘Hungry Like The Wolf’ (Duran Duran); Runnin’ With The Devil (Van Halen) and if you really want to push the boat out there’s some spooky television theme tunes such as ‘The Addams Family’ and ‘The Munsters’. Of course, I know time is of the essence here so if you don’t have time to create your own spooky playlist, you can check out the Spotify one here¬†– and if you want to banish those ghouls away then you can always put a call into some old friends…

5. Use the spirit… in the cupboard

OK kids, this isn’t for you! However if you are over the legal drinking age in your country, you may wish to take the Halloween spirit literally by drinking it! A simple ‘Google’ will give you cocktail recipes that could really spook you out or simply just leave you with a bewitched hangover come November 1st. My own search has provided me with the spooky looking ‘Vampire’s Kiss’ (50ml Raspberry Vodka, 50ml Chambord Raspberry Liquor and 75ml Cranberry Juice) or the interesting sounding ‘Blood and Sand’ (25ml each of blended whisky, cherry brandy, sweet vermouth and orange juice). It is times like these however I remember a misspent youth where we persuaded someone I’ve long since lost contact with to drink the grossly titled ‘Brain Haemorrhage’ – made up with 25ml peach schnapps, 2 drops of grenadine and 1-2 teaspoons of Bailey’s – this looks as gross as it actually sounds. The cream will clump together and form it’s own little brain whilst the grenadine will give that bloody undertone. Lovely!

If you aren’t of the legal drinking age, then you are spared the dare of now having read this, drinking a brain haemorrhage! Instead you can make your own ‘glow in the dark’ drink by mixing tonic water with enough grenadine syrup (or any other syrup) to taste and then place your drink against any UV or black light and watch your ghoulish concoction glow!! Alternatively you can make a frozen hand punch – this I have seen online and looks truly gruesome and awesome. It involves making a berry non-alcoholic mix in a clean rubber glove, freezing it and then placing the hand upright in a ghoulish mix of ginger ale and lemonade, so the hand really does look like it is rotting and bleeding (due to the frozen berries in your hand as well). A truly spooky sight – check out the recipe here

Happy Halloween everyone!