Get Your Boo-ze on with a Classic Gespenstischbowle (aka Spooky Punch)

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This is the first time in many, many years that I am hosting a Halloween party.

I don’t know about you, but there was a bit of a transition for me over the years when it comes to celebrating Halloween.

Vertical photo collage of two images, one of a Halloween-themed punch with floating slices of fruit and hand-shaped ice, the other with a glass of the same, printed with orange and white text.

It starts with being a kid, going door to door for candy.

Then you become a teenager and your costumes are less elaborate, but you are still going through the neighborhood to get as much as candy as possible.

After that comes college, with infamous parties filled with crazy punches, keg stands, and all those girls in tiny “costumes.”

Two Halloween-themed glasses filled with a red punch, with slices of apple floating on top, and a copper bowl in the background, with a black lace cloth on a wood surface.

Once college was over, Halloween became more about being home to give out candy to the trick-or-treaters. I ooooh and ahhhh over the adorable little kids with their spooky costumes as they outstretch their bags expectantly.

Now that I am in my thirties and without kids, I’ve noticed that people are starting to have Halloween parties again.

I don’t know what happened between my mid-twenties and now, but Halloween is back in style among those I call my friends. People actually want to come to a Halloween party in costume.

This is much to the chagrin of my husband, of course…

Oblique shot of two glasses filled with red punch and sliced fruit, in front of a copper punch bowl, on a spiderweb-shaped black lace cloth, on a striped wood tabletop.

So this year, my best friend and I decided that it was time for us to host the ultimate Halloween bash. We will have tons of candy, fun themed appetizers, and most importantly, an epic punch for everyone to imbibe throughout the festive evening.

What’s more festive than a spooky punch?

Punches are an often overlooked drink, but they are quite complex in that you have to combine just the right amount of each ingredient to make sure every glass tastes deliciously balanced. I feel like this particular type of drink is making a comeback right now, and I couldn’t be happier about it.

A glass that reads "Trick or Drink" in gold lettering is filled halfway with a red liquid with sliced apples floating on top, on a black lace spiderweb placemat with a copper punch bowl in the background.

It’s so much easier to serve a punch that’s already made, instead of cocktails that you have to make in batches as your guests arrive, or whenever they need a refill.

Honestly, I find it harder to invent a punch recipe from scratch than it is to master a single-serving cocktail recipe. There really is an art to making a well-balanced punch, and it takes a lot of trial and error to get there.

Two glasses of punch topped with sliced fruit are arranged on a black decorative lace spiderweb cloth, on top of a wood surface.

If you are looking for a festive drink to bust out at your Halloween gathering, this is definitely the one that you need to reach for.

The layers of fruit juices and different spirits come together to create one killer recipe. It’s actually a play on the traditional German bowle, a popular party drink that, literally translated, means “punch.”

Two glasses of a red liquid with sliced fruit floating on top, on a brown wood surface topped with a black lace spiderweb decoration.

All I can say is this Gespenstischbowle sure packs a punch. The combination of vodka, schnapps, champagne, and rum is no joke, so be sure not to try to drink this entire bowle yourself.

While there is a good amount of booze in this punch, it doesn’t taste super boozy as you sip on it. That’s both a pro and a con, depending on how much you are imbibing, of course. Remember to drink responsibly.

A woman's hand with a thumbnail painted with maroon polish holds a Halloween-themed stemless wine glass filled with a red liquid and sliced fruit.

This version is the ideal centerpiece for your spooky (or gespenstisch) gathering, especially with the creepy-looking hand-sicles that are floating in it. The frozen hands are actually made out of a combination of fruit juices and cherry liquor, so as they melt, they don’t dilute the punch mixture – they add to it.

Is it Halloween yet?

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Two glasses of a red liquid with sliced fruit floating on top, on a brown wood surface topped with a black lace spiderweb decoration.

Gespenstischbowle (Spooky Punch)

  • Author: Sandy Weismann
  • Total Time: 8 hrs, 20 min
  • Yield: 16 servings 1x


Give your Halloween party guests a thrill with this Gespenstischbowle spooky punch recipe. Add creepy hand-sicles and get your boo-ze on.



Extra Items Needed:

  • 46 latex-free, non-lined, heavy duty, powder-free rubber gloves (washed inside and out)


  1. The day before the event, wash the gloves.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the orange juice, pineapple juice, and enough cherry liqueur to achieve a peach-colored flesh tone. Reserve remaining liqueur.
  3. Fill the gloves with the mixture, tie off at the wrist, and freeze overnight to make hand-sicles.
  4. In a glass bowl or large Mason jar, combine the apple slices and cranberries with the rum, cover, and place in the refrigerator to soak for 6-8 hours or overnight.
  5. The day of the event, combine the rest of the juices with the vodka, schnapps, and champagne in a large punch bowl. Drain the spiced rum off of the fruit, and save it for another use. Or, if you choose, add it to the punch now, along with the fruit. Place hand-sicles into the punch bowl. Drizzle with the remaining cherry liqueur, and serve.
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Category: Halloween
  • Method: No-Cook
  • Cuisine: Cocktails

Keywords: Halloween, punch, cocktail, German

Cooking By the Numbers…

Step 1 – Make Hand-sicles

Wash the rubber gloves inside and out. Set aside on a rack or hang to dry.

