Hooty House sits at the top of a haunted lane. It's a place of cobwebs, crooked shutters, caved-in ceilings, and nesting owls. Dead leaves blow across the weedy yard, and deader things crouch in the darkness.
Enter if you dare.
As you walk up the dark hill, creepy-crawly things skitter into the shadows. You stop by a Writing Spider's web, admiring her handiwork, the fuzzy Ws, Vs, and Ms. What is she writing? A novel or a warning?
A cold finger presses into the nape of your neck. You shiver. Maybe you should run.
Or maybe your imagination has gone wild?
"Where there is no imagination, there is no horror."
--Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
"Be wary, then; best safety lies in fear."
--Hamlet, William Shakespeare
Come on in, sugar, and sit a spell.
We'll just eat you up...with kindness and not (too much) ketchup.
"A house is never still in darkness to those who listen intently; there is a whispering
in distant chambers, an unearthly hand presses against the window, the latch rises. Ghosts were created when the first man woke in the night."
--The Little Minister (1891) J.M. Barrie
Don't be scared, my pretties.
Inside Hooty House, it's not too frightful...unless white pumpkins make you nervous. Legend has it that colorless pumpkins were, once upon a time, bright orange until they were touched by a ghoul. Other people say that vampires are responsible--they just love to use white pumpkins for anti-aging smoothies.
Anemic pumpkins aren't the only decorations at Hooty House.
Refreshments will be served in the belfry. No worries: most of our bats aren't infected with rabies. And the spiders are only a tad poisonous.
If you have a food request, just ask our skeleton staff.
Honey Teriyaki Beef Chochos
When visiting a haunted house, it's wise to tuck breadcrumbs in your pocket. Ghosts will leave you alone if you feed them.
Here at Hooty House, you might bump into a vampire or two, but don't worry: our appetizers are festooned with wooden stakes.
Chorizo-Stuffed Bacon Wrapped Dates
adapted from a recipe in Taste of the South magazine
1 T olive oil
4 oz chorizo sausage
1 shallot, chopped** (I added this, along with onion salt, garlic salt, and dash of Tabasco)
4 T cream cheese
1 T chopped parsley
1/4 t. crushed red pepper
6 slices bacon
12 large dates, pitted
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Remove casings from chorizo and chop sausage into fine bits. Pour olive oil into a large frying
pan and heat. Add sausage and shallots; cook until browned. This combo cooks fast, so watch it carefully. Drain sausage and set aside. (Reserve pan.)
Place sausage/shallots in a small bowl. Add cream cheese, parsley, and pepper. Mix well.
Add bacon to the skillet and cook gently--don't brown.
Remove bacon, drain, and cut in half crosswise (I used scissors).
Sort through dates, selecting the softest ones. Don't use any date that's hardened.**
Stuff each date with the sausage mixture, about 1/2 teaspoon.
Wrap bacon strip around the date and spear with toothpick.
Place dates on a Pam-sprayed baking sheet.
Cook 5 minutes. Turn dates. Cook 5 more minutes or until bacon has browned.
Remove pan from oven and place dates on paper towels.
The dates are quite sweet and chewy, so be sure to use the softest ones.
Shallots are highly recommended.
Idea: try sausage in stuffed mushrooms.
I used the leftover chorizo mixture to make terrific meatballs. My family snapped them up before I could get a picture. You can make the meatballs by following the
above recipe, skipping the dates and bacon and adding 1 beaten egg and breadcrumbs. Roll into balls and bake, turning the balls halfway through the 12 minute cooking period.
Our spooky Heart of Tomato soup is served with garlic-and-herb croutons, a well-known vampire repellent.
If you are nipped by an invisible, ghostly spider, the antidote is carbohydrates.
Libations are whipped up by Minnie Pause, the resident herbalist.
Step away from the ruby slippers and no one will get hurt.
As you leave, bid farewell to the spirits.
Come back soon to Hooty House.
The Boo Crew hopes you had a frightfully good time.