Bagged lunches are a thing of the past, my friends. OK, I’m clearly exaggerating here, don’t go tossing your paper carriers in the trash on my account. But in all seriousness, if you’re not in the know already, allow me to divert your attention to the culinary art of bento boxing. In a sense, bento boxes are the adult version of your favorite zipper lunch bag, minus any cheesy memorabilia décor. It’s a single-portioned meal transporter that was first developed in Japan to keep your food items organized and tasting fresh. It sounds awesome because it is, and what’s even more exciting is that Halloween bento boxes are having a moment on Twitter, and you’re going to want in on this festive holiday food presentation.
Bento boxes are super trendy right now in the foodie realm, but 2017 can’t take all the credit for this brilliant lunchtime tool. According to Timeline, the history of the bento box dates back to fifth-century Japan when workers and warriors packed their lunches in boxes that were designed with multiple compartments to separate food items like rice, vegetables, and fish. In early 1912, bentos were upgraded from basket material containers to aluminum boxes, and suddenly, lunchtime became ultra luxurious, and even a symbol of class.
Eventually bento boxes made their way from country to country, adopting new cultures and cuisine. They're best known for sushi take-out, but if you're not into raw fish, you can literally fill yours up with anything you're craving. These days, they're recognized as an optimal means of convenience, with a ton of wiggle room to get creative. A quick search through Pinterest, Instagram, and even YouTube can offer you a variety of bento box ideas, with creatives transforming mundane meals to festive food groupings.
As far as Halloween bento boxes go, you better believe Twitter is — literally and figuratively — eating them up.
Plenty of bloggers are sharing how you can DIY your own Halloween bento box, too.
Depending on how crafty you are, your Halloween bento box can be super cute (think Casper the friendly ghost and smiling pumpkins), or straight up terrifying by channeling your inner Stephen King in the kitchen. Personally, I live for guts and gore and creeping people out as much as I can around All Hallows' Eve, but if you’d rather your co-workers and/or classmates be complimentary rather than creeped out over your lunch menu, that’s your prerogative.
You ideally want to work with foods that can be shaped and sculpted easily. Rice, for example, is sticky enough to mold into fun shapes like skeleton heads, giant pieces of candy corn, or a backdrop for an epic nori spider web. Already-made sandwiches are also great to cut into pirate skulls, ghosts, or silly monsters.
Once you’ve established your base items, it's time to build. Drama is in the details, after all, so try to incorporate as much color as you can. Miniature hotdogs would make for epic fingers, and you can top them with ketchup for a faux blood effect. You can even package sour cream into a piping tool and criss-cross the condiment over a bed of refried beans for a delectable tex-mex web of sorts. And, of course, fruit is always an excellent additive for a pop of color, and the health benefits are always appreciated, too.
So if you're not really sold on a costume this year, or if your company chooses not to observe the holiday (bummer), here's a super unique, super delicious way to join in on the festivities. I know your mom would probably advise you not to play with your food — especially as a grown-up because #adulting — but can you honestly tell me that after seeing these carefully crafted meals you aren't the least bit inspired?