Even though Halloween fills kids' heads -- and treat bags -- with enough sweet stuff to last for days, you may still want to surprise your little ones with a specially themed dessert to top off a meal. Instead of creating something complicated that takes up both your time and fills the dishwasher with cooking utensils, concentrate on finger foods that your little ghosts and goblins will love.
Even the most fruit-picky kids will be lining up to get their hands on some edible eyeballs at Halloween time. These finger foods are both healthy and fun, as well as an incredible time-saver for busy moms. The day before your party or Halloween family dinner, slip a bunch or two of grapes -- pick them from the stems to save you time later -- into the freezer. Although this trick works with any grapes, you may want to pick the light green kind that most resemble eyes. Freeze them overnight, then give them a quick bath in lukewarm water. Remove the skins and pile up the frozen "eyes" for kids to dip their hands into, then munch and crunch. Be aware, however, that grapes can present a choking hazard for younger kids.
Put the words "finger food" into proper use when you serve a "severed finger" dessert platter. Busy moms will find ladyfinger cookies the perfect size, shape and color to resemble fingers; for darker skin colors, mix food coloring and spray or drizzle it onto the cookies, or use chocolate icing. Make your own cake-like fingers by baking a cake in a rectangular pan, then slicing portions for the fingers. Turn those severed but healthy-looking digits into a scary Halloween treat by squeezing red food coloring and icing around the tips of the fingers and breaking some up to look like broken bones.
Kids who aren't interested in trying pumpkin pie or pumpkin pudding may rush to the table to pick up your pumpkin cupcakes -- with no actual pumpkins harmed in the making of this dessert. Moms benefit by their portability -- no bowls, spoons or plates, though you may want to have a few napkins on hand for messy eaters. Make the cupcakes as you normally would with your kids' preferred cake flavor. Mix food coloring until you get a bright orange -- use red and yellow -- and mix that with vanilla icing. Pile it onto the top of the cakes, then use chocolate-coated candies or chocolate chips to form the jack-o-lantern face. Add a green candy just above the eyes to serve as the pumpkin's stem.
As a ghost, Casper is often one of the most common choices for quick Halloween costumes, but he can also serve as a fast and delicious inspiration for finger food desserts kids won't say "boo" to. After melting chocolate in a burner or microwave, assemble your "ghosts" -- large puffy campfire marshmallows. Dip each ghost halfway into the chocolate, then place it chocolate end up onto a wax paper sheet, letting the chocolate "costume" run down and pool around the bottom of the ghost. Use orange-colored chocolate melts for a variation on the theme. Once the chocolate has hardened, serve up these not-so-scary finger food desserts.
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