While waiting for trick-or-treaters tonight, my husband and I will be enjoying some Halloween treats of our own.

About a week ago, I made black maraschino cherries to use as a Halloween cocktail garnish. They’re easy — just add black food coloring to a jar of maraschino cherries, and let them sit in the refrigerator for about a week.  Depending on the size of the jar, use about 1/2-1 teaspoon of black food coloring.  Rinse and drain the cherries before using.


McCormick black food coloring works great

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Steeping in the inky liquid

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Black cherries!

Because it’s almost always hot and muggy on Halloween here, a cold drink is welcome on Halloween. Aperol is an apertif made with bitter and sweet oranges and other “herbs and roots.”  An Aperol Spritz, with its neon orange color, garnished with black cherries, makes a very Halloween-y cocktail.

Recipe type: Beverage
  • 1-1/2 ounces Prosecco
  • 1 ounce Aperol
  • Splash of club soda or seltzer
  1. For each cocktail, fill cocktail glass with ice. Pour Prosecco into the glass, followed by Aperol and a splash of club soda. Garnish as desired.



 Aperol spritzes in their Halloween costumes

Now you can’t just drink on Halloween — or can you?  Halloween-y Crostini is a colorful twist on tapenade, made with kalamata olives, carrots, and pickled banana peppers.

  • ½ cup pitted kalamata olives
  • 1 tablespoon capers
  • 2 tablespoons chopped jarred banana pepper rings
  • 1 small clove garlic, minced
  • 1 small carrot, peeled and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon dried oregano
  • Toast crackers or toasted baguette slices
  1. Place olives in a food processor or mini-chopper, and process until finely chopped, but not pureed. Transfer to a small bowl. Place capers, banana peppers, garlic, and carrot in food processor, and process until finely chopped. Add to bowl with olives. Stir in olive oil and oregano, and mix well. Transfer to a small ramekin or serving container, and serve with toast crackers or baguette slices. Provide spreaders to spread mixture on crostini.


 Halloween-y Crostini

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Oh no, dolly!  Where did you get that black eye?  Did somebody hit you?  Don’t worry, this little guy, who I found at an estate sale, is not from the Child Protective Services collection. Nope, his twin brother gave him that shiner:


I’m guessing that Dolly Momma probably grew so tired of their seemingly endless bickering that she just gloved up her Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Babies and told them to work it out themselves.  Or at least that’s her story.

My sister and I used to fight when we were kids.  When we’d had enough, we’d yell that we were “telling on Mommy,” which still makes no sense.  And Mom didn’t really want to deal with it anyway.  Except when we were in the car.  We’d be going at it in the back seat on our way to wherever, (“stop humming,” “stay on your side,” “I hate you,” etc.), and when Mom couldn’t stand listening to it any more, she’d reach behind her with her bony manicured bejeweled hand, never turning around to look, and just start waving it around wildly.  We’d burst into uncontrolled fits of laughter, screaming, “the Claw, watch out for the Claw, aaaahhhhhhh!!!!!”  It was very effective at stopping the fighting, at least temporarily, and as best I can recall, she never drew blood.

Although I can sympathize with Dolly Momma– heaven knows listening to your kids bicker can get on your last nerve real fast–a wise Dolly Momma knows to step in before things get out of hand, like it did for this poor dolly:


“Baby Ready for the Trash” is an example of doll-fighting (or doll ownership) gone horribly wrong.  I ran across it in a cradle with a bunch of other sad-looking dolls at an estate sale, with a $10 “as is” sticker on it (I’m thinking the “as is” part was rather obvious).  Someone must have REALLY loved this doll!

Well, the two little fighters inspire me to make one thing — PUNCH!  As much as I am itching to turn on the fireplace and bake pumpkin pies, it is still really hot and humid here on the Gulf Coast, and cold drinks still reign supreme.  I was introduced to this simple and delicious fruity drink at a law firm party.  It was a lavish party, but no matter how much money the law firm threw at it, in the end it was still a bunch of lawyers, and I was B-O-R-E-D to tears.  I went up to the bartender and asked him to mix me up something to help me forget how bored I was, and this is what he made for me.  After a few of these, I have to admit, the party got a lot more interesting.

Recipe type: Beverage
  • 1-1/2 ounces coconut rum
  • 1-1/2 ounces freshly-squeezed orange juice
  • 3 ounces pineapple juice
  • Dash of grenadine syrup
  • ½ cup crushed ice
  1. Place ice in a highball glass. Combine rum and juices in a small pitcher or shaker, and mix well. Pour over ice. Top with a splash of grenadine.




I’ll fight you for it!