BEAUTY CRAVES: Viva La Calabaza for a boo-tiful Halloween

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Let us celebrate the West Indian pumpkin-like squash popular in Latin markets.

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Pumpkin Spice MuffinCONWAY CONFIDENTIALPumpkin Spice Muffin


Beauty Craves uncovers the essence of the Calabaza – the Spanish pumpkin in the gourd variety – with some food, beauty and libations for a boo-tiful Halloween.

As we celebrate the pumpkin and its spice, let us not forget about the calabaza, a West Indian pumpkin-like squash, popular in the Latin markets and in many recipes like cakes, candies, and stews that can also be carved just like a pumpkin.

The flower of the gourd can be found in Mexican cuisine for quesadilla and empanada dishes. Once you’ve cooked your calabaza or carved the innards of your pumpkin souls, don’t forget about the delicious pepitas inside the calabaza!

Celebrate the season of la calabaza with theses beauty products and recipes to savor all the pumpkin treats that come with the autumn season.

Roasting the perfect pumpkin or calabaza seeds

Any big metal spoon with a short handle will do for scraping your calabaza.

Dump the innards, into a large cold pot of water. You can gently help separate the seeds with your fingers but the seeds will also naturally separate and float to the top and make it so easy for you to now remove them with a strainer.

Spread them out on to a paper towel to dry overnight. The next day, heat a skillet of 3 tablespoons of olive oil to 1 and ½ cup of seeds, 2-3 teaspoons of salt and a few grinds of pepper (or chili pepper) to taste.

Pumpkin Sudsy ShampooCONWAY CONFIDENTIALPumpkin Sudsy Shampoo

Toss and toast until nice and brown, then place back on to a surface lined with paper towels and fold over and then into a bowl. Ready to eat!

The Gnarly Whale’s vegan pumpkin shampoo

Don’t be fooled by this Gnarly Whale’s small bottle or water-based formula – it creates powerful suds.

This vegan shampoo is perfect for dry or fine hair and pumpkin spice lovers who want to savor the scent all day long. $17.00;

The Autumn Old Fashioned

A “Mad Men” favorite, the traditional Old Fashioned which dates back to 1806, gets a sweet and spicy leaf-peeping makeover with this recipe courtesy of The Regency Bar & Grill :

The Regency Bar & Grill Old FashionedCONWAY CONFIDENTIALThe Regency Bar & Grill Old Fashioned

1/2 oz. pumpkin puree

1/4 oz. maple syrup

3/4 oz. Grand Marnier

2 oz. bourbon

5 dashes orange bitters

Shake the ingredients in a shaking tin and double strain over ice into a rocks glass. Garnish with an orange peel. 540 Park Ave. 212-339-4050.

Hillhouse Naturals fresh pumpkin soy blend candle

Pumpkin scented candleCONWAY CONFIDENTIALPumpkin scented candle

This beautiful calabaza candle is inspired by a treasured family recipe for pumpkin pie.

Light it up to smell the rich aroma of spiced cloves, cinnamon, creamy vanilla and a hint of coconut. $26.15;

Magnolia Bakery pumpkin cupcakes

Who can resist a pumpkin cupcake from New York City’s own Magnolia Bakery? Don’t have the time to run out and purchase them? We snagged the recipe:

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour

1 ½ teaspoons baking powder

1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon

Pumpkin SpiceCONWAY CONFIDENTIALPumpkin Spice

1 ½ baking soda

¼ teaspoon salt

1 ¼ cups canned pumpkin puree

1 ¼ cups granulated sugar

¾ cup vegetable oil (preferably canola)

3 large eggs, at room temperature

½ cup coarsely chopped toasted pecans

Preheat to 350 degrees. Line muffin pans with cupcake papers. Then in a medium size bowl, whisk together baking powder, the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt.

Pumpkin Pie Cologne Spray from DemeterCONWAY CONFIDENTIALPumpkin Pie Cologne Spray from Demeter

In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, beat together the pumpkin, oil, sugar, and eggs until smooth, for about 3 minutes. Add the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly. Stir in the pecans.

Fill each muffin tin with batter and bake for 25. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely. Then ice the tops of your cupcakes with your favorite icing. Garnish with pecans. Yields 18-20 cupcakes.

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Wicked good cupcakes pumpkin spice

Fitting for this most wicked time of year, get a Halloween four-pack with Pumpkin Spice, a yummy layering of pumpkin cake with cinnamon and nutmeg, topped with a cream cheese buttercream frosting.

We also liked Reverse Vanilla Boo-Day, Sweetie Pie, and Caramel Apple Streusel. $28.95,

Demeter Pumpkin Pie

For those who love smelling yummy, Demeter’s Pumpkin Pie fragrance is good enough to eat. This natural fragrance of pumpkin, sugar, cinnamon, a touch of ginger and hint of cloves. Dab this on your neck and wrist to smell irresistibly delicious. $2.50-39.50;