Good Cryptkeeping: Sweet Treats and Freaky Eats

Zombies shamble the ruins of your town, desperately seeking human flesh to shove into their gaping maws. Werewolves stalk the moors, blurs of fur and paws silent on the damp earth as they hunt for their favorite game. Vampires eye the throats of their intended with blazing eyes, feeling that familiar parch on their tongues that can only be satiated by the blood of the living. Hey, everyone knows what it’s like to have the munchies, moreover when you’re a creature of the night and not just any snack will suffice! But when you have a specific creepy craving, where do you turn? When your pantry is as barren as a recently-exhumed sarcophagus, what will you find to quell that growling, eager sound coming from the hollow of your belly?

Lucky for you, there are plenty of independent shops out there churning out spooky snacks and devious drinks. Whether you’re hosting a party or just looking for a new brew for your coffee mug in the morning, as always I’ve scoured and sampled and done the legwork to bring you a highlight reel featuring some of the best artisanal horror-themed food and drink vendors and products. So kick back and prepare to let your mouth water… it makes your fangs nice and shiny.

I am personally not a coffee drinker, but luckily I have many friends who swear by the stuff, and so when researching the best ways to rise from your tomb I stumbled across Cult Classic Coffee. This brand doesn’t have too many varieties to offer, but what they do have on their roster are all delicious, high-quality beans ready to take you to a java jamboree. The blends have fun themes based on Twin Peaks, of course, The X-Files, Friday the 13th and Nightmare on Elm Street, and everything from French roasts to lighter fare to delicious espresso. You get a generous serving in a resealable bag with fun, clean horror label art for a very reasonable price. My friend who sampled the “Never Sleep Again” blend said it was a rich dark roast that was strong enough to keep him going all day and tasted easily as good or better as the name-brand beans he usually brews in the mornings. The brand is relocating to a new site very soon, so be sure to check them out there too!

Use coupon code CCC2018 to get 10% off your purchase until the end of August 2018!

There’s also the fantastic shop Hang Me, who specialize in fun and funky home items. From custom horror piñatas (the perfect touch to any party, and definitely a conversation piece) to Happy Meal boxes (the Trick ‘r Treat one I got came with a tiny Sam figure as the ‘toy’!), you can find amazing gift ideas. The shop also features their own blends of coffee; my favorite is the S’mores flavored Friday the 13th blend, although the pumpkin spice Michael Myers blend smelled heavenly when it was brewing as well! I don’t love the taste of coffee but that Crystal Lake variety had me wanting to share a cup with the Boy in the Lake, if you know what I mean! One of my favorite products of theirs is their re-design of Jiffy Pop, the classic stovetop popcorn; the Scream one in particular is a clever nod, but they also have many more horror movies featured. The novelty of their stuff is surpassed only by the quality and creativity; I love this shop and they’re the perfect place to grab a snack!

hangme1.jpg

If coffee isn’t your jibe, there are plenty of creepy teas to brew in your cauldron as well. The Literary Tea Company feature a huge assortment of blends themed around famous authors; here you’ll find Mary Shelley, Edgar Allen Poe and many other staples of the horror genre. The teas come in beautiful embossed tins and smell amazing, and you can get anything from fruit blends to smokier, woodsy herbal teas. These are perfect for gift-giving and look classy enough to fit on any countertop while still maintaining the spooky street cred. These do ship from the UK, so be prepared for shipping costs and slightly elevated postage times if you do indulge, but they are well worth the purchase.

literaryteaco.jpg

My personal favorite independent tea company is Kiper’s Little Tea Shop, however. Herbal teas infused with all-natural ingredients, Kiper’s has an enormous selection of blends and one entire section dedicated just to horror movies. The teas are impossibly fragrant and claim to help with things like headaches, nausea, insomnia and more. They come unsweetened, allowing you to customize them to your own taste; however, the best thing about Kiper’s in my opinion is that you can purchase the teas in anything from single-serving samplers (around $1 each) to huge tins that cost approximately $20. This broad range allows you to try tons of flavors without breaking your piggy bank and then go back for larger quantities of the ones you love later! The teas have a great assortment of ingredients as well. The ‘Child’s Play’ tea for example, themed for Chucky of course, features cacao nibs, safflower and hibiscus blended into black tea. From Dracula, Wolfman and the Mummy to more contemporary creepers like Jigsaw, The Blair Witch and Carrie, there are blends for any horror fan.

