You know what’s great about being a kid on Halloween? Just everything!!! Costumes galore, terrorizing strangers for candy wherever you go, pretending not to be scared when you really are—and while Halloween as an adult has its own joys, there is something about a child’s imagination that makes Halloween especially magical and thrilling for the under 12 set.
This is one reason why hosting a Halloween party for kids can be so fun. When your creepy food is a little less than perfect, they fill in the gaps. But striking the right balance between tricking and treating requires a bit of finesse. Zombie eyeballs are only fun to eat when you’re more than 50% sure that they are not actually zombie eyeballs. The classics below are just dressed up versions of the originals and are sure to make kids laugh, shriek and munch on. (We’ll leave the spookier stuff to the grown-ups…)
Even though I don’t have children, I am an aunt, so if I’m having my nieces and nephew over, I make sure to include some “real” food on the menu to prevent the sugar high and crash that parents shriek over around the campfire. Halloween may be a candy extravaganza, but little monsters need savory and nutritious snacks too.
I know that throwing a theme or holiday party can be stressful, and even more so if you’re expecting little guests. But one of the joys of cooking and baking for kids is including them in the process—most are super creative, can be helpful with a bit of guidance and love getting their hands dirty. With that in mind, these dishes are fairly easy to pull together, with or without assistance, and have a high impact fun factor.
So, if you’re hosting a Halloween party for kids, let the goo times roll! Oh, and don’t forget to label your frightful “creations.” Mwahahaha…
Snacks and Appetizers
3 10-ounce containers of hummus
2 boxes of crackers or an 8-oz bag of pita chips
Edible Marker—for cracker/pita chip tombstones
Directions: Spread thin layer of hummus evenly into a clear oblong baking dish. Place cherry tomatoes in a grid-like pattern. Pour remaining hummus over tomatoes. Cover with alfalfa sprouts. Arrange celery, broccoli and cauliflower as trees and carrots as a perimeter fence. Decorate with customized cracker “tombstones.” Serve remaining crackers or pita chips in a bowl.
Mashed Monster Party Mix
5 cups kettle corn
2 cups mini-pretzels
1/2 cup eyeballs (white chocolate chips with edible marker dots in center)
1/2 cup candy corn
1/2 cup semi-sweet milk chocolate
Directions: In a large bowl mix kettle corn with pretzels and candy corn. Spread on parchment-lined baking sheets. Melt chocolate over low heat while continuously stirring. Drizzle over popcorn mix. Let cool slightly, then sprinkle eyeballs. Let cool completely. Serve in a large bowl.
Bones, blood and boogers (Breadsticks, marinara sauce and guacamole)
1 tube of refrigerated breadstick dough
1 heaping tablespoon of Coarse salt
Blood—2 cups heated marinara sauce
Directions: Preheat oven according to package instructions. Unroll tube of dough and separate rectangular pieces. Working with one piece at a time, stretch the dough to lengthen it a bit and then use kitchen scissors or a knife to cut a 1 1/2-inch slit in the center of each end. Roll or shape the resulting four flaps of dough into knobs that look like the ends of a bone. Place the dough bones on an ungreased baking sheet, spacing them a few inches apart, and sprinkle on coarse salt. Bake until they light golden brown (about 12 minutes.) Serve with dipping sauces.
6 English muffins
¾ cup Pizza sauce
¼ cup sliced black olives
1 tablespoon chopped scallions
2 cups strips string cheese
Directions: Heat the oven to 350º F. For each mummy, spread a tablespoon of pizza sauce onto half of an English muffin (toast it first, if you like). Set olive slices in place for eyes and add round slices of green onion or bits of red or green pepper for pupils. Lay strips of cheese across the muffin for the mummy’s wrappings. Bake for about 10 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the muffin is toasty.
Brains and eyeballs (spaghetti and meatballs)
1 pound lean ground turkey
3/4 cup Italian bread crumbs
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup water
1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
12 pimiento-stuffed olives
1 pound spaghetti
1 (26-ounce) jar spaghetti sauce
Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a large baking sheet with cooking spray. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients except olives, spaghetti, and sauce. Mix well then form 12 meatballs and place on prepared baking sheet. Press an olive into the center of each meatball, pimiento-side out. Bake 20 to 25 minutes, until no pink remains and juices run clear. Meanwhile, in a large pot, cook spaghetti according to package directions; drain and rinse, and, in a medium saucepan, heat spaghetti sauce until hot. Place spaghetti in serving bowls, mix with equal amounts of spaghetti sauce, and place 2 meatballs on top of each serving.
8 Fuji apples
10 ounces white chocolate chips
4 cups shredded coconut
Directions: Remove stems and skewer apples. In a double boiler over low heat, melt white chocolate chips, stirring continuously. Dip an apple into the chocolate. Immediately dip the apple into a bowl of shredded coconut, rotating to coat evenly. Transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Repeat for all apples and refrigerate until set, about 15 minutes.
2 cups milk
1 package (4 serving size) instant pudding (chocolate flavor)
1 8oz. container whipped topping, thawed
1 16oz. package chocolate sandwich cookies
Gummy worms and spiders
8-10 clear plastic cups (8oz. size)
Directions: Seal the sandwich cookies in a plastic bag and use a rolling pin to crush them into tiny pieces. Pour the milk into the mixing bowl and add the pudding mix. Beat with the wire whisk until well blended (about two minutes). Let pudding stand for five minutes. Stir whippped topping and 1/2 of the crushed cookies into the pudding until mixture is all the same color. Place about 1 tablespoon of the remaining crushed cookies into the bottom of each cup. Fill cups about 3/4 full with pudding mixture. Top each cup with the rest of the crushed cookies. Add gummy worms and insects to decorate. Put cups into the refrigerator for about one hour to chill them.
All Images via Flickr
Graveyard dip: schnitzle
Happy Halloween: rabbit_portal
Bones and blood: rsvpcakes
Mummy pizzas: vanwas
Brains and eyeballs: Gourmet-Mom-on-the-go
Dirt cups: oipom