It’s no secret how much we dig Halloween around here. In this family, October comes with a giant helping of family fun and tradition. All month long, it’s hayrides to the pumpkin patch; jack o’ lantern carving with the neighbors, costumes galore, scary decorations, spooky stories by the fire pit and, of course, monster movies.
Now that my kids are a little older (read: past the age where a scary movie means they’ll be sleeping in my bed until January) we’re enjoying some great monster movies together…both silly and scary. The “so bad they’re good” B-movie classics always get a laugh out of my teenage sons; I’ve even managed to get them to sit through some of my favorite modern vampire and werewolf flicks.
But for these guys, all my best monsters and maniacs—including that perennial bogeyman Michael Myers—pale before one species of creature that has completely captured their imaginations: Zombies!
Apart from being completely terrified by the original “dead” movie when I saw it in college, I never really gave zombies much thought. But evidently I’m in the minority because we are in the midst of a true zombie renaissance. Over the past decade or so, zombies have clawed right out of their graves and into books, TV shows, and movies like never before.
Zombies are, indeed, a “thing.” Even the Centers for Disease Control has jumped on the bandwagon, using the fictional threat of a zombie apocalypse as an entertaining tool to teach people how to prepare for actual emergencies. The agency has a zombie website, posters and everything. From a marketing and social media perspective, I think it’s brilliant.
There are plenty of theories floating around the Internet and in academic circles as to why zombies are so popular. Yes, they may represent technological alienation, or perhaps they’re a means to deal with our collective anxiety, but I have a theory of my own: the make-up artists did it. Zombies are probably really, really fun for make-up artists and, let’s face it, kind of cool in their own right. I know I’ve had a blast doing zombie makeup on my kids the past few Halloweens, and I’m a complete amateur.
So this October, I’m embracing the zombie: zombie movies, zombie costumes, zombie decorations, and even zombie snacks. My hollow-eyed ghouls will be shuffling around while noshing on these Green Halloween Zombies. Made with whole-grain popcorn, they’re simple make, delicious and—almost—too scary to eat.
Green Halloween Zombies
Yield: About 7 pieces (4 ½ x 3 ½ inches each)
• 2 ½ quarts popped popcorn
• 6 tablespoons butter or margarine
• 3 cups mini marshmallows
• 4 tablespoons lime gelatin powder
• Red gum balls, candy corn, flat green candy strips (or fruit leather), green sugar sprinkles
1. Place popcorn in a large bowl; set aside.
2. Melt butter over medium heat in a medium saucepan. Stir marshmallows into butter until melted. Stir in gelatin powder until evenly colored. Pour over popcorn and stir until evenly coated. With buttered hands, shape popcorn into 7 oval shapes.
3. Flatten one oval shape slightly and squeeze one end to form a ‘skull’ shape. Place onto parchment lined baking sheet. Repeat with remaining shapes.
4. To decorate: Press two gumballs into each skull to form ‘eyes’. Press candy corn into skull to from ‘teeth’. Use scissors to trim candy strips and press into top for ‘hair’. Sprinkle with sugar sprinkles.
5. Allow ‘zombies’ to set for about 20 minutes before wrapping individually in plastic wrap (or serve immediately).