Most of us have experienced the Halloween party ritual of getting blindfolded, then plunging your hands into something utterly gross: a bucket of intestines -- or so you were told -- or maybe a bowl of brains. Later on, you learned was just some overcooked noodles. But, when given the right descriptor, food can play some powerful tricks on the mind.
This year, as one of your Halloween decorations, have a gross-out table that goes beyond spaghetti "guts" and peeled-grape "eyeballs." We've come up with a host of new gross Halloween "recipes" for the ultimate twisted buffet -- think mummy skin, earlobes, and troll toenails. Gather up any pots, jars, and bowls you have on hand and fill them with these edible specimens. For maximum fright, keep it dark, or have the items covered with a cloth while your guests reach in and ponder the disgusting surprises that await them.
for the full gross-out buffet.
• Learn how to make candy crafts with leftover Halloween candy
• Visit Holidash
for Halloween decorating ideas.
• Plan a spookalicious menu for a kids Halloween party
Mummy Skin: Fruit Leather
Tear into the edges of a sheet of fruit leather, and stretch and pinch here and there to create veins and wrinkles. Leave in largish sheets so that feeling fingers can't help but inform the imagination as to which body parts this skin could have been peeled from.
Earlobes: Dried Apricots
No labor is necessary to transform these fiber-rich snacks into eerily smooth, plump lobes. (Warning: Once you fondle a dried apricot with an earlobe in mind, it may put you off eating them for a while.)
Rotted Teeth: Candy Corn or Unpopped Popcorn Kernels or Chiclets
Depending on the type and age of the beast your teeth were pulled from, these items provide the perfect size and shape to depict fangs or just regular choppers.
Plunge a whole head of this crucifer into boiling water, removing it when the tips just start to get tender. Rinse with cold water. Might it smell a little, well, cabbagey? Yes, but doesn't that just add to the gross-out factor?
Cat Tongues: Mini-Gherkin Pickles
With their tiny bumps and odd shapes, it won't take a stretch of the imagination to believe these are scratchy feline tongues.
Troll Toenails: Crumbled Kettle Chips
You're guaranteed to make someone squeal with these. But be sure to buy the kettle-cooked variety, since regular chips don't have the proper sharp edges and sandy texture you're going for. (Fritos could work as well.)
Witch Knuckles: Fresh Ginger Knobs
Large or small, bulbs of gingerroot will feel like arthritic elbows or the backs of bony old hands-with thumbs and warts sticking out in eerie places.
Furry rats: Unpeeled Kiwifruit with Licorice Tails
Guests will barely be able to stand more than a swipe of the tough hair on these little critters -- but for those daring folks who let their hands linger, use a skewer to pierce a hole on one end, and shove a licorice whip inside for grotesque tails. Even better, leave a few licorice whips disembodied among the fruits to create the sensation that a few of the tails have been gnawed off. (Or, honestly, just leave all the licorice loose in the bowl instead of trying to insert it into the kiwis....it'll have the same general effect with less work.)