Happy Halloween! This year, I was the Morton salt girl (thanks, Metafilter!). I found the dress (I added side ties so that it didn't look like I was wearing a sack), shoes, and tights via EmilyStyle, and I got the umbrella from Lippincott, on Amazon. My umbrella must be one of their economy models, as most of the umbrellas on their site cost at least three times as much as mine did. My company Halloween party was this afternoon. Nobody could figure out who I was until I held up my salt container. I had my umbrella closed most of the time so that I wouldn't bonk people with it, so it's understandable that they couldn't figure it out.
Patrick decided last week that he wanted to dress up too (the original plan was to attend our friends' party in the city on Friday, but we ended up not going to that, so we dressed up for our weekly Monday night Heroes viewing instead). He considered being the Gorton's fisherman but it would have required the purchase of too much raingear. Instead, he decided to go as Beard Papa (the Beard Papa Story video on their website is cute).
After only a few hours of shopping, he had everything he needed. I added a blue pompom to the hat he'd bought, and we trimmed his beard (it was originally down to his waist). He even picked up a dozen cream puffs and a business card from the Beard Papa's in Redwood City (he didn't buy the cream puffs in costume, sadly). It was a good, easy costume. The only downside is that not many people have heard of Beard Papa yet. On the plus side, it's an original costume--we only found one other occurrence online.
I volunteered to make the spooky jello molds for my company party this year (the company owns a cheap set of molds from Oriental Trading Co. Quiggle has a much better selection of body part molds--check out their game hen mold!). After much Internet research and consideration, I decided on a peach brain with raspberry filling (with an unintended subdural hematoma because the filling didn't stay put in the middle of the brain), a strawberries and cream hand, and a tomato sformato hand.
All three recipes turned out well (the two sweet recipes gave just the right volume of filling, conveniently enough). Everything came out of the molds without any problems (the secret is to apply cooking spray to the mold before filling and then dip in hot water right before unmolding). The tomato sformato was yummy. Even if it weren't shaped like anything, it would make a good addition to a party spread. The recipe made about a cup and a half more than would fit in the hand, so I poured the rest into a bowl. Strangely, everybody went for the dip in the bowl, and the hand went virtually untouched. I'm not sure if they were creeped out by the hand or if they didn't want to mess it up.
The brain looked nice, but it didn't taste very impressive. The pie filling tasted fake. I liked the flavor of the strawberries and cream hand better, but it was far too stiff. I'd halve the amount of gelatin next time, to get a softer consistency.
I was also thinking of making finger cookies, but one of my coworkers made them instead, and they turned out very well (she may not have used the Martha Stewart recipe; I'll have to ask her). I also thought about making cheese eyeballs, but I decided the jello molds were enough work. Also, while I'm linking to Halloween recipes, this site has a pretty thorough listing. I might try her crab mousse (Bizarre Brain) recipe in one of the hand molds next year. I'd feel bad feeding my coworkers cream of mushroom soup, cream cheese, and mayonnaise, but I bet it tastes pretty good.