Get Ready for Halloween!
Halloween is celebrated annually on October 31st. The origins of Halloween are thought to be based on an ancient Celtic festival called Samhain, which was celebrated in Britain, Ireland and some parts of northern Europe. This was a tradition whereby at the end of summer, the Celts thought that the barrier between our world and the world of ghosts and spirits was not very strong, so people would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward them off.
It wasn’t until much later that the festival was Christianised by the church and named ‘All Hallows’ Eve’ (the day before All Saints’ Day on 1 November) and then later this became Hallowe’en or Halloween.
Over the years the festival has of course gathered pace in how it is celebrated and now we recognise Halloween with pumpkin carving, dressing up and ‘trick or treating’ – it’s much more of a party for everyone!
So, if you are hosting a Halloween party this year, for children and/or adults, here are a couple of fun spooky punch ideas to get the party started (both are non-alcoholic recipes but have the option of adding alcohol for the adults)…
Halloween Punch One
- 2litres of cherry juice
- peel from 3 oranges pared with a vegetable peeler
- 1 thumb-sized red chilli, pierced a few times but left whole
- 3 cinnamon sticks
- 10 cloves
- 6 slices ginger
- To make the punch alcoholic just add 200ml vodka, or 25ml per glass
- Tip the cherry juice, orange peel, chilli, cinnamon sticks, cloves and ginger into a large saucepan. Simmer for 5 mins, then turn off the heat. Leave to cool, then chill for at least 4 hrs, or up to 2 days (the longer you leave it the more intense the flavours). If serving to young children, take the chilli out after a few hours.
- When you’re ready to serve, pour the juice into a jug. Serve in glass bottles or glasses with a Halloween themed straw. If you’re adding vodka, you can do so at this stage. Decorate each glass with a spooky sweet such as fangs.
Halloween Punch Two
This blood-red punch is perfect for any Halloween party and you can just add gin or vodka for a grown-up version.
- 500ml/18fl oz cranberry juice
- 5 litres/2½ pints lemonade
- 3 limes, juice only
- large handful of jelly worms or similar
- Pour all of the ingredients into a large glass bowl and mix until well combined.
- Drape the gummi worms over the edge of the bowl.
Add an extra spook accessory by rinsing out a rubber glove, turn it inside out and fill with water. Tie the top with an elastic band and freeze until solid. Turn the frozen ‘hand’ out into the punch bowl and serve!
….for another spooky touch, try making ‘Bat-black ice cubes’…
colour water black with food dye and pour it into ice-cube trays to make hauntingly black ice cubes. HAPPY HALLOWEEN!