Headstones, skeletons, and ghosts OH MY! Should I even mention Halloween drinking with its spooky cocktails and treats?
Halloween is my favorite time of year! As soon as the calendar turns from September to October, I start rolling out the gory fun. First, come the graves, then the ghouls. I even have a BBQ grill set up with sizzling bloody body parts and a skeleton feast all laid out on my front lawn. And, if you’re brave enough to get through that mess, en route to my front door is a shriek-tastic array of motion-censored animatronic characters that jump, scream, and BOO as you pass through the fog and flashing lights.
In fact, I love Halloween so much that up until recently, I had a gothic Halloween-themed bathroom! No joke, I love all things macabre, but this article isn’t about me and my morbid display of the dead, this is about the holiday itself and the festivities that come with it! So join me on a haunted hayride through the history of Halloween and I’ll tell you all about what really happens behind the mask.
Everything you wanted to know about All Hallow’s Eve and All Saint’s Day.
The Halloween we all know and love has become one of the most celebrated holidays of the year. Every October 31st, millions of children (and adults, too!) don the likeness of their favorite ghouls, princesses, or superheroes and trot door-to-door collecting treats. It’s a spooky time, entrenched in mystery, fright, and fun. However, did you know that its foundations are firmly rooted in Catholic tradition? In other words, while I spend November 1st hunting for discount animatronics to use next October, the people of the Catholic faith are doing some heavy-duty praying.
Halloween is actually just the start of a string of spiritual holidays. The name itself comes from All Hallow’s Eve, which is the Vigil of All Saints’ Day. All Saints’ Day, that we celebrate on November 1st, is the day when all the Christian saints who have reached Heaven are recognized and prayed for. Pope Gregory III declared November 1st a holiday to celebrate the saints during his time as pope which ran from AD 731–741. However, the first recorded use of the name All Saints’ Day is from 1570–80. Back then, the day was celebrated by holding feasts to honor the saints. Today, Catholics attend mass to honor the holy day.
The day after All Saints’ Day, November 2, is All Souls’ Day. This day honors the souls of all the dead, even those in purgatory. Tradition has it that the prayers from the living will cleanse their souls and prepare them to move on to Heaven. Many people visit the graves of passed loved ones and decorate them in remembrance.
But why do we eat candy on October 31st? The word Halloween refers to the Feast of All Saints. The word itself derives from an old English term, “hallows,” meaning “holy”; and “eve” meaning “evening”, in reference to the Vigil of the feast. So really, Halloween is the feast of the celebration. It’s a day when Catholics celebrate the triumph of the Church in heaven, and the lives of the saints on earth.
Spirits; A History
The word “spirit” has many meanings, but when it comes to drinking, spirit is synonymous with just one thing: liquor.
So how did a word come to be used for both the souls of the dead and your favorite bottle of drink? Well, there are many competing theories about that, but we’ll share the most interesting (and logical) one with you here.
Spirits, in terms of alcohol, refers specifically to a particular type of drink, one manufactured by a process involving distillation, such as whisky or gin. However, the word likely stems from Middle Eastern alchemy. It was said that these alchemists were more concerned with medical elixirs than with converting lead into gold. The vapor given off and collected during the distillation of alcohol was called a spirit of the original material.
The alchemists felt that vapor contained the essence of the material it was distilled from. In much the same way that living things were thought to be alive because they were believed to have a spiritual essence because of their souls. Both characteristics were called spirit, and we still use the word to characterize the essence of something today.
The do’s and “boo’s” of Halloween Drinking
Halloween isn’t just for kids. People of all ages have been known to enjoy the fun and fright of this spooktacular holiday, but, before you go ham on the Halloween drinking with its cocktails, remember these simple rules.
Keep public shenanigans to a minimum
No one wants to see a horde of six-year-olds being bowled over by a drunken T-Rex. Halloween is NOT the time to be recreating scenes from Jurassic Park, and you definitely don’t want to be the reason kids are running through the streets in terror. Before you break out your pumpkin-fueled party keg, be cognizant of the neighborhood children milling about, and perhaps steer clear of the hooch until sundown.
Trick or Treaters want Snickers, not spirits
We get it, toting an over-sugared gaggle of mini goblins is tiresome at best, but that doesn’t mean the present adults need your booze to make it through. Slipping mom and dad a secret bottle while their kids are reaching for handfuls of treats is creepy and uncool. The only exception to this rule: if asked specifically, feel free to pour away.
Painted lips take spooky sips
Halloween only comes once a year, so ditch the everyday faves and imbibe in a few bloody cocktails. Now, that’s not to say you should get TOO carried away – we aren’t advising you to drink the blood straight from the skull of your mortal enemy or anything gonzo like that – but a few creative Halloween drinks can really get the party started. (Pss … we’ve offered some festive recipes below, so keep reading!)
