Pretzel rods cloaked in sweet costumes make an irresistible holiday treat. Start with the ingredients below, then let your imagination fly.
Candy coating Look for colored candy disks at crafts stores. They come in a variety of colors and melt for dipping and decorating. Our critters use white, green, orange and black. Apply eyes and mouths with a small brush or toothpick. Dip twice for a contrasting face and body (see Dracula), or drizzle stripes (see Mummy). Make sure the candy sets between colors; chilling speeds the process.
Sprinkles For a fuss-free treat, roll a dipped rod in seasonal sprinkles or decorating sugar. Nonpareils and sprinkles also make good eyes and noses.
Gumdrops Mold a dark gumdrop into a pointed witch’s hat.
Fruit leather Snip colorful fruit leather into strips of hair (see Witch) or accessories (see Dracula’s bow tie).
Brownielike cutout cats add an autumnal touch to your seasonal party buffets. If you want a variety of shapes, try any cookie cutters you have on hand--such as pumpkins, bats or ghosts--and decorate accordingly.
Fill up hungry tummies with this loveable finger food. Wrap refrigerated breadstick dough around jumbo frankfurters, letting the frankfurters show slightly through the bread. Press in capers for eyes. Bake in a preheated 375-degree oven for about 12 minutes or until bread is golden.
Wrap your favorite tart or sweet apple in caramel (we even created a less sticky version), then unleash your imagination as you add on nuts, cereal, dried fruit, candy, decorative sprinkles or whatever else inspires you--and your taste buds.
For a hands-on Halloween dinner, let your kids or guests assemble these silly mad scientists.
Put out wrap ingredients such as flour tortillas, mayonnaise or salad dressing, leaf lettuce, ham, turkey, cheese and assorted decorations: parsley sprigs, sweet red pepper strips, ripe olives, small pimento-stuffed green olives, small pepperoncini peppers, julienned carrots, small sweet pickles and shredded lettuce. You might want to create a few mad scientist examples to inspire your friends!
Make these pumpkin look-alikes with orange frosting, fine and coarse orange decorating sugar, and pretzel sticks or rods. Mound the frosting on cupcakes, then roll either the entire cupcake or just the edge in sugar, alternating between fine and coarse sugars as you like. To make indentations, press a wooden skewer on top of sugared cupcakes. Add pretzels as stems. For pumpkins in varying sizes, cook your batter in mini, regular and jumbo cupcake pans.
No campfire needed for these s'more treats. Just gather chocolate or regular graham cracker squares, chocolate-hazelnut spread, peanut butter and marshmallow creme. Spread one square with marshmallow creme and another with chocolate-hazelnut spread or peanut butter; sandwich together. Microwave about 10 seconds on high for one s'more. A sprinkling of nonpareils or colored sugar along the edges adds a festive touch.
An apple-and-cheddar spread gets a scary reputation when applied to a cracker with a finger-shaped knife. We hollowed a small pumpkin for the serving container for this spread -- hauntingly good and loaded with cheddar, cream cheese, apple, carrot, nuts and currants.
These skeletal treats start with a bone-shape graham cracker (we used Scooby Snacks). Spread peanut butter on the cracker and place a second cracker on top of it. Dip the cracker sandwich into melted white candy coating. If you like, dust with cocoa powder to add "dirt."
Give everyday tomato soup a Halloween makeover in a snap. Stir together 3 tablespoons sour cream and 1 tablespoon milk, and pour into a plastic condiment bottle. Squeeze several circles on the surface of warm soup. Use a toothpick to drag lines from the center out toward the edges to create a web design.
Use a ghost-shaped cookie cutter to create Halloween shapes from a classic marshmallow-and-rice-cereal candy. Insert lollipop sticks through the bottom of ghosts, and dip in melted candy coating to complete the ghostly treat.
Aim for the "eeeeek!" effect when you combine purchased cookies, frosting and candies to create these Halloween critters.
Reserve about 3 tablespoons of a 16-ounce can vanilla frosting. To make edible "clay," mix the rest of the frosting with 3 to 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar until combination is moderately firm. Divide into portions and add your choice of paste food coloring.
