The current trend is for parents to plan children's Halloween parties at home. Games and prizes take the place of traditional door-to-door trick-or-treating, with refreshments rounding out the evening of fun.
A mulled tea punch, appropriately named Hobgoblins' Brew, combines brewed tea with apple juice and spices. Orange half-slices, studded with whole cloves, provide the finishing touch.
Spices also flavor Pumpkin Spice Cookies, a batter that's quick to prepare, then chilled before dropping by heaping teaspoonfuls onto ungreased baking sheets. Another fast and easy recipe, Caramel Apples, is a traditional Halloween favorite.
4 cups boiling water
8 tea bags
6 orange slices
12 whole cloves
3 cups apple juice
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
4 (3-inch) cinnamon sticks
Pour boiling water over tea bags. Cover and let stand 5 minutes. Remove tea bags. Cut each orange slice in half and insert clove into each half-slice.
Heat apple juice, brown sugar, nutmeg, ginger and cinnamon sticks in large saucepan. Boil 1 minute. Combine with hot tea. Serve garnished with clove-studded orange slices. Makes 7 1/2 cups.
1 (14-ounce) package caramel candies
4 teaspoons hot water
5 to 6 medium apples
Remove wrapping from candies and place with water in top of double boiler. Heat over boiling water, stirring often, until caramels are melted and sauce is smooth.
Insert wooden skewer into stem end of each apple. Dip into hot caramel sauce, turning to coat surface. Place on wax paper and chill until caramel is firm. Makes 5 to 6.
Note: To cool upright, place skewers in flower-arranging frogs or block of styrofoam.
Variation: While dipped apples are still warm, roll in flaked coconut, ground nuts, colored shot or crushed cereal.
PUMPKIN SPICE COOKIES
1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup molasses
1 egg yolk
1 cup canned or cooked pumpkin
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Cream shortening and sugar in large bowl. Add molasses, egg yolk and pumpkin, blending well. Set aside.
Combine flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, cloves, ginger and nutmeg, mixing well. Gradually add to shortening mixture, stirring well after each addition. Chill.
Drop by heaping teaspoonfuls on ungreased baking sheet. Bake at 375 degrees 8 to 10 minutes. Makes about 4 dozen cookies.