Saturday, October 29, 2011


 Happy Halloween!

As much as I love costumes, trick-or-treating, jack-o-lanterns, and the like, my favorite part of Halloween is ... scary movies!  Cable networks have been running marathons of horror and suspense movies, and I'm in heaven.

As far as I'm concerned, there's no better way to celebrate the holiday than by hosting your very own spookfest.  It doesn't have to be fancy: pick out a few good flicks, pop some corn, and snuggle in with a blanket (so you can hide your eyes if things get a little too, uh, tense).

But if you want to add some fun touches, the zombie food (popcorn coated in cinnamon candy) is a ghoulishly addictive treat.  You can also make blood-bath sodas (buy rubber fingers, eyeballs, or sharks, fill with 1 1/2 oz. of red flavored syrup--raspberry, cherry, pomegranate, etc.--and serve along with a tall glass of club soda ... letting your guests pour their own "blood" into the glass).  Or turn a simple bowl of punch into a devilish delight by making a floating hand:  fill a latex or vinyl glove (not coated with powder!!) with green, red, or orange juice, tie a knot at the wrist, freeze solid, and then cut the glove off your zombie hand.  Float it gently in the bowl of punch, and watch your guests shiver with delicious dread.

What to watch?

You could do a 70s-era classic scarefest with The Exorcist, The Shining, The Omen, Rosemary's Baby, and Carrie.

Or go for more modern thrills with The Descent, Insidious, Orphan, 28 Days Later, and Splice.

How about foreign frights?  Let the Right One In (Sweden), The Ring (Japan), and Tale of Two Sisters (Korea).

Like your scary with a side of laughs?  Shaun of the Dead, Slither, and Drag Me to Hell are all worth a watch

What would you recommend?  Offer up your favorite scary movie in the comments section, and you're entered to win today's prize!


Zombie Food
(Cinnamon Candy Popcorn)

1 9-oz bag cinnamon candies
1/2 c. light corn syrup
1 c. butter (two sticks), cut in cubes
8 quarts popped popcorn

Make sure you pull all the old maids from the popcorn, as they will break your teeth.  Preheat oven to 250.  Line two large cookie sheets with parchment paper.

In a saucepan, combine the candy, corn syrup, and butter.  Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly.  Continue cooking for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Pour candy syrup over popcorn and toss to coat.

Spread the candy-coated popcorn on cookie sheets.  Bake 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes.

Remove from oven and dump popcorn onto clean parchment or wax paper.  Allow the corn to cool, break apart, and serve (in a monster head, if at all possible).


Contest Time!

Leave a comment with your favorite scary movie, and you're entered to win this Thanksgiving hostess gift:  two autumnal dishtowels; a festive falling leaves apron; a candle scented with orange, clove, and cinnamon; a leaf plate; a maple leaf cookie cutter; and a lovely chocolate fabric box.  Just add a loaf of bread and a bottle of wine, and you are set to go!


Wendy (aka Annie Knox) is the author of the Mysteries a la Mode. Visit her on the web or on Facebook.


  1. I love the zombie hand idea! I'm going to be looking for small candy bugs to add to jello molds

  2. My husband is crazy about zombies so I'll have to try this recipe.

    The ultimate scary movie is the original Halloween. I was a teen when that movie came out and I can still remember screaming at nothing but the scary music.

    Beverly aka Booklady

  3. Don't enjoy horror films but suspense can be nice--like Wait Until Dark with Audrey Hepburn. Love popcorn.

  4. Book Dragon - what a great idea! Going to steal. :)

    Beverly - Halloween is awesome! John Carpenter is a genius.

    And, Liz - I have to confess I've never seen "Wait Until Dark." Going to add that to my list for this year!

  5. I love this time of year when all the scary movies are shown. Dracula, Carrie, Bride of Frankenstein, Psycho, The Haunting

  6. OMG, a cup of butter? I think I'm in love. But how big a bowl do you need to mix 8 quarts of popped corn and all this stuff up?

  7. I try and stay away from scary movies. Can't wait to try out the zombie food.

  8. Sheila - yeah, this isn't really heart-friendly. But it's yummy!

    I actually have an 8-quart mixing bowl (the big silver thing in the picture), but I ended up dumping the popcorn into a 12-quart stock pot for easier stirring. You can also divide the stuff in half (two big bowls), or even cut the recipe in half (if you're not feeding an army of hungry goblins).

  9. I think the scariest movie ever is The Shining. And I always think about it when I stay in old elegant hotels. Stephen King is just the best!

  10. Liz, i'm sort of with you. I'm not a horror movie fan. I jumped out of my seat at Aliens. And Jane, I remember going to the Shining and thinking it was a comedy because it starred Jack Nicholson. How had I missed the trailers? Sheesh!!

    But Wendy, I love this zombie goodie. What a fun treat. Great post.


  11. I was really scared by the movie Creature From the Black Lagoon when I was a child---and I'm still afraid of that movie!!

  12. I don't like gory movies-but I do like a good suspense. Love Psycho (although I must admit to finding Anthony Perkins totally hot!) & Rosemary's Baby. I'll suggest another Polanski film-The Fearless Vampire Killers. It's funny and scary too!

  13. One of my favorites is Halloween along with The Shining.

  14. I love to watch Tremors, it is supposed to be scary, but I love the comedy!!! Dee

  15. I hate slasher films, but I do like suspense and old scary movies. Hitchcock is always good. Some of the old black and white Dracula movies are a hoot!

    ~ Krista

  16. Just added cinnamon candy to my list--I'm going to the store tomorrow to stock up for NaNo, which starts at midnight Monday. (Makes Halloween doubly scary,lol)

    I'll second Wait Until Dark as one of my faves, esp. the first time you see it! But I'm with Krista, I really like the old black & whites. Vincent Price, anyone?!

    Happy Halloween!

  17. What fun ... I've got some new movies to add to my list!

    And good luck with NaNo, Lynn!

  18. I don't much care for the scary movies, but Night of the Living Dead was one I could handle.

  19. I don't like scary movies. I did watch Carrie not too long ago, that was scary.

  20. Don't do scary movies, but suspense are okay. My tastes run more to period pieces.

  21. OK, these aren't technically "scary" movies - but bits of movies that terrified me when I was a kid:
    1) The monkeys in The Wizard of Oz
    (the witch was no prize, either)
    2) The "I Smell Children" creep in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

    I think perhaps those turned me against scary movies forever. The most I can handle is Hitchcock suspense.

  22. I don't watch too many scary movies. Pet Sematary by Stephen King really scared me! I also loved Psycho and Anthony Perkins!