Craft your critters from "clay," cookies (try chocolate sandwich cookies, peanut butter sandwich cookies and miniature multicolor vanilla wafers) and candies (some ideas: black string licorice, jellied orange slices, sprinkles and multicolor nonpareils). Attach decorations with reserved frosting.
Turn a favorite soup or stew into a Halloween party main dish with this ghostly garnish. Spoon servings of stew or soup into individual serving dishes, filling about two-thirds full. Using a pastry bag with a large round tip, pipe hot mashed potatoes into a ghost shape on top of each serving. Use capers for ghost eyes, and sprinkle shredded cheddar cheese around the base of each ghost.
A coating of spicy and sweet turns toasted pecans into a great party snack. Make these ahead of time—just store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks or freeze for up to 1 month.
Create these cute cupcakes in just a few minutes with purchased decorations and frosting.
-- Scarecrow Yellow frosting, snipped green fruit leather, candy corn, black string licorice, assorted small candies, wafer ice cream cone
-- Owl Yellow frosting, round and small candies, snipped red fruit leather, black string licorice, candy corn, almond slices, pecan halves
-- Ghost Orange frosting, chocolate chips, small candies, marshmallow creme (microwave creme in a bowl until warm; stir until smooth; cool slightly; place in a large heavy-duty resealable plastic bag, snip one corner and pipe ghost shape onto cupcake)
Create a veggie Frankenstein with fresh produce. Here's how we made ours:
1. Top a small round tortilla with guacamole. Sprinkle chopped and shredded vegetables across the top of the tortilla for hair.
2. Fill two black olives with sour cream and place on top of salami chunks for eyes. Add thin strips of yellow and red sweet pepper for eyelashes.
3. Use a pepperoncini for the nose. Place a yellow sweet pepper ring and a small tomato slice below for the mouth and tongue. Sprinkle capers on the cheeks for warts.
4. Stick two green onion ends on the tortilla side for ears. Put green onion stems and a sprig of parsley below the tortilla for garnish.
These easy pretzel skeletons are fun for kids or grandkids to make. Pipe cheese from a can of American cheese spread onto rectangular graham crackers or toasted bread slices. Add pretzel sticks, pretzel twists and pretzel rings for the skeleton. To decorate faces, try sliced olives, roasted red pepper strips or other small, colorful food pieces.
Keep it simple by decorating cupcakes with orange frosting and an assortment of black candies. Look in supermarkets and candy stores for black gumdrops (which can be cut into shapes), licorice whips, jelly beans and black sugar.
This edible treat bag makes a fun table decoration or take-home gift for a Halloween party. Frosting holds together a graham cracker base and licorice handle. Decorate with piped writing, and fill with popcorn, candy corn and other snacks.
Even a cheese-and-cracker snack deserves to be dressed up for Halloween. Top triangle-shape crackers with corn-shape cheese nibbles and purchased sour cream dip. Try cheddar cheese, Colby-Jack cheese and provolone or mozzarella cheese for color variations.
Chocolate lovers will enjoy both making and eating this simple hat. For the top, dip a sugar ice cream cone in melted semisweet chocolate, or buy chocolate cones that are already dark brown. Attach with chocolate frosting to a chocolate doughnut, and decorate with small candies.
The sweetness of dried fruit and chocolate meets salty pretzels and popcorn in our easy snack. Use Halloween-color candy-coated milk chocolate pieces for the most seasonal flair. This makes a cute favor for party guests if you give away extra portions in jars.
Make these sweet pumpkins with candy orange slices and gumdrops. Trim the edges of orange-slice-shaped jelly candies to create straight sides. Push the two sticky sides together, forming a pumpkin shape. Cut a small slice from the bottom of a small green gumdrop, and press into the top of the candy pumpkin.
Go architectural with your food. Build this not-so-scary haunted house with toaster pastries, fudge-stick cookies, mini pretzel sticks, graham crackers, decorating gel, yellow frosting and petite Halloween candies. Use frosting to attach roof to house and to secure decorations.