Creepy and Spooky Halloween Food Ideas
It’s October, and you know what that means…it’s time for Halloween! Whether you plan to stay in and pass out sweets, head out trick or treating with the kids, or enjoy one of the many holiday parties, it’s likely you’ll want to make some sort of Halloween treat to capture the spirit of the holiday. We’re here to help!
We’re going to look at the origins of Halloween food, which are rich with history. We’ll also look at some ideas for snacks and meals that will wow everyone around you on Halloween. Whether you’re looking for Halloween food ideas for adults or just want to concoct some savoury Halloween food, we’ve got you covered. Let’s start with traditional Halloween food and where it came from.
Traditional Halloween Food
The Halloween that is celebrated today has its roots in three different celebrations – the Roman festival of Pomona, the Celtic festival of Samhain, and All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day. Each brings a touch of the modern Halloween that we are accustomed to with jack o’lanterns, candy apples, and trick or treating, but has its own past wrapped up in celebration and superstition. We’ll look a bit at the history of the holiday and some of the foods that made for traditional Halloween fare.
The festival of Pomona was a celebration of the Roman goddess of harvest and orchards. On November 1st, Romans celebrated Pomona with offerings of apples, orchard fruits, and nuts. Apples, in particular, were seen as a symbol of fertility and love. The festival was held around the same time as Samhain and the two holidays were later merged into a single celebration.
Samhain was an ancient Celtic festival
Samhain was an ancient Celtic festival marking the end of summer and the harvest. When summer ended, the healthiest animals in herds were taken into winter shelter, while the rest were cooked and eaten. Celts believed that during Samhain, spirits walked the world of the living. These spirits were rumored to be able to tell fortunes, which would warn the living of dangers ahead.
The Celtic villagers left offerings of wine and food to their ancestors, hoping to make contact with loved ones no longer with them. In order to avoid unwanted spirits, the living would wear disguises in hopes that they would be mistaken for spirits themselves. They would then form a parade in order to lead unwanted spirits from the village.
The feasts of All Saints and All Souls
The feasts of All Saints and All Souls came about as Christianity grew in Europe and the previous holidays rolled up into this one. The Roman Catholic Church made November 1st a holiday to honor saints. Rather than offering food and wine to ancestor’s spirits, instead “soul cakes” were baked and provided to the poor in exchange for a prayer for the deceased. Costumes were also still used, but as a way to honor saints, rather than for the warding off of spirits who were unwelcome.
Many of these traditions came to America by Irish immigrants in the 19th century. They initially carved turnips and potatoes to welcome deceased loved ones, but that made way for pumpkin jack o’lanterns. Nowadays, pumpkins some are grown just for carving and can reach sizes in excess of 1,000 pounds.
Trick Or Treat
When it comes to trick or treating, this is largely tied to the All Saints’ Day practice of offering food and money to men who went door to door singing. The ghoulish disguises popular in America come from Samhain and the donning of costumes to ward against unwelcome spirits. In the 1950s, trick or treating was aimed at children and was meant to bring neighborhoods together.
Nowadays, the celebration of Halloween is something that all ages take part in. Sweets and treats are enjoyed by kids and adults, and people of all ages put on costumes and enjoy the night. But, all of these things came from ancient celebrations that many don’t know much about.
Halloween Main Dishes
Now that we’ve looked at the history of Halloween food (and Halloween in general), we are going to talk about some excellent Halloween foods that you can make in your own home. Our first interest is main dishes, and they run the gamut from creepy to elegant, but each of these Halloween dishes caters to the holiday.
• Pumpkin turkey chili – if you want something that focuses more on harvest and less on ghosts, you can’t beat a spicy chili with that hint of pumpkin to tie everything into Halloween.
• Toxic waste mac and cheese – or if you’re catering for a band of kids, give them food they already love but amp it up with a gross, green color that they will adore.
• Chicken potpie with crawling hands – this dish is tasty but creepy by virtue of the “severed hand” that is displayed on top of the pot pie.
• Mummy meat loaves – these mini meatloaves are simple to make and sure to make an impact at your Halloween party gathering.
• Halloween spaghetti – everyone loves spaghetti, but this spaghetti is exceptional, with black noodles that will impress everyone who eats it.
• Spiderweb pizza – these pizzas are simple to make, and they’re undoubtedly spooky enough to qualify as a great Halloween main dish
This is only a sampling of the main dishes you can make come alive for Halloween. While it may seem as if the holiday is focused solely on sweet treats, savoury Halloween food isn’t as rare as you might think. The recipes above are a great start, but there are many creative ways to make old standards a bit more deserving of a Halloween meal spot.
Add Pumpkin For An Autumn Feel
One way to make anything a little more autumn-feeling is by adding pumpkin. This works quite well for many recipes, such as soups, chowders, chilis, and pasta. You could even make a sweet pumpkin vinaigrette for a salad if you choose to serve that. Pumpkin can often work with potatoes, as well, to make a great gratin or add flavour to regular mashed potatoes.