You must be this high to ring the doorbell
Ok, the moment of truth. I DID start this article by pointing out that Halloween isn’t just for kids but, before shuffling to your neighbor’s door in whatever makeshift costume you’ve concocted, slow your roll and heed my warning: trick or treating is child’s play. Doing it as a grown-up isn’t cool or funny. It’s lame and embarrassing. If you want candy, skip the doorstep and take a walk to 7-eleven instead. Or, better yet, wait until your kids come home, then raid their baskets while they’re asleep.
Embarrassment isn’t a good costume choice
There’s nothing as mortifying as strolling into a party in full ensemble only to find everyone else showed up in common street clothes. If you’re heading out to a party, do yourself a solid and call ahead to ensure other people are dressing up, too.
Halloween Drinking: Less is more
That toilet bowl costume may make a hilarious entrance, but after a few Witch’s Heart cocktails, you may find yourself ditching the bowl and end up sans costume. Or worse – some drunken partier may mistake you for the real deal! Remember, “dress to impress” doesn’t necessarily mean “bigger is better”. Best to go with a costume that’s easy to wear. Just make sure to bring a change of clothes in case that party goes to dawn. There’s nothing pretty about a bloody nurse doing the Walk of Shame on November 1st after that hilarious Halloween drinking party.
The Witch’s Heart- A Scary Good Cocktail for Halloween Drinking Party
Are you brave enough to drink The Witch’s Heart? Here’s the perfect easy-to-make whimsical cocktail for Halloween drinking party this year or for any themed party for that matter!
SERVINGS: 1 DRINK
1 jigger of apple brandy or apple vodka chilled
1 tsp grenadine
2 jiggers of Homemade Blackberry Shimmery Liqueur chilled
Powdered dry ice optional
Martini glass to serve
- Add about 1/2 – 1 tsp of powdered dry ice to the bottom of the glass (optional).
- Place the apple brandy and purple shimmery liqueur in a shaker. Add 1 ice cube and shake for a few seconds to chill the drink. Strain the drink into a martini glass. Top up with more purple shimmery liqueur if necessary.
- Pour 1 tsp of grenadine syrup, about an inch from the surface of the drink – the grenadine should sink to the bottom, creating a “bleeding” effect.
- Add about 1/2 tsp of powdered dry ice on top and serve with a stirrer, so that your guests can stir the “potion” to create that shimmery, smoky effect.
View the full recipe at: https://www.theflavorbender.com/the-witchs-heart-halloween-cocktail/
Broken Glass Cupcakes – A Chilling Confection
I know this article has to be about spooky drinks, but what’s a Halloween party without sweets? That’s why I’m going rogue and dropping one of my FAVORITE gruesome recipes of all time. Red velvet cupcakes with candy “glass” shards drizzled with edible blood, these Broken Glass cupcakes are always a hit. Trust me — I’ve taken them to every party I’ve ever been invited to and people always “oooh”, “ahhh”, and “eeewwww” the moment I set down the tray.
1 cup of granulated sugar
1/2 cup of light corn syrup
1 teaspoon of clear flavoring
1 (14 oz.) can of sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon of clear flavoring
red food coloring
black food coloring
1 can white cream cheese frosting
1 box red velvet cake mix
- Cover a cookie sheet with wax paper and spray liberally with non-stick spray.
- Place granulated sugar and corn syrup into a microwave-safe bowl, stir
- Cover bowl with plastic wrap, and microwave on high for 3 minutes.
- Being cautious of hot steam, remove it from the microwave and stir well. Recover and microwave on high for another 3 minutes, watching to make sure it doesn’t start to turn color. (overcooking causes the clear glass to turn amber in color.)
- When finished, CAREFULLY remove from the microwave (It will be HOT) and pour onto prepared wax paper. Allow it to sit and harden completely (This could take a couple of hours. Be patient! This is when I suggest you start the cake.)
- When the candy glass is hard, tap a knife tip into the glass to break it into sharp pieces.
- Candy glass can be kept in an airtight container for about a week.
- Place sweetened condensed milk into a small bowl and mix in food color gel and flavoring until you get the desired blood red color.
- Keep refrigerated until use.
- Prepare red velvet cake mix according to the box, and line cupcake tins with paper cupcake liners.
- Divide cake batter between lined cupcake tins.
- Bake according to box instructions. Let cool and frost cupcakes with white cream cheese frosting.
- Decorate cupcakes with a few pieces of glass, then drizzle some of the blood over top to complete the gory look. (I suggest you decorate just before serving as moisture from the cupcake will eventually start to break the glass down.)
You’ve learned a ton about Halloween Drinking and Spirits in both forms! Now what?
- Send a bottle of your favorite Spirit
- Learn even more with our blog
- Sign up for new blog announcements and exclusive subscriber savings!
Toni T. is a writer, mother, amateur makeup artist, and coffee addict — not necessarily in that order! A lover of all things vintage, she’s an encyclopedia of useless 80’s trivia and adores a bold red lip. She is a second-generation Greek American with dreams of traveling abroad to see the land on which her ancestors walked but, for now, she resides in the ‘burbs of New Jersey with her husband and children.