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50 Halloween Party Food Ideas & Recipes for Snacks & Appetizers

Despite the implication of personal choice in children’s whimsical door-to-door seasonal query, Halloween is more about the treats than the tricks. And although the holiday centers on Halloween candy, it’s fun to celebrate by cooking up some holiday recipes — whether for a family meal, your housemates, or a party. After all, Halloween is the only holiday when your guests thank you for serving them brains, severed fingers, and eyeballs.

It’s certainly possible to buy premade themed foods from the store or a restaurant — from elaborate cakes to jack-o’-lantern pizzas. But opting to make them yourself while relying on a few inexpensive ingredients can save you money. Plus, it’s more fun. And if you decide to make it a group activity, cooking together with your household is a perfectly safe way to celebrate Halloween during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Even if you’re not an expert in the kitchen, there are tons of easy Halloween recipes that rely on only a few simple ingredients. And with just a few tricks, you can turn almost any inexpensive food into a creepy Halloween treat. Whether you’re looking for a snack to munch during a Halloween movie marathon, an entree or dessert for a family meal, or the perfect spooky appetizer for a Halloween party, there’s a cheap and easy recipe for it.

Tips for Making Halloween Recipes on a Budget

To save money on your Halloween meal or party food, focus on inexpensive ingredients and simple techniques that elevate everyday foods to Halloween level.

  • Draw Spiderwebs. A spider web drawn onto any everyday food instantly gives it a Halloween theme. For example, you can draw a sour cream spiderweb on seven-layer dip, a vanilla frosting spiderweb on a chocolate brownie, or a cream cheese spider web on a pizza. Start by putting your chosen spread into a zip-close bag or piping bag. Snip a small piece off the corner. Then follow the step-by-step spiderweb drawing instructions at Easy Peasy and Fun.
  • Mummify. Turning ordinary food into mummies is another time-honored Halloween tradition. For example, you can wrap strips of crescent dough around inexpensive hot dogs. Layer bands of white frosting over a cupcake. Or criss-cross strips of mozzarella cheese over a bagel.
  • Add Eyeballs. A random assortment of eyeballs makes any food look like a Halloween monster. Pick up a package of candy eyes, and add them to frosted cookies. Or melt chocolate, pour it onto a parchment-lined baking sheet, and top it with some eyeballs and Halloween-colored sprinkles to make Halloween candy bark. Sliced olives sitting atop a slice of fresh mozzarella cheese look like eyeballs on a pizza or in spaghetti, as do frozen peeled grapes floating in a punch bowl. See Food & Wine for more ways to give your food eyes.
  • Turn Inexpensive White Foods Into Ghosts. Whipped cream, sour cream, and vanilla frosting can all transform into a mounded ghost topping. For example, put a ghost made of whipped cream on top of chocolate pudding. Top a cupcake with a ghost made of vanilla frosting. Or build a collection of sour cream ghosts on top of a party dip like guacamole or bean dip. Make your ghost by filling a zip-close bag or piping bag with your chosen topping, snipping off a corner, and piping large swirls into a conelike shape, as shown on Sugar Spun Run.
  • Give Ordinary Drinks Halloween Names. Sometimes, everything’s in the name. Any red-colored drink instantly becomes a bloody vampiric treat. And green drinks can become snake venom or a witch’s brew. That’s an especially useful tip for parties, where cheap drinks — like fruit punch and soda — are essential for serving a large crowd.
  • Garnish Drinks With Creepy Objects. Turn a cheap punch recipe into a Halloween brew by tossing in some plastic eyeballs or spider rings. (Just be sure to wash them first and keep them away from any children under 3, as they’re a choking hazard.) Alternatively, fill a plastic glove with water and freeze it. Once frozen, remove the glove, and toss the frozen hand into the punch bowl. Or make individual ice cubes in Halloween shapes by freezing water or juice in inexpensive Halloween molds.
  • Rely on Inexpensive Store-Bought Foods. Cake and brownie mixes often sell for $1. A package of hot dogs is $2 to $3. And you can pick up a frozen pizza for under $5. All these foods easily transform into Halloween entrees and desserts with a few simple decorating techniques.

Recipes for Halloween Appetizers, Snacks, Entrees, Desserts & Drinks

Stick to recipes with a few basic ingredients and simple steps, and avoid any requiring complicated cooking appliances or gadgets you don’t already own. As long as you follow those guidelines, you can make a wide variety of Halloween-themed foods for your party or family meal without culinary training or a lot of money.

Halloween Snack Recipes

If you’re looking for something to munch on during a Halloween movie marathon, a Halloween-themed family game night, or while sitting around the fire pit under the moon, a Halloween-themed snack recipe is just the thing.

