If you read my column, you know I am no Martha Stewart, but at Halloween, you don’t have to be. My kids love Halloween and they enjoy making dishes and drinks when friends come over. This year, we’re hosting a small gathering and here are a few haunted ideas we’ve come up with.
Our creepy punch hides a frozen hand. We take a plastic glove (clean or new, of course) and fill it with water and freeze. We add it to our punch for an eerie surprise when guests ladle it up. Add a few drops of food coloring or use grape juice in the glove to make it creepier. This year, we bought some gummy eye balls and brains at Target. We're going to freeze the candy in ice cube trays and add to our guests' drinks.
If your family likes apple cider, Family Fun has a recipe for “Rotten Apple Punch” which is so easy to make. All you need to do is mix apple cider, red and green food coloring, and gummy worms.
There’s so much you can do with finger foods (ha ha) at Halloween. One idea I’ve read about recently is making fingers out of cheese sticks. Add pieces of red pepper for fingernails and carve knuckles with a butter knife to make them look like real fingers.
Finger sandwiches or sandwiches that look like fingers work well, too. Another unique idea is to cut sandwiches with spooky cookie cutters like skeletons or monsters. For a more pleasant and peaceful finger sandwich, pumpkin cookie cutters work too.
Green slime also known as spinach dip runs through the food processor, makes a ghoulish appetizer. And who doesn’t love spinach dip? Spoon it into a pumpernickel bread bowl or a witch's cauldron then add some red peppers or tomatoes to add a little blood color to your slime. Surround it with veggies and pretzel sticks and let the witches dig in.
Another serving option for dip is a hollowed out pumpkin which I think is just adorable. Pumpkin dip in a pumpkin is definitely my kind of party food.
Seven layer and taco dips are Halloween ready when you outline a spider web in sour cream on top. Don’t forget to add lots of olives for a spidery look and use black bean chips to dip with.
Deviled egg monsters or ghosts are a great addition to your party platter. Make your normal deviled egg recipe and then add eyes with small slivers of olives or peppers or something that goes well with eggs.
Creepy Main Courses
Spaghetti worms and meatballs are always a great choice for Halloween dinner or a Halloween themed party. Try colored pasta in green or orange for a more authentic wormy look.
This year I’m making hot dogs wrapped in crescent rolls or bread sticks to look like mummies. Eyes will be dots of mustard or ketchup.
Small homemade pizzas on English muffins, bagels or pitas can become monster faces or jack-o-lanterns. Use pepperoni, olives or vegetables to make your scary faces. Mummy pizzas look great too if you place the cheese just right to cover up everything but pepperoni or olive eyes.
Any kind of chili or casserole can become a Halloween meal. Tomato sauce looks like blood, black beans look like bugs. You can create whatever your heart desires and call it something creepy.
Desserts to Die For
I think desserts are the easiest foods to make for Halloween or any occasion for that matter. Who doesn’t love a chocolate cupcake with chocolate jimmies, 6 licorice spider legs and green M&M eyeballs on top? Cupcakes can become spiders, witches with ice cream cone hats, ghosts with chocolate chip eyes,or green monsters that look like Frankenstein.
Pretzel ghosts are easy to make when you dip pretzel rods in white chocolate and use small chocolate chips for eyes. That works with strawberries, too. There are so many different options for chocolate covered pretzel treats. You can dip pretzel rods into regular or colored chocolate to make monsters or other types of ghouls. Sprinkles and candies finish the look.
A big dish of dirt is always a big hit with the younger set. The recipe can be as simple as chocolate pudding with chocolate cookie crumbs on top and a bunch of gummy worms mixed in. Last year, a room parent made this for my daughter's class party and put it in a plastic black witch’s cauldron with all the gummy worms peeking out. The kids loved it.
Gingerbread isn’t just for Christmas anymore, gingerbread skeletons are all the rage. I’ve seen them in many parenting magazines and on recipe websites. I’m thinking about decorating ginger snap cookies with vanilla icing spider webs. No baking required works for me.
Halloween is a fun time to be creative with your kids in the kitchen and it can be quite easy. Use your imagination, use what's in season or on sale and come up with Halloween treats and tricks to make Halloween hauntingly refreshing.