Make spooky treats a Halloween centerpiece

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

Even though Halloween is coming up fast, there’s still time to create some spooky foods ideal for parties and spooky treats.

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.

Or make dirt cakes and decorate them with headstones made of cookies, using gel frosting to write “R.I.P.” or names and dates — perhaps the names of your guests.

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


Spooky Cinnamon Sugar Flour Tortilla Crisps


1/4 cup sugar

1-1/2 teaspoons cinnamon

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

2 flour tortillas


Cut each tortilla into six to eight wedges or use a cookie cutter to cut out shapes in the tortillas.

Mix the sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl and spread over the bottom of a small plate. Melt butter in a small bowl.

Dip the tortilla pieces in the butter, gently shake off the excess, then place on the plate of cinnamon sugar. Only coat one side of the tortilla.

Place the tortilla pieces, cinnamon sugar side up, on a parchment or foil-lined baking sheet and bake in a 350-degree oven for 10 minutes, until tortillas are crisp. Remove from oven and cool two minutes.




Pumpkin Cheesecake Truffle Mummies


1-1/2 cups gingersnap cookie crumbs

1/4 cup canned pumpkin puree

1/3 cup graham cracker crumbs

3 tablespoons powdered sugar

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon salt

3 ounces cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup white chocolate chips

White chocolate chips or dipping chocolate

Red food coloring


In a large bowl, combine gingersnap crumbs, pumpkin puree, graham cracker crumbs, powdered sugar, cinnamon, salt and cream cheese. Mix until smooth.

Melt white chocolate chips and mix into gingersnap mixture. Cover and chill one hour in the refrigerator, until dough is solid enough to roll into balls.

Roll mixture into 12 to 14 balls. Place a toothpick in each ball.

Melt remaining white chocolate chips or white dipping chocolate in a small bowl. Use toothpicks to dip each ball into chocolate, being sure to coat all sides. Gently shake off excess chocolate, then place on a baking sheet or plate lined with wax paper, parchment paper or foil. Chill three to five minutes, until chocolate hardens.

Drizzle more white chocolate over the truffles to simulate mummy’s wrap. Soak the end of a Q-tip in red food coloring and dab two dots to make the mummy eyes.

Store chilled in airtight container.




Halloween Candy Bark


3 cups bittersweet chocolate chips

2 cups assorted candy, cut into bite size pieces


Melt chocolate chips in a double boiler or in the microwave, stirring until smooth. Pour chocolate onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet and spread into an even layer about 1/4-inch thick. Sprinkle chopped candy on top of the chocolate, then refrigerate for 30 to 45 minutes, until the chocolate has fully hardened.

Carefully slide bark onto a cutting board. Cut the bark into irregularly shaped pieces. Serve immediately or store in an air-tight container in a cool place.



Hocus Pocus-Inspired S’mores Pops


12 graham crackers, halved

Marshmallow crème

3 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

3 tablespoons coconut oil

1 bag candy eyes

1 container black cookie frosting


Spread marshmallow crème on half of the graham crackers. Place a popsicle stick halfway into the crème, so it sticks out from the cracker like a handle, then top with the other graham cracker. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet and place in the freezer.

Melt chocolate chips in a double boiler or microwave, then stir in coconut oil. Dip graham cracker sandwiches in chocolate, covering them completely. You may need to use a butter knife or silicone spatula to make sure the sides are coated.

Stick one candy eye on the far right side of each “book,” about halfway down the graham cracker. Refrigerate at least 15 minutes, until the chocolate has hardened.

Use black cookie frosting to draw a circle around the eye, two semicircles on the outer corners of the graham cracker “book” and “stitches” on the chocolate-covered graham crackers.

Refrigerate until set, at least 15 minutes. Keep refrigerated until just before serving.



Ghost Meringues


4 egg whites

1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar

1 cup sugar

Black icing gel


Using an electric mixer, whip egg whites for a few minutes on high until they become frothy. Add sugar in small amounts, then mix in cream of tartar. Continue to whip the mixture until stiff.

Place the meringue mixture into an icing bag. Using a large round icing tip, continually press the meringue mixture directly down onto a foil lined baking sheet that’s coated with cooking spray. Press down and lift up to create layered stacks for each ghost — releasing the pressure a tiny bit and pulling up on the frosting bag at the same time.

Bake in a 225-degree oven about 45 minutes, until tops are a little brown.

Once completely cooled, they will harden and be ready to decorate with black gel frosting to create eyes and mouths.

Store in an air tight container.




Silly Apple Bites


2 green apples, quartered

Sunflower butter

32 sunflower seeds

2 to 3 strawberries, sliced

1 to 2 homemade googly eyes per apple bite


Cut the middles out of each apple quarter to create a mouth. Coat the inside of the gap with sunflower butter, then place four sunflower seeds on the top of the “mouth” to create teeth. Place one sliced strawberry inside the mouth for the tongue.

Glue each eye above the mouth with a dab of sunflower butter to stick.



