Two Halloween memories from my formative years:
First – Walking into my elementary school dressed in a full-body black cloak, gloves, and intricately painted skull mask (seriously, it took days. Do you have any idea how many pits and cracks line the surface of a skull?) and a demon-topped walking stick that lit up when I tapped it against the ground. I stalked the halls like a boss, scattering kindergarteners and even freaking out some of the teachers. Won first place at the costume competition and the principal had to ask who I was under all that freakish awesomeness before handing me the award.
Second – Every year my mom made a Halloween treat for my class. Or wait, maybe it was just elementary school, or maybe she skipped a year or two. My memories are all messed up… For sure, she made a couple of Halloweens extra special by either baking a large, domed sponge cake with black icing and licorice sticks shaped like a spider, or serving a severed hand punch to my mostly horrified classmates.
My mom, by the way is awesome.
So, when my (not-so little anymore) sister Chiara wanted to throw a birthday/Halloween bash with all the spooky edible accoutrements, I knew who I needed to school me.
My mom, being an elementary school teacher for most of her adult life, had amassed quite a collection of books on how to entertain as well as educate young kids. The punch and spider cake recipes had been lifted from one such tome, and with typical enthusiasm, mom promptly photocopied the instructions and Emailed ‘em to me:
The punch recipe is pretty basic, taking a backseat to the gruesome ice sculpture in terms of prep. There are a lot of details that have been left out of the above recipe (I assume because of space restrictions) and a lot of steps where things could potentially go wrong. Fear not! Creating a convincingly horrific human hand from ice is easier than you’d think, as long as you plan a couple days in advance.
Halloween “Severed Hand” Punch (Makes one big punchbowl full)
- 1 Cheap water-tight latex glove
- 1 Expendable, water-tight, plastic sandwich container with lid
- 2 300ml Cranberry Frozen Concentrate juice Containers
- 2L Soda Water
- 600g bag of Frozen Mixed Berries (ex. Strawberries, Blueberries, Blackberries, etc.)
- 1 Medium Sized Orange (Sliced in half lengthwise, then sliced into half-rounds)
Method (This whole process takes a couple days, so better plan ahead!)
- Fill the latex glove with enough water that if it is held with the fingers pointing down, it doesn’t leak and the water reaches to about 1 ½ inches to the cuff. Tie off the opening or do what I did and use a bulldog clip to keep it fastened and lay it palm-up in a tray in the freezer overnight.
- Carefully cut the latex glove off of the ice hand, making sure to be extra gentle around the fingers. Wash the hand in cold running water for a couple seconds to get rid of any latex bits or texture left over from the interior of the glove.
- Fill the bottom ¼ of the sandwich container with water and cut a hole in the lid large enough to drop the wrist of the ice hand through it. Stand the hand up in the container with the wrist submerged in water and freeze again overnight. This creates a base heavy enough to keep the hand pointing up when submerged in punch.
- Gently take hold of the fingers of the ice-hand, say a prayer to the Halloween spirits and slide it out of the container and into your punch bowl. Mix up the rest of the ingredients (minus the grenadine) and pour them in as well. Taste and adjust the flavour to your liking. For a final grotesque flourish drizzle the grenadine over the ice hand to simulate blood.
Happy Halloween Everyone!!!
Music To Drink Spooky Punch To: