Halloween marks the beginning of what I like to consider The Season of Awesome.
From now until January 1, MacGyver's birthday, we are just nonstop with holidays and baking and activities and celebrations.
It's exhausting, but so very wonderful.
Of them all, Halloween is probably the most fun as far as creative treats.
The ideas are endless, and you can have so much fun with both kid and adult friendly goodies that are perfect for parties, playdates or a pre-trick-or-treat meal.
On Saturday, our neighbors co-hosted a little get together with us. We used both our homes and set up a little haunted forest type tour through our yards for the kids. Too fun.
For main foods, we served pigs in blankets, chicken nuggets and bagel bite pizzas. Easy and delicious.
But then things got fun.
For example, my neighbor cut pumpkin shapes out of soft flour tortillas, brushed them with olive oil, sprinkled them with salt and baked them til crispy. So adorable mixed in with regular blue tortilla chips and served with spinach dip. (And yes, the marshmallows nee "ghost poop" was a huge hit)
Another adorable touch were these Witch's Brooms: string cheese cross cut and fixed to the end of thick pretzel sticks. It's hard to tell from the picture, but the pieces of cheese were sliced to kind of resemble broom bristles (check out thefancy.com for a more detailed example)
And all the credit in the world to her, for taking the time to hand carve about 16 oranges into jack-o-lantern fruit cups, or Pumpkin Brains, as she titled them. I freely admitted that I would have done one or two "to get the idea" and then left the rest alone. She claimed the hardest part was scooping out the innards. Isn't it always? (inspired by spoonful.com)
After nomming on these yummy offerings, the kids played and trick or treated through our yards, and then we reconvened at our house for desserts.
I think the most popular treat were these Poison Apples, which were most certainly not. They were a huge hit last year, too. I used a melon baller to scoop out spheres from a green apple, and skewered them on long lollipop sticks. Then I dipped in melted butterscotch chips (you can also use melted peanut butter chips or any chocolate bark), leaving the green part visible, and coated them in Halloween sprinkles. (inspired by spoonful.com)
I also made this little Pumpkin Pops out of pie crust and raspberry jam. I used a mini pumpkin cookie cutter to make the shapes and arranged them on a parchment lined cookie sheet. On each pumpkin, I placed a pop stick and a small portion of jam, and then topped it with a second pumpkin. I crimped the pieces of dough together and baked at 375 for about 14 minutes. So good, and you can make them in any shape and with pretty much any flavor jam or pie filling (Or even maybe Nutella? Just a thought).
A little more basic: a Devil's Food cake with cream cheese frosting and a spiderweb design on top. I especially liked the visual.
Witch's Hats were also a favorite with the kids. These were easy and fun: a Hershey's Kiss glued to the underside of a fudge stripe cookie with orange frosting. It's something the little ones can help you with, too, if you need an extra hand. (inspired by bettycrocker.com)
I saw the idea for these Specimens on Pinterest, and I was really struggling because I couldn't find any petri dishes locally. But, it was Target to the rescue, selling a kit to make these gummi worms and frogs in jello, complete with 6 dishes, for that perfect "mad scientist" feel. I supplemented the petri dishes with more jello in clear plastic cups. I am usually useless with jello, so I was pleased that these gelled up properly.
Check out the Monster Eyes in the white bowl. I used a little bit of frosting to glue candy eyes to some Krispy Kreme donut holes, and voila. You could also get the same look from a bit of frosting and a mini chocolate chip or mini M&M.
And finally, some ghostly cupcakes. Vanilla cupcakes with buttercream swirls, topped off by ghosts, crafted from circles of white fondant draped over a small lollipop. Obviously, this will work with any flavors, so have fun. (inspired by sugaredproductions.com)
Of course, all these treats can make one thirsty. This Witch's Brew Punch was so simple and absolutely delicious. I combined a 2 liter bottle of ginger ale with a bottle of champagne and about 3/4 of a carton of orange sherbet. The orange color was great and the sherbet and carbonated beverages created a beautiful, spooky fizz. I tossed in about a dozen plastic eyeballs (for effect) and some fresh raspberries (for garnish and flavor). Everyone raved.
Give some of these special treats a try for October 31 or tell us about your favorite Halloween menu items! We'd love to hear from you!