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Opaque and shimmery purple and blue sugar globes with a skull inside and a sparkly, silver sprinkle base
Come, stare into this crystal ball and see weird and wonderful visions (aka Lori’s talent and painstaking artistry)
Lori Castellon

The Most Gorgeously Ghoulish Halloween Food You’ve Ever Seen

It's creepy, it's crawly... and it's a spellbinding work of art

Neil Patrick Harris is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Wondercade. In his spare time he also acts — fairly well, too, as his Tony and Emmy Awards can attest.

October 26, 2023 1:17 pm

You know I love Halloween. And Instagram. And food. Sitting at the center of this Harrisian Venn diagram is Lori Castellon, who runs an account called @ghoul.at.heart. Lori specializes in exclusively Halloween food, and it’s as visually arresting as it is worthy of appearing on Count Dracula’s dining room table. And she has a spooky drink recipe to share with you, too! – NPH

Neil Patrick Harris: Hi, Lori. Your creations are brilliant! Tell me, how’d all this start? Did you used to be Dr. Frankenstein’s personal chef?

Lori Castellon: It goes back 10 years ago. I had a normal food blog when my kids were in elementary school. It was about the trials and triumphs of motherhood, and every year I would do special Halloween food. Then I thought, why am I posting about regular food? So when 2020 came around and the pandemic happened, I transitioned to just Halloween food, and Ghoul at Heart was born. I wanted to create elevated Halloween food that I wanted to eat. No kids’ stuff!

Obviously, I make cakes and cookies and everybody likes that. But salads and soups and things like that are more geared toward what I would want to eat. So I work really hard to try and create menus, and I usually work through themes. For instance, “carn-evil,” where I was like, “How do I take classic carnival food and make it creepy?” So I took popcorn and splattered it with red caramel-corn blood. That’s the challenge that I like: “Here’s a theme, here are my parameters.”

NPH: Yeah, I love the rat-shaped meatballs in the Lab Rat Soup and the Queso Contagion.

LC: Those were two examples from my mad scientist theme, and the flavor profile was Mexican or Latin food, so those were my parameters. I thought, “I need to make something savory,” so I thought of meatballs. And if you’re gonna make a meatball, you may as well make it look like a rat. [laughs] I work better with ground rules and parameters, because then it forces you to be creative to solve a problem. I peddle in inspiration: You can take one thing out of what I do and make it your own, or make it exactly the same. That’s what I love, when I see people try what I’ve done and make it their own or improve upon it.

Pink pumpkin shaped potstickers with red jack-o-lantern faces on a matte black board with an orange sauce and black chopsticks
Jack-o’-lantern-shaped potstickers? Cute. Festive. Delicious.
Lori Castellon

NPH: Do you have a food background? ‘Cause your recipes are crazy culinarily creative.

LC: I’m a home chef. I have a cooking school in my community where I did a three-month class, which was really great to enhance my knowledge and more of the foundational stuff, which was very helpful. But for the most part I’m just a home chef that cooks every night. [laughs] I got my degree in biochemistry: I took the biochem route and worked in a lab for a couple years, and then worked in the corporate world. This is my full-time job now. I love being creative.

NPH: What’s the most challenging thing you’ve ever made — and your favorite?

LC: The hardest thing was hands down my Crystal Ball Cookies. They’re seriously beautiful, but I made them with gelatin, and I think if I were a sugar artist, I probably would have done it with ice molds. I spent weeks trying to get the idea to work. You basically blow up a little balloon — water balloons are too thin — but you blow up a regular balloon really small, coat the balloon with the gelatin, and then remove the balloon from it. They were so difficult to make. I made sure to put that out there, like, “Please do not try to make these and curse me!” [laughs]

A recent favorite is my Be Very Alfredo — those turned out so good. Gnocchi itself is so dense and satisfying, but the cream sauce on top is delicious. And then the Char-BOO-terie Crackers. I try to make stuff as simple as possible, because if it’s simple, people will try it.

NPH: Why do you love Halloween? (I mean, you don’t need to preach to this choir…but why not wax poetic for a bit.)

LC: Oh gosh. I’ve always liked Halloween, but even more as an adult. It makes me feel like a kid, makes me remember trick-or-treating and getting dressed up and how fun it is — all the innocence as a child, you get to relive as an adult. When my kids were small, it was fun to live vicariously through them. It’s just an extension of childhood, I think — it gives you permission to be a kid one time a year.

Moon Goddess Latte

My Moon Goddess Latte began as an idea to make a drink for my Witchy and Wonderful Halloween theme. Moon Milk, a warm plant-based drink used holistically to help with sleep, seemed like an obvious starting point. I made it extra special and beautiful by adding edible flowers around a simple stenciled skull made with butterfly pea powder. A stunning, magical and decidedly feminine treat to indulge in self-care and reflection at the end of a long day. (Adapted from a recipe here.)

Neil Note: Oooh, speaking of butterfly pea powder, check out this magical cocktail recipe from Wondercade’s house mixologist, Jonathan Lind — it’s a drink that changes color before your eyes!

A blue latte with skull art in the milk foam decorated beautifully with flowers and petals. Shown from above with blueberries surrounding latte
A gorgeous and ghoulish caffeine boost
Lori Castellon

Moon Goddess Latte

Servings: 1 latte

Copy Ingredients

  • 2 cups almond milk, or your favorite plant-based milk
  • ¼ cup blueberries
  • 2 tbsp. cashews
  • 1 tbsp. blue butterfly pea powder
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • ½ tsp. lavender
  • 2 tbsp. maple syrup or honey
  • 1 tsp. coconut oil
  • ½ cup almond milk (whipped with a small amount of blue butterfly pea powder)
  • Edible flowers, for garnish (optional)

Copy Directions

    1. Add all ingredients (except ½ cup almond milk and edible flowers) to a small saucepan and blend with an immersion blender, or blend in a regular blender. Allow to soak for 30 minutes. Strain to remove solids and heat over medium high heat. Pour into a large cup.

    2. Froth up ½ cup almond milk with a pinch of blue butterfly pea powder with a milk frother and place atop the moon milk. [Wondercade Note: Don’t have a milk frother? Use one of the many alternative methods to froth milk.]

    3. Serve as is, or garnish with skull and edible flowers.

    4. For the skull: I made a simple stencil of a skull out of cardboard and taped it to a bamboo skewer so I could easily hold it over the cup and remove it after sprinkling with blue butterfly pea powder. Then I garnished with the edible flower

A cardboard cut-out of a skull taped to a stick on a black marble background
Here’s how to create that crazy cool skull shape. Your barista’s got nothin’ on this.
Lori Castellon

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