Fall is a magical time of year. In many parts of the country, the temperatures and leaves drop—but no matter where you're located, fall signals the return of seasonal flavors. It also means the big event is around the corner: Halloween. And when it comes to the Halloween party buffet, the fun part is that it can be as family-friendly or as adults-only (themed cocktails, anyone?) as you please.
Whether you love Halloween or consider yourself beyond the age of dressing up, everyone's got to eat. The festivities are certain to make sure no one goes hungry (or thirsty). From a Deathly Hallows-themed cheese board to a fruity Halloween zombie punch, these Halloween party food and drink ideas will ensure you have the best celebration on the block. Our favorite food bloggers are here with 15 of their favorite recipes for your next fall shindig.
Read on for the best Halloween recipes to get your guests in the spirit of All Hallow's Eve.
What is Halloween?
Halloween is a combination of two ancient holidays: Samhain, a Celtic tradition where people donned costumes to ward off ghosts, and the Roman Catholic Saints Day, on November 1 which honored saints and martyrs. The day before Saints Day (October 31st, also the traditional night of Samhain) was known as All Hallow's Eve, or Halloween as we call it today.
Deathly Hallows Cheese Board
The Recipe: Deathly Hallows Cheese Board
Why We Love It: Harry Potter fans, rejoice! This theme-appropriate cheese board from Half Baked Harvest includes a witch's cheese hat, marinated mozzarella eyeballs, cheddar cheese caramel apples, peanut butter and cheddar black spiders, and vampire teeth apples. The cheese hat is the star of this dish: Cream cheese, gorgonzola cheese, roasted garlic, fig preserves, and salted pistachios make this spread every bit as tasty as it is attractive.
Pro Tip: For the witch's cheese hat, chill your plate in the fridge before placing it on the plate, then pop it back in the fridge until you're ready to serve the entire cheese platter.
Spooky Fried Mozzarella Cheese Eyeballs
The Recipe: Spooky Fried Mozzarella Cheese Eyeballs
Why We Love It: Cheesy, crispy mozzarella balls are personified for Halloween with the addition of sliced olives and hot sauce for "eyeballs." To make this easy recipe from Foodie Crush, you'll also need cream cheese, mozzarella, panko crumbs, eggs, and green onions. Spice lovers will welcome the heat of Cholula hot sauce for an extra kick.
Pro Tip: Be sure the cream cheese is at room temperature before you begin preparation—it's the perfect soft texture to blend with mozzarella and green onion whites.
Baked Mexican Street Corn Pumpkin Dip
The Recipe: Baked Mexican Street Corn Pumpkin Dip
Why We Love It: Hola Jalapeño's comforting dip recipe gets the fall treatment by using an empty pumpkin as a serving bowl. You'll need corn, Cotija cheese, sour cream, chicken bouillon, cilantro, lime, ancho chili powder, and of course, a miniature pumpkin. This simple recipe comes together in just a few quick mixing steps, so it's a great option for themed Halloween parties with less preparation.
Pro Tip: Keep the top of your pumpkin to use as a lid for keeping the dip warm throughout the party. Serve with crackers, tortilla chips, sliced radishes, celery sticks, or carrot sticks.
The Recipe: Jalapeño Mummies
Why We Love It: These Halloween snacks from Grits and Pinecones are easy to make, and ideal for when you're craving something a bit more substantial. Make these with jalapeños, softened cream cheese, grated pepper jack cheese (or Monterey Jack for less spice), garlic powder, onion powder, candy googly eyes, an egg, and a roll of crescent dough. Simply mix your cheese filling, add it to scooped-out jalapeños, and bake.
Pro Tip: Find candy googly eyes at most grocery stores during the Halloween season, or check your local craft stores for more themed garnishes.
Halloween Deviled Eggs
The Recipe: Halloween Deviled Eggs
Why We Love It: With a little black food coloring, classic deviled eggs turn into a Halloween favorite in this recipe from The Seaside Baker. You'll be surprised at how easy it is to achieve this look: To get the spider-web finish, simply crack the shells of hardboiled eggs (without removing them) and add the eggs to a bag with water, vinegar, and black food coloring overnight in the fridge. Add your yolk mixture in the morning with Dijon mustard, Tabasco sauce, mayonnaise, and fresh chives for garnish.
Pro Tip: There's no need for special egg cookers here: A pan on the stovetop is all you need to make these deviled eggs with the classic taste. Refrigerate up to six hours before serving.
