In anticipation of the ghoulish holiday, you bought costumes when they were discounted after last Halloween, and you’ve occasionally picked up candy on sale for the past month, because preparation is your middle name. But now you've decided to host a party for little costumed goblins, and you need a menu that will please even the witchiest of palates. Make it easy on yourself and go with a sweet theme that requires only a little advance preparation and the recruitment of a few familiar goblins.
A few drops of orange food coloring turns ordinary vanilla yogurt into a pumpkin-themed treat. If you have time, hollow out mini pumpkins and use them as bowls for the yogurt. Slices of pears and apples that are readily in season and therefore less-expensive buys are healthy dippers. Bake spiced carrot muffins, but add a twist: Insert plastic doll arms (available at craft stores) reaching up and out of the muffins as if a person were baked alive.
Children of all ages love cookies, from the making stage to the eating stage. A day or two before your party, have your own little ones help you cut out and bake pumpkin-, witch- and ghost-shaped sugar cookies that can be decorated at the party using orange and black frosting, sprinkles, jimmies and black licorice. If you nabbed a couple of large bags of apples on sale, make caramel or candy apples, which is a cinch to do when you buy premade sauces. Mint chocolate chip ice cream sandwiched between a chocolate wafer and a chocolate cone resembles the form of a witch. Doughnut holes dipped in melted white chocolate decorated to look like eyeballs are a laugh riot.
Make sure your sweet treats don’t scare the little nippers away from the table. Make your ghosts friendly by fusing together two large marshmallows with icing and piping on the eyes and a smiling mouth with a tube of black icing. Pour a bag of gummy worms into a bowl, and strategically place them around the table for decoration, too. Pretzel sticks that have a flange of fruit roll secured to the end resemble colorful witches’ brooms that combine the kid-friendly salty, sweet taste.
If your kids are older, Halloween is when you can let your gross flag fly. In fact, the more disgusting your treats, the happier your kids will likely be. Sugar cookie dough rolled into the shape of fingers and baked with a sliced almond on the end for a fingernail are a scream. Have your older kids decorate marshmallow candy peanuts with black icing to resemble disconnected monster’s toes. A bowl combined with raisins and cranberries should be labeled blackheads and scabs to get the kids really going.
Who's That in the Punchbowl?
Cover the eyes, nose and mouth holes of a Halloween mask with freezer-safe tape and line the inside of the mask with plastic wrap, fill with water, and freeze until you have a solid frozen face. Remove the mask, and Immerse the frozen face into your favorite punch recipe to keep it cool and keep your young guests howling with laughter.
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