Halloween is Monday: What’s bubbling in your cauldron?

Got a little eye of newt or toe of frog on the back burner? Probably not.

I’m always in favor of cooking up some magic in the kitchen, even if it’s not the “Double, double toil and trouble” variety that Shakespeare wrote about.

There are a few ways to add a little scare into your cooking for Halloween.

For one: Ghost peppers.

These peppers are appropriately named for the holiday, because they’re far scarier than any haunted house I’ve visited.

To understand the potency of these native Indian chilies, consider where other peppers fall on the Scoville scale, which rates the heat units of peppers.

The common jalapeno or Hungarian wax pepper rates between 3,500 and 10,000 Scoville units. Cayenne and Tobasco fall between 30,000 and 50,000 units.

The ghost pepper — or “bhut jolokia,” as it is known by its Indian name — rates between 1 million and 2 million on the scale.

I have never eaten a ghost pepper, and, even though I pride myself on being a culinary adventurer, I hope I never do.

They are, of course, intended to be eaten in very tiny amounts. Some people, though, inevitably try to push the limit.

A California man recently made national news when he entered a ghost-pepper-eating contest in San Francisco and ended up in a hospital with a 1-inch hole in his esophagus.

The injury, as reported in the Journal of Emergency Medicine, resulted from violent vomiting that followed after the man ate a hamburger topped with ghost pepper sauce.

Technically, the tear was caused by the vomiting, not the pepper — but I would still credit the win to the pepper and the loss to the man who spent 23 days in the hospital recovering.

I know there are chili-heads out there who aren’t happy unless they’re sweating over their food.

But this Halloween, I hope the only ghosts you run into are the kind made of bedsheets.
— Lisa Abraham writes about food for The Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch. Email her at labraham@dispatch.com or follow her on Twitter at @DispatchKitchen.