Make spooky treats for a Halloween party

Use your imagination to create easy holiday-inspired snacks that will add fun to any celebration

    Even though Halloween is coming up fast, there’s still time to create some spooky foods ideal for snacks.
    Popular motifs like witches, spiders and ghosts are easy to create. Make your favorite sandwich, then use a cookie cutter to create these spooky lunchtime staples. Or use the cookie cutters to create tasty desserts.
    Toast the seeds from your jack-o’-lantern to create a delicious, seasonal treat, or shape toasted rice bars into holiday shapes. You can spread melted chocolate on top or use food coloring to give them an orange tint.
    Decorate cupcakes with orange frosting to create a pumpkin and add features with licorice and candies for a jack-o’-lantern.        
    If spooky is what you’re after, make a red punch and float a pair of icy hands in it. Fill a pair of clean, non-powdered and non-latex gloves with water, then tie them tightly with an elastic band so no water will leak out. Lay the gloves on a cookie sheet and freeze. Once they’re frozen, cut the gloves off and place the hands in the punch bowl.
    Provide another surprise by placing plastic spiders — wash them first — into an ice cube tray, fill with water and freeze. Use the cubes to chill your beverages, giving guests a fright.
    Serve your meals in a spooky atmosphere. Paint miniature pumpkins black and attach wings made of black foam sheets to create bats, or wrap helium-filled balloons in cheesecloth, allowing plenty of fabric to trail beneath, tying the cloth off under the balloon to create flying ghosts.
    Here are some other Halloween-inspired ideas from



Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars

1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 cup creamy peanut butter
6 cups corn flakes
8 to 12 ounces semi-sweet or dark chocolate, melted
6 ounces white chocolate, melted
Black sprinkles, optional

    In a large, microwave-safe bowl, heat  honey, maple syrup and peanut butter for 30 seconds to one minute, until smooth. Stir in corn flakes, tossing well to combine. Spread mixture into a 9-by-13-inch pan that’s lined with parchment paper and pack tightly.
    Melt chocolate chips, then pour melted chocolate over the bars, spreading into an even layer.
    Melt white chocolate, then spoon a small dollop (one teaspoon for small ghosts  and one tablespoon for large ghosts) onto the chocolate, making sure ghosts are one inch apart. Using a wooden skewer or the end of a thin spoon, gently drag the white chocolate into a ghost shape. Don’t worry about making these perfect, the more imperfect they look, the better.
    Insert two small sprinkles for ghost eyes or use additional melted chocolate.
    Transfer the bars to the fridge and chill one hour or until set. Using a sharp knife, cut around the ghost, creating irregular shapes. Keep in the fridge until ready to serve.
    If you’d like a bar that’s less gooey, reduce the maple syrup 1/4 cup and use 1/4 cup brown sugar.

Cookies and Cream Mummy Bark

2 cups white chocolate chips
8 chocolate sandwich cookies
Candy eyes

    Chop cookies into quarters and set aside. Be sure to keep the crumbs.
    Place chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on half power for two minutes. Stir, then return to microwave for 20 seconds at a time, stirring after each addition, until smooth. Transfer 1/4 cup chocolate to a resealable plastic bag and set aside.
    Set aside large cookie pieces. Place the rest of the pieces and crumbs in the white chocolate and stir to combine.
    Pour chocolate onto a foil-lined baking sheet. Use the back of a spoon to spread chocolate to 1/8-inch thickness. Press reserved cookie pieces into the chocolate, then put baking sheet in the refrigerator or freezer for two to five minutes, until chocolate cools completely.
    Snip the corner of the plastic bag and drizzle reserved chocolate over the cooled chocolate and cookies. Press candy eyes into drizzled chocolate in pairs to create mummy eyes.
    Return to refrigerator or freezer until completely cooled. Use a butter knife to cut chocolate into pieces. Serve or store in airtight container at room temperature as long as one week.


Salted Caramel Apples

8 apples
4 11-ounce packages caramel melts
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
Dash salt
Mini M&Ms, crushed pretzels, kosher salt, chocolate chips, coconut, crushed pecans, crushed saltines, for garnish

    Melt caramels with cream in a double boiler or glass bowl set over a pot of simmering water. Add vanilla and salt and stir until smooth.
    Stick one chopstick in the bottom of each apple. Dip apples, one at a time, in the caramel, coating them to the base of the stick. Allow excess to drip back into the pan for a couple of seconds, then carefully roll apple in whatever topping you are using.
    Repeat with all the apples, refrigerating apples as soon as they’re coated. Once cool, wrap apples with cellophane or plastic wrap.


Halloween Cream Cheese Swirl Brownies

For brownie layer:
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup dark cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
2 eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For cream cheese layer:
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Orange food coloring
    In a medium bowl, combine sugar, flour, cocoa powder, salt and baking powder.
    In a small bowl, place eggs, oil and vanilla, then mix with a fork until well combined. Pour wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix with a spatula until just combined.
    Reserve 1/4 cup of the batter. Pour the remaining batter into an eight-inch square pan lined with parchment paper or foil that’s coated with nonstick spray.
    In a medium bowl, blend cream cheese, sugar, egg and vanilla until smooth. Add orange food coloring and stir to combine. Gently spread on top of the brownie batter.
    Drop tablespoons of the remaining brownie batter on top and gently swirl with a knife or skewer.
    Bake in a 350-degree oven for 30 to 35 minutes, until set. Remove and let cool completely before slicing.

