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October 23, 2008

Needed: a Top 10 Halloween idea

purplepeopleeater.jpgI feel like next week's Top 10 Tuesday should have a Halloween theme. I know even as I type this that it's a stupid idea. I have another story due next week so I don't want it to be difficult, but can I get away with Top 10 Halloween Candies? I don't think so.

Or because Halloween falls on a Friday this year, Top 10 Restaurants to Celebrate Halloween? I'm thinking they would qualify because of their great decorating, or drinks or menus with a Halloween theme. Do restaurants even do this? ...

It reminds me of an article in Woman's Day about throwing a Halloween-themed Alfred Hitchcock party that fascinated me as a child. I don't remember much of it except that one thing you could do was make green Jell-O, pour it over either a naked baby doll or some of its parts, and let it set. That would be the centerpiece.

I also remember one of the games we played at some children's Halloween party in the distant past that had a food theme: Everyone was blindfolded and we were told they were passing around an ear (a dried apricot), an eyeball (a peeled grape) and intestines (cold spaghetti).

I guess none of that would work for a Top 10.

(AP Photo/Larry Crowe) 

Posted by Elizabeth Large at 3:54 PM | | Comments (30)


My idea of a good time Halloween night is watching all the dressed up drunks in Fells Point or going to see Rocky Horror Picture Show in a theater. Maybe grab dinner on the way.

I've been struggling with my own Halloween Funtastic ideas and so far nothing.

Whatever you do please make sure that "spooktacular" is in the text somewhere.

that won't scan very well in the following week's print edition reprint

Yes, thanks for pointing that out to my editors. EL

I didn't mean to mess up anything. The same will be true for any event or holiday-related list that originates on the blog and shows up 8 days later in print.

I guess I should have drawn the dreaded smiley face when I said that. EL

I think that the occasional bout of silliness in the top 10 is charming. So, why not the top 10 favourite things to find in your bag?

Don't know about top 10 places to celebrate. There is Annibel Lee (never been there). But 10 of 'em?

Or you could channel the holiday, and do Frankenstein's top 10 favourite bars, or top 10 graveyards zombies eat in or something.

Top 10 waitress uniforms to use as costumes?

Halloween may be past history by the time the top ten makes it into print. But how about a top ten restaurants for Thanksgiving Day lunch or dinner -- for those who'd like to take a break from stuffing the turkey and baking pumpkin pie (to say nothing of cleaning up the debris afterward?) Or who don't have family in the area? The info will be just as valuable when it gravitates to the Sun.

I definitely want to do Top 10 places to have Thanksgiving in the next couple of weeks, unless I did it last year and the places are the same. I'll have to check. EL

Celebrating Halloween? Well, I don't now. I give out candy until I'm tired, then I turn off the porch light and leave the rest of the candy out on the porch and pray I won't get egged or toilet papered.

But, when my son was little, I used to decorate the entire house inside and out, clings, scary skulls, insane laughing ghouls, the whole thing. And, we'd have a bunch of kids and parents over for pumpkin shaped cake a la Ladies Home Journal and bug shaped candies while one of our Halloween CD's blasted The Monster Mash or It's A Dead Man's Party. I just don't think "restaurant" when I think Halloween.

Here's a sampling from my Closet of Dreads:
1. Restaurants with the scariest prices.
2. Restaurants with the scariest staff.
3. Scariest restaurant locations.
4. Scariest restaurant parking lots (and/or valet service).
5. Scariest clientele.
The only real anxiety I have about Halloween is the seasonalavores' press to add pumpkin to everything. Pumpkin pie. Stop there. Doughnuts, popsicles, bread, cider, soup, bagels,
coffee -- add all those and more to the nauseum. Well, OK, popsicles. I've never actually seen a pumpkin popsicle. Hope I didn't give anybody an idea.

Since Cross Keys doesn't allow trick or treaters to come through the gate, I'm taking the wife to Petit Louis for Halloween. The wait staff will be in costume; I'll probably be in khakis.

Now, on Saturday I will be taking Mr. Jefferson to the pet halloween party at the Grauls. His costume options are pretty limited. As of right now his wardrobe consists of a golf shirt and yamaka, so it looks like he'll be going as a member of the Suburban Club.

My favorite Halloween bit: Walking through the neighborhood in a capa negra, hood up, swinging a fully loaded thurible. It works best on cold, foggy nights. For most of the years we've lived in Bel Air, my wife would walk with the kids and I'd sit on the porch and hand out the loot, killing the free time with a guitar, an amp and funky pedals.

We always splurge for real chocolates, remembering how this was a night growing up when I tasted a lot of things for the first time. Kids should get to try new things.

But this year I'm also going to make homemade marshmallows to give out to the parents who are walking with their kids. They need a little nosh too!

I'm sorry, what was the question??

Last year at Halloween I was working on a Community Theatre production (and will be this year, too), so I dressed as the Phanton of the Opera, put the overture on the sound system, and flung open the door to the lobby, telling our audience "Welcome to my theater. Do come in."

How about top 10 places that don't have decorations and don't have stupid costume people where we can have dinner and drinks while we hide out from the kids until it's safe enough to go home?

There is a huge demand for such places in the city, where the holiday is either too sad or too frightening (i.e. 16 year old thugs in hooded sweatshirts who return 4-5 times to your house) and we have already done the Fells Pt thing enough times.

When you live in the inner city, you go out to dinner to leave the house and avoid the teenaged trick or treaters in masks. Giving out candy to near adults gets old.

