If your aesthetic (or your sense of humor) is a little on the dark side, ask chef Kenichi Tajima to include these rice balls at cocktail hour. The squid ink within will turn your guests’ mouths black. Full service (prep, serve, and cleanup) starts at $50 per person.
• Tastings by Payard; 212-744-4422
Root of All Evil
Lovers of the cornstarch- and fructose-laden original may weep, but here it is: candy corn made out of root vegetables. Though not as toothsome (or tooth-decaying) as the candy classic, these bites are just as visually alluring, and are made with heart-stalling dabs of sformato, a rich Italian cheese custard. Cocktail party service starts at $75.
• Olivier Cheng Catering and Events, 12-16 Vestry St., nr. Canal St.; 212-625-3151
The Coq Comb resembles the Jester’s hat for which it’s named, and since its confited and fried, guests won’t even know they’re munching on the pink, flappy bits from a rooster’s head. Full service starts at $50 per person.
• Tastings by Payard; 212-744-4422
For those who wish to incorporate meat laceration into their bondage-themed event, order an Italian pork vice, with or without the recommended prosciutto. Outfitted with steel braces (for stabilizing your entree) and a hefty marble base, the stand makes for terrific dungeon décor. Stand, $400; seventeen-pound prosciutto, $325 (stand and prosciutto only available online)
• Dean and Deluca
Take Your Meds
As any New York host knows, pills can help get the party started. The label on these bottles of chocolate-covered cocoa beans recommends that patients “savor 3,” but these babies are addictive: Expect belligerent and—should the costume permit—pistol-packing cries for refills. $5 per bottle.
• Chocolat Michel Cluizel at ABC Carpet & Home, 888 Broadway, nr. 19th St.; 212-477-7335
If you’ve ever had to wait over an hour for a table at Cipriani, you can exact sadistic revenge on this posh chain by having its pastry chef scrape out 100 or so mini-pumpkins to be filled with creamy, coconut flan.$5 each.
• Cipriani Le Specialità, 110 E. 42nd St., nr. Park Ave.; 212-812-8956
Finally, a ghost with some substance as Casper re-appears as a small mountain of molded cake and creamy butter goodness. He comes in a variety of flavors and can feed twenty but if the guest list isn’t likely to scare up that many people, opt for a pint-size specter who can serve four to six. $125 for a large, $35 for a small.
• Ruthy’s Bakery & Cafe at Chelsea Market, 75 Ninth Ave., nr. 15th St.; 212-463-8800
Bone Fide Bonbons
If a phantom confection doesn’t fit the funereal festivities, maybe a skull cake can act as the feast’s memento mori. Sure, it’s kistchy, but they’re so much cooler than cupcakes! $9.50 each
• Eleni’s at Chelsea Market, 75 Ninth Ave., nr. 15th St.; 888-435-3647
Sandra de Ovando’s Mexican heritage and architectural tendencies make for darkly quiet, yet commanding floral compositions that befit the dark drama of the season. Her blackened flowers, in particular, lend an air of mysterious sensuality to any macabre affair. Arrangements from $85-$250 and over
• Ovando, 337 Bleecker St., nr. Christopher St.; 212-924-7848
Rococo is slightly more jovial than the intense Baroque period it supplanted, but frosted black glass with a design inspired by the latter period still makes for an intense party plate. $20 for set of two
• Chiasso; 877-244-2776
Tribeca design store Intérieurs probably didn’t intend for these handmade, twiglike candelabras by lighting artist Jose Esteves to be used for Halloween props, but the piece’s skeletal starkness screams witches and warlocks. $215 each.
• Intérieurs, 149 Franklin St., nr. Varick St.; 212-343-0800
Name Your Poison
VamPinot? WereWhite? Sauvignon Blood? Coming up with a witty wine label may take longer than it does to have the personalized bottles shipped to you (about five to ten days). $8–$35.
• Winesource.com; 866-465-6933
Richard G. Santomauro can realize your bestial fantasies with a bat-winged badger or a fur-coated fish. Single-critters dry in two weeks, but call early (months ahead, not weeks) for big-ticket monsters, like a saber-toothed deer head or an aquatic panther. $19–$750.
• Wildlife Taxidermy By Richard G. Santomauro, 1732 Hwy. 71, Wall, N.J.; 732-449-5950
Recipe courtesy of Svedka Vodka
4 parts Svedka Clementine
1 part pumpkin purée
2 parts apple cider
Carve out a mini-pumpkin and cut into small pieces. Purée in blender with a teaspoon of sugar. Fill shaker with ice and pour pumpkin puree and remainder of ingredients. Shake and strain into a martini glass rimmed with cinnamon.
Harvest Moon Punch
Recipe courtesy of Dale DeGroff
1 gal. Mott’s Natural 100% Apple Juice
32 oz. bourbon
6 star anise
6 cinnamon sticks
1 orange peel (remove zest of one navel orange and retaining very little pith)
Combine apple juice, cinnamon sticks, cloves, anise, and an orange peel in a stainless-steel pot. Let simmer for one hour. (Do not boil.) Strain and add bourbon. Serve in a hollowed-out pumpkin. Prepare the pumpkin by cutting out a lid as you would for a jack-o’-lantern. Clean the lid by cutting away the pumpkin strands and seeds. Using a long-handled spoon, scrape out the inside of the pumpkin without puncturing the skin or the bottom. When the pumpkin is clean, rinse the inside with cool water, then check for leaks. Fill the pumpkin with the hot punch. Replace the lid to retain the heat. Serve with a ladle in mugs. Garnish with a cinnamon stick.
Recipe courtesy of executive chef Jenny Glasgow of Olivier Cheng Catering
Equal number of pimento-stuffed olives
Water for ice
For each eyeball: Peel one radish, leaving a tiny bit of the red to resemble a bloodshot eye. With a small apple corer or paring knife, cut a hole in the radish large enough to fit one small, pimento-stuffed olive. Insert olive in radish. Put radish in ice-cube tray. Fill with water and freeze.
Demons at your doorstep? We’ve cued up a 13-song party mix to keep them dancing into the dead of night.
1. “My Mind’s Playin’ Tricks on Me”
Old-school rhyme about gun-wielding ghetto specters and ripping off trick-or-treaters.
2. “Kandy Korn”
The silly prog-rocker gives a nod to the beloved, fang-shaped Halloween treat.
3. “Death Rides a Brown Horse”
A spaz-metal blast that will peel your face paint off.
4. “Kernkraft 400”
Thumping, electronic club anthem capturing that end-of-night feeling when everyone has had too much, ahem, candy.
5. “They Are Night Zombies!!”
Sufjan’s insistent croon and some creepily chanting girlie voices beckon the living dead.
6. “Little Ghost”
The White Stripes
A bluesy torch song from the band’s Lucifer-ous album Get Behind Me Satan.
A disco-punk ditty laments feeling like that iconic bag of bones.
Danzig belts out this punk classic about, well, you know.
9. “Walking With a Ghost”
Tegan and Sara
Electronic folk-pop that strolls with the otherworldly.
10. “Song for the Dead”
Queens of the Stone Age
Eerie organs and ghostly “ooh, ahs” anchor this rocking homage to death.
11. “The Man Comes Around”
The Man in Black dreading that other Man in Black.
12. “Everything Evil”
Coheed and Cambria
Emo plus a vengeful, Afro-sporting front man will bring out “everything evil in you.”
13. “Something Like a Phenomenon”
LL Cool J
Did you hear something, LL and Karen O? It’s the angry ghost of Grandmaster Flash. He wants his hook back.