Think of most any holiday and the glorious meal that accompanies it comes to mind. But not Halloween. Traditionally, the only celebratory eating we tend to do is along the lines of a chocolate bar and a bag of candy corn.
It's sad. After all, this is the time of year when some of our most mysterious gourds are ripening on the vine and the broad leaves of unusual greens are readily available. It is an ideal time for a feast.
Keeping witches and hobgoblins in mind, here is a meal for eight that combines color with theme, and taste with the seasonal produce:
Start with a glass or two of Smoky Tequila Sunsets ladled from a punch bowl housing a block of dry ice (be sure to use a block rather than nuggets so none gets into the glasses). Dry ice is really nothing more than frozen CO2, the air we breathe out, but it is extremely cold and should be handled with thick gloves to avoid frostbite. The addition of gin gives these sunsets their unusual flavor, and the smoking punch bowl makes them a great conversation piece.
Once you get to the table, start the meal with a fiery bowl of Red Hot Pepper and Tomato Soup. Though the recipe calls for four red jalapen os, you are free to add more or fewer depending on your own tastes.
The main course is the most striking part of the meal. Pumpkin Pasta laced with Shiitake Mushroom Sauce is served in half a pumpkin shell. The pasta is surrounded by Saute'ed Greens and Pork Medaillons. Because you will need plenty of room for all that food, buy a large pumpkin. If it is tall, halve it vertically. If it is very round, halve it horizontally. You may want to separate the seeds, coat them with vegetable oil and toast them at 350 degrees for 20 minutes to serve as an appetizer.
Once finished with the main course, complete the meal with large bowls full of Cat's Eye Ice Cream. You can just bet that this rich vanilla ice cream loaded with anisette and finely chopped licorice is a treat your guests have never had before.
Like any new tradition, you have to make the most of the idea in order to make it worth doing again. So throw in some extras. Require that all guests appear in costume. Turn out all the lights and do the eating and drinking by candlelight. Give the meal a punk twist by sticking toothpicks into apples and putting raisins on the end and calling them spiked apples. Serve the pumpkin seeds in a pattern on a black lacquered tray. Clip safety pins on the napkins and use a black paper tablecloth.
Be as scary as possible. There is nothing to compare with this festive meal and the opportunity to let the goblins out of the closet only presents itself once a year.