Fear not, aspiring Halloween hosts and hostesses. TV personality and lifestyle expert Evette Rios is serving up an array of fun recipes and DIY decorating ideas through the Fanta and OREO Spooky Snack Lab found on Nabisco's Pinterest page, and Rios' website and YouTube channel.
And be warned: all are frighteningly easy.
We caught up with the host of Dream Quest with Evette Rios on the CW Network and Recipe Rehab on CBS – and a mom herself – about her love of Halloween and how parents can turn their kitchens into their very own Spooky Snack Labs this season.
WHAT ABOUT THIS PROJECT EXCITED YOU?
I grew up in a very DIY family. Every Halloween, my mom and I would make my costume together. We’d look around the house to see what we could creatively repurpose, then go to our local Goodwill and pick things off the rack. I remember wanting to dress up as a lion one year, and we took a mop head and dyed it. Now more and more busy parents – and I’m one of them, so I can relate – are putting their kids in store-bought Halloween costumes. I felt like this was a great opportunity to inspire moms and dads to get creative about Halloween with fun, easy ideas. For me, the experience connected back to what was it was like in my family growing up.
WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT HALLOWEEN?
As a Latina, Halloween has always been about family gatherings. It’s also the one opportunity you have during the year to be and do whatever you want. Your id or your alter ego can have fun and go a little crazy. And here in New York, where I grew up and still live, Halloween is an amazing, magical holiday.
YOU CREATED OVER A DOZEN HOW-TO VIDEOS FOR THE FANTA AND OREO SPOOKY SNACK LAB. ANY FAVORITES?
I was really proud of the Creepy Fanta Petri Dishes. Basically what we did was find petri dishes online and play around with adding gelatin to Fanta. It tasted really good! You can make your own and add creepy creatures – gummy worms and insects. We knew everyone would love them. We also did these adorable Nutter Butter Bees. I remember loving Nutter Butter cookies as a kid, and we saw they looked like bees, so we played around with dipping them into different things. They were so fun to make and turned out really great. All of them were fun, though, and we would have shot even more if we had time… we had a bunch more ideas.
WHY DO FANTA AND HALLOWEEN MAKE THE PERFECT PAIR?
I’m Latina, as mentioned, and I have lots of friends from Latin America. Fanta is a ubiquitous drink for Latin Americans, so I grew up with it. It was so fun to play with the Fanta orange color for this project. One thing we did was use Fanta, olive oil and antacid tablets to make Fanta Lava Lamps in this perfect orangey color. I remember getting a package of Fanta samples, and my mind was blown. The box was loaded with flavors of Fanta I didn’t know existed. Let’s just say my kitchen turned into a very spooky, messy lab for a few weeks!
WHAT DO YOU HOPE MOMS AND DADS TAKE AWAY FROM THE SPOOKY SNACK LAB?
I hope they feel like giving these a shot. We include step-by-step instructions for each recipe or project, but all of them can be tweaked and personalized. We want to inspire moms and dads to make them their own. There’s so much pressure today for parents, especially those hosting a Halloween or trick-or-treat party, to be super creative and organized. The videos we made are campy and fun... we want to show that we can all be perfectly imperfect during Halloween.
WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS FOR HALLOWEEN?
We have a house in a small town in Pennsylvania called Saylorsburg, about 90 minutes from New York City. The area has become a go-to Halloween destination, so we’re planning to head there. It’s well known for a crazy haunted house called the Hotel of Horror, which is across the street from one of largest corn mazes on the East Coast.
SOUNDS FUN! WE’RE JUST ABOUT OUT OF TIME. ANY FINAL TIPS FOR BUSY PARENTS LOOKING TO GIVE THEIR KIDS A SPECIAL HALLOWEEN?
I personally believe fostering imagination is one of the biggest gifts we can give our kids. As adults, we realize creative thinking is so crucial. I suggest inviting your kids to decide what they want to be for Halloween, and then trying not to rely on store-bought costumes. Get creative. Because Halloween is not about having the perfect costume; it’s about creating an opportunity for your kids to express themselves and have fun.