MD Canon, when I was a kid our favorite trick or treat houses gave out the "good candy" or (the best) bags of homemade - just made popcorn. I don't know how people feel about "homemade" stuff now. I know when my kid was little we were urged to throw anything out that wasn't commerically wrapped and sealed. It's a shame. Who would have ever thought living throught the Viet Nam war, college protests, and Richard Nixon was an easier time of life in America!

Having said that, if we knew you and you gave us homemade anything, wow would we ever be greatful!

I like the idea of best candy from your haul as a child (whatever era that was).

Longtime viewer, first time commenter.

I like the cut of your jib LJ. Weren't you the one with the surreal experience with the litle kid at the Giant? You should post more stuff. I am intrigued by your belligerent insouciance. ;-)

How about a place devoid of stupid costumes where one could quietly observe the lesser party people and mock them? I would gladly buy you the cocktail of your choice. Be careful, you are what you drink. In the summer I was a Negroni. I'm a single malt sipper now, the peatier the better. What are you?

P.S. When did Halloween become Slutoween, where all the costumes young women wear are indistinguishable from prostitutes at a Las Vegas Furry Convention? Slutty bunny, slutty cop, slutty nurse, etc.

RiE, I love that idea! A few years ago, my husband was directing The Tempest in a community theater and we all dressed up for opening night since it was Halloween (or very near Halloween).

Mr. Pretzel, given the culture of "slut shaming" in this country, perhaps women take advantage of the only night during the year they can wear whatever they want. ahem.

My favorite trick-or-treater of all time was a boy about 10 or 11 years old. He was wearing a dirty t-shirt that had what looked like tire tracks on it. When I asked, "What are you supposed to be?" he snapped his head to one side and said "Road kill."

How many people think Mr. Pretzel is OMG in costume two-timing Bourbon Girl? Raise your hands.

You forgot pumpkin-spiced beer. I saw it in the store last time I was in there.

I don't like the fruited beers so I probably won't try this stuff.

gosseyn--Me! [hand raised]

Hey Sarah G! (Unless you're actually my roommate Sarah G stalking me and if so, you are creepy, see you at home)

I happen to know that there is A Rocky Horror going on on Halloween...unfortunately it's all the way in Martinsburg West Virginia, at the apollo theatre. I wouldn't be going except that I'm Janet, so not much of a way to get out of that.

About these slutty Halloween costumes - I saw something on tv the other night about 10 and 11 y.o.'s wanting to wear the stiletto heels with the fishnet, leotard "cat" thing or "devil" or french maid stuff. I don't have a daughter but I have to wonder about these moms and dads who are ok with that...

hmmm... mr pretzel is not me .... love costumes on Halloween, love that we live a country where women can express their sexuality openly in bunny suits and whatever. I have my costume all ready. Bourbon Girl is having a hard deciding on hers. A Negroni? Who drinks Negronis? Man up. Pardon me Count Von Pretzel. Nope, it's Jameson or red wine for me. BG knows my aim is true. Enjoy your pretzel games. I'm off to TapaBar. Ole!

I am more twisted than you Goblin.

I am more twisted than you Goblin.

You are clearly not a longtime reader then. I'm a freakin Gordian knot.

Owl, Few people appreciate women freely expressing their sexuality more than I do (much to my GF's aggravation); but 10 and 11 year olds? Eww.

So, how was TapaBar? Anything special one should try as a first timer?

PCB Rob: pumpkin ale is an old American standard, with recipes documented to colonial times. There was enough sugar in the pumpkin pulp to stretch the sugars in barley for fermentation. I don't think of it as a flavored beer, though the pumpkin is discernible in good ones (like the Dogfish Head "Punkin" I have in my fridge right now).

Joyce W ... Your comment is well taken. We've lived in our neighborhood for 18 years now. My signature carved pumpkin is a soccer ball (I have cut outs of the pentagons and hexagons that make up the standard pattern), and in the last couple of years I have heard parents say "they're still here." So I'm going to try to cash in some of that familiarity. Plus, I'm dying to make the marshmallows, and there's no one else to give a full batch away to!

MD Canon,

I didn't know that, perhaps I should try one then. I do enjoy Dogfish Head's offerings, but sadly they don't sell them down here. On the other hand, Sweetwater, based in Atlanta, has some excellent beers.

Come on Joyce, I never ever said anything about kids. Women are adults. I have no idea what kids do, since I never see them on Halloween. My comments are strictly about women in bars.

TapaBar has some interesting specials now. They are venturing beyond the traditional. I wish I could remember what they were. Bourbon Girl loves the Parilla Argentina which is a small grilled steal and some fantastic grilled chorizo. It comes with a chimichurri sauce that BG goes nuts for. I love the Ceviche Peru-style and am trying to duplicate at home with no luck at all. Ceviche is usually an inelegant affair. This is so interesting and has a delicate complex flavor in the marinade. I had a seared rare tuna dish with a chimichurri salsa that was good. Even the grilled potatoes and grilled vegetables are fun. I find that the small plates really encourage you to linger and savor the flavors with wine or other beverage. But things always taste better when BG's scintillating blue eyes are dancing in the light.

Owl, no harm meant - I think posting order got me confused. I'm with you now.

Looking forward to trying TapaBar - thanks for the reccomendations. Perhaps you and BG will be there when we go. I'll be looking for the velvet jacket and the blue eyes (both of you on the blue eye thing, yes?)

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About this blog
Richard Gorelick was appointed The Baltimore Sun's restaurant critic in September 2010. Before joining the paper staff fulltime, he contributed freelance criticism and features articles about food to area and regional publications. Along the way, he dispatched for short-distance trucking companies, shilled for cultural non-profits, and assisted in cognitive neurology research – never the subject, always the control.

He takes restaurants seriously but not himself, and his favorite restaurant is the one you love, too.

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