1. Halloween Harvest Hash Party Mix

This snack mix is the ideal combination of salty and sweet — exactly what you want for a Halloween movie marathon. Mix Bugles, twisted minipretzels, and Chex cereal (if you can find it, store-brand rice squares are cheaper). Then coat them in a buttery homemade caramel sauce. Bake them in the oven to give the snack pieces a nice crunch. Give your mix a Halloween theme by tossing in some candy corncandy pumpkins, and Reese’s pieces.

Get the full recipe on One Little Project.

2. Pumpkin Spice Caramel Corn

If you can’t get enough pumpkin spice this time of year, try it on a crunchy and sweet caramel popcorn. Start by roasting shelled pumpkin seeds and walnuts coated with melted butter and pumpkin spice. Meanwhile, make a caramel sauce from butter, brown sugar, light corn syrup, vanilla, and more pumpkin spice. Once it’s finished, stir in about popped popcorn and the nut and seed mixture and bake it.

Get the full recipe on Eat at Our Table.

3. Bewitched Halloween Popcorn

You can also make popcorn look like a colorful witch’s brew by coating it in melted marshmallows and candy. Melt butter and marshmallows on the stove, pour the mixture over popped popcorn, and stir to coat. Spread the popcorn on a cookie sheet and quickly top it with Halloween-themed sprinkles and Halloween M&Ms. Allow it to cool, and then break it into pieces.

Get the full recipe on Two Sisters.

4. Apple Nachos

Get the taste of a caramel apple without the arduous chomping with a plate of apple “nachos.” Simply layer slices of apple on a plate, and top them with a drizzle of caramel sauce and whatever other toppings you like: broken pretzels, chopped peanuts, toffee bits, crushed chocolate sandwich cookies, chopped Snickers, or chopped peanut butter cups. This recipe is also an efficient way to use up all those leftover fun-size Halloween candies after the big day.

Get the full recipe on Delish.

5. Skeleton Bones

This fun, sweet, and crunchy snack turns cheap pretzel sticks and mini marshmallows into skeleton bones. Press a marshmallow onto either end of a pretzel stick. Melt white chocolate candy melts in the microwave, then dip the pretzel “bones” in the chocolate. Place them on a wax paper-lined baking sheet and pop them into the refrigerator to set.

Get the full recipe on This Worthey Life.

6. Ghost Pretzels

Make pretzels dipped in white chocolate look like screaming ghosts. Melt white chocolate chips in the microwave, then dip the twisted minipretzels. Wedge two candy eyeballs into the top two pretzel holes. Use a toothpick to clear any excess chocolate from the bottom hole so it looks like a screaming mouth. Lay the dipped pretzels on a wax paper-lined baking sheet, and allow to harden in the fridge or freezer.

Get the full recipe on Dessert Now Dinner Later.

7. Chocolate-Covered Halloween Pretzels

Chocolate-dipped pretzel rods are another yummy mix of salty and sweet. And you can easily decorate them for any holiday — including Halloween. Melt chocolate wafers in the microwave, then dip the upper half of a pretzel rod into the melted chocolate. Immediately sprinkle on a Halloween decorating mix, and lay the dipped pretzel on a wax paper-lined baking sheet. Repeat for all your pretzels. Allow it to set on the counter.

Get the full recipe on The Anthony Kitchen

8. Tangerine Pumpkins & Banana Ghosts

If you’d rather opt for something healthy (or you’re looking for a lunch box idea), give simple fruit a Halloween twist. To make fruit pumpkins, peel tangerines (you can also use clementines or mandarins), and wedge a small piece of celery in the top to resemble the stem on a pumpkin. To make ghosts, peel bananas, cut them in half, and put two chocolate minichip “eyes” at the top of each banana half so they look like ghosts.

Get the full instructions on Flo & Grace.

9. Spider Pizza Bagel Bites

If you prefer a more savory snack while watching your Halloween movies, go with some Halloween-themed bagel bites. First, lay your mini-bagels on a baking sheet, and spread each with a spoonful of your favorite pizza sauce. Sprinkle a pinch of shredded cheddar (or mozzarella) cheese on top (you can also just start with some ready-made frozen cheese pizza bagel bites).

Finish them with a spider cut from a black olive. Slice olives in half lengthwise, and lay one half in the center of each bagel bite for the spider body. Then cut the other halves into slices to be the spider’s legs. Lay down four legs on each side of each spider body. Then bake them until the cheese is golden and bubbly (or according to package directions if you’re using premade bagel pizzas).

Get the full recipe on Mama Instincts.

10. Halloween Snack Board

No one has to decide between savory or sweet when you set up a Halloween snack board with various snacks to suit every taste. To make one, find a sizable Halloween-themed tray or use an appropriately black slate cheese tray. Set some small bowls around the tray (leaving enough room between them to pile food directly on the tray too). They give your tray interest by creating different heights and levels, but you can put anything you want in them.

For a kid-friendly platter, opt for simple snacks and sweets, from dips to pretzel sticks. Then mound different snacks and treats on the tray and in the bowls. Use whatever you like, but to keep it Halloween-themed, opt for at least a few Halloween candies — like candy corn or candy pumpkins. Also toss a few candy eyeballs around the platter.

And if your party or movie marathon is for adults, instead of candy and pretzels, think meats, cheeses, and fruits in dark and brooding Halloween colors, like blue cheese, concord grapes, blackberries, kalamata olives, and purple figs (fresh or dried). To up the Halloween theme even further, layer on some spooky black plastic tree branches. Or work in some minipumpkins.

See some examples at Our Delicious Table and Feast in Thyme.

Halloween Appetizer Recipes

These Halloween appetizers can serve a crowd. So be sure to whip up one or more for your party buffet table.

11. Spiderweb Taco Dip

Taco dip — or seven-layer dip — is a party staple any time of year. Give it a Halloween twist with a sour cream spiderweb piped on top. To make the dip, start with a pie plate. Spread a layer of bean dip on the bottom. Mix sour cream with a packet of taco seasoning, and spread it in a ring around the inside edge of the pie plate, building the layer until it’s as high as the plate’s top edge. Fill in the sour cream circle with a layer of guacamole. Then put plain sour cream into a zip-close bag or piping bag, snip off one corner, and use it to draw a spiderweb on the guacamole. Sprinkle shredded cheddar cheese, shredded fresh kale, and chopped tomatoes on top of the sour cream ring. Finish the web with a spider made from a black olive.

Get the full recipe on The Tipsy Housewife.

12. Caramel Toffee Dip With Cinnamon Halloween Chips

Make a sweet dip perfect for apple slices or some homemade Halloween-themed cinnamon sugar chips. Use an eclectic mixer to combine a package of cream cheese with brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla. When you’re ready to serve it, stir in about half a bag of toffee bits. For a holiday-centric presentation, serve the dip inside a small hollowed-out sugar pie pumpkin. Or go with a ceramic pumpkin you can reuse year after year.

Make chips to pair with your dip by using cookie cutters to create Halloween shapes from flour tortillas. Brush them with melted butter, and lay them on a parchment-lined baking sheet before sprinkling them with cinnamon and sugar. Bake them until they’re just lightly brown. Let cool on a wire rack, and they’ll be just as crunchy as any tortilla chip.

Get the full recipe on Our Best Bites.

13. Lobotomy Loaf

This cheesy dip is perfect for any zombie guest. To make it, puree shredded cheddar cheese with cream cheese, pimento peppers, and cayenne pepper. Spoon the smooth pimento cheese mixture into a zip-close bag or piping bag, and snip off one corner of the bag. Pipe it into a small hollowed-out round of bread to create a brainlike texture.

Get the full recipe on Rachel Ray In Season.

14. Pumpkin Cheese Ball

You can shape the right cheese mixture into a pumpkin. Start by mixing cream cheese with shredded sharp cheddar cheese, fiesta ranch dip mix, some diced green bell pepper, and finely chopped green onions. Shape the mixture into a ball, and wrap it in plastic wrap. Allow it to firm up in the fridge, then roll it in crushed cheese chips to give it a pumpkin orange color. Use a piece of yarn or twine to press ridges around the ball to mimic the pumpkin’s ribs (the vertical lines going around the pumpkin from stem to blossom end). Finish the look by pressing the stem from the green pepper into the center of the top to act as the pumpkin stem.

Get the full recipe on Baked in Arizona.

15. Bewitching Breadsticks

Witch fingers made of everything from cookies to pizza strips are a Halloween classic. This version becomes breadsticks perfect for dipping. Start with a can of pizza dough rolled out flat. Cut the dough into strips, then twist the strips into finger shapes. Place the twists on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Press an almond slice into one end of each twist to resemble a fingernail, then bake them. Mix melted butter with garlic powder, brush each finger with the mixture, and then sprinkle on some Parmesan cheese. Finish the fingers by using a small paintbrush to paint each fingernail with red food coloring. Serve them with pizza sauce for dipping.

Get the full recipe on The Daily Meal.

16. Spider Bread Dip Bowl

Use frozen bread dough to make a menacing dip bowl shaped like a spider. Combine thawed frozen thaw, rise, and bake dinner rolls to create the spider’s body and smaller head. Then shape the remaining rolls into the spider’s legs. Then press them all together on a parchment-lined baking sheet to form a spider. Allow the spider to rise, cover it with egg wash, and sprinkle Parmesan on the legs (optional). Then bake it until the dough is golden brown. Once it’s cool, hollow out the center of the spider’s body to fill with your choice of dip. Cut two slits in the “face” of the spider and fill each with a piece of black olive to create eyes. Lay the spider on a serving tray and surround it with dippers like fresh vegetables, crackers, or crusty bread.

If you can’t find thaw, rise, and bake rolls, you can make the spider with your favorite home-baked roll recipe. Just shape the spiders after the first rise, and use the detailed pictures to approximate the size and shape of the components.

Get the full instructions on It’s Always Autumn.

