There is something about Halloween that is awesome. I'm not so much into the super scary stuff, as I'm pretty much ridiculously afraid of everything. Fun fact: Matt made me watch "The Fugitive" on our honeymoon. I had nightmares. Ridiculous.
But I'm all over the funny, kind of gross part. Basically I'm like an 8 year old boy.
So I'm all about Halloween food.
Some years we've thrown a big extended family party and other years the best I could manage was mummy dogs on our own (and that was pushing things).
In an effort to fulfill my life goal of unnecessarily complicating every possible situation, over the years I have spent hours and hours wracking my brain/scouring the internet for the best, funniest, most awesome Halloween food. These pictures are gathered from a few years of our Halloween parties and include a few shots of dishes some of my extended family brought.
I also make sure to quickly label anything clever so everyone can freely appreciate the humor. Since this these pics are from a few different years, we obviously didn't serve all of those ground meat variations at the same time. But you could.
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Spooky Vegetable Platters
The awesomeness of all of these make me happy. Franken-Peas?! Come on! I don't have a pic of it, but we've also just done carrot sticks and called them witch's fingers.
The kids had fun doing these. We used mini chocolate chips for the eyes and a regular one for the mouth. These do turn brown pretty quickly, but they're an easy and winner activity for the kiddos.
Homemade Root Beer
Dry ice? Uh, yes thankyouverymuch. Nothing says Halloween like mist coming from food. Homemade root beer is so dang fun, but just know that dry ice doesn't last long once you buy it even in your freezer, not everywhere sells its, and the stores that do tend to sell out around Halloween. But it is awesome, so it's worth the adventure.
Love that my old dish rag's in that shot above. Nice.
This is one of the grossest looking foods we've ever done. It's meatloaf under that chili sauce and bacon. There's also onion teeth and olive eyes. Mmmm...Disgustingly delicious. Honestly, it was a little hard to eat this one! Ha!
Matt had fun crafting this work of art. He followed the recipe but formed it into a skull shape before wrapping it with bacon, putting onion chunks for the eyes and teeth. After it baked he transferred the meatloaf onto the platter, coating with the chili sauce, and adding the olives.
No joke, 30 seconds after we brought that skeleton home it got dropped and the skull broke off. It's just placed where it should go. Story of my life.
We just filled our centerpiece with salami, but you could do a whole meat and cheese spread. I'd soap and water the skeleton first, or at least throw down some saran wrap first or something.
These are not the most attractive batch I've ever made but they tasted delicious. I use this recipe for the dough and usually don't even let it rise as I'm always behind schedule.
Mummy Dog Hacks:
1. If you're serving them with a bunch of other food, cut the hot dogs in half before you make them. As you view the kids' abandoned, one-bite-gone, full-sized-hot-dog filled plates you'll find yourself screaming on the inside and not in a good way.
2. Do yourself a major favor and cooking spray your countertop, roll your dough out pretty thin into a rectangle with a rolling pin, and then cut them into narrow strips with a pizza cutter. I've tried forming them like snakes before and it sucked the life out of me and took approximately 17xs longer.
3. Leftover dough? Just cut them in a little thicker strips and tie a knot on each end for Bone Breadsticks. Then serve them with some red pasta sauce and call it something gross, like Blood Sauce.
This was a relatively easy one. After you boil the noodles, throw them in a gallon baggy and dump in black food coloring. Just mix it up until it looks how you want it. I then do a quick rinse to get off any extra food coloring. I plopped the meat sauce on top followed by the ricotta and olives for eyes. Canned spaghetti sauce would work great here too.
Individual portions always take longer, but in this case they're pretty delicious and pretty amazing, so it's worth it. Just form your uncooked meatballs, and shove in a 1/4 of a mozzarella cheese stick. Then carefully top with a sliced olive and bake. I've also added a pimento inside the olive some years when I've felt over the top ambitious.
Fastest way to form the meatballs? Cookie scoop. It goes so much quicker and the meatballs are uniform size. They do come out a bit flat bottomed, but totally worth it. You can always go back and roll them if that bothers you.
When they first come out of the oven the cheese usually melts out a bit but just shove it all back together while it's still hot.
The Dried Scabs are just roasted pumpkin seeds. I've also labeled a bowl of craisins Dried Scabs, which is much grosser.
The Witch's Brooms are a 1/3 mozzarella sticks with the ends pulled apart and a pretzel stuck in.
The Ogre Eyeballs are just olives.
The Deviled Spiders are deviled eggs with spiders made out of olives
And my absolute favorite, most disgustingly delicious item we have to have at our Halloween Party:
Diaper Dip is just a bean/corn salad served on a cut out paper plate on top of a diaper. Not many usually eat it because of the presentation despite it's deliciousness, but its worth it from the reactions from everyone.
If the party is on Halloween I don't mess with treats as we'll trick or treat afterward and the kids will get plenty of sugar overload, but otherwise here's a few ideas.
Insect Rice Krispie Treats
If you've never spent an hour or two looking at that Hello, Cupcake cookbook, you haven't really lived. These chocolate insects are her brainchild and unlike many of the awesome ideas in the book, they really aren't that complicated. You just need chocolate chips melted in a freezer baggy, wax paper, the template, and little candies. The cookbook calls for assorted M&M's and chocolate covered sunflower seeds, but you can also use jelly beans and Smarties and whatever the heck else is on here.
And obviously the bugs are on Rice Krispies instead of cupcakes because we are all kinds of flexible around here. I'm sure it had nothing to do with not wanting pack up the crew to go to the store again. I've seen the bugs on top of cookies too, both homemade and store bought. This could be a really fun project for older kids to do.
Here's a link to a blog with a decent description to making them if you're interested.
Halloween Gingerbread Houses
Who says Christmas gets to have all the fun? We've done these a few times and they're always a hit. I assemble the houses in advance and bag up the frosting in quart freezer bags with the corners snipped, then let the kids have at it with the Halloween candy.
Obviously you can use regular graham crackers, but how awesome are these chocolate ones?! This one was the brain child of my 6 year old.
Here's a template for making the houses, along with a few hints on assembling them. They do take a little Mom prep but they are a total slam dunk with kids.
While my kids have loved doing this on our own, the houses have made a great activity for kids to do when we've had our party. The really little ones will obviously need some help but there's something pretty magical about gluing treats on to graham crackers with frosting that is pretty universally loved.
If you end up with a bunch of extra food, just freeze it! Breadsticks, all of the meat, the mummy dogs, the pasta and sauce, and even the rice krispie treats freeze great. One year a week after Halloween I hadn't remembered we had signed up to feed missionaries from our church and when they showed up I threw them together quite the last minute feast. That probably made a pretty funny letter home.
With all this spooky talk, I'm getting excited for Halloween. Now to figure out our costumes...