Ice Capades

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Pumpkins with dry iceNo Halloween party is complete without some freaky ice tricks!

Eyeball Ice Cubes

These were the single biggest hit of the party.  I made a ton of eyeball-shaped ice cubes with blueberry pupils that floated blueberry-side up in everyone’s drinks and stared at them.  Here’s how to do it:

  • Find a round-shaped ice tray or egg carton.  I used a plastic egg carton, which worked perfectly.  If you don’t have plastic egg cartons at home, the styrofoam ones might work or look around for some of those silicon ice trays that come in different shapes.
  • Place one blueberry in the center of each pit in your egg carton/ice tray.  Pour a small amount of water into each that covers the blueberry halfway or a bit more.  Pop in the freezer for a couple hours.  *You must fill the trays in steps because otherwise the blueberry will float to the top of the water and you won’t have a very convincing looking eyeball.
  • Once the blueberry is frozen in place, fill the pits all the way and freeze.
  • Voila!  You have some freaky looking ice cubes!
Variation
  • If you have access to an Asian grocery store, I recommend buying some tapioca pearls instead of blueberries.  They may take some more preparation because you’ll probably want to boil them and soak them in syrup before you use them.  However, I noticed nobody actually ATE the blueberries last year after their ice melted.  The pearls, on the other hand, are made to go in drinks and will probably turn out to be a yummy alternative.

 

The Frozen Hand in the Punch Bowl

This is a popular one that can be found many places online.  (My favorite is here)  However, I noticed none of these sites ever explain how to get the hand to stand UP in the punch bowl, so I will :)

  • Take two plastic gloves, rinse/wash them and turn them inside out.  (make at least TWO because it’s no fun when the first hand melts too fast)
  • Fill them with water as far as you can and tie shut with a rubber band or a good snack clip.
  • Pop in the freezer overnight so that it freezes solid.  I positioned mine on a bag of frozen veggies in the freezer so that it had a bit more “believable” shape.
  • Now, I made a big base so that my hands would stand up in the punch.  I took some simple take-out tupperware (so any medium-sized bowl or deep dish will do) and filled it about ¾ of the way with water.  Freeze that overnight too.
  • The next day, carefully remove the glove.  You may want to set it out for a minute or run it under cold water so that the glove is easier to remove.
  • Now the tricky part: place the hand on top of the block of ice and fill the remaining ¼ with water.  It does not stand on it’s own, but I was able to prop the hand against the shelf in the freezer while it finished freezing.
  • Pop the base out of the tupperware and place it in the punch when you’re ready to go!
Note
  • I’ve read a few places that stress using a plastic glove (like the big ugly yellow ones) instead of latex for easier removal.  Truth be told, I made about four of these suckers last year and no matter how careful I was, I lost a finger every time.  In the end, I took the broken finger and propped it on the base so that it looked like it had fallen off.  Ew.
Variations
  • An easier way to make the base may be to find a can/jar (like a coffee can) that the hand will not fit into entirely.  Set the hand on the jar and fill it with water until the base of the hand is submerged.   I’ve also read that you can prop the hand in a glass (without a frozen base entirely), put the glass in the middle of the punch bowl and fill the bowl with punch around it.
  • You can add all sorts of things to the water in the glove to make it more interesting.  The favorites are jello or red food coloring, but since I’m terribly allergic to all things artificially red, I went with orange juice.
  • Another fantastic alternative is to fill the glove with TONIC water.  Under a black light, the frozen tonic water will glow.
 photo: Mike Bowler
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