17. Meatball Mummy Crescent Bites

Make a cute mummified appetizer by wrapping a bag of store-bought frozen meatballs with crescent roll dough. First, let the meatballs thaw. Then roll out the dough, and cut it into thin strips. Wrap each meatball with strips of dough so they resemble the heads of mummies. Bake them until the dough is lightly golden brown. Once cooked, dot on some ketchup or mustard (or a mix of both) for eyes. Serve them with warmed marinara sauce.

Get the full recipe on Pillsbury.

18. Rotten Deviled Eggs

These devilish eggs have sinister blue veins and a green filling that make them look rotten. Start by hard-boiling the eggs. Once they’re cool, roll the eggs on the countertop to crack them without removing them. Soak the eggs in a mixture of water and blue food coloring for a couple of hours. Then remove the eggs, and peel them.

Next, slice the eggs in half lengthwise, and scoop the egg yolks into a small bowl. Mash them together with mayonnaise, vinegar, mustard, and salt. Add a few drops of green food coloring a little at a time, and mix until it reaches your desired shade. Fill each egg with the mixture, and garnish with black sesame seeds. (Poppy seeds or chia seeds would also work in a pinch).

Get the full recipe on Duke’s Mayonnaise.

19. Jalapeno Popper Mummies

Turn jalapeno poppers into adorable mummies with the help of some candy eyes and crescent roll dough. To make them, slice jalapenos lengthwise, and scoop out the insides. Lay them on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Mix equal parts cream cheese and pepper jack cheese with some minced garlic, chopped green onion, and salt and pepper. Fill the jalapenos with the cheese mixture. Cut your crescent roll dough into strips, and wrap them around the poppers, leaving a small opening for the eyes. Press on some candy eyes immediately after baking.

Get the full recipe on Frugal Coupon Living.

20. Baked Batwings

With the help of a few drops of black food coloring, the sesame marinade bakes so black these chicken wings resemble spooky batwings. Start by letting the wings marinate a few hours in a mixture of soy sauce, sesame oil, brown sugar, ginger, garlic, green onions, black sesame seeds, and a few drops of black food coloring. Then bake them on a parchment-lined baking sheet.

Get the full recipe on Instructables.

Halloween Main Courses

If you’re planning a sit-down Halloween meal with your family or a themed dinner party, cook up a Halloween-themed entree to serve your guests. Main meal recipes work for lunch or dinner. Plus, some work well on a buffet table at a party. And some recipes are perfect for kids’ lunch boxes.

21. Cheesy Mummy Dogs

Two basic ingredients turn an inexpensive package of hot dogs into a holiday meal that’s especially fun for kids. Simply roll out some crescent roll dough, and cut it into thin strips. Wrap a strip or two around each hot dog so it resembles a mummy, leaving a small opening near the top for the eyes. Bake them until the dough is golden brown. Before serving, dot on some mustard for eyes.

Get the full recipe on The Spruce Eats.

22. Mummy-aki Chicken Fingers

For a different twist on “mummified” food, try coating chicken fingers in phyllo dough. First, marinate the chicken fingers in a store-bought teriyaki sauce. Tear the phyllo dough into small pieces, and place them in a shallow bowl. Dry off the chicken fingers with a paper towel, and dredge them in the dough. It will stick to the marinated chicken. Bake the chicken until the dough is golden brown. Pierce a wooden skewer through each chicken finger, and serve them with a homemade sweet-and-sour sauce made from ketchup, vinegar, brown sugar, soy sauce, and grated ginger.

Get the full recipe on Food Network.

23. Spooky Halloween Pizzas

Make a spooky pizza covered with mozzarella ghosts by doctoring a store-bought frozen pizza. First, bake the frozen pizza according to the package directions. Meanwhile, use a cookie cutter to cut ghost shapes from mozzarella cheese slices. Make spiders to accompany your ghosts by slicing olives lengthwise. Use one half of an olive for each spider’s body, and slice the other half into eight slices to be the spider’s legs. Use any leftover olive bits to make eyes and mouths for the ghosts. Remove the finished pizza from the oven, arrange the ghosts and spiders on top, and bake until the mozzarella ghosts melt.

Get the full recipe on Sprouts Farmers Market.

24. Eyeball Spaghetti

Green olives elevate basic spaghetti to Halloween level when layered on top like eyeballs. To make it, boil spaghetti with a little bit of black food coloring so the spaghetti absorbs the color and turns a purply black. Then top it with your favorite spaghetti sauce and several whole green olives with pimentos. Position the olives pimento side up so they look like eyes.

Get the full recipe on The 36th Avenue.

25. Spooky Eyeball Tacos

Sliced black olives look like eyeballs with the help of some sour cream. To make the tacos, mix raw ground beef with a packet of taco seasoning. Shape half the beef mixture into meatballs, and bake them. Meanwhile, cook the rest of the ground beef, and mix it with some salsa. Layer some of the beef and salsa mix, sour cream, lettuce, and tomatoes into crispy taco shells. Then put two meatballs in each taco. Top each meatball with a small dollop of sour cream and a black olive slice so they look like eyeballs peeking out from each taco shell. Garnish with some shredded cheddar cheese to resemble hair.

