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Sherrie Norris Lovin’ Spoonful Cooking Column: Halloween Already? It’s Knocking on the Door

By Sherrie Norris

It was just summer, then fall. And now, we’re just a few days from Halloween. And it’s all coming so fast we hardly have time to transition. 

But, of course, in the big box stores, Christmas promotions began several weeks ago. Let’s slow down, please. We’re under enough stress without having to bow down to these unnecessary pressures. One day at a time. One holiday at a time. Take a deep breath and enjoy each one as it comes. Let’s not give in to the media hype that there won’t be enough candy to hand out for the trick-or-treaters. Or worse yet, that turkeys will be in short supply come Thanksgiving. Or that Christmas gifts are on dozens of stranded crates off the west coast, and store shelves will be sparse as the season approaches.

Guess what? We can celebrate anyway — and maybe even better than ever before. We might just get back to the basics and remember what it’s all about, at least for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Imagine that! 

But, for now, let’s scare up a few goodies for Halloween, a day in itself that can be fun for the kids without turning it into something evil and sinister. We all know that history associates it with the dark side, and some of the rhetoric may be true,  but let’s try a little harder to find the good in every situation and learn to relax and enjoy the moment.


1 lg. can refrigerated crescent rolls 

1 pkg. bun-length hot dogs

Cooking spray

Salsa, mustard and/or cheese sauce for dipping

Heat oven to 375°F. Unroll dough; separate into 4 rectangles. Firmly press perforations to seal. Cut each rectangle lengthwise into 10 pieces.

For each mummy, wrap 5 pieces of dough around hot dog to look like “bandages,” stretching dough slightly to completely cover hot dog. About 1/2 inch from one end, separate “bandages” so hot dog shows through for “face.” Place wrapped hot dogs on ungreased large cookie sheet. Spray dough lightly with cooking spray; sprinkle with sea salt.

Bake about minutes or until dough is lightly browned and hot dogs are thoroughly heated. 

Serve with salsa, mustard and/or cheese sauce.

Squiggly Pumpkins

2  (6 oz.) pkgs. Orange Jell-O

2 ½  cups boiling water

1 cup cold milk

1 pkg. (3.4 oz.) instant vanilla pudding mix

Candy corn

Black licorice and/or gumdrop

Dissolve Jell-O in water; set aside for 30 minutes. Whisk milk and pudding mix until smooth, about 1 minute. Quickly pour into gelatin; whisk until well blended. Pour into a greased 9 x 13-inch pan. Chill until set. Cut into circles or use a pumpkin-shaped cookie cutter. Just before serving, add candy eyes and mouths.

Witches Fingers

1 ½  cups green candy coating

6 pretzel rods, broken in half

6 jelly beans, cut in half lengthwise

 In a microwave, melt candy coating; stir until smooth. Dip broken ends of pretzel rods in coating; allow excess to drip off. Place on waxed paper; press a jelly bean half onto dipped end of each pretzel to resemble a fingernail. Let stand until candy coating is almost set. Using a toothpick, make lines on each pretzel to resemble knuckles.

Spider Pretzels

2 tsp. smooth peanut butter

2 round crackers

8 small pretzel sticks

2 raisins

With the peanut butter and crackers, make a “sandwich”; insert eight pretzel “legs” into the filling. With a dab of peanut butter, set two raisin eyes on top of the cracker. Makes one serving; repeat as many times as necessary.

Spooky Eyes

1 ½  cups creamy peanut butter

½  cup butter, softened

1 tsp. vanilla extract

3½  cups powdered sugar

12 oz. white candy coating

About 40 regular M&Ms, varied colors

Red decorating gel

 In a small bowl, cream peanut butter and butter together until light and fluffy. Beat in vanilla. Gradually add powdered sugar. Shape into 1-inch balls. Cover and refrigerate for about 30 minutes.

 In a microwave-safe bowl, melt candy coating. May need to add a dab of shortening if too thick; stir until smooth. Dip peanut butter balls into coating; allow excess to drip off. Place on waxed paper to dry. Then top with M&M’s, plain side up. Let stand until set. Use red gel to create “bloodshot” eyes.

Halloween Punch  

1 (2 liter) Mountain Dew

1 (2 liter) Code Red Mountain Dew

1 (2 liter) Sprite

1 (2 liter) pink lemonade or fruit punch

2 bags sour gummy worms

Mix all ingredients together in large punch bowl. Serve over ice.