Trick and Treat!

The Southern Gazette - - EDITORIAL -

Hal­loween.

While of­fi­cially cel­e­brated Oct. 31, it is one of those hol­i­days (like Christ­mas) with a “spirit” that tran­scends the day it­self, bleed­ing into the chilly weeks be­fore­hand as peo­ple of all ages be­gin plan­ning their cos­tumes and fes­tiv­i­ties.

If you’re un­lucky enough to be a dude like me around this time of year, chances are you’re go­ing to be the brunt of a few “tricks” from your less-than­ma­ture (but ad­mit­tedly, very fun) friends.

Grow­ing up in So­ma­lia, Nur hadn’t had the plea­sure of our western candy and cos­tume­ori­ented hol­i­day, and upon mov­ing to Canada it be­came a fas­ci­na­tion for him. When I ques­tioned him about his love for Hal­loween, he ad­mit­ted he had heard of it as a child and was al­ways very jeal­ous. Things of a spooky na­ture, he said, were al­ways more se­ri­ous in So­ma­lia where su­per­sti­tions were deeply in­grained in the lo­cal cul­ture.

“Here, witches and ghosts are fun and no­body takes them se­ri­ously. In So­ma­lia, witch­craft is a word that strikes fear into peo­ple’s hearts. Witch hunts still hap­pen there all the time,” my friend ex­plained.

As a young adult in Canada, he was ea­ger to par­tic­i­pate and make up for all the lost Oc­to­ber fun he was de­prived of in child­hood be­cause of ge­og­ra­phy and cul­tural su­per­sti­tion. I ob­served the year be­fore that Nur rel­ished the “trick” as­pect of Hal­loween even more than he did the “treat.” He en­joyed scar­ing young women the most (which I warned him was prob­a­bly a very bad idea) by dress­ing up as a scare­crow and stand­ing still, only to pounce out when they least ex­pected it, yelling So­ma­lian pro­fan­i­ties and ef­fec­tively ter­ror­iz­ing them.

I was there­fore un­der­stand­ably skep­ti­cal when he in­vited me over to his apart­ment for a Hal­loween “sur­prise.” I was ex­pect­ing some sort of jump scare to hap­pen, so I was on edge even as I rode the el­e­va­tor up to his floor. As my ap­pre­hen­sion peaked, I knocked on his door and waited to be star­tled. In­stead, he opened the door smil­ing and em­braced me in his stan­dard overly-friendly bear hug.

“Terry, my friend, I bake a cake! You a baker, you tell me if it is good, yes?”

I fol­lowed him into the kitchen and sure enough, there was a cake.

It was quite large, and lav­ishly dec­o­rated with var­i­ous Hal­loween choco­lates. On top was a dome topped with whipped cream and frost­ing to de­pict a hu­man skull jut­ting from a faux grave made from choco­late frost­ing, cake bits and a card­board head­stone. I was gen­uinely im­pressed at the ef­fort and artis­tic flair that went in to this Hal­loween cake and con­grat­u­lated him on a job well done.

Grin­ning, he handed me a sharp, dag­ger-like plas­tic fil­let knife and pro­ceeded to tell me a mor­bid story from his child­hood about a young man who came upon a witch while fetch­ing wa­ter. The witch was curs­ing the wa­ter to make the vil­lage peo­ple sick and the young man was forced to kill the witch by stab­bing her in the eye. Ever since, the peo­ple of his vil­lage stab an ef­figy in the eye to keep her evil spirit at bay.

Nur then handed me the knife and with an un­nerv­ing, dour ex­pres­sion asked me to do the same with the cake.

Not want­ing to of­fend him, I took the knife and walked over to the cake to do just that. Be­ing very sec­u­lar, I smiled at the silli­ness of it all be­fore rais­ing the knife to plunge it into the eye of the skull. When my knife came down...

POP!

The cake erupted into an ex­plo­sion of whipped cream, cake bits and frost­ing as I punc­tured the hid­den bal­loon be­neath the whipped cream, which I had mis­taken for a dome of cake – all of which cov­ered me from the chest up.

It star­tled me so badly that I cried out at the top of my lungs and felt my heart skip a beat be­fore ham­mer­ing in my chest.

I an­grily turned to face Nur only to see a hand­ful of ba­nana pud­ding com­ing straight into my face with a wet smack, star­tling me a sec­ond time.

Nur burst into laugh­ter as he held his phone out, tak­ing a video the whole time while my back was turned. I could have struck him but be­gan laugh­ing de­spite my­self.

When our laugh­ter and pro­fan­i­ties died down, he breath­lessly ex­plained be­tween gig­gles that he had made up the story about the witch, had seen this prank done on YouTube and thus ab­so­lutely needed to try it out on me.

He spent three nights pre­par­ing and bak­ing the cake and since I was his only real friend in New­found­land, I was the only one he was com­fort­able prank­ing with it.

I had to ad­mit, it was an amaz­ing Hal­loween trick that also came with a treat. Be­neath the ex­ploded bal­loon there was still an en­tire cake that needed eat­ing. It was de­li­cious, still rid­dled with Hal­loween choco­late can­dies and cov­ered in a rich, choco­late ic­ing along with a few messy globs of whipped cream. We ate al­most half of it as I cleaned up and bor­rowed one of his shirts, while he added mine to his laun­dry and spent the rest of the evening play­ing Call of Duty.

The fol­low­ing is the recipe and method that Nur used to make... Di­rec­tions - Bake cake as di­rected and let it cool. Once cooled, care­fully hol­low out a space for the bal­loon to fit in the cen­tre, be­ing sure to keep th­ese cake scraps to use later.

Blow up a bal­loon as much as pos­si­ble to keep it tight for eas­ier pop­ping. Place one heap­ing ta­ble­spoon of frost­ing on the bot­tom of the pan in the hol­low you cre­ated and use this to stick the bal­loon in place like glue. Spread the re­main­ing frost­ing on the re­main­ing cake sur­face and cover this again with left­over cake crumbs so it re­sem­bles soil, adding the Hal­loween choco­lates/can­dies to de­pict rocks or stones.

Cut head­stone out of card­board and dec­o­rate as you wish with mark­ers, stick­ing it to the top end of the cake so it re­sem­bles a grave. Next, chill bowl and uten­sils used to make whipped cream. Once chilled, whip cream on high speed with the above in­gre­di­ents un­til it forms stiff peaks. Spread this evenly over bal­loon and us­ing some black food colour­ing, a small paint­brush and a small amount of wa­ter, paint a skull face on the whipped cream so the dome it­self be­comes a skull stick­ing out of the “grave.”

I was so im­pressed with this Hal­loween prank that I couldn’t help but write my first Hal­loween food col­umn about it. It re­mains one of my favourite Hal­loween mem­o­ries and it’s an in­sanely fun trick I would like to see pop­ping up (pun in­tended) from time to time in house­holds is­land-wide around the end of Oc­to­ber. Try it! Get your kids in­volved. Scare the jumpin’s out of some­one (who doesn’t have a heart con­di­tion, prefer­ably) and cre­ate some fun Hal­loween mem­o­ries for your­selves! Mix it up by mak­ing a jack-olantern or a zom­bie face rather than your stan­dard skull. Get cre­ative! And have a lit­tle trick with your Hal­loween treats!

P.S. If you’re won­der­ing about whether I got Nur back for the pop­ping bal­loon prank, let’s just say that I baked him a cake too... one that was equally as “ex­plo­sive” in the end thanks to a spe­cial in­gre­di­ent that tends to keep one ... reg­u­lar.

Happy Hal­loween!

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