Get the full recipe on Food.

26. Sandwich Monsters

A few simple decorations turn any sandwich into a cute Halloween monster. Although the recipe uses chicken patties, you can make them with hamburgers or even cold cuts. Just prepare your meat of choice, and set it on top of a bun layered with your favorite fixings, such as lettuce and tomato. Cut triangles out of one end of a cheese slice to resemble sharp teeth. Then position the cheese over your meat so the jagged edge hangs down like a row of teeth. If desired, add a few slices of fresh jalapeno to give it “bite.” Then place the bun top on the sandwich, and finish it with two green (or three — it’s Halloween, after all) olive “eyeballs” stuck onto toothpicks.

Get the full recipe on Like Mother Like Daughter.

27. Jack-o’-Lantern Stuffed Peppers

This fun twist on stuffed peppers turns them into Halloween jack-o’-lanterns. Start by slow-cooking some Tex-Mex shredded chicken seasoned with cumin, chile powder, garlic powder, and diced tomatoes. Meanwhile, cut off and set aside the tops of orange bell peppers. Scoop out the peppers’ insides, and use a paring knife to carve a jack-o’-lantern face into each pepper. Boil the peppers and pepper tops until tender. Mix the chicken with some cooked rice, black beans, and shredded pepper jack cheese. Then stuff the peppers with the chicken mixture (adding more cheese if desired), and set the pepper tops back on each pepper. Put them in a baking dish and cook to melt the cheese.

Get the full recipe on Everyday Jenny.

28. Spooky Shepherd’s Pie

This shepherd’s pie uses all the essential ingredients, but instead of a smooth mashed potato top, it’s haunted by a set of mashed potato ghosts. Start by whipping up some mashed potatoes using milk, butter, sour cream, and a little bit of shredded cheddar cheese. Then brown ground beef with chopped onion and garlic. Add a bit of flour to it to make a rue from the beef fat. Then add some ketchup, beef broth, and frozen peas and carrots, and cook until the sauce thickens.

Spread the beef mixture into the bottom of a casserole dish. To make the mashed potato ghosts, fill a zip-close bag or piping bag with mashed potatoes, and cut off one corner. Pipe a mound of potatoes into a ghost shape, spiraling the mash in concentric circles, and then finish it with two peas for eyes. Repeat until you’ve filled your dish with mashed potato ghosts, sprinkle more cheese between the starchy spirits, and bake.

Get the full recipe on The Girl Who Ate Everything.

29. Coconut Curry Squash Soup With a Coconut Yogurt Spiderweb

This autumnal soup is suitable for an adult dinner or a more elegant Halloween party. Start by sauteing chopped onions and carrots in some coconut oil until softened. Add chicken broth and peeled and cubed butternut squash, and simmer until the squash is tender. Add curry powder, and then puree the soup in a blender. Finish by stirring in coconut milk.

In a small bowl, mix some plain Greek yogurt with a little coconut milk. Transfer the yogurt mixture to a zip-close bag or piping bag, and snip off one corner. Portion the soup into bowls, and decorate the top of the soup with a spiderweb by piping a set of concentric circles on top of each soup bowl. Use a toothpick to pull lines through the circles so they resemble a spiderweb. For extra fun, add a clean plastic spider to each bowl.

Get the full recipe on The Foodie and The Fix.

30. Vampire Blood Soup With Muenster Sammies

Perfect for a chilly autumn night, this tomato soup-and-sandwich combo gets its Halloween factor from the presentation — but the flavor is anything but scary. First, make a homemade tomato soup. Start by sauteing fennel, garlic, onion, salt, and pepper until the vegetables are tender. Add drained, hand-crushed whole tomatoes to the pan, increase the heat, and cook to brown the tomatoes slightly. Add the drained juice you reserved from the canned tomatoes and some bottled tomato juice, vegetable broth, and basil. Cook until it’s reduced and thickened, then puree the soup in a blender. Stir in a tablespoon of lemon juice, and add salt and pepper to taste.

To make the sandwiches, toast slices of dark pumpernickel bread. Spread apple jelly on half the toast slices, top with slices of muenster and cheddar cheese, and then put the remaining toast slice on top. Use Halloween cookie cutters to cut the sandwiches into Halloween shapes. Serve alongside glass test tubes filled with tomato soup.

Get the full recipe on Food Network.

Halloween Dessert Recipes

When it comes to Halloween treats, themed desserts are where it’s at. From cupcakes and layer cakes to brownies, cookies, and bars, there’s an infinite variety of recipes to choose from.

