Madison Halloween is an international legend. I say international because I'm fairly certain some Japanese tourist were taking pictures of my group costume last year when I was celebrating with friends downtown. If you haven't heard the tales of Halloween on State Street in Madison, let me be the first, this is people watching at it's finest. In fact, look at this crazy group.
Yep, that's me with the yellow balloons. This was my third Madison Halloween and the first one were I felt quite confident that my costume met the high standard of State Street.
If you're thinking of celebrating Halloween in Wisconsin's capital this year, here are some tips for having an awesome Madison Halloween:
- Find the best spot for Halloween. State Street isn't for everyone, in fact, a few years ago, in an attempt to control the gigantic party, the city of Madison hired an event company to block of the streets. The $8 ticket to Freak Fest deterred some people, and while the State Street experience has calmed down some, it's still quite rowdy. If you're looking for a more family friendly option, take the kiddos to the Henry Villas Zoo for trick or treating on October 21.
- Make sure your costume will get past security. If you do decided to join in Freak Fest on State Street, swords, magic wands and anything that can "poke an eye out" will be confiscated when you enter State Street for Madison Halloween, so leave those props at home.
- It's better together. Organizing a group costume takes a ton of coordination, but the larger the group, the more impressive.
- Go homemade over store-bought. Anyone can go BUY a costume, but creativity and resourcefulness count in Madison.
Speaking of homemade, this is a food blog so I suppose I should mention some Halloween food. This cute little pumpkin is actually a cheese ball! Here's the recipe:
Pumpkin Cheese Ball
Adapted from CookingChannel.com by Amanda
2 (8oz) packages of cream cheese, softened (Take it out of the fridge several hours before you start so it is soft and easy to work with.)
1 1/2 cup shredded Wisconsin cheddar cheese
1 teaspoon jalapeno, minced (I removed the seeds because I'm a whimp but if you like it spicy, leave 'em in.)
2 teaspoons cumin
2 tablespoons salsa
1 stem from a bell pepper (Pick out a pepper with a nice looking stem at the grocery store, use the pepper for something else, maybe omelets?)
12 Original flavor (orange!) Doritos, crushed
Tortilla chips, dark blue/black ones look festive!
- Put the first five ingredients (cream cheese through salsa) in the bowl of a stand mixer and blend until ingredients are well combined. If you don't have a stand mixer you can put it in a bowl and use a handheld electric mixer, or good old fashioned elbow grease, but the power tools make quick work of it so I recommend those.
- Form the cheese in to a pumpkin like ball and chill in the refrigerator for two hours or more. Now is a good time to put on your Halloween costume.
- Before you head off to the Halloween party, roll the ball in the crushed Doritos.
- Put the cheese ball on the plate with the chips and stick the pepper stem in the top. If you want to make a face, break up some chips to make the eyes and mouth and gently stick them on. It took me a few tries to get them the way I wanted so hang in there.