A halloween swamp drink with tricksy treats dressed up as a ghastly goo the kids will love on fright night
When I was a child, "Halloween" had much more alarming connotations than the sugar-fest my children are looking forward to next week. The event itself meant nothing. Trick or treating had yet to make it across the pond. There was no dressing up. Pumpkins were for soup.
But next to our television, stacked alongside recordings of jaunty Christmas movies, sat a video cassette. Along its spine, in black felt-tip, my older sister had written: "HALLOWEEN".
It called to me, this cassette. I knew, somehow, I was not meant to touch it, but its siren song proved irresistible. One evening, when everyone had gone to bed, my friend Ed and I snuck into the TV room and slotted it into the VCR.
A clunk. A whirr. An advert featuring a man in a bowler hat and a nun both riding a foldable bike and urging us to "Go bag a Bickerton". Then darkness and that piano music followed by, to this day, the most terrifying 91 minutes of my life.
Halloween still freaks me out. So this week's recipe is entirely the work of my collaborator, Jane Baxter. She road-tested it on her son David, who is made of stronger stuff than me. Give it a go on Wednesday. You'll find me hiding under the duvet until it is all over.
Bloody eyeballs floating in a swamp
This drink can be decorated with a number of scary additions, including gummy worms, spiders etc.
Serves 4, in 100ml glasses
4 kiwi fruits
150ml apple juice
1 tbsp maple syrup (optional)
For the eyeballs
For the blood
1 Scoop the flesh from the kiwis and place in a jug with the apple juice and maple syrup. Blend until smooth, adding more juice to achievea swampy consistency.
2 Pour into 4 glasses.
3 Make eyeballs by splitting a marshmallow in two and pressing a blueberry into the centre. Push a pomegranate seed into the middle of the blueberry. Place the eyeball in the swamp drink. Squeeze the pomegranate to remove the juice and pour a little juice over each eyeball. Serve.
Recipe by Jane Baxter. Henry Dimbleby is co-founder of the fast-food restaurant chain Leon (@henry_leon)
Photo: A disgustingly tasty Halloween swamp drink. Photograph: Jill Mead for the Guardian