31. Ghost Cupcakes

Cupcakes are a cheap and easy way to add Halloween fun to your holiday meal. And it doesn’t get much easier than these simple ghost cupcakes. Just bake up a cake mix of your favorite flavor. Then use the recipe tutorial to make a homemade marshmallow-flavored buttercream frosting by mixing butter, powdered sugar, marshmallow creme, and vanilla. Or skip that step and buy a can of vanilla frosting. Next, fill a zip-close bag or piping bag with your chosen icing. Cut off one corner, and pipe a ghost-shaped mound of frosting onto each cupcake, spiraling the frosting in concentric circles until it reaches a point. Use chocolate minichips to make eyes on each ghost and a regular-size chocolate chip to make a mouth.

Get the full recipe on Passion for Savings.

32. Monster Cupcakes

Easy decorating techniques can also turn a basic batch of cupcakes into Halloween monsters. Use a variety of decorating tips to pipe colored frosting onto cupcakes to look like textured monster fur. Then use decorating icing to draw on facial features like squiggly mouths and eyebrows. Use candy eyeballs for monster eyes — and remember, you don’t have to limit them to two eyes when it comes to making monsters.

Get the full recipe on Betty Crocker.

33. Zombie Brains Cupcakes

Simple icing techniques turn basic frosting into a creepy dessert fit for any of the walking dead. The recipe uses beet puree to color a spice cake and frosting naturally. But you can use your favorite red velvet cake recipe (or even a box mix) and buttercream frosting tinted with red food coloring (or store-bought pink frosting).

To decorate them, put a thin layer of pink frosting on the baked cupcakes. Then use a No. 6 round decorating tip to pipe two lines down the center, then snake squiggly lines into two rows on either side of those.

Get the full recipe and decorating instructions on Bren Did.

34. Witch Hat Cupcakes

Chocolate sandwich cookies become witch hats with the help of some colored frosting and Hershey’s Kisses. Start by baking a batch of cupcakes. Frost them with green icing, then make a witch hat topper by first gently splitting a chocolate sandwich cookie in half. The top (the plain side) becomes the base for your witch hat. Place a large dollop of orange-colored frosting in the center of the cookie. Press a Hershey’s Kiss into the frosting so it acts as a glue for the Kiss and spreads out to make an orange hatband. Embellish the band with some Halloween-colored sprinkles, then set the finished hat on a frosted cupcake. Repeat for as many cupcakes as you have.

Get the full recipe on Tastes Better From Scratch.

35. Bat Cupcakes

Turn chocolate sandwich cookies and M&M’s into cute bat decorations to top cupcakes. Just bake up a batch of your favorite flavor cupcakes, and pipe some vanilla frosting on each. To make a bat topper, carefully separate the tops and bottoms of two mini sandwich cookies. Squish a brown M&M onto the cream sides of two cookies to make eyeballs. Then use some icing to affix the eyeballs to a regular-size sandwich cookie to become the bat’s face. Cut one of the mini cookie tops (no cream) in half, and use more icing to attach them to the top of the bat face as ears. Stick the whole piece onto your frosted cupcake. Then cut another regular-size cookie in half, and tuck the two halves into the frosting behind the bat face to look like wings.

Note: While the instructions call for using two whole regular-size cookies, you can likely make do with one separated cookie (and it appears that’s just what the blogger did). Just use the bottom (cream side) as the bat body (the cream will help you affix the ears and wings), and cut the top in half for the wings.

Get the full instructions on Your Cup of Cake.

36. Eyeball Layer Cake

Open-face chocolate sandwich cookies, M&M’s, and Junior Mints can also monsterfy a layer cake. Start with a simple layer cake made from a mix and frosted with your choice of icing (the recipe uses white). And don’t worry about making your frosting super-smooth and neat — it’s a monster cake, so make it as messy as you want. Then, carefully remove the tops from sandwich cookies. For a truly monstrous cake, use a combination of regular-size and mini-size sandwich cookies.

Press an M&M or Junior Mint (use M&M’s for the mini-cookies and Junior Mints for the regular-size) into the cream side of each cookie so they resemble eyeballs. The recipe uses brown M&M’s to match the Junior Mints. But you can do anything you like. Use blue or green M&M’s for the smaller eyes and Junior Mints for the larger ones. Or make it truly monstrous by using a variety of eye colors. Or skip the Junior Mints, and use M&Ms for all the eyes, either all the same color or multiple colors of eyes. Change the direction of the “gaze of each pair of eyes for a more organic look.

Then pipe a dollop of icing onto the opposite sides of the cookies, and use it to affix pairs of eyeballs onto your cake.

Get the full instructions on The Cake Blog.

37. Spooky Spiderweb Layer Cake

This cake gets its web from stretched melted marshmallows. It utilizes the same general technique as stretching fake cobwebs for outdoor Halloween decorating. First, make a red velvet cake. (You can also start with a simple layer cake made from a boxed mix).

