15 Sep 2014
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Spooky Good Recipes for Halloween

Not sure how to trick your little ghosts and ghouls into eating a real meal on Halloween night? Here are some recipes that are sure to be a treat (and won't take too much time or effort) - for you and your hungry hobgoblins!


On Halloween night, many parents struggle with getting their kids to eat something besides sweets while fulfilling their own adult responsibilities and having fun themselves. All of the recipes that follow can easily be completely prepared or fully prepped either before trick-or-treating or while answering the door and handing out goodies. Alternately, most of these recipes are simple enough to allow for little helpers to assist in the preparation while they wait for it to get dark enough to go out.

“Real” Finger Foods and Ghostly Gobble-ups with Green Goo Dip


  • Long skinny carrots or baby carrots (1 per “finger”)
  • Dry roasted, sliced almonds (1 per “finger”)
  • Cream cheese
  • Endive leaves, separated, rinsed and dried (1 per “ghost”)
  • Cloves (2 per “ghost”)
  • Arugula-basil pesto (recipe follows) or store-bought pesto


  1. Peel carrots and cut to exaggerated finger length or use baby carrots as is.
  2. On pointed end of carrot, cut an angle that will allow you to attach the almond slice as the “fingernail.”
  3. Put a small dab of cream cheese on angled edge and attach almond slice.
  4. Place endive leaves convex side up and insert 2 cloves to make the eyes. NOTE: the cloves are just for decoration- DO NOT EAT the cloves!
  5. Place fingers and ghosts in and around dip (even if your little goblins don’t like pesto, this will help ensure that they actually DO eat something healthy that night)

Green Goo Dip (Arugula-Basil Pesto)


  • 1/3 cup sliced almonds
  • 2 cups arugula
  • 1 cup basil leaves
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt 


  1. In bowl of food processor, process garlic.
  2. Add almonds, arugula, basil, grated cheese, pepper and salt. Process to blend well.
  3. Gradually add oil and process until fully blended.


Bugs in a Blanket

This recipe comes from the website “ Capturing Joy with Kristen Duke.”


  • Hot dogs
  • Packaged crescent dough (each full-sized roll serves 8)
  • Potato sticks


  1. Preheat oven to 375°.
  2. Cover a baking sheet with foil and spray with cooking spray.
  3. Open the packaged crescent dough and separate into individual triangles.
  4. Place hot dog on the wide end and roll towards the point. Place point-side down on prepared baking sheet and repeat with remaining hot dogs/crescent dough.
  5. Bake for 15 – 17 minutes or until dough is golden brown.
  6. Per bug, select 8 – 10 longer potato sticks for legs and 2 short ones for antennae and insert into dough while it is still warm.
  7. Serve with blood (ketchup) or other condiments as desired (you can make up your own gross/scary names for mayonnaise, mustard, relish, etc).

Note: These can be baking while you are doing the stovetop preparation of the quesadilla recipe that follows: just turn the broiler on after you take out the “bugs in a blanket.”

Jack O’Lantern Quesadillas

These are inspired by a recipe on the “ all*you” website.


  • Tortillas (if you can find orange ones- like Trader Joe’s Habanero Lime or Maria and Ricardo’s Tomato & Basil- they work best) (2 per person)
  • Shredded cheese (I used Colby-Jack) (1/2 cup per person)
  • Canola oil


  1. Turn oven to broil (after making “bugs”) or preheat to broil.
  2. Cover baking sheets with foil (you will need approximately 1 baking sheet for every 2-3 quesadillas).
  3. Stack up 4 tortillas at a time on a cutting board and use a sharp paring knife to trim away some of top, leaving a 1-inch "stem" so tortillas are shaped like pumpkins. Repeat with remaining tortillas.
  4. Use knife to cut two triangles for eyes and a crescent for a mouth in half the tortillas (the remaining tortillas will be on the bottom so you do not want holes in them).
  5. Heat approximately 1 teaspoon of oil in a large pan over medium heat.
  6. Add a tortilla without eyes and mouth, heat briefly, flip, and cover with 1/2 cup cheese.
  7. Cover with jack o’lantern tortilla. Cook until underside is golden, 1 to 2 minutes, and then slide onto baking sheet. Repeat until baking sheet is full.
  8. Place baking sheet under broiler and broil until tops are golden (Watch carefully- this only takes a minute or so).
  9. Repeat to make remaining quesadillas.

Owl S’mores

These were based on a recipe found on Amy Locurto’s website, “ Living Locurto.”


  • Graham crackers (broken in two to form squares- you will need 1 sq. per owl)
  • Full-sized marshmallows (1 per owl)
  • Mini chocolate chips (2 per owl)
  • Candy corn (1 per owl)
  • Yellow frosting (I used the kind that comes in a tube and a small decorating tip, but you can make your own)


  1. Using a sharp knife or kitchen shears, cut marshmallows in half width-wise.
  2. Put a dab of yellow frosting on the cut side of each marshmallow half and place frosting side down on upper half of graham cracker to form base for eyes.
  3. Put a small stripe of frosting on piece of candy corn and secure to graham cracker between and below marshmallows to form beak.
  4. On top of marshmallows, make a small circle of frosting and place a mini chocolate chip in the center of frosting to finish forming the eyes.


Mar-gore-itas with Lime Wheel Eyeball

The fun part about these drinks is the decorated glassware. So you can use the enhanced margarita glasses, filled with ginger ale or another age-appropriate beverage, for the younger set as well. This recipe comes from entertaining guru and regular Today Show contributor Jeanne Benedict (who also happens to be a high school friend of mine!).

Ingredients/Directions for Margaritas:

  • 1 1/2 oz. Tequila
  • 1/2 oz. triple sec
  • 2 oz. sweet and sour mix

Combine ingredients over ice in prepared red caramel blood-dripped Margarita glass with lime eye-ball garnish.

Ingredients for Lime Wheel Eyeball:

  • Lime wheel (slice of lime)
  • Red Maraschino cherry
  • Mini chocolate chip
  • 1-inch long piece of green plastic straw
  • Red Caramel (see recipe below)


  1. The day before the party, cut maraschino cherries in half and prep red caramel
  2. Use a dab of red caramel on back of mini chocolate chips and stick them in center of cherries to resemble a pupil.
  3. Dip ends of 1-inch straws in red caramel and insert into the open cut side of each Maraschino cherry half. (The cherry will look like a little umbrella with the straw as a handle. This will help keep the cherry in place on the lime as wet cherries do not stick to wet limes very well!)
  4. Set cherries on a piece of wax paper, and allow caramel to set up overnight.
  5. An hour before the party, cut a slit into the lime wheel and slip the straw with cherry on it into the slit and up to the center of the lime wheel as the iris of the eyeball.
  6. Slip the garnishes on the rims of the glasses.

Red Caramel Blood Drips


  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/4 cup hot water
  • 1/4 teaspoon red food coloring


  1. To make the red caramel drips: Combine ingredients in a small saucepan and stir until sugar is moistened.
  2. Heat saucepan over medium-high heat until mixture reaches soft ball candy stage, about 4 to 6 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat and cool completely.
  4. Place Margarita glasses on wax paper.
  5. Use the back of a spoon to scrape red caramel on the outside glass rims creating the blood drips.
  6. Allow caramel to set up overnight.
  7. Clean drips off bottom or base of glasses if necessary where caramel has dripped down.

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