I hope all the candy is bought and decorations are set up and costumes are on so the fun can begin!
Halloween is one of my favorite holidays. I love the rich, ancient history behind Halloween and the ability to celebrate with so many people from the community. The origins began 2000 yrs ago with the Celts (modern Ireland, England, & France) who celebrated their new year on November 1st called Samhain. They believed on the night before, the veil between the living and dead were blurred, since the summer was ending and the long, dark winter began. They dressed in animal skins and heads, then built huge bonfires where they would all gather and tell each others fortunes. When the Romans conquered the Celts years later, their deity Pomona (the goddess of fruit trees and orchards) was incorporated into the festivities - hence the apple we commonly still use in desserts and treats. Finally, when Christianity became widespread, the church attempted to absorb the popular celebration on Nov. 1st into an approved holiday called All Saints' Day, or in middle English Alholowmesse. The night before, October 31st, was called All-hallows Eve, and this phrase is what morphed into our modern term of Halloween. The tradition of going door to door is roughly based on the belief spirits would use All-hallows Eve to play tricks on the living and they can be appeased through gifts.
This year I attempted to carve a large, round loaf of white mountain bread.
I found this photo online months ago and thought it would be a great centerpiece since spinach dip in a bread loaf is something we feature at nearly every party we throw. (I would gladly give credit, but this was saved to my photo folder pre-blog and I did not think to save the source.)
Hmmmm. Mine didn't turn out scary. He looks more scared at the fact I'm about to carve open his head and stuff it full of gooey spinach dip. I placed the bread loaf in the oven on 200*F for 10 min to firm up the crust so it was easy to carve and became crinkly like the original photo. This will not dry out the middle, which is still nice and soft to use in holding the dip of your choice.
I also made Witch's Finger Cookies.
They have a delicious almond flavor, and came out perfect. They're not too soft to fall apart, but also not hard and crunchy either. I usually struggle to find that happy medium in my cookies.
The recipe can be found here. I also did not bother to put chocolate around the fingernails since it was not coming out as nice as the photo. I left a small bowl of melted chocolate out so our party guests could dip or drizzle the chocolate if they wanted. Some of my almonds fell off and I did use the chocolate to hold them in place, so you can go with that method as well.
Mine were also a little chunky and only yielded 3 dozen, so if made smaller and thinner, they would yield 5 dozen.
I'm off to finish preparing for our party. Enjoy your night!