To decorate your cake, first crumb-coat it by frosting your cake with a thin layer of white buttercream and letting it firm up in the fridge. Crumb-coating ensures cake crumbs don’t end up in your outer layer of frosting, which can ruin the look.

Next, frost your cake top and sides with black icing. Get the color by adding black food coloring to chocolate buttercream. Smooth it out using an icing smoother or offset spatula. Then set the cake back in the fridge to set until the spiderwebs are ready.

Meanwhile, to make the spiderwebs, melt marshmallows on the stovetop over low heat. Let it cool slightly, and then pick up small mounds and stretch the marshmallow over your cake. Finish with candy eyeballs (plastic spiders would also work).

Get the full recipe on Jane’s Patisserie.

38. No-Bake Strawberry Cheesecake Brain

This zombified dessert gets its brainy look from a plastic gelatin brain mold, pink-colored cheesecake, and oozy red strawberry sauce. Fortunately, it’s much tastier than it looks.

Start by making a graham cracker crust mixture, a no-bake cheesecake mixture tinted pink with red food coloring, and a strawberry sauce. Strain the strawberries from the sauce, and set aside the remaining syrup. Then coat the bottom and sides of the gelatin mold with half the cheesecake batter. Freeze until firm, and fill the cavity with the strained strawberries. Cover with the remaining cheesecake batter, and finish with the graham cracker crust mixture. Freeze again until firm, then transfer it to the refrigerator. When you’re ready to serve it, remove the cheesecake from the mold, and top it with your reserved strawberry syrup.

Get the full recipe on Food Network.

39. Pumpkin Patch Brownies

These brownies look just like a pumpkin patch thanks to edible “dirt” made of crushed chocolate sandwich cookies and rows of candy pumpkins. Start with a batch of baked brownies made from a box mix. Once cool, frost them with green icing, reserving some icing for later. Crush chocolate sandwich cookies, using them to make four rows of dirt on top of the iced brownies. Scatter some green sprinkles over the top. Then place four candy pumpkins, evenly spaced, in each of the dirt rows. Put the reserved icing in a zip-close bag or piping bag, snip off one corner, and draw icing “vines” to connect the pumpkins. To serve, cut the brownies into 16 pieces — four by four — so every brownie gets a pumpkin.

Get the full recipe on The Daily Meal.

40. Spiderweb Cookies

These spiderweb cookies are deceptively simple. First, bake a batch of your favorite sugar cookies. My go-to recipe is on It’s Fitting. The cookies don’t spread and stay soft. But you can keep it simple and make some slice-and-bake sugar cookies. Frost them in a white royal icing using an icing mix or your favorite recipe (I’ve used Sweet Sugarbelle’s repeatedly with dependable results). Then pipe a spiral with black icing. Drag a toothpick through the spiral to make it look like a spiderweb. If desired, add spiders to your cookies by piping a spider body from colored icing and legs from more black icing.

Get the full instructions on Sweetopia.

41. Peanut Butter Spider Cookies

These chocolate-and-peanut butter cookies are more cute than creepy, making them a perfect treat for a kid-friendly bash. First, bake peanut butter cookies. You can use your favorite recipe or the one provided. Then melt some chocolate. Let it cool slightly before pouring it into a zip-close bag or piping bag and snipping a tiny piece from one corner. Pipe a small amount of chocolate between two chocolate-covered malted milk balls, and place them next to each other on each cookie to form a spider head and body. Use the icing again to affix two candy eyes on each spider head. Then use the remaining chocolate to draw spider legs reaching over the edges of the cookies.

Get the full recipe on Crafty Morning.

42. Gingerbread Mummies

If the chilly October weather has already put you in the mood for winter flavors, there’s no reason to wait. Break out your people-shaped cookie cutters, and turn gingerbread cookies into Halloween mummies. First, bake and cool your gingerbread cookies. Then mix up a basic frosting by combining powdered sugar, vanilla extract, and milk. Fill a zip-close or piping bag with the frosting, snip off one end, and pipe it in a zigzag pattern over the gingerbread people. Then add some candy eyes. The recipe uses standard-issue gingerbread man cookie cutters. But you can use anything you like by changing the cookie cutter: gingerbread cutters with cute skirts, Mickey Mouse cookie cutters, or waving cookie cutters. You can even break out your other Christmas cookie cutters more than once this year by making undead angels, snowmen, Santas, and reindeer.

Get the full recipe on The Suburban Soapbox.

43. Spooky S’Mores Bars

These s’mores bars use a layer of ghost-shaped marshmallow Peeps to give this dessert its Halloween theme. Start by making a graham cracker layer from flour, oats, graham cracker crumbs, sugar, butter, baking powder, and salt. Press it into the bottom of an 8-inch-by-8-inch pan. After baking and cooling it, cover the top with a layer of chocolate candy bars. Then layer the marshmallow ghosts over that. Place it under the broiler for just a few minutes until the marshmallows start to brown. Use a food coloring marker to add on a mouth and eyes.

Get the full recipe on Imperial Sugar.

