Captain Jack Sparrow aka Johnny Depp once said “Always be yourself. Unless you can be a pirate.”
At this time of year, he might change that to “Unless you can be a ghost”.
Or a fallen angel.
Luxury is always relative. To the time of the year. The definition of luxury at the end of October is how much you can and do spend on your Halloween costumes and décor.
Online should be your first ghoulish portal of call for a luxurious and truly terrifying 31st October. And one guaranteed to impress as well as spook all your mortal friends.
Rather eerily, Halloween has come around again, and you should soon be planning for a party that will leave haunting memories but not leave your guests feeling like the Walking Dead.
Halloween is all in the detail. Foresight ensures that your party will not turn out to be a Zombie Apocalypse but leave everyone completely bewitched.
This means sending away for the right props. Such as ghostly chocolates, a screaming suffocating pillow, a tarantula costume for your dog or Freddy Kruger look for the cat, a zombie slave side table, eye-catching electric moving cat tail, a 12 foot skeleton garden sculpture, zombie solar lights, an equally expensive low-lying fog machine, a pair of hilarious zombie feet sandals and lots of severed heads readily available online.
Once you have got the indoor tombstones down from the attic, polished your Grim reaper scythe, brushed down last year’s party cobwebs, ironed your gravedigger costume, shroud, glow-in-the-dark skeleton suit and creepy clown outfit and got your Dracula cape and Zombie nun onesie back from the dry cleaners, you should be starting to work on perfecting turning celery sticks into open coffins and lychees into eyeballs.
Lychees make great irises if stuck into an olive with the pimiento side out. But radishes are realistic too. For best effects don’t float them in the glass but skewer them. Realistic veins can be achieved by beetroot juice.
The drinks list is obvious. Lots of Zombies, Vampire Kisses, Haunted Graveyards, Corpse Revivers, Creepy Coladas, Sweet Deaths, Le Fleurs Du Mal (Flowers of Evil), Dancing With Satans, Ghostbusters and Witches’ Blood (cherry schnapps, vodka and whisky).
Try absinthe cocktail like Witches Rout from Walthamstow’s Devil’s Botany concocted with Amaro, Coffee Liqueur, Espresso, Demerara Sugar and Sea Salt, which is currently on the menu at The Last Tuesday Society. It’s inspired by the 16th century etching of a Witch riding through the night that is in the Museum’s collection.
But vodka is the traditional spirit of Halloween. Which is the traditional time to get your head around a skull.
You can either go Hollywood and choose Canada. Or go Cotswolds. In Gloucestershire, James Taylor fills Satan heads with seven-time distilled premium Fallen Angel vodka. His drinks are so much of a must that even Fortnum & Mason stock them.
Skull-shaped Crystal Head Vodka was founded by Ghostbusters star, Dan Aykroyd in 2007. It comes in Original, Aurora and Onyx, all filtered seven times and blended with crystal clear Canadian water from St. John’s, Newfoundland.
Crystal Head Vodka Original (40% ABV) is a Canadian corn-based vodka. The bottle features an iridescent finish created by electrically charging metallic powders that coat the bottle, meaning no two bottles are alike. Crystal Head Onyx is crafted from Mexican Blue Weber agave.
Made from British wheat from North Yorkshire, Aurora is distilled five times in a traditional column still.
California’s Vampyre vodka will soon be available in the UK. It comes with the message; “Remember That Vampyres Don’t Drink And Drive.”
Cranberry is the new black. Halloween isn’t the same without Ocean Spray. Raspberry liqueurs like Manchester’s No Name Distillery’s “Raspberry Ripple” make for very realistic blood spatters and drips. They are also delicious to dunk edible body parts in. Dead Man’s Fingers Coffee Rum Liqueur also make for great dried blood stains.
The wine of choice? It has to be Casillero de Daiblo. Or maybe a Fangria? Or a bottle of Dracula rose or Californian Vampire Pinot Noir. Become a member of the Vampire Wine Club.
But what about rum? In a skull.
The new Cab-Ron ex-sherry cask finished expression features a mixture of extra-aged rums from the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Guatemala and Barbados. Each one is distilled in its country of origin before being exported to Spain for maturation. The variety of woods with different origins and finishes give Cab-Ron its mahogany colour and ‘copper reflections’, as well as its aroma of fresh spices with hints of liquorice.
Part of the profits from every sale will go to the Pasqual Maragall Foundation, intended to finance research projects into Alzheimer’s disease.
Make sure your casket is full and bouncing this Halloween. Drink from a skull. Through a Mad About Horror Michael Myers Elrod mask.
Kevin Pilley is a former professional cricketer and chief staff writer of PUNCH magazine. His humour, travel, food and drink work appear worldwide and he has been published in over 800 titles.
Crystal Head Vodka photograph by Lateef Photography courtesy of Master of Malt