Throwing a great Halloween party is a lot of pressure. I mean, how often do you have to create a menu of food that isn’t just tasty and festive, but also scary?
But there’s no need to be terrified. There are plenty of freakishly easy recipes that fit the bill.
(Some, like eyeballs on a stick and the Snack O’Lanterns below are even healthy.)
We asked chefs and bloggers for their best scarily good treats. 5 to try:
Bubbling, Glowing Punchbowl
Glow sticks under the bowl and dry ice create a spooky effect, says Pam McMurtry, author of A Harvest and Halloween Handbook.
To make, activate three long-lasting glow sticks and place them in a big container—McMurtry recommends a cauldron.
Place a clear plastic bowl on top. Mix equal amounts of white grape juice and ginger ale to fill the bowl three-quarters full. Add a few drops of food coloring, if desired.
Use oven gloves to add small chunks of dry ice.
Awesome Alien Eye Deviled Eggs
Kyla McConnell-Federowicz, owner of Vintage & Veil Events in Phoenix, Ariz, makes these spooky peepers as an appetizer.
Cut 12 hard-boiled eggs in half. Scoop out the yolks and set them aside.
Fill a few small glass containers about half-full of water, and then add food coloring to each one to get the shades you desire.
Place egg halves in the colored water, making sure that the entire surface of each egg is covered. Let the eggs sit at least one hour.
While waiting, place egg yolks in a bowl and mash them with a fork. Stir in a half-cup mayonnaise, three tablespoons sweet pickle relish, and an eighth-cup of mustard.
Add salt, pepper and paprika to taste. (Color with food coloring, if desired.) Scoop into baggie and set aside. Remove eggs from the water and place onto paper towels to dry.
Snip a corner of the baggie containing the egg yolk, and squeeze to dispense mixture into egg halves.
Drain a can of chopped olives and add an olive ring on top of the yolk mixture. Use a few of the cut rings as eyelashes by placing at the top of the yolk mixture.
Cover and let chill for at least 45 minutes.
Snack O’ Lantern
Skinnygirl suggests this healthy and cool-looking snack. Use a small knife to slice the top off a navel orange and cut around its interior to hollow it out.
Scoop out the orange segments, chop them, and mix them with canned or fresh fruit salad.
Carve small facial features in one side of the orange, then cut a slit in the top piece to fit the handle of a green plastic spoon.
Insert the spoon and set the lid in place.
Cupcakes can be creepy, says Tiffini Soforenko, founder of Yummy Cupcakes in Los Angeles. To dress up your favorite combos, try these tricks.
For a “Vampire Bite,” Soforenko uses a small round pastry tip to poke two smalls about an inch apart, just below the visible surface of the cupcake.
Fill the hole with the red piping gel and allow it to flow out onto the frosting just a bit. This will look like the vampires fangs bit into the cupcake.
For a “Spider Web,” place parchment paper on a sheet pan, and use a fork to drizzle pre-melted white chocolate from left to right and top to bottom.
After the chocolate cools, break off pieces and add to the top of a cupcake, standing straight up.
“What Was Under That Rock?” Trifle
Think of McMurtry’s recipe as a grown-up, scarier version of childhood classic dirt pudding.
Mix together one small box of instant chocolate pudding and a cup and a half of milk. Chill for 30 minutes.
Buy, or bake according to package directions, a 9” x 13″ pan of brownies. Set aside to cool, then crumble.
In a separate bowl, crush about 30 chocolate sandwich cookies and set aside.
Whip together eight ounces whipping cream, a quarter-cup powdered sugar and a teaspoon vanilla.
Fold in two eight-ounce packages of softened cream cheese, a cup powdered sugar and a half-teaspoon vanilla. Place in bowl and chill.
In a serving container layer half of the brownies, half of the cream cheese filling, and if desired, nuts such as peanuts or walnuts.
Tuck in a few gummy worms while layering. Repeat layers.
Top with pudding, crushed cookies, and a few more gummy worms. Decorate with candy rocks, mint leaves and meringue mushrooms.
Frugal Foodie is a journalist based in New York City who spends her days writing about personal finance and obsessing about what she’ll have for dinner. Chat with her on Twitter through @MintFoodie.