How do I make this awesome plastic cauldron safe for serving drinks?
October 15, 2014 7:22 AM   Subscribe

I got a sweet plastic cauldron for a pre-Halloween party we're having and I'd like to serve punch out of it, but it's not watertight and I don't know that the plastic is safe for serving drinks. What's the best/easiest/cheapest/surest way to make this cauldron a punch bowl?

There's a small hole in the bottom (picture of the bottom) so I can't just put stuff in it, and the cauldron itself is big (whole cauldron picture), big enough that just putting in our regular punchbowl still leaves a lot of empty space (a lot, this cauldron is really quite big...I might have gone overboard), plus since the opening is narrower than the body of the cauldron it's hard to fit in something that actually takes up all the space in my cauldron. I also don't know if this plastic is food-safe -- is it likely to be? Can I just find a safe and sure way to plug the hole and use it? If so, what should I use? If not, what's the best thing to put in so I can use all the space in my cauldron? I dream of having a cauldron like this. Is there something with which I can line the cauldron to make it good for punch?

I don't want to spend a lot of time and money on this so if the answer ends up being "just find some tupperware and shove it in the mouth of the cauldron" I'll live, but I was wondering if anyone had a quick/easy/cheap solution so that I can actually use this cauldron as a punchbowl. Thanks!
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl to Food & Drink (15 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Could you carefully line it with a few overlapping layers of plastic wrap? You'd want to tape it or something to the underside of that little ridge around the opening to avoid it flopping down while in use.
posted by Rock Steady at 7:26 AM on October 15, 2014

big enough that just putting in our regular punchbowl still leaves a lot of empty space

The canonical answer to this is set an actual punchbowl down inside the cauldron and then put dry ice around the empty space inside so that it heaps creepy fog out around your punch and no one can tell it's not actually a full cauldron.
posted by phunniemee at 7:30 AM on October 15, 2014 [52 favorites]

You could get one of the bags that are made to line slow cookers or a turkey cooking bag.
posted by sulaine at 7:31 AM on October 15, 2014 [5 favorites]

DAP Silicone sealant is food safe.

Happy Hallowe'en!
posted by Sophie1 at 7:35 AM on October 15, 2014 [2 favorites]

I am not a cauldron expert, but my honest feeling is that it will be very difficult to come up with a cheap, easy, and satisfactory solution other than using your regular punchbowl inside, as phunniemee says. You could use sand or something underneath the bottom and edges of the regular bowl so it fits nicely before adding dry ice round the top (or ivy or other spooky stuff if you can't get dry ice?)
posted by Segundus at 7:36 AM on October 15, 2014

If your regular punchbowl is too small to fill up the cauldron, maybe you could go to a party supply store* and get a bigger, clear plastic punchbowl that DOES fill up the bottom of the cauldron just for the occasion.

I'd put a piece of dark cloth under the bowl inside the cauldron, and then set the cauldron on a place mat, just in case any leaks or drips work their way out though the hole in the bottom.

*they may even have something appropriate at the grocery store or Target/KMart/Wal-Mart at this time of year.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 7:37 AM on October 15, 2014 [2 favorites]

Could you coat the inside with thick Jello (or just regular gelatine)? Use less water than usual, then paint it on. Not sure if it would dissolve with the alcohol.

Maybe try coating it with caramel made by boiling down sugar. Paint it on the inside. If your punch is cold and sweet, it may not change the taste that much. If it's not a thick layer of caramel, it's likely to crack.
posted by guy72277 at 7:42 AM on October 15, 2014

I have the same cauldron. Mine also has a small hole in the bottom.

For Halloween last year, I went outside and found a bunch of sticks, and lined the inner rim of the bowl with them, so that they were "sticking" up. It looked cool know. Witches fill their cauldrons with sticks ;) It was sort of nest-like. And then I put a black plastic bowl inside of it. I found the black plastic bowl at the dollar store. It really looked cool. I also had a big plastic bone, and used that to stir the punch.

No one died.
posted by the webmistress at 7:48 AM on October 15, 2014 [5 favorites]

Know what I'd do? Melt down a bag of chocolate chips and use a pastry brush to paint the inside of the cauldron with the melted chocolate, then chill it. It's like nature's delicious, food-safe wax!
posted by julthumbscrew at 7:50 AM on October 15, 2014

Turn another bowl upside-down under your punchbowl and put bunched-up Saran Wrap around the edges of the bowl. That's generally what I do when I'm making a prop like this for the stage.
posted by xingcat at 7:58 AM on October 15, 2014

You can check the number on the bottom of the item and cross reference to here for safety.

As for sealing, I like the chocolate idea, and although that silicone adhesive claims to be food safe, I'm not sure I'd go there looking at the msds.
posted by Violet Femme at 7:59 AM on October 15, 2014 [2 favorites]

Fill it with packing foam peanuts and dry ice and then put the regular punchbowl inside. That way you're sure that it's safe to serve from, and it stays insulated and cool with creepy Halloween fog, and doesn't sink too far inside as the dry ice evaporates. If dry ice is a problem, just use the foam packing peanuts.
posted by RedOrGreen at 8:03 AM on October 15, 2014 [1 favorite]

do you have a crockpot that would fit inside of it?
posted by bricksNmortar at 8:28 AM on October 15, 2014

Response by poster: Thanks everyone! Looks like my best bet is just putting a towel in the bottom of the cauldron and setting the punchbowl on that. I will look into dry ice as well -- if anyone knows somewhere I can get some in DC let me know!
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 9:36 AM on October 15, 2014

Most Harris Teeters sell dry ice. You have to ask for it.

Talbert's also has dry ice. They're at 5234 River Rd in Bethesda.
posted by qi at 11:12 AM on October 15, 2014

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