Slime Popcorn

10 cups popped popcorn
1/2 cup brown sugar
8 tablespoons unsalted butter
16 ounces marshmallow
6 drops green food coloring
Candy eyeballs

    Pour popcorn into a large, wide bowl. Remove the kernels.
    Melt brown sugar and butter in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring often.
    Spray a wooden spoon or spatula with cooking spray. Add marshmallows and stir until melted and smooth. Add food coloring and stir until color is evenly distributed.
    Add popcorn and candy eyes to the pot and combine until evenly coated.
    Place popcorn into a bowl or a plastic zipper-lock bag. Eat within a couple days.


Pretzel Candy Spiderwebs

Pretzel sticks
16 ounces vanilla/white chocolate candy coating
Halloween sprinkles
1/2 cup chocolate chips

    Use an eight-inch diameter bowl to trace circles onto wax paper. Cut out circles and place on cookie sheets. Arrange eight pretzel sticks on each circle so they touch in the center and radiate outward.
    Melt candy coating according to package directions, taking care not to overheat. Stir until smooth, then transfer to a gallon-sized heavy-duty or freezer plastic bag. Snip a 1/4-inch hole in the corner of the bag, then pipe a circle in the center of the pretzels where they meet.
    Starting at the center and working outward, make a spiraling line across the pretzels until a spiderweb look is achieved. Stop before reaching the tips of the pretzels. Pipe over the outermost ring several times to make it thick.
    Use a small spoon to pour sprinkles over the thick outer ring of the spiderweb.
    Place chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl and heat in 30-second increments, stirring well in between, until chocolate is melted and smooth. Transfer melted chocolate to a small plastic bag and snip a tiny hole in the corner of the bag.
    In the center of each spider web, make a spider starting with the legs. Draw a thin plus sign topped with an X, to create eight small legs. Pipe a small circle of chocolate on top for the spider’s body. Place two tiny sprinkles on top for eyes.
    Allow webs to dry for several hours, until completely set. Carefully peel spiderwebs from wax paper or serve directly from wax paper circles.

Pop Tart Ghosts

For pop tarts:
2 cups flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup salted butter, cold, cut into cubes
3 to 4 tablespoons ice water
1/4 cup chocolate-hazelnut spread or another filling
For glaze:
3 cups powdered sugar
5 tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Black nonpareils
Pink powdered food coloring

    In a large bowl, stir together flour, sugar and salt. Add cubed butter and beat until the mixture resembles course sand.
    Add ice water, one tablespoon at a time, until dough comes together. You may not need all four tablespoons. Divide dough in two, flatten into discs, wrap in plastic wrap and chill 45 to 60 minutes.
    Roll the first ball of dough out on a light floured surface until it’s approximately 9-by-12 inches. Using a large cookie cutter, cut out eight ghosts.
    Spoon a couple teaspoons chocolate-hazelnut spread onto ghost cutouts and gently spread it out, leaving a 1/3-inch border around the edge.
    Roll out the remaining dough and cut out eight more ghosts. Using your finger, wet the edge of the filled pastries, cover with a ghost cutout and gently press the edges together. Use a fork to seal. Poke a few air holes into the top.
    Bake in a 350-degree oven for 30 minutes, until golden brown.
    In a small saucepan, combine powdered sugar, water and vanilla extract. Cook over low-medium heat, whisking occasionally, until the glaze is warm and starts to form a crust on top. Remove from heat.
    Dip each ghost into the glaze, gently shaking it to allow any excess icing to drip off. Stir glaze between each pop tart so it doesn’t form a crust.
    Immediately add two black nonpareils to each ghost for eyes.
    Once glaze is completely crusted over, about 30 minutes, use pink powdered food coloring and a food-only brush to add rosy cheeks.


Candy Corn Bark

12 to 16 whole graham crackers
1 12-ounce package white candy melts
1 cup orange candy melts
1 cup yellow candy melts
Orange and yellow candy-coated chocolates, for topping
Orange, yellow and black nonpareils, for topping

    Lay graham crackers in a single layer on a large rimmed baking sheet, breaking to fit as needed.
    Place white, orange and yellow candy melts in separate medium microwave-safe bowls and melt in the microwave according to package directions.
    Pour white candy melts over the graham crackers and spread in an even layer using an offset spatula or the back of a spoon. Working quickly, drop tablespoonfuls of the orange and yellow candy melts about two inches apart over the white layer. Swirl with a toothpick to create a marbled look.
    Top bark with candy-coated chocolates and nonpareils while it is still warm. Refrigerate until set, about 15 minutes, then break into pieces.

Spider Cookies

1 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
20 miniature peanut butter cups
20 chocolate covered peanuts or raisins
Black or brown writing gel icing

    Beat the peanut butter, shortening, butter and both sugars in a large bowl with an electric mixer for four to five minutes, until fluffy and combined. Add egg and vanilla extract and beat until combined.
    Whisk together flour, baking soda and salt in a separate bowl. With mixer on low speed, add flour mixture to the peanut butter mixture and beat until well mixed.
    Scoop dough into 20 even portions of about two packed tablespoons each and roll into balls. Flatten each ball slightly and arrange the cookies two inches apart on parchment paper-lined baking sheets. Press the center of each cookie with your thumb. Bake in a 350-degree oven for eight to 10 minutes, rotating cookie sheets halfway through.
    Immediately after removing cookies from the oven, gently place one peanut butter cup just below the center of each cookie, allowing the warm cookie to melt the chocolate body into place. Then gently press one chocolate covered raisin or peanut head just above the peanut butter cup.
    Allow cookies to cool five minutes on baking sheets, then transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.
    Once cool, use gel writing icing to draw eight legs from the body of each spider. Allow the icing to set and serve.



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