kipers.jpg

Some people prefer their tongues to be singed with the very fires of Hell itself; if that’s the case, I found a spice company that will have you pleading for the nearest Black Lagoon to soothe your taste buds. Marvling Brothers Ltd have cornered the market on hellish custom-made seasoning blends that will test your mettle; not since Cropsey have you seen a burning like this! The “Horror Mix” box from Marvling Brothers Ltd is a large matchbox (adorable packaging) loaded with some of the rarest and hottest chili powders ever tested. Among the mix is a world-champion Carolina Reaper blend, rated at 2,200,000 SHU, their own blend of Zombie (rated at 1,500,000 SHU), and the former world champ Naga Viper. The blends are in glass bottles that make them great for storage or gift-giving to that spice-lover in your life, and just a pinch will bring any chili or salsa to epidemic proportions. They also come with some fun little ‘fact’ cards that look like tarot artwork. This company makes plenty of delicious tongue-teasing seasonings, but this one in particular would do the Sawyer clan proud the next time they make some good old fashioned Texas chili.

Marvlings.jpg

After burning your tongue, you might need something sweet to soothe it; don’t worry! Hansel and Gretel might’ve found a house made out of cookies and candy, but they weren’t the only ones who stumbled upon some fantastic treats in unlikely places. There are many bakers and confectionaries who have realized that the way to someone’s heart is through their stomach (by way of their ribcage), and they’re focusing on amazing cookies, candies and cakes to win over even those “I’m not a dessert person” people. (Seriously, where do those come from?)

First up is Olivia’s Sweets, who started her business at 16 and owned her first bakery at 18. The cookies are all made and decorated by hand by a single baker, who pours every bit of her own love and passion into her beautiful concoctions. She’s worked for celebrities, red-carpet events and Fortune 500 companies. Her cookies are delicious sugar cookies with hand-painted frosting in amazing pop culture designs; whether you want the Bride of Frankenstein, The Rugrats, or the wrestlers of Glow, Jenna has you covered.

The Cookie Exchange, run by another young woman named Brandy (author’s note: don’t you LOVE supporting small female-owned businesses? Ghoul power!) prides herself in customized sugar cookies as well, and says she can do any movie; her shop features lots of variety, so we believe it! However, The Night of the Living Dead cookies she turns out are beyond adorable, and would make amazing treats for a movie night or themed wedding. We’re coming to eat you, Barbara!

cookieexchange.jpg

SugarBuff is another small home bakery killing it at the custom horror cookie game; from portraits of Edgar Allen Poe to Bruce from Jaws, you can literally find any character to make your special event complete. With a 10-day turnaround time, SugarBuff has plenty of adorable creepy treats to satisfy your sweet fang; painted royal icing and fresh-baked sugar cookies ensure your items taste as good as they look!

If you don’t want to get caught with your hand in the cookie jar, the candy game is strong as well. Conjurer’s Kitchen may ship from the UK and be a little on the pricey side, but you aren’t going to get anything cooler than a chocolate death mask of Vincent Price (made from his actual death-mask life cast mold!) or a delicious little fetal skull. The items are all hand-painted with food coloring and covered in edible varnish, which means they look incredibly realistic and gorgeous on display but still melt in your mouth. In today’s edition of ‘The Coolest Things I’ve Seen Today’, Conjurer’s also makes edible greeting cards with human anatomy drawings, Ouija boards and more printed on them. This shop has me in awe of their confectionary skills, and everything in there truly is a mix of food and macabre art.

LIQNYC is a candy shop that’s been patronized by everyone from James Cameron to Scream Queens, and their products have a unique beauty that makes it easy to see why. Their online store specializes in everything from pretzel rods dipped in toppings to white chocolate skull lollipops, but my personal favorites are the eyeball lollipops made of hard candy. These vibrantly painted peepers would be the talk of any fete, and they do custom orders as well for special events or occasions.

Finally, when you’re done eating and drinking all of these delightful treats, you’re going to need a way to clean it all up! That’s where Undead Threads comes in. Undead Threads makes some of the absolute cutest dish and tea towels around, with high-quality embroidery, bright thread colors and unique, adorable designs. These would be the perfect accent to any creepy kitchen (there’s a Pennywise one glaring at me from the handle of my oven door as I type this) or a great housewarming gift to any of your skeleton crew! I was impressed both by the weave of the towel itself--- this is no cheap piece of fabric, it’s a very absorbent waffle-weave and soft and feels nice on your hands!--- to the durability of the embroidery. I’ve tossed it in the washer twice so far and not a popped thread or loose stitch in sight. These are a beautiful, understated way to bring some doom and gloom to a kitchen (or guest bathroom… or wherever you might need a towel, really).

When it comes to what you reach for when it’s time to satisfy those cravings, life’s too short for boring snacks or tedious drinks. Instead, consider supporting these innovative and awesome small businesses who are dedicated to filling your bellies with horror-themed concoctions and having a screaming good time along the way!

Amanda Rebholz