Like most North Americans, I love Halloween. The history, the nostalgia and the excitement all jump-start us into Do-It-Yourself action to where we can’t help ourselves but to dress-up and party. It’s a very special annual event and I try to pay my respects by putting effort into costumes, candies and parties.
Having spent my previous three Halloweens in the massive metropolis of Seoul, this year’s quaint Berkshire retreat center Halloween just didn’t get my heart pounding. Though Korea doesn’t traditionally celebrate Halloween, the large ex-pat community (composed mostly of English teachers) and a general love of partying have made certain areas of Seoul a fountain of pure Halloween joy. A few Seoul neighborhoods, such as Itaewon and Hongdae, have become foreigner hot spots, so there is an endless stream of bars, people watching, parties and costume contests.
My Halloween this year was very, uh, … quiet. Many of the people I was surrounded by didn’t dress up or acknowledge that a special occasion was occurring. I, on the other hand, was possessed by the idea of a homemade DIY Halloween and fully allowed the spirit to blow through me like a hurricane (speaking of Sandy, we were extremely lucky in the NY Berkshires. We had very few power outages and little damage. A few weak trees were loosened and are threatening to fall, but haven’t yet. Hopefully, they will be removed soon. Other than that, it was just a very windy storm).
My costume this year was of an Oriole. I was inspired to make this for two main reasons:
1) I’ve had a ridiculous bright red-orange gown for years and have always wanted to alter it into something I’d actually wear.
2) I found this fun, easy and fabulous DIY wing tutorial that made me want to be a bird of some kind. A quick Google search of what birds fit my colour criteria told me that an oriole made perfect sense. Voila!
And, for obvious reasons of delciousness and awesomeness, I had to make some spiced rum tootsie rolls, too. They’re very easy and extremely satisfying.
Homemade Spiced Rum Sea Salt Tootsie Rolls
- ½ cup cocoa powder
- ¼ cup honey
- ½ cup molasses
- 1 cup icing or confectioners sugar
- 2 cups nonfat milk powder
- 3 tbsp melted butter
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 4 tbsp spiced rum
- A pinch of sea salt (coarse is preferable)
In a bowl, mix the cocoa, honey, molasses and vanilla together. Once smooth, add the butter, powdered sugar, salt and rum.
Using a spatula or wooden spoon, mix the milk powder into the mixture. Knead the tootsie mix with your hands, if you prefer. It should form a smooth looking lump when finished.
Let it rest and further merge into tootsie-ness for 20 minutes.
Using a knife or pizza-cutter cut the giant tootsie into strips. Then into one inch chunks. The chunks should be malleable and not sticky.
Cut some wax paper into pieces large enough to wrap your tootsie chunks in. Wrap them.
Bring them to a party and watch your friends devour them.
Makes 40-45 pieces.