Showing posts with label halloween. Show all posts
Showing posts with label halloween. Show all posts

02 November 2017

Halloween-y Marbled Cupcakes

I’d meant to make HHalloween spritz cookies again, but ... ehhh ... life. So I knocked together these Halloween-y marbled cupcakes using a box mix, canned icing, and liberal amounts of gel food color.

First, I prepared a Betty Crocker™ Super Moist™ Favorites White Cake Mix following the instructions on the back of the box. Then, I split the batter between two bowls and tinted each with liberal amounts of gel food color. (I chose to use black and purple, but in hindsight it’s clear orange or green would have made a sharper contrast against the black). I then spooned the batter into cupcake liners -- alternating colors as I went and then giving each cup a gentle swirl with a skewer -- and baked them according to the box.

When the cupcakes were cooled, I beat green food gel into a can of Betty Crocker™ Creamy White Rich & Creamy Frosting until I’d reached a Frankenstein-ish green. I iced the cupcakes with frosting, sprinkled them with green sugar for extra sparkle, and ... that was it, really.

I admit they’re pretty and I have been happy enough to nom a couple with a mug of tea, but they’re not as good as scratch-made. The Husband is not that keen on the canned frosting and keeps scraping it off before devouring the cake beneath!

Tl;dr: next time, when feeling lazy, simply buy cute Halloween cupcakes from the cupcakery.

30 October 2015

Seasonal Reads: Poems Bewitched & Haunted

Poems Bewitched and Haunted is a great seasonal collection, perfectly sized for carrying around and inflicting on other people around Halloween. The book is divided into eight sections covering everything from hags to humor. Poets include the obvious (Poe) and the unexpected (Homer). It’s unfortunate this collection isn’t available in audio as I found many of the poems were at their creepy best when read aloud. (Yes, I sat in my darkened living room and read poetry to my cats. Doesn't everyone?) Everyman Library also has two related works -- Poems Dead and Undead and Killer Verse: Poems of Murder and Mayhem -- I will need to check out!

Poems Bewitched and Haunted (Everyman's Library Pocket Poets) edited by John Hollander (Everyman’s Library, 2005)

01 November 2014

Pumpkins & Drill Bits

On Pinterest, I kept seeing examples of adorable jack-o-lanterns carved with a drill and I thought the technique sounded pretty interesting. Since I was not doing my usual take-Halloween-off-so-to-decorate-all-the-things, but simply leaving work a few hours early, I thought drilling jack-o-pumpkins would be a brilliant time-saver.

I used an apple corer and electric drill to carve these three jack-o-lanterns. It's a pretty easy process -- the worst part was clearing excess pumpkin guts from the drill holes. My pumpkins seemed extra fibrous this year and there were just stringy bits everywhere no matter how much I scraped. Still, I think my jack-o-lanterns turned out pretty well for a first attempt and I might do them again this way next Halloween.

Skel-A-Mingos and DevilMingos!

29 October 2014

Around Connecticut: Krell's Farm

Driving around, looking for pumpkins, and hit the jackpot at Krell's Farm in Farmington!

There's also quite an assortment of fresh vegetables for sale inside, including some beautiful cabbages and brussels sprouts, so I will have to go back soon.

03 October 2014

Seasonal Reads: Rosemary’s Baby

During the summer of '65, a young married couple eagerly move into the Bramford, a highly desirable New York City apartment building. The wife, Rosemary, is a naïve young woman completely in love with her new apartment (and actor husband) ... until things start to get a little strange after she becomes pregnant. Her new neighbors, once seemingly kind-hearted and well-intentioned folk, become increasingly menacing as her pregnancy advances. And Rosemary's loving husband, Guy, turns cold and distant as his success as an actor grows. He's not even interested in the baby. While the neighbors are obsessed with it. What's going on at the Bramford?

Of course, we all know. Right? Rosemary's Baby is such a pop culture touchstone that it's hard to believe anyone could NOT know what's up at the Bramford. Certainly, I've never seen the film but I knew enough about it that very little of the novel surprised or shocked me and those bits that did probably weren't intended to. Like the way Guy masks Rosemary's drugged rape (by Old Nick himself!) by claiming to have had baby-making sex with her while she was passed out drunk after dinner. Yes, by all means, cover up a rape with a rape! And, dear god, the constant casual racism. Oh, 1960s America, I don't miss you.

Mostly, though, I have to say I enjoyed Rosemary's Baby. Levin clearly knows how to write, having set what is essentially a classic Gothic horror story in modern urban America and managed to make it feel real. The story is all from Rosemary's POV and we slowly move with her from enthusiasm and amused interest to creeping dread and confusion. Yes, Rosemary is a bit slow to catch on to what's happening and I could clearly see what was happening well before she did, but it's hard to know whether that's Rosemary's fault or whether I should blame cultural saturation. Rosemary is, despite her lapsed Catholicism and upward-climbing urban lifestyle, still a "good" small town girl who wants to see the best in things. Her neighbors can't be dabblers in the Dark Arts -- they're so kind and constantly fussing over her pregnancy! Her husband can't be colluding with Satanists -- he's just distant because he's overwhelmed with work! Her baby can't be the Son of Satan -- he's too cute?!

And that's pretty much where the novel falls apart for me. Right there at the end when Rosemary decides that the demonic rape-conceived child -- the same child she had just moments before considered throwing herself out the window with -- is actually rather sweet. Cute even. Am I supposed to believe that Rosemary is so overwhelmed by maternal feeling that she actually falls in love with the little monster? It's too big a stretch and occurs too quickly to be even slightly believable. All I can hope is that Roman Castevet's gentle pleading and the mental focus of the other Satanists have subverted Rosemary. Or, perhaps, she's had a complete psychotic break. Because, otherwise, no.

Rosemary's Baby by Ira Leven (Random House, 1967)

26 October 2012

Seasonal Reads: The 13 Nights of Halloween

The 13 Nights of Halloween written & illus. by Guy Vasilovich (HarperCollins, 2011)

A very clever and amusing rewrite of that holiday classic, “The Twelve Days of Christmas,” with thirsty vampires, icky eyeballs, and caroling corpses replacing the traditional items. And, seriously, who wouldn’t prefer eight marching mutants to eight maids a-milking? Unless they were mutant milkmaids! That would be awesome, yes?

The ghoulish illustrations are quite gorgeous -- it’s like looking at stills from an animated film -- and consistently manage to be both creepy and cute. Indeed, our wee witchy girl with her big eyes and bat-beribboned pigtails is so adorable that I wanted to put her in my pocket and carry her around with me! I’m pretty sure her mummy wouldn’t be pleased, though.