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HALLOWEEN

 How to Make Halloween Fun: Costumes, Treats and Sound Effects

(ARA) - Scariness and spookiness are upon us. And we're not talking about opening 401(k) statements. Ghouls and goblins will be running through neighborhoods searching for candy and scares alike. Trick-or-treaters will be heard screaming and screeching while being haunted by neighborhood houses decorated for one of the most anticipated holidays for children -- Halloween.

Halloween's history has changed over the years. Centuries ago, Halloween night was known as "devil's night." Superstitious people associated this day with death and supernatural happenings, such as bad omens, black cats, and bats or spiders. Halloween night was known to be one filled with vandalism as well.

Fast forward several hundred years, and you have a more modern, contemporary holiday of fun, food and decorations. Today, Halloween has turned into one filled with lavish costumes, home decorations, and more candy than a dentist cares to know about. Party-goers of all ages dress up in fun, scary or outrageous costumes for school, college and other celebrations.

If you're getting back to the simple ways of life, nothing's better than an easy costume for kids and adults. How about the chiton?

"OK, so not everyone recognizes what the term 'chiton' means," says Kathy Colussy, fashion design instructor, The Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale. "But if I mention the word, 'toga,' we can recall images of togas from movie epics or from college fraternity parties. Our mind conjures up bodies draped, swathed and pinned in bed sheets." The gown is remarkably simple to construct and designed to be belted or draped to flatter any figure. By following the steps below, you're sure to impress everyone at your Halloween party.

Now, it's on to the food portion of your celebration. According to Michael Holderfield, chef instructor at The Art Institute of Houston, families are looking for more creative recipes to entice children to eat more traditional and seasonal favorites, such as pumpkin muffins.

Party and baking instructor Kim Smith, of The Art Institute of Seattle, recommends her pumpkin muffins to start Halloween morning off right. "These are a great start to anyone's morning."

For those wanting to create their own spooky haunted house sounds, they can use tapes or CDs of graveyard sounds, doors slamming or screams. "It's fun to make your own tape of Halloween sounds," says Rob Lehmann, chair of the Audio Production Department at The New England Institute of Art & Communications. "Popular sound effects include doors slamming and people screaming. Kids, and adults, can have so much fun creating their own haunted house sounds." Simply recording such sounds on your tape or CD recorder will allow you to spook those trick-or-treaters.

For further information about The Art Institutes go to the Web site at www.artinstitutes.edu.

Courtesy of ARA Content

 Paranormal Party Provisions

(ARA) - The days are getting shorter, the moon looms larger in the night sky, there's a chill floating in the wind and ghosts and goblins prowl around every corner.

It's Halloween, that wonderful holiday when kids of all ages dress up and have fun. For the younger monsters, this means roaming the streets, looking to return home with as much sugar-saturated "goodness" as they can carry. For those older apparitions, it means costumed get-togethers wild enough to wake the dead or movie marathons starring the creepiest creatures and scariest psychopaths ever imagined.

Whether you're hosting one of these events or just wanting to spice-up the evening, make your Halloween a complete scream with these deliciously devilish ideas.

A costumed Halloween get-together is a tradition that allows us to recapture some childhood memories and have a thrill in the process. But, what's a party without punch? For those of you who haven't scared-up your own formula, try this recipe for a frighteningly flavorful Witches Brew that will definitely take your guests' breath away. Make an effervescent green beverage by mixing something yellow (Mountain Dew or citrus cooler) with something blue (raspberry punch or Pepsi Blue). Add a bit of "spirit" with 12.5 ounces of Kutskova vodka, possibly the best vodka on the market. Complete the effect by filling clean latex gloves with water and placing them in the freezer. After 30 minutes, peel or cut the glove off the ice and float the "disembodied hands" in the punch. Drop a few activated glow-sticks in the punch bowl to produce a supernatural glow.

Another idea that's guaranteed to turn your costumed celebration into a scream is to serve creepy cocktails. Here are two Halloween themed libations that will definitely turn your party into a howling experience and can be garnished with Gummi worms, spiders, flies or other "bugs."

Black Magic

2 ounces Kutskova vodka

2 ounces espresso

mix with ice

add dash of lemon juice

serve with a lime twist

Vampire's Delight

1.5 ounces Kutskova vodka

5 ounces Chambord

.5 ounce raspberry puree

1 ounce cranberry juice

mix in double martini glass

Alternately, what could be more fun and frightening for Halloween night than gathering a few of the "guys and ghouls" to watch some of the greatest horror films ever made? If screenings of "Dracula," "Frankenstein," "Psycho" or "American Werewolf In London" are in your plans, find an equally festive wine to match. Luna di Luna's goblin-green bottled Pinot Bianco/Sauvignon has an "intriguing nose" and tropical fruit flavors that are ideal for this occasion. Also dressed-up perfectly for Halloween is Luna di Luna's phantasm-purple bottled Sangiovese/Merlot: A truly exceptional 70/30 combination of chic Sangiovese and smooth Merlot, it has achieved honors for its exquisite taste and rich velvety aroma. After the wines are finished, the bottles will make for decorative candleholders that add to the eerie ambiance.

A nonalcoholic drink idea that should send a chill up your guests' spines is a frosty beverage called Goblin Goop. For this drink, simply empty a can of orange juice concentrate, 12 ounces of white grape juice, a 2-liter bottle of Sprite and one pint of lemon or lime sherbet into a large punch bowl. After mixing up the ingredients, drizzle in green food coloring and stir to give your concoction a slimy green appearance. This recipe serves six to eight people.

What would a party or movie marathon be without finger foods? Try a creepy little treat called Troll Fingers. For this ghoulish delight you will need two or three chicken breasts cut into jagged strips. Dip the slices in a wash of beaten eggs and whole milk, then batter them in a mixture of flour, breadcrumbs and cayenne pepper. Fry the fingers in olive oil until golden brown. Add "fingernails" made from pitted black olives sliced in half. Serve with Caesar or ranch dressing as a dipping sauce.

In keeping with the things-that-go-bump-in-the-night theme, try serving up Spider Bites. First take two rolls of pre-made dough and make two sets of bread balls, one roughly half the size of your palm and the other set the size of your thumb nail. With a third roll, make a thin snake out of the dough and break it up into little leg sections. Assemble the dough balls and legs into spider shapes with the large ball as the body, small ball as the head and eight leg sections coming out of the center. Before placing the spiders into the oven, glaze the dough with egg yolk and make a half-dollar sized crater in the center of the spider's body with your thumb. Bake the spiders at 350 degrees for 15 to 18 minutes. While the spiders are cooking, make your choice of ham salad, tuna salad, egg salad, crab dip or spinach-artichoke dip. After removing the spiders from the oven, let them cool for 10 minutes and then fill the creation with the salad or dip. This recipe makes enough to serve three to five people.

The spirit of Halloween always brings out the kid in all of us. So, however you decide to celebrate Halloween, remember to serve the most paranormal provisions to your guests and fully capture the essence of this haunted holiday. Just remember to stock up on candy for the wee monsters prowling about.

Courtesy of ARA Content