44. Bloody White Chocolate Apples

These “bloody” apples look wonderfully creepy but are super-simple to make. First, pierce wooden lollipop sticks through the stem ends of four apples. Melt a bag of white chocolate chips with a bit of shortening in the microwave, stirring well to combine. Dip the apples into the chocolate, and set them on a wax-lined baking sheet. Refrigerate them for a few minutes until the chocolate sets. Then drip red sparkle gel over the apple tops. Don’t worry about being neat with it — it’s meant to look like oozy, dripping blood.

Get the full recipe on Wonky Wonderful.

45. Strawberry Ghosts

To make these adorable strawberry ghosts, melt white chocolate in the microwave or a double-boiler. Make sure your strawberries are completely dry (otherwise, the chocolate won’t stick). Then dip them in the melted chocolate, and lay them on a wax paper-lined baking sheet. Before the chocolate dries, press on some candy eyes, then let them set until firm.

Get the full recipe on Yummy Healthy Easy.

Halloween Drink Recipes

If you’re planning a Halloween party or just want to make family dinner a little extra special, a bubbling witch’s cauldronful of spooky punch is a must-have.

46. Bubbly Witch’s Brew Punch

Sherbet punch is a party staple, and you can make this green infusion even more special by setting your punch bowl inside a plastic witch cauldron.

To turn it into a true witch’s brew, simply mix lime sherbet with ginger ale, pineapple juice, and a small amount of freshly squeezed lime juice (add some green food coloring to amp up the color if you like). Then make it even spookier by tossing in some plastic eyeballs or frozen grapes. Adding some dry ice chips increases the bubble factor and causes a misty cloud to envelop the punch. (They also help keep it cold.)

Get the recipe on Amee’s Savory Dish.

Caution: Avoid touching dry ice with your bare hands or lips, as its extremely cold temperature can severely burn skin. And never consume dry ice in its solid form. For specific tips on using dry ice in drinks, visit The Rose Table.

47. Dragon’s Blood Punch

It’s easy to serve a large crowd with a punch made of fruit juices and soda. This punch gets its red color from cranberry juice and fruit punch. Mix them with ginger ale and apple juice. Stop there to keep it kid-friendly. For an adult party, add some berry-flavored vodka and orange liquor.

Get the full recipe on Food Network.

48. Purple People Eater Floats

For a sit-down meal, skip the punch bowl and serve themed drinks in individual cups. This purple drink gets an added kid-friendly boost from specially decorated cups. Affix two large googly eyes on several clear plastic cups. Cut some eyebrows from black pipe cleaners, and glue them over the eyes. Then shape a squiggly mouth from another black pipe cleaner, and glue that underneath the eyes.

To make the drink, add two scoops of vanilla ice cream to each cup, and fill it with grape soda.

Get the full recipe on Dixie Crystals.

49. Bloodshot Halloween Drink

This “bloody” drink is perfect for a mad science party. Fill food-safe plastic syringes with a red-colored beverage, such as cranberry, cherry, or pomegranate juice. Then fill a glass with sparkling water or lemon-lime soda. Serve it with the syringe set inside the glass. Guests shoot the “blood” into their soda to mix their drink.

Get the full recipe on Finding Zest.

50. Old-Fashioned Pumpkin Soda

This recipe combines a pumpkin syrup with sparkling water to make an old-fashioned pumpkin soda. First, make a simple syrup with equal parts water and sugar. Heat it over the stove until the sugar dissolves. Then stir in a bit of pureed pumpkin and pumpkin pie spice. Strain the syrup through a fine-mesh sieve lined with cheesecloth, and let it cool. To assemble the soda, combine the syrup with sparkling water, and top it with whipped cream.

Get the full recipe on Rhubarbarians.

For added fun, serve them in clear plastic cups decorated to look like jack-o’-lanterns. Simply draw jack-o’-lantern faces on the cups using a black permanent marker. The orange color of the soda will make them look like pumpkins.

Final Word

Although there are tons of recipes to cheaply and easily make Halloween themed foods, they aren’t the only way to give your meal a spooky touch. Adding some Halloween decorations to your table also gives it that special holiday feel.

If you’re hosting a party, scatter some cheap plastic spiders around your buffet table. For a sit-down meal, add some red candles in fancy candelabras and a spooky tablecloth of black lace or black creepy cloth — both of which you can pick up from the dollar store. Wrap chairs in fake cobwebs or drape them in cheesecloth or white creepy cloth.

Let your imagination run wild, and don’t worry about going over the top. Halloween is all about high drama.

Are you planning a Halloween meal this year? What will you make?

Sarah Graves
Sarah Graves, Ph.D. is a freelance writer specializing in personal finance, parenting, education, and creative entrepreneurship. She's also a college instructor of English and humanities. When not busy writing or teaching her students the proper use of a semicolon, you can find her hanging out with her awesome husband and adorable son watching way too many superhero movies.

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