Our Food / Travel Editor Suzanne Corbett offers some spooktacular Halloween recipes

October is the month of playoff baseball, pumpkin spice, pecan pies,  and Halloween pranksters. Unfortunately, in St. Louis in 2022, the Cardinals fans are just watching the playoffs from the couch or the barstool, but the leaves are beginning to turn and the orange color of fall is turning up everywhere—including the nature landscape and the grocery stores.

Our Food and Travel Editor, Suzanne Corbett loves October and especially Halloween.

“Why do I like Halloween so much?” she says.  “Perhaps I’m a wandering spirit as those who room on All Hollow’s Eve.  Nonetheless, I always loved Halloween, preferring it over Christmas.”

This week she is in the kitchen preparing food to help you “Eek, Drink, and Be Merry” – or for those hobgoblins out there—be scary!

She recently demonstrated some recipes that would be great for a Halloween gathering or just to eat while watching sports– including the MLB playoffs, Mizzou Football and the start of the Blues season.

“Forget the gory stuff that fills haunted houses today,” said Corbett. “Instead give me a mountain of jack o’lanterns and the not so scary skeletons.”

Halloween can get a bad rap for some who choose to see it as part of a religious holida—Christian or pagan. For these reasons, schools have taken to using more the “fall festival” wording. Kids still enjoy dressing up and seeing it a fun excuse to eat candy.

According to Country Living magazine, there were roots in paganism, but over the years it has evolved into a light-hearted celebration.

From Country Living: “The current English name Halloween traces back to medieval Christianity. The word hallow is derived from the Middle and Old English words for holyAs a noun, it can also mean saint. In those days, the Christian holiday we know as All Saints’ Day was called All Hallows’ Day, and the day before, when an evening mass was held, was All Hallows’ Eve. That three-word name eventually got shortened to Halloween.”  https://www.countryliving.com/entertaining/a40250/heres-why-we-really-celebrate-halloween/

In the tradition of “All-Saints Day”, people were said to have dressed up as saints and recite songs or verses door to door. Children would also go door to door asking for “soul cakes,” a treat similar to biscuits.

“Why do I like Halloween so much?” she says.  “Perhaps I’m a wandering spirit as those who room on All Hollow’s Eve.  Nonetheless, I always loved Halloween, preferring it over Christmas.”

There are other twists and turns in the holiday which lead both the fun Halloween costumes and parties as well as the spooky decorations and even the Spanish ritual “Dia de los Muertes” or Day of the Dead which happens the day after Halloween. According to History.com, it’s a Mexican holiday where families welcome back the souls of their deceased relatives for a brief reunion that includes food, drink and celebration.

Corbett says she loves the history of Halloween.

“It was mystical, and I love the classic folklore that’s laced with witches, ghosts, and goblins.”

For our purposes we’ll take a light-hearted look at some fun foods yo can serve your family or your guests this time of year.

Corbett, who is a food historian and author and has taught cooking for more than 40 years offers these recipes for a spookin’ good Halloween party—and she can throw a party!

“I counted myself lucky my late husband’s birthday was Halloween,” she said. “This always gave me a reason to throw hellish Halloween parties.”


Witches Brew

Start the party off with the traditional warm apple cider with cinnamon. She “spices” it up with floating heads—aka apples.

First get started on the  floating shrunken heads to toss in a punch bowl:

Shrunken Heads

Take a few small apples, peel them and cut in half. Crave out eyes, a nose and mouth. Place on a parchment lined baking tray and sprinkle with lemon just and a little course salt. Bake at 250 degrees  for 90 minutes. Or until the “heads” have lightly browned along the edges. Use whole cloves to make the eyes in head. Cool and refrigerate until ready to use.

Warm Fall Punch

One gallon of apple cider ( filters or unfiltered, a couple of cinnamon sticks or a teaspoon of ground cinnamon, a5-7 whole star anise cloves, Bring to a boill, reduce heat to a simmer and add in bourbon. Start with a cup, then adjust according you your needs

Halloween Foods

How about a pre-party snack…

Angel of Death Cheese

1 large bulb garlic, roasted

8 onces cream cheese

4 ounces Gorgonzola cheese

½ cup whipping cream

Salt and pepper to taste

2-4 fresh sage leaves, finely minced

1/3 cup finely chopped pistachios or pecans

Directions: Combine roasted garlic with cream cheese and beat until smooth. Add Gorgonzola, cream, sage, salt and pepper. Press into a serving dish and sprinkle with pistachios. Serve with crackers or pita crisps.


Start with some soup…

Jack’s Caldron Bisque

2 tablespoons butter or extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 cup finely chopped white onions

1 cup finely chopped leeks

1 cup finsly chopped celery

2 cups pumpkin puree

1 tablespoon chopped fresh garlic

6 cups chicken stock

1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage

1 cup cream or half and half

salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste’Tabasco sauce to taste

Ini a large soup kettle, heat butter and ad the onions over a medium high het. when onions become translucent, stir in the leeks and celery.  Sweat the vegetables until soft and celery is tender Add pumpkin and garlic, cook for a few minutes to blend flavors. Add the stock and sage. Simmer for 15 minutes. Add the cream and heat through. Adjust to taste with salt, pepper, and Tabasco sauce. Makes 8 large servings.


Now for the protein…

Voodoo Chicken

1-pound skinless, chicken tenders or boneless chicken breasts (sliced into long strips)

6-inch wooden skewers, soaked in water for an hour


1 cup honey

1 cup oil

1 Tablespoon Worchestershire sauce (Suzanne says Lee & Perrins is best)

1/4 cup bourbon

1 lime (juiced)

3 ounces balsamic vinegar

Mix ingredients for the marinade together in a bowl and set aside. Thread chicken on wooden skewers. cover with marinade and chill for n hour.

Dipping sauce

1 cup Chinese sweet chili or plum sauce

1/4 cup of bourbon

1/4 cup fresh cilantro (chopped)

1 line (juiced)

1 tablespoon hot sauce

1/3 cup honey

3 Tablespoons sesame oil

Grill the chicken until done or lightly browned on each side. Remove from the grill and serve with the dipping sauce.  Serves 6.


Creatures from the Deep (Peppered Shrimp)

1 pound (large to jumbo sized) shrimp, peeled and deveined

3 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

3 Tablespoon white wine

2 Tablespoons olive oil

2 cloves of garlic, chopped

1 teaspoon paprika

1/4 teaspoon red pepper

1/4 teaspoon white pepper

1/4 teaspoon dry mustard

1/4 teaspoons kosher salt

2 green onions, chopped- extra chopped green onion and hot red pepper flakes as a garnish

In a bowl, combine the shrimp, Worcestershire sauce and white wine. Heat oil in a skillet over a medium high heat; add garlic and cook for a minute. Remove shrimp from bowl, reserving liquid. Toss with species; add to skillet and saute for 2 minutes. Add green onion and cook 2 minutes longer. Remove to serving dish. Add reserved Worcestershire mixture to pan and bring to a boil. (For a clearer sauce with more body, stir a teaspoon of cornstarch with 2 Tablespoons of cold water to add to sauce.) Serve as a dipping sauce for shrimp. Sprinkle shrimp with chopped green onion and red pepper before serving. Serves 6-9.

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For the latest news and features in St. Louis Sports check out STLSportsPage.com. Rob Rains, Editor.