A Halloween theme


Over the years I’ve been asked to judge tailgate contests at stadiums of huge BCS colleges all the way down in size to local prep schools. Every single contest had a central theme thought up by its planners.  People were judged, on a small part, as to their adherence to a central idea. It was fun to see all the different ways people followed the overall contest theme.

Halloween black/orange napkins and tablecloths are available from all sorts of outlets as are real pumpkins.  These pumpkins can be carved with your team logo or Letter.  Orange Jello-shots are easy to make from the recipe is on my website.  Corn chips are available in orange and black colors and all your cream based dips can be dyed with orange or black food coloring.  Decorate with a dummy of the opponent’s mascot hung by a noose and a witch’s hat and broom on display. How about setting up a cardboard RIP, gray, tombstone for your opponents? The important thing is to change things up and have fun.

Pumpkin Bars

Pumpkin Walnut Praline Bars (from www.tailgatershandbook.com)


Pie crust (pre-made) to fit 9/13

1 cup solidly packed canned pumpkin

3 large eggs

2/3 cups light brown sugar packed

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp. nutmeg

3/4 cup evaporated milk


1/2 cup packed light brown sugar

1 tablespoon unbleached all purpose flour

2 Tbs. unsalted butter, softened

1 cup chopped walnuts


Preheat the oven to 350. Roll the dough and trim it to fit. Brush with egg whites and place it into buttered 9/13 dish/pan and chill in the fridge until ready to bake. Mix the pumpkin, eggs brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg with a whisk until smooth. Gradually stir in evaporated milk until blended. Now pour the mixture over the crust in the baking pan and bake for 25 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and let it stand for at least 5 minutes. Meanwhile, mix the brown sugar and flour in a bowl. Now, add the butter and mix with a fork or your fingers until crumbly. Add the walnuts and stir to blend. Sprinkle this mixture over the pumpkin bars and return the bars to the oven for 15 more minutes or until lightly browned. Cool on a rack before cutting into bars. This will make 24 small bars.

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