Halloween is my favorite. I love dressing up my whole family in themed costumes. My sweet tooth loves candy. My musical taste loves The Monster Mash. My vision loves seeing all the cheesy decorations around my house. My unstable side loves horror movies. My younger self loved haunted houses (when I could run away faster). And my current mom self loves making a wickedly special dinner on Halloween.
This will be my fourth year making a special Halloween dinner and it’s become one of my favorite parts of the spooktacular day!
I never tell my kids what I’m making each year and they are banned from the kitchen, so my Halloween meal is always a surprise. It also allows me some wine-sipping, Thriller-dancing, creative-cooking time alone in my kitchen. Each year I try to make new things; some items have been successful and some have been major failures, but either way it’s always fun!
Below are recipes and pictures of both my spine-tingling successes and my frightful failures, along with tips I learned along the way. With Halloween being on a Saturday this year, there is way more time to attempt a hauntingly good dinner display. Read on for recipes I have attempted and feel free to steal these ghoulishly grand ideas. Pinterest is a great place for even more ideas which is where I turn to for this tradition each year.
Mini Mummy Meatloaf Cups
Prepare your favorite meatloaf recipe. If you don’t have one, I’ve provided one of mine below. Instead of using a loaf pan, place the meat mixture in a muffin tray. Tip: Don’t use paper liners for this like I did. The grease from the meat just turns it into wet paper. Use foil liners or none at all.
Push a cherry tomato into the middle of the raw meat in each one so it’s hidden. While this is cooking, make your favorite mashed potatoes and a side of peas. Once your potatoes and meatloaf are done, put the mashed potatoes into a pastry bag with a ½ inch ribbon tip and pipe them out across the meatloaf cups leaving some meat poking through. Add two peas for eyes on each one. When you bite into them the hidden cherry tomato will pop like an eyeball.
Meatloaf Ingredients and Recipe:
1 lb. hamburger
1 beef bouillon cube
1 beaten egg
1 ½ cups breadcrumbs
¼ cup chopped onion
Dissolve beef cube in ¼ cup boiling water. Mix with all other ingredients. Add some salt and pepper. Bake uncovered at 350F degrees for 45 minutes (shorter when using muffin pan) or until center is 165F degrees.
Grab a can of refrigerated breadstick dough and wrap each dough strip around a greased wooden dowel, skewer stick or something long and skinny that can go in the oven. Pour some food coloring (orange, green, red or yellow) into a bowl and use a basting brush to lightly color the dough with whatever shades you want your snakes to be. Brush again with an egg white and sprinkle poppy seeds on top. Bake as directed on can, but you may need to cook for a shorter time since they are stretched out and thinner. Once cool, add your face. Options for eyes are tiny cut up garlic cloves, black icing or raisins. Options for the tongue are cut up red licorice or cut up red gumdrops.
Bowl O’ Worms
This was very time-consuming and didn’t taste good, BUT they looked awesome, which made it kind of worth the labor involved. Combine one regular size package of raspberry, strawberry or cherry Jell-O and three packages of unflavored gelatin in a bowl. Stir in three cups of boiling water until dissolved. Chill for 20-25 minutes in the fridge to get to a lukewarm temp.
Fill a mason jar with as many straws as you can fit. There shouldn’t be empty space in the jar or it won’t work. A 4-cup jar and about 125-150 straws is a good size for this. Tips: Use bendy straws stretched open to get that clitellum look of the worm. Put bendy part towards the bottom of the jar because they won’t fill up all the way. The straws should be taller than the jar.
Stir ¾ cups of whipping cream with about 15 drops of green food coloring. Pour this mixture (unwhipped) into the lukewarm Jell-O. Slowly pour the mixture using something with a spout into the middle of the jar of straws. Let it chill for 8-24 hours until it is set. Once you’re ready to make your worms, shimmy the first straw out of the jar, run it sideways under hot water for a couple seconds, then squeeze the Jell-O worm out starting on the empty side of the straw by pinching and pushing down the straw until the worm falls out. I really want to try this again but this time using something that will make it more flavorful.
Get two tortillas. Cut a pumpkin face into only one of them. Cover the uncut tortilla with your favorite cheese, preferably orange in color, and place the pumpkin face tortilla on top. Cook in a pan and then flip to cook the face side.
Tip: Don’t prep the quesadillas ahead of time. I prepped mine late morning and placed in the fridge to cook later, but by dinner time the tortillas were already hardened and stale.
Pumpkin Floats or Ghost Floats
Use a sharpie to draw a pumpkin or ghost face on a clear solo cup. Add your desired amount of vanilla ice cream. Pour in your favorite orange soda. Buy some fun Halloween straws to make it even fancier.
This wasn’t the prettiest Halloween item I’ve made. Trial and error is usually my friend when it comes to making creative food. Make Jell-O in various colors but pour each one onto baking sheets or larger baking pans like a 9×13. After they have chilled, use a circle cookie cutter (or just cut uneven circles with a knife like I did) and make as many monster heads as possible. Use your creativity to decorate their faces. Suggestions are candy corn, edible eyes, licorice, marshmallows and gummy worms. These were very fragile, so my monsters didn’t look so hot.
Tip: Do not use wax paper. It scrapes off with the Jell-O. Also, don’t use slippery candy like M&M’s because they just slide off, especially when you transfer them from pan to plate.
Hot Dog Mummies
Cut crescent roll dough into long strips and wrap around a hot dog like a mummy. Cook the dogs on a large cookie sheet (lightly spray dough with cooking spray) for 13-17 minutes or until dough is lightly golden brown and hot dogs are cooked through. Draw eyes with ketchup or mustard.
This one is super easy. Just get a mandarin orange or an actual orange and draw a pumpkin face on it with a sharpie.
Tip: Make sure the fruit is dry or the marker won’t work very well. Also, don’t use a washable marker or it will just transfer to your kids’ hands and they’ll have a smudged treat before they even peel it.
*Draw a ghost face on it
Tip: Consider how high you’re willing to fill the cup with milk before you draw the face. I did not think of that and had to pour way more milk than I usually give my kids in an open container. Keep the face down low for a small pour.
Small Reese’s cups and stick pretzels. If you only have one minute to prepare dessert during Halloween season, this is your go-to.
I also have the pleasure of having one kid with an October birthday which has allowed me to make some fun school and party treats. Check out these super easy treats that could also be used for Halloween day fun.
Buy some glazed donuts, edible eyes and toy vampire teeth. Voilà! Your kids get a sugary treat and can run around pretending to suck each other’s blood when they’re done!
Buy some string cheese. Draw a face of a ghost on the blank side of the packaging. You’ve just made your cheese go from plain and boring to cute and spooky!
If you want to feel like a fruit tray is staring at you, just glue some googly eyes to toothpicks and stick ‘em in!
I’m super excited to try some new creepy recipes out this year. Pinterest has so many ideas I have a hard time limiting myself. If you’ve got any gruesomely good ideas for a Halloween meal, drop them in the comments! Maybe I’ll add it to my ever-growing list of future hair-raising Halloween meals!