Use a little bit of kitchen sorcery to get your family’s favorite foods Halloween-ready. Get witchy with it!
Halloween isn’t widely celebrated in Italy (although these days, you will find more and more ninos asking, Dolcetto o scherzetto?). Instead, we celebrate All Saint’s Day, a much more somber occasion on which we pay respect to our ancestors. It’s typical to bake little bean-shaped cookies called fava dei morti, and in some parts, men propose by hiding engagement rings in boxes of these “beans of the dead”—oddly romantic, perhaps? Sicily is really the only place that comes close to the United States in terms of festivity; there, they have really elaborate “sugar puppets,” and you can see them in the windows of all the sweet shops.
I have to admit, though, I do love Halloween—are you surprised? It’s an opportunity to get all dressed up and eat way too many sweets, two things I’m always on board with. Most years, we go to my best friend’s house. First, we’ll go trick-or-treating for a few hours. Then, we’ll come back to the house and hand out candy to the older kids while Jade and her friends go through their stash.
We usually make some “real” food, but I don’t stress about it. The day after, it’s back to healthy eating for Jade and me, but on Halloween, all bets are off. If you are looking to get your little ones excited about something that didn’t come out of their trick-or-treat bag, my advice is to get crafty. Mummified hot dogs (I use chicken sausages and wrap them in strips of pastry dough) are so much more fun than regular ones, and my take on candy corn—a tricolor pizza —beats the sugary kind, hands down. From above, it looks like a bull’s-eye, but when you cut it, each slice looks like a piece of candy corn.