Some other options you might consider, especially if you’re looking for Halloween food ideas for adults, are pumpkin lobster mac and cheese, skillet kale and pumpkin pasta, and spicy pumpkin enchiladas.
With that same outlook, apples are another ingredient that is indicative of fall and Halloween. It can be used in main dishes and actually makes some beautiful savoury Halloween foods. Apples pair well with an excellent pork tenderloin, are great on almost any salad, and have numerous uses with chicken and seafood. Some of our personal favorites are samosa cakes with apple chutney, savoury apple thyme tart, and smoky tempeh apple and arugula sandwich.
Of course, if none of these appeal, there are many more recipes out there waiting for you to discover them. A quick search for apple recipes, pumpkin recipes, or even Halloween recipes should help you on your way.
Appetizers Perfect for Halloween
There are tons of options for appetizers that practically scream Halloween. The Internet has recipes for everything from bite-size eyeballs made of pastry to hot pepper mummies and even spinach dip in a bread bowl that looks like a cauldron. All of these are fun and exciting, but a few really tickle our spooky bone (is that a thing?), so we want to share them with you.
First up is an easy and fun recipe that you could even enlist the kids for help with. It’s a pumpkin cheese ball that takes only a handful of ingredients but comes out looking really cool.
• 2 (8 oz) packages cream cheese, room temperature
• 1 (1.1 oz) package fiesta ranch dip mix
• ½ of a bell pepper, chopped small (save stem)
• 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
• 2 green onions, finely chopped
• ¾ cup finely crushed cheddar chips
1. Add everything except the chips to a bowl and mix until combined.
2. Shape the cheese into a ball/pumpkin shape and wrap in plastic wrap.
3. Place in refrigerator until firm (about 2 hours).
4. Crust chips in a plastic bag with a rolling pin until fine.
5. Roll the cheese ball in the chips, top with bell pepper stem.
6. Using the yard, press the yard into the ball starting at the top and make your way to the bottom. Continue as needed.
7. Serve with veggies, crackers, chips, etc.
The second appetizer that we think is perfect for any Halloween gathering is spooky fried cheese eyeballs. These are less cutesy and more creepy but are still fun to eat for those of all ages. The recipe follows.
• 1 (8 oz) package cream cheese, room temperature
• 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
• 3 green onions, white only minced
• 3-4 tablespoons of Chohula or Frank’s Red Hot Sauce
• 10-15 small black olives
• ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
• ½ cup flour
• 2 eggs
• 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
• 3 cups canola oil
1. Blend cream cheese, mozzarella cheese and whites of the green onions in a medium bowl. Scoop cheese mixture with an ice cream or cookie scoop and level off the top. Place an olive in the middle of the cheese, hole side up. Fill the hole with hot sauce then cover with a spoonful of cream cheese mixture. Mold into a ball and drizzle with more hot sauce. Repeat with the rest of the cheese.
2. In a small saucepan or deep fryer, heat oil to 350 degrees.
3. Gather three shallow bowls and place flour in one bowl, whisk eggs in another bowl and place panko bread crumbs in remaining bowl. Dredge a cream cheese ball first in flour, then egg and then in panko. Repeat flour, egg, and panko steps two more times. Set aside and repeat with the rest of the cheese balls.
4. Fry cheese balls in batches of three or four at a time for about 2 minutes or until golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Slice in half or serve whole with marinara sauce on the side.
There are many other options out there for you, including Rice Krispies pumpkins, monster mucus, and mini donut spiders. Honestly, the sky is the limit. Let yourself get creative and think about what spooks you or others in your family. There’s likely a way to incorporate it into an appetizer, or another dish, if you consider all the options. Really, the point is to have fun and sometimes doing your own thing is the best way to reach that goal.
Creepy Halloween Food Ideas
Now we get to the fun stuff, those disturbing and disgusting foods that you’re not sure you can eat because they make you so grossed out. These are perfect for a low-key Halloween party with friends. Some of the dishes are great for kids, while others are probably best left to the adults. In either case, we’re sure you can disgust nearly anyone by using some of these ideas at your next Halloween party.
• Dead man’s finger sandwiches – these little treats consist of only a few ingredients and are effortless to make, yet pretty creepy.
• Spiderweb cake – this cake is delicious, yet it has a splash of Halloween because of the web design and the spider atop the cake.
• Brain big batch Jell-O shot – this one is purely for the adults and is a booze-spiked Jell-O brain that is delightfully spooky.
Spooky And Bloody Desserts
• Bloody eyeball dessert – usually the name of this recipe would turn us off, but the taste is excellent, and it’s fun to eat on that one night a year.
• Pizza skulls – enjoy filling these little skulls with pizza toppings, which will be a big hit at your Halloween gathering, for kids or adults.
• Human torso appetizer plate – this one is super creepy but so much fun, it includes all the organs of the body and makes each one edible in a different food.
• Blood clot biscuits – these little guys are delicious but are you brave enough to bite into one?