Keep in mind that the gloves used to make your icicles must be food-safe, without any sort of powder coating or unsafe lining. We recommend these nitrile gloves, available on Amazon.

A pile of white disposable gloves and a tall drinking glass, on a wooden surface.

In a large bowl pitcher or measuring cup with a spout, combine the orange juice, pineapple juice, and enough of the cherry liqueur to achieve a peachy flesh tone. Keep the rest of the liqueur, because we’re going to use it later.

Three small glass bowls of red and orange-colored juices, on a striped wooden tabletop.

Place one glove in a tall drinking glass so the fingers hang down into the bottom, and stretch the opening at the wrist over the rim of the glass. Begin to pour the juice mixture in slowly.

A white disposable glove is suspended in a tall drinking glass, with the wristband wrapped over the rim of the glass, on a brown striped surface.

Once the fingers are filled, remove the glove from the glass and carefully hold over the sink. Fill the rest of the glove to just below the wrist.

A stainless steel bowl is filled with a light brown liquid, on a striped brown and tan wood surface.

I’ve found that this is the easiest way to fill the gloves, since filling partially while held in place over the rim of the glass will provide enough weight in the fingers to hold the wrist steady while you continue to one-hand fill.

A white disposable glove is filled with liquid and tied off at the wrist, on a striped wooden surface.

Tie off the top, and repeat with the remaining gloves until you have used up all of the juice mixture. Freeze overnight to make hand-shaped ice cubes.

Step 2 – Core and Slice Apples, Soak Fruit

A large glass bowl of sliced red apple and cranberries, on a striped dark and light brown wood surface.

The day before you plan to serve the punch, you will need to pre-soak the fruit in rum.

A copper bowl is filled partway with a dark brown liquid, on a striped wood tabletop.

First, wash, core, and slice the apples, with the skins on.

Top-down shot of a large copper bowl filled with a dark-colored liquid, with slices of apple floating on top.

Combine the apples, cranberries, and rum in a medium-sized glass bowl or a large glass jar. Cover, and soak the fruit for 6-8 hours in the refrigerator.

Step 3 – Measure Remaining Ingredients

On the day of your party, measure all remaining ingredients on the ingredients list.

Make sure all the juices, vodka, schnapps and champagne are chilled before you make the punch. You don’t want to melt those ice cubes that you worked so hard to create!

Step 4 – Make Punch

When you’re ready to serve, combine the remaining juices with the vodka, schnapps, and champagne in a large punch bowl.

You can choose to drain the fruit and save the rum for another use, or add it right into the bowl with the apples and cranberries. Do that now.

Top-down shot of a metal bowl of punch, with floating sliced fruit and peach-colored hand-shaped ice cubes, on a striped wood surface.

Cut the tied ends of the gloves and remove each hand-sicle. Add these to the punch bowl.

Drizzle with a little of the reserved cherry liquor, and serve.

How Can I Make This Punch Even More Festive?

If you are throwing a Halloween party and want to get even more festive with the punch that you are serving, here are a few of my favorite tips to amp things up on the spooky scale:

Reusable Steel Skull Head Tall Swizzle Sticks for Cocktails, Pack of 4, available on Amazon

  • Chill down drinks for guests in need of a little more ice with skull-shaped cubes. I love these 3D skull-shaped silicone ice molds, available on Amazon. They also double as candy molds!

3D Skull Ice Mold 2-Pack, Easy Release Silicone

  • Buy a Halloween-themed punch bowl and glasses, or use a clear one to show off what you’ve made. If you are committed to Halloween and have a party each year, get a fun themed punch bowl and glasses that you can pull out every year. Otherwise, this punch bowl set is a classic that’s perfect for any occasion.

Crystal footed punch bowl filled halfway with a red liquid and sliced fruit, with ladle and six glasses, isolated on a white background.

Schott Zwiesel Concerto 8-Piece Punch Bowl Set, available from Wayfair

Are you hosting a Halloween party this year? Tell us in the comments below and share what your costume will be. Be sure to rate the recipe as well.

Photos by Meghan Yager, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Product photos via DineAsia, Chiyan, and Schott Zwiesel. Recipe originally published on September 3, 2013. Last updated: October 7, 2020 at 22:20 pm.

Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.

About Meghan Yager

Meghan Yager is a food addict turned food and travel writer with a love for creating uncomplicated, gourmet recipes and devouring anything the world serves up. As the author of the food and travel blog Cake 'n Knife, Meghan focuses on unique foodie experiences from around the world to right at home in your own kitchen.

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