Unless you practice Ashura or live in one of those areas that take Good Friday very seriously, the year’s bloodiest holiday is probably Halloween, and it is just around the corner (though not everyone is excited about it). Reason enough to have a collection of some fun bloody notes.
Be it costumes or decorations, many Halloween devotees place a great deal of emphasis on realism. Duke Harten helps us be realistic when it comes to one of the most unrealistic ghouls: the vampire. Over at Medium, he calculates how much blood a vampire would actually need. The short answer is that it depends on how you define the bloodsucker: is it a big sanguivore? A huge bat might need 55 liters per day! Or does it just have to satisfy the same caloric needs as a human? A “mere” five liters might quench that thirst. Duke concludes that a vampire having to hide among humans might get away with a victim or two a week. So make sure to stock up on the good stuff. And remember what we discussed last year: blood rave parties may be fun, but they certainly aren’t bloody, so save the money.
If that piqued your interest in sanguivores, I recommend Prof. Bill Schutt’s great book, Dark Banquet, a biologist’s exploration of the topic, covering not only the bats, but leeches, fleas, bed bugs, candiru, and the creature I loathe most on this planet: ticks. His book’s site also has a great list of recipes for delicious (and strange) blood dishes.
But I digress. So now you know how much you need for drinking, pouring, or spritzing, where do you get it? Well, most big-box party store or any other place carries stage blood this time of year, and while you may have to go online for glow-in-the-dark, for the perfect matching nail polish, for waterproof blood makeup, or for the right consistency of gel, goo, liquid, or latex, you can also just roll up your sleeves and…make your own.
Thanks to the marvels of the web, you can look up this Wiki that gives you fourteen (!!!) ways to make fake blood, offering a great range, like the edible Realistic Syrup Blood, Simple Red Blood, Chocolate blood, Gelatinous blood, Peanut butter blood, Congealed barbecue sauce blood, Tomato blood, Soy sauce blood splatter, Maple syrup blood, Chocolate Syrup and Coffee blood, and Beetroot blood, but also the Kool Aid blood that you might not want to eat because it contains raw egg, and the INedible Movie blood for splatter and smear, and the Artist supply blood. You can also watch this simple instructional from Steve Spangler Science TV and follow along or play around with the different ingredients to get the shade and consistency you want.
Now, the other part of Halloween is obviously the candy, and many children will again suffer through a holiday that makes them self-conscious and sad if they cannot have any, so consider putting out that teal pumpkin and having some gifts for the kiddos with food allergies, and if your kid is diabetic, make sure you work with them to get the most out of the evil glucose rush. Columbia Unviersity’s Naomi Berrie Diabetes Center put out a handy chart to figure out just which candy pumps what amount into your bloodstream and gives recommendations on handling Halloween with diabetic kids.
And remember, it’s not the sugar that makes the little ones act up. Nor is sweetener necessarily the better alternative. As researchers from the National Institute of Diabetes, Digestive and Kidney Disease at the National Institutes of Health just published in the journal Toxicological & Environmental Chemistry, children and adults absorb artifical sweeteners differently into the blood stream. Sucralose and acesulfame-potassium were found at a higher rate in younger participants, and while the youngest participants were six years old, the researchers hypothesize that the concentration in children under two could be even higher, especially since higher concentrations were found in breast milk.
So maybe just try to have a bloody good time with a sensible amount of sugar and plenty of liquids, be they what they may.