Poison Apples


2 cups sugar

1/2 cup light corn syrup

3/4 cup water

1/2 teaspoon purple and black gel icing

12 small apples


Wash apples, dry and remove the stems. Insert wooden skewers into the center of each apple.

Combine sugar, water and corn syrup in a medium saucepan. Add purple gel color to the pan and stir lightly.

Fix a candy thermometer to the side of the pan and turn the heat to medium-high. As the mixture heats up and begins boiling, use a basting brush to continuously brush down the sides of pan with water to prevent sugar crystals from forming. Do not stir the syrup once it has started to boil.

When the syrup reaches 290 degrees, remove from the heat and remove the thermometer.

Working quickly, tilt the pan to the side to concentrate the syrup and dip each apple into the mixture, turning to coat all sides. Hold apple above the pan and let the excess syrup drip off for a few seconds.

Hold the apple upside down for a few seconds before placing on parchment paper to help prevent excessive pooling of the candy. Once the apples have hardened and cooled they are ready to eat.

Apples are best served and eaten on the day they are made. The longer they sit, the more moisture will build up in the apple and the candy will start to dissolve.



Spooky Boo Brownies


1 16-ounce box brownie mix

Water, vegetable oil and egg called for on brownie mix box

1 cup creamy white frosting

16 large marshmallows

Black decorating gel


Line an eight or nine-inch square pan with foil, allowing some to hang over edges of pan. Grease bottom and sides of foil with shortening or cooking spray.

Make and bake brownies as directed on box. Cool completely on cooling rack, about 1-1/2 hours. Freeze in pan 15 minutes.

Using foil to lift, remove brownies from pan and peel foil away. Cut into four rows by four rows.

Heat frosting in microwavable bowl, uncovered, on high for 20 to 30 seconds, stirring every 10 seconds, until frosting can easily be stirred smooth and is fluid.

Top each brownie with one large marshmallow. Spoon one tablespoon frosting over each marshmallow to coat. Let stand until frosting is set, about 30 minutes. Use black gel to make eyes and mouths.




Ghost Pretzels


30 mini pretzels

6 ounces vanilla milk chips

1/2 teaspoon coconut oil or shortening

Candy eyeballs


Melt white chocolate and coconut oil in a glass bowl in the microwave in 10 to 20 second bursts. Immediately dip pretzels, one at a time, in the bowl, using a fork to turn the pretzel over. Shake off excess chocolate. Be sure to shake the chocolate out of the bottom hole so it looks like an open mouth. Place chocolate dipped pretzels on a parchment lined baking sheet.

Immediately press two eyeballs into the top two holes for eyes, adding a little extra chocolate if needed.

Repeat with remaining pretzels. Work quickly, heating chocolate if needed only once more.

Allow pretzels to harden, peel off the baking sheet and serve.





3 medium ripe avocados, peeled and cubed

1/4 cup finely chopped onion

3 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro

2 tablespoons lime juice

1/8 teaspoon salt

Tortilla chips

Sour cream, optional

Refried black beans, optional

Ripe olives, optional


In a small bowl, mash avocado with a fork. Stir in onion, cilantro, lime juice and salt.

Spoon guacamole onto a platter and shape into a rectangle. Place chips near the top of the head to create hair. Decorate face as desired with sour cream, refried black beans and olives.




Bewitched Halloween Popcorn


10 cups popped popcorn

3 tablespoons butter

3 cups mini marshmallows

Pretzel M&M’s, green and dark brown

Green and purple M&M’s

Halloween sprinkles


Remove unpopped kernels from popcorn, then salt liberally and set aside.

Place butter in a medium saucepan and melt, stirring occasionally. Add mini marshmallows and stir until they are covered in butter, and then continue to stir until the marshmallows are melted. Remove from the heat as soon as the last marshmallow has melted.

Slowly pour about one-third of the marshmallow mixture over the salted popcorn. Gently fold the marshmallow mixture in with the popcorn, a bit at a time, stirring between each addition.

Pour the popcorn onto a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper, foil or a Silpat sheet. Use a spatula to form an even layer.

Sprinkle candy and sprinkles onto the popcorn before it sets. Allow popcorn to cool, then break into pieces and serve.




Pumpkin Rice Krispie Treats


6 cups Rice Krispie cereal

3 tablespoons butter

10 ounces marshmallows

Red and yellow food coloring

12 Tootsie Rolls

1 green fruit roll-up


Melt butter in a large saucepan over low heat. Add marshmallows and stir constantly until melted, then remove from the heat.

Add four drops red food coloring and two drops yellow food coloring, adjusting ratio to create a bright orange color.

Mix in Rice Krispies, then form into small balls into the shape of a pumpkin. Coat your hands with cooking spray before forming the pumpkins.

Cut each Tootsie Roll in half to create a stem and place into each pumpkin while still warm. Cut small leaves from the fruit roll up and add to pumpkins.



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Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

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Port Washington, WI 53074
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