Dispensing Happiness

A good cook is like a sorceress who dispenses happiness.-Elsa Schiapirelli

That's me, the magical good cook.

Borrowing from my friend Dexygus, I've created my own food blog.

Read of my exploits in the kitchen! Salivate over the descriptions of fabulous desserts and savory meals I've concocted!

No, seriously...go ahead. It'll make my day.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Halloween Countdown: 43 Days


Regular visitors to Dispensing Happiness probably know that, of all the holidays afforded to us here in the United States, Halloween is my absolute favorite.

Perhaps it all traces back to those early days, when I was running around my grandparent's house in my Wonder Woman Underoos, and loving every minute of pretending I was the glamorous, but tough, super heroine.

(yours truly, approximately age three or four, with pumpkins from Grampa's garden)

I spent several years going trick-or-treating as a vampire, chaperoned by my mom and Mary, a family friend.

It was only seven or eight years ago that I learned we were, in fact, dressed as Anne Rice's characters from Interview with a Vampire; Mom was Louis, Mary as Lestat, and I, of course, was the eternally child-like Claudia.

A six year-old wouldn't have picked up on that. But I had a marvelous time!

As I got older, and felt I was past the knocking on a stranger's door asking for candy routine, I threw myself into being the face behind that door.

I would take over candy-doling duties for my Grammy and Grampa. They were happy to relinquish. I'd decorate their house with faux cobwebs and cackling gargoyles, replace the bulbs in the living room lamps with black lights, turn on but mute The Rocky Horror Picture Show, and pop into the cassette deck a tape of spooky sound effects.

Of course, I'd dress up...something different each year. I had a blast (although, to my dismay, more and more of the trick-or-treaters were seventeen year old boys in camouflage, rather than cute little kids dressed as their favorite cartoon characters).

When I moved to California to be with Matt, it signaled the end of that ritual. Our house, as lovely as it was, was a duplex set into a hillside...and something like seventy-eight steps up from the street!

Not once did we get a tyke at our door, asking for candy.

Matt and I did throw a Halloween party one year, though...I think he may have done it out of pity for me; I was miserable without my Halloween experience!

I bought all sorts of decorations, made 'spooky' food, popped our copies of Buffy the Vampire Slayer into the VCR, muted, and mingled with guests as a forever-doomed yeoman from Star Trek.

Good times.

Top: l to r, decorations, lots of candy, decorations
Middle: food, ex-housemate & me...about to die by phaser blast or something, more food
Bottom: fiends, er...friends and decorations

We've had kids to the door since we've bought the house, but it's just not the same. Something's missing, although I'm unsure exactly what that is.

Last year, we dressed Alex as a chef, and took him door-to-door. He had no idea what it was all about (he was only 2 1/2 at the time), but he seemed to enjoy it.

This year, the costume's been selected, and he's keen to go back out.

I'm also channeling my Halloween energies into making themed foods. Last year, I had an appropriately-spooky soup and entree, as well as dessert. I'm already plotting which devilish foods to serve the guys this year!

And while this wasn't for Halloween, the cake I made for our former housemate's 30th birthday would certainly fit!

I was inspired by Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and each grave stone, minus the freshly 'dug' spot for the birthday boy, are adorned with the names of characters killed off by Joss Whedon & Co.

And since it's just over a month away, I thought I'd share a few Halloween-y tidbits with you.

First, as a vegetarian, I'd like to point out that many of the candies handed out on Halloween are not veg-friendly. Anything containing gelatin is verboten.

It can be difficult for non-vegetarians to figure out which candy is, or is not, made from that gelatinous stuff, so I must now thank Elvira, Mistress of the Dark (aka Cassandra Petersen) for supplying me with a list of gelatin-free treats.

Vegetarian Safe Candies

Airheads taffy
Atkins peanut butter bars
Blow Pops
Charms lollipops
Cracker Jack
Cry Babies
Dem Bones
Goldenberg’s Peanut Chews
Hot Tamales
Hubba Bubba bubblegum
Jolly Ranchers (lollipops and hard candy)
Mary Janes (regular and peanut butter kisses)
Mike and Ike
pumpkin Now and Later
Ring Pop lollipops
Sour Patch Kids
Starburst (jelly beans and hard candy)
Super Bubble
Swedish Fish
Sweet Tarts
Tropical Source mini chocolate bags

And to help you get into the spirit of things (hardee har har), here's a bit of news:


Six Ghoulishly Gruesome Horror Films Hosted by Elvira, Mistress of the Dark!

Elvira is pleased to release six dvd's of her original hit televison show, Movie Macabre, on DVD!.Independentt DVD supplier, Shout Factory, has licensed the entire archive of Elvira's Movie Macabre, the original Elvira-hosted late night horror movies from the nationally syndicated television series that ran from 1981- 1986.

Some of these films have been released on shoddy budget DVDs before, but Shout! Factory's editions feature new transfers and the original wraparounds - containing skits and campy comments on the film by Elvira - from her hit '80s TV show, Elvira's Movie Macabre. It's a bad dream come true for horror fans and Elvira watchers everywhere!

Her film, Elvira's Haunted Hills, is one of the funniest things I've seen in years. It works so many Hammer-flicks into the plot, and I swear...the set look like they came from the films I watched as a child. It's a fun film to watch, and perfect for Halloween.

Ok...time to work on my 31 October menu; I need something to fill up those skeleton plates I just bought!

Blog Party#14 is this Saturday, so you only have a few more days to get those entries in! This month, it's all about the kids, which means fun, cute, dainty, gross, wacky and whimsical...your appetizers and drinks are for the little ones. Post your dishes no later than THIS Thursday, 21 September...Early is always good...And get your links to me either by posting in the comments, or by emailing me at thehappysorceress at gmail dot com. I'll post the party round-up Saturday, the 23rd, and I hope to see you there!

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6 Thoughts for food:

At 12:16 AM, Blogger Olivia said...

Love the cake! :-)

The Funky Olive Shop

At 12:20 AM, Blogger Stephanie said...

Thank you!

It was quite a hit with that crowd...pretty much everyone was a Buffy fan, so it went over well.

At 10:13 AM, Anonymous johanna said...

Cake's great, it reminds me of a Mexican tradition for the Day of the Dead where every household sets up their own "shrine" with food and little skulls made of sugar or chocolate, carrying names. But the names are not from Buffy, they're the names of the deceased in the family as well as members of the household and often people will make spooky but friendly poems for each of them...

At 10:18 AM, Blogger Stephanie said...


Thanks, and I think I've seen that!

Of course, I'd much rather have characters from a TV show on the tombstones, than loved ones...after all, I'm an American Caucasian; we don't do 'celebrate' our dead. We just sit around and look sad!

(Naturally, I prefer the other tradition!)

At 6:36 PM, Blogger Zarah Maria said...

OMG Stephanie! Alex looks so much like you do in that pumpkin picture! I thought it was a picture of him, well, except the long hair maybe...:-) Can't wait to see pictures of what you come up with for Halloween - it's not really that big a thing here...

At 2:41 AM, Blogger Stephanie said...


Doesn't he, though??? It's so weird...make his skin and hair a bit darker, and he's a mini me!

I'm working hard, getting Halloween things together...I've noticed it's not nearly as big a deal outside of the US, but I love it.


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