24 food projects for Halloween fun
Spooky marshmallow eyeballs! Pumpkin-faced quesadillas! Bloody meringue bones... and more! Dim the lights and cue the spooky music while you — and your little ghosts and goblins — whip up festive treats just in time for Halloween!
Here are 24 food-related Halloween projects for kids perfect for some last-minute nibbles. These are not recipes really, but ideas based on familiar recipes you can adapt for your own family fun this holiday. No matter your children’s ages or ability, there’s something for everyone, with recipes both sweet and savory. Use the ideas for inspiration, whether you’re planning special treats, simple snacks or an entire Halloween-themed meal. There’s even a Halloween graham cracker house that can be as simple, or intricate, as you care to conjure up.
Carved fruits and veggies as jack-o’-lanterns: Carve simple jack-o’-lantern faces into apples, oranges and more before packing the fruit in lunch bags or serving as snacks. If you’re carving ahead of time, dab the carved areas with a little lemon juice to prevent the fruit from browning.
Spooky sugar cookies: Halloween cookie cutters are easy to find at craft supply stores and even at many supermarkets. Older kids can help make and roll out the dough, while the little ones can help cut out shapes and decorate the cookies. This is one project that also makes a great homemade gift.
Mexican hot chocolate: Heat 3 to 4 cups milk until it comes to a good simmer, then stir in a broken tablet of Mexican chocolate, cooking and stirring until it melts. Whisk the mixture until frothy before serving.
Spiced popcorn: For a terrific “witches blend,” toss freshly popped corn with melted butter and ground chipotle, chili powder, garlic powder and cumin.
Crisped rice treats: Nothing more than a combination of crisped rice cereal tossed with melted marshmallows and butter, roll the warm mixture out and cut shapes using cookie cutters, or mold the treats into three-dimensional goodies to be decorated however you wish.
Tomato soup with ghost toasts: Cheesy ghost-shaped toasts are a perfect garnish for creamy tomato soup. Layer a thin slice of cheese over sliced bread, using a cookie cutter to cut out the ghost. Toast the bread in the oven or toaster until the cheese is melted, and use peppercorns to make the eyes.
Halloween graham cracker house: Instead of homemade gingerbread, simplify things using packaged graham crackers. Use a serrated knife to cut the crackers into desired shapes and mold the house using royal icing. Give the house plenty of time to dry before decorating, and keep in mind that graham crackers are more fragile than gingerbread, and a multistoried house may need reinforcement.
Scary guacamole: Spread out your guacamole in a large shallow bowl, using cut olives, peppers, onions, cilantro and more to create bugs and other ghoulish decorations.
Caramel apples: Have the kids help unwrap the candies and dip the apples in the caramel, before decorating with an assortment of candies, nuts or dried fruit.
Graveyard cupcakes: For graveyard cupcakes, frost the cakes with rich chocolate ganache and decorate with cookie “tombstones,” colored coconut and bone-shaped candies.
Turtle spiders: Substitute pretzel sticks for more traditional pecans in “turtle” treats and arrange the sticks like spider legs. Top the legs with melted caramel candies, then top the caramel with melted chocolate chips. Use candy decorations for the eyes.
Ghost-shaped pizza: Form your pie into the shape of a ghost using homemade or store-bought pizza dough. Use traditional pizza toppings to form the eyes and mouth before baking.
Pumpkin-faced quesadillas: Use a large cookie cutter to make pumpkin-shaped tortillas, and top with thin layers of refried black beans and grated cheddar cheese. Top the cheese with more pumpkin-shaped tortillas, but cut out a jack-o’-lantern face before heating to melt the cheese.
Jack-o’-lantern pancakes: Instead of pouring round pancakes, whip up pumpkin-shaped oval cakes with a little extra batter at the top to form the stem. Use fruit, chocolate or nuts to give each pumpkin-shaped cake a cute — or frightful — face.
Spooky marshmallow eyeballs: A good project for older kids, homemade marshmallows are simple to make but do require precision to get the sugar to just the right temperature. But once the marshmallow is ready to go, it’s practically screaming to be piped into spooky, chewy eyeballs. Use black food coloring for the center, and decorate with red food gel.
Bloody meringue bones: Make a stiff meringue, then pipe into whatever shape you desire — bones are a perfectly crunchy choice for Halloween. Pipe them and then give them plenty of time to dry in a warm oven before decorating with red food gel or strawberry jam “blood.”
Chocolate-covered pretzel webs: Arrange pretzel sticks in a pattern similar to the spokes on a wheel, then decorate with melted chocolate and Halloween candies. A great project for the little kids.
Chocolate-covered orange ghosts: Peel the skin from an orange and top each slice with melted chocolate (either melted chocolate chips or, if using white chocolate, look for white “melting” chocolate). Form the eyes with candy decorations or melted chocolate. Bananas can easily be substituted for the orange slices.
Witches’ fingers breadsticks: Cut pre-made breadstick dough into finger lengths. Place the fingers on a baking sheet, pinching the dough together in places to form knuckles. Top with egg wash and sliced almonds to make the fingernails. Serve alongside a pesto or marinara dipping sauce.
Mint bugs: Mix together cream cheese, butter and powdered sugar to form these simple mints, flavored with a touch of lemon juice and peppermint extract. Tint the dough if desired with food coloring, then chill until firm before forming into worms and assorted bugs. A great project for the little ones, and it makes a perfect homemade gift.
Witches brew burritos: These tasty chicken burritos are wrapped in green tortillas and are ample fortification before an evening of trick-or-treating.
Pan de muerto: This traditional Dia de los Muertos cake is partly shaped like bones and a skull and is a perfect project for older kids fascinated with baking. Rich and buttery, the flavor is to die for.
Marshmallow ghosts: Another project suitable for older kids, pipe fluffy marshmallow into ghosts that are more adorable than spooky. Dab a little melted chocolate onto the ghosts to give them eyes.
Caramel corn: Caramel corn is a classic party snack that can be served in a big bowl or packaged in treat bags for tasty party favors.