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By Dr. BBQ, Ray Lampe
Halloween is the best holiday of the year for people who like to cross-dress and beg. I must admit that while I've participated in many counter-culture activities, cross-dressing has never made the list, even on Halloween. It might be because there just aren't any good dresses in my size.
Most people have no idea what Halloween really means and why it's called that. Well, getting my doctorate in barbecue included studying some history, so I know the answer. When Christianity became the primary religion in Europe, November 1st became All Saint's Day--a day to honor the saints who, for some unknown reason, didn't have a day dedicated solely to them. The mass performed on All Saint's Day became known as Allhallowmass, ("hallow" meaning to make holy) and the night before became known as All Hallow's Evening, condensed to All Hallow's E'en, and further reduced to Hallowe'en or Halloween.
See how easy that was? Now the tough question: why dress up in costume? To answer a question with a question: Trick or treat? The tradition of going door-to-door and begging for candy on Halloween seems to go back to the Druids, and its origin is not clear. But if you went begging, you were bound to get turned down, so the saying "trick or treat" was born, and that created a problem; if you pulled a trick, people would know who you were. But not if you were in costume! I might point out here that some barbecue aprons, hats, and gloves closely resemble a costume, so if you've got them, all you need to dress up for the Halloween barbecue feast that follows is a mask like the Lone Ranger's. Shave your mustache, too.
There's nothing like a spiced cider to get you ready to beg for candy. If you can find hard cider, you can eliminate the brandy here; if not, use non-alcoholic cider plus the brandy. Serve with a cinnamon stick in each cup if you want.
1 tablespoon whole allspice
1 3-inch cinnamon stick
3 cups hard apple cider
1 cup orange juice
1/2 lemon, sliced
1 teaspoon honey
1/4 cup brandy
Tie the allspice in a piece of cheesecloth. Place in a medium saucepan along with the cinnamon stick, cider, orange juice, lemon slices and honey. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 5 minutes. Remove the spice bag and stir in the brandy.
Yield: 6 servings.