Mix Up a Batch of
Let that cauldron bubble over with some creepy Halloween party ideas!
By Zara Abbasi Photography by Katie Childs
“Sissssssssssterrrrsss!!” If you don’t know what movie that’s from, then we can’t be friends. Don’t even continue reading this article. Kidding! It was just a trick, but fret not, this article is packed full of treats! And, I’m even throwing in a couple of extras just because I love October so much! Not only is it my birthday month, but more importantly it’s the month to turn every normal thing into a ghoulish version of itself. Sandwiches for lunch? Pffft, don’t you mean sandwiches shaped like coffins? And who would dare even think of eating cookies without first adding eyeballs to them?! And, don’t even try to serve anything in a non-Jack-o’-lantern shape. Nope. No ma’am. Not acceptable. Bring out the cookie cutters, fake spiders and red food coloring. October is serious business, guys. It’s HALLOWEEN! It’s the one time of the year, apart from daily on social media, that we can pretend to be something we are not and get accolades for how scary we can behave in public! Wink, wink.
OK, but seriously. I truly love October. I love that it’s finally fall and that the weather is at least trying to behave. Growing up in Massachusetts, you can only imagine what a big deal Halloween was in that area. The Salem witch trials weren’t far away, there was a ton of history and a lot of it revolved around haunted houses, cemeteries and witches.
There were Halloween parades and the streets were decorated to the nines with spooky banners and décor. Our teachers dressed up and so did we! We had school Halloween parties and there was hardly any work done if Halloween fell on a school day! It was always such an innocent and childish time that I love to pass that fun and innocence on to my kids. We watch all the Halloween movies, we bake, make spooky dinner themes and send goodies to school. We never really go too overboard or expensive, but we do try to pepper in little things throughout the month because it’s just too fun not to! So as an ode to my childhood, I want to do a very classic Halloween spread. Classic to me means: spooky, witches, ghosts, skeletons, etc.
There are probably a million punches out there with the same name, but it’s what you put in it that makes it personal just to you. I like a few add-ins because it’s visually a little more exciting for kids. And, if I know anything about little kids, it’s that they love things that are out of the ordinary. For this punch, I like to add in little “shrunken heads” and “goo” and dry ice to make it really stand out. Feel free to experiment with your own version!
6 small apples
½ cup lemon juice
1 liter ginger ale
1 liter Sprite
4 cups pineapple juice
1 gallon lime or coconut sherbet
1 block dry ice
1 packet flavored drink mix, color of your choice.
1. Preheat oven to 248 degrees.
2. Peel and core apples and cut in half. Carve out scary or funny faces into the round side of the apples and completely coat with lemon juice — use a pastry brush to do this.
3. Place apples on parchment sheet-lined baking pan and bake for 1½-2 hours, or until the apples have shrunk and browned a bit. Ovens may vary, so be sure to check at the 1½-hour mark.
4. Once apples are done, set aside to cool.
5. To make punch: Combine all the ingredients in a large punch bowl, adding apples in last. Chill and add in dry ice when ready to serve, for a spooky and foggy element.
You know how that old saying goes, “Trick or treat, smell my feet … loaf …” No? Maybe we remember it differently. Ha! But this scary dinner will definitely get some reactions at the table when you set it down in front of your guests.
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix topping ingredients in a small bowl and set aside. Line baking sheet with foil and mix all ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
2. Divide in half and form each half into the shape of a foot. Place side by side and use reserved onion pieces as nails. Again, gross!
3. Top with half the ketchup mixture and bake for 45 minutes or until the internal temp reaches 165 degrees.
4. When finished baking, top with remaining ketchup mixture and serve.
2 pounds ground beef or turkey
1 large onion, diced (reserve 10 larger pieces to use as
toe nails … it’s gross typing that)
2 to 3 tablespoons minced garlic or garlic paste
3 teaspoons minced thyme
¼ chopped parsley
1 cup bread crumbs
1/3 cup broth
1 tablespoon oil
Salt and pepper to taste
½ cup ketchup
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons brown sugar
This one looks as disgusting as it sounds, but you will have difficulty pulling yourself and your guests away from this dip! It’s a yummy tiramisu dip disguised as a brain and served with ladyfingers. Give this a try if you dare!
1. Using a stand or hand mixer, whip the cheese until light and fluffy about 2 minutes.
2. Slowly add in the food coloring, sugar and coffee (and Kahlua, if using).
3. Fold in the whipped cream to ensure it’s nice and fluffy.
4. Add half the dip into a piping bag, or large Ziploc and snip the end.
5. Make a little dome with the remaining half of the dip on a platter or bowl.
6. Pipe the shape of a brain over the mound and serve with ladyfingers.
1 cup mascarpone cheese
½ cup cold heavy whipping cream, whipped
and set aside to chill
¼ cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon strong coffee or 2 teaspoons espresso
powder (can add more if you want a stronger
3-4 drops red food coloring
Ladyfingers for dipping
Optional: 1 tablespoon Kahlua
Ghost Cookies or Lollipops
If you need some treat ideas for your child’s classmates, there are plenty of quick and easy ideas out there. A couple of ideas that I like a lot because of the outcome and level of ease are ghost pops! I’m giving you two versions here because they’re both just so cute! One requires zero baking or cooking and the other merely requires a microwave. They’re simple to make, and even your kids can hop in on the fun!
Oreo or other sandwich cookie (enough for the
amount of people you are serving)
2 cups white candy melts
½ cup black or chocolate candy melts
Thin popsicle sticks
Optional: a block of foam
1. Line either a clean countertop or a large baking dish
with parchment paper.
2. In a microwave-safe cup, melt each color of the candy melts separately. Go slow in 30-second intervals to ensure you don’t scorch the candy.
3. Once fully melted, stir both and set aside the white candy melts. Pour the black candy melts into a small Ziploc bag and set aside.
4. Dip each of the popsicle sticks about an inch into the white candy melts and stick inside each cookie and lay on parchment paper to harden. Work quickly so the candy melts stay melted.
5. Once all the popsicle sticks have been inserted and cooled for a minute or two, take the cookie and dip completely it into the white candy melts, letting the excess drip off. Place them either on the parchment paper to harden or upright into a foam block if you’d like.
6. Once all the cookies have hardened, snip a tiny hole at one of the Ziploc bag tips and use as a piping bag to pipe a ghost face. Let harden.
7. Package as you’d like. I like to use small candy cellophane bags and tie closed with a ribbon.
1. Place a lollipop in the center of each coffee filter and bring sides down to form a gown.
2. Use pre-cut ribbon or raffia to tie a bow where the candy meets the stick.
3. Use marker to draw a scary ghost face.
4. Look around and bow for your newly earned “Pinterest Mom” status. See? It’s not that bad!
Lollipops of your choice (enough for the
amount of people you are serving)
Coffee filters (same amount as lollipops)
Sharpie or black marker
Ribbon or raffia to tie closed