• Spooky worm and spider nests – this is sure to send anyone running who doesn’t like bugs as plastic insects sit atop what looks like egg sacks.
• Poison toffee apples – painted in a black that gleams, these treats are both off-putting and hard to resist, all at once.
• Blood fondue – this crimson fondue looks delightfully icky while being downright delicious, especially with all the items to spear and coat in the blood.
There are some ideas that have been around the web that should bring you into a creepy and spooky place if that’s what you’re going for. One of our favorite ideas is to choose a theme and then have the décor, costumes, and even food revolve around it.
For example, the theme could be witches, and people could show up as witches, warlocks, bats, and cats. The area for the party could be set up a spooky witches lair, and you could serve treats in cauldrons. It brings things together and can be a lot of fun.
Halloween Food Ideas – Desserts
Dessert is easy enough when it comes to Halloween, especially if you’ve had any trick or treaters out for the night. Sometimes you might want something in addition to the handfuls of candy that you’re sure to have, though. We’ll look at some great Halloween desserts that you can use to end your night with a bang.
Our first dessert recipe is chocolate peanut butter spider cookies. They are quite simple to make but look great when you’re done so that you can be proud of yourself for the effort. Plus, they taste really delicious so your guests will love them (if you don’t eat them all yourself).
Chocolate Peanut Butter Spider Cookies
• ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
• ¾ cup smooth peanut butter
• 1/3 cup brown sugar
• ½ cup granulated sugar
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• One large egg
• 1 ¼ cup all-purpose flour
• ¾ teaspoon baking powder
• ¼ teaspoon baking soda
• Pinch of teaspoon salt
• 24 round chocolate truffles
• ¾ cup semisweet chocolate chips
• 48 candy eggs
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
2. Place the softened butter and peanut butter in the mixer and beat until fluffy. Then add both sugars and beat again until fluffy. Scrape the bowl and whisk in the vanilla and egg.
3. In a separate bowl mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together. Turn the mixer on low to slowly incorporate the flour mixture.
4. Roll the cookie dough into 24 – 1 1/2 tablespoon balls and spread 12 out on each cookie sheet. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven. Quickly use a pestle to press a cavity in the middle of each cookie. Then place back in the oven and bake another 6-10 minutes, until golden.
5. Meanwhile, unwrap all the chocolate truffles. Once the cookies are out of the oven, cool until almost at room temperature (but not very warm) and place a truffle in the cavity of each cookie. if the cookies are too warm, the truffle will melt. If the cookies are cool, the truffle won’t stick. (You can also wait until the cookies are completely cool, then glue the truffles in with chocolate to be safe.)
6. Melt the chocolate chips in the microwave in 30-second increments, stirring in between, until melted and smooth. Scoop the melted chocolate into a zip bag. Close the bag and snip off a small portion of one corner to create a hole. Pipe 8 legs on each cookie, starting from the truffle body down.
7. Then use the remaining melted chocolate to glue two eyes onto each truffle spider. Cool until the chocolate is firm and serve.
Other great dessert recipes
Other great dessert recipes that we suggest you take a look at include easy pumpkin pie bites, wicked witch cupcakes, and monster sugar cookies. These are only our favorites, though. If you do some digging, I’m sure you can find just the right dessert for your party or get together on Halloween.
Adult Halloween Beverages
It probably comes as no surprise that Halloween, being a holiday, leads to celebration and one of the ways people celebrate is by consuming alcohol. In case you need a beverage to add to your Halloween party, we’ve found some of the creepiest and most unique cocktails, sure to make a splash with everyone. These recipes are intended only for adults, of course.
• Morgue-a-Rita – enjoy lime juice, triple sec, tequila and some spooky additions that make this an excellent Halloween beverage choice.
• Bloody orange cocktail – this one has a real twist with plastic syringes in the actual cocktail, which has a fruity taste.
• Smokin’ skulls shot – this uses dry ice to get a cool effect and bourbon for a smoky flavor that matches.
• Black widow shot – combining black vodka and cranberry juice for a real bite you will never forget.
• Liquefied ghost cocktail – this classic white cocktail is spooky and delicious with a taste that reminds us of a milkshake.
• Pumpkin spice punch – everywhere is pumpkin spice, so why not in your cocktail; this features apple cider, bourbon, and more.
• Zombie cocktail – this one can really hit you hard so be aware of that before drinking; it has a pumpkin hue and a creepy name to boot.
And there we have it, a beautiful collection of drinks to enjoy with your favorite adult Halloween foods. If you prefer something sans alcohol, we suggest apple cider, hot cocoa, or a Halloween punch. Many cocktails can be made virgin, as well, if you liked the look of one of the cocktails above.
No matter what your plans are for Halloween, everyone has to eat. Most people want something besides the sweets from trick or treating so we’ve pooled together a number of great options for you. You can make a few snacks for the kids or go crazy with a Halloween themed dinner party. The sky is the limit. Just have fun with it and have a great Halloween!