Spooky Halloween Pretzels
The Recipe: Spooky Halloween Pretzels
Why We Love It: Half Baked Harvest turns the utilitarian pretzel into adorably-spooky owls, ghosts, and magic wands in this Halloween pretzel recipe. Chocolate-dipped pretzels, Oreo cookies, and various candies come together for these sweet snacks. Let all of the candied pretzels set in the freezer for 10 minutes before serving.
Pro Tip: You don't have to follow the exact instructions to decorate your pretzels—have fun with it! Try out your favorite creative Halloween ideas to make these delicious "monsters" unique.
White Chocolate Halloween Sprinkle Popcorn
The Recipe: White Chocolate Halloween Sprinkle Popcorn
Why We Love It: This salty-sweet, orange-hued dessert popcorn from Sugar Salted is undeniably festive (and quick to make). Add orange food dye to melted white chocolate, mix with popcorn, and add sprinkles. It looks like a pumpkin, but it won’t taste like it. Use simple, dark-colored sprinkles, or try out Halloween-themed sprinkles from your local craft store.
Pro Tip: While melting the chocolate, "If the water starts to boil too hard, remove the pot from heat for a minute, then put it back on," Sugar Salted advises. Be careful not to burn the chocolate on the bottom of the pan: A rubber spoon is great for mixing ingredients around the edges as they melt.
Candy Corn Cookies
The Recipe: Candy Corn Cookies
Why We Love It: Candy corn, a classic Halloween trick-or-treat snack, gets the cookie treatment in Hummingbird High's recipe. Italian rainbow cookies are dyed in candy corn colors for the occasion. With almond and lemon extracts, orange blossom water, and apricot jam, these cookies bring out the flavors of the season in a simple homemade recipe.
Pro Tip: Plan ahead for these cookies, Hummingbird High notes. "Bake the three different layers and wait for them to cool before assembling the cookies. After assembling the cookies, you’ll need to chill them in the fridge for an hour to get them to hold their layered shape."
The Recipe: Monster Brookies
Why We Love It: Hummingbird High's brownie-cookie hybrid adds googly eyes and Reese's Pieces candy for a fun and cute Halloween treat. Dark chocolate, unsweetened cocoa flour, and vanilla extract are a few ingredients that give these simple cookies their rich flavor.
Pro Tip: "For best results, it’s best to stick the eyes [on] immediately after you pull the cookies out of the oven and place them (still on their trays) on a wire rack to cool, when the cookies are still soft and malleable," Hummingbird High recommends. Placing them on the cookies before baking can cause them to melt.
Deathly Chocolate Graveyard Cakes
The Recipe: Deathly Chocolate Graveyard Cakes
Why We Love It: Witches beware: This recipe from Half Baked Harvest isn’t for the faint of heart, but it is a chocolate lover’s dream. Each serving cup is filled with layers of chocolate, cake, mousse, whipped cream, and Snickers. Decorate the top with a brownie tombstone, Oreo crumbs, and witches' legs for the most delicious spooky scene.
Pro Tip: In place of Kahlua, caramel sauce or sweetened condensed milk are great alcohol-free and kid-friendly substitutes.
Salted Caramel Apple Snickers Cake
The Recipe: Salted Caramel Apple Snickers Cake
Why We Love It: This indulgent dessert from Half Baked Harvest doubles as a work of art. Spiced apple cake is frosted in a layer of chocolate followed by a thick layer of caramel, then topped with caramel apples for the ultimate showstopper. If you're looking for a recipe to impress your guests, this cake will undoubtedly be the star of the party.
Pro Tip: Note that this recipe requires two chill sessions in the refrigerator. You'll also want the caramel sauce to cool slightly before pouring over the cake—this allows the sauce to thicken and prevents it from melting the cake.
Chocolate Bark Halloween Brownies
The Recipe: Chocolate Bark Halloween Brownies
Why We Love It: In this easy Chocolate Bark Halloween Brownies recipe from How Sweet Eats, the contents of a trick-or-treater’s basket are turned into brownie form. In addition to Halloween sprinkles and candies, vanilla extract, dark chocolate, and white chocolate combine in these brownies for a hearty flavor. If you don't see your favorite chocolate candy on the ingredients list, don't be afraid to sprinkle it on top for a unique taste.
Pro Tip: Place brownies in the fridge for quick cooling, or leave them at room temperature for a few hours before serving.
Haunted Orchard Cocktail
The Recipe: Haunted Orchard Cocktail
Why We Love It: If apples are your favorite fall taste, try this Haunted Orchard Cocktail. It’s more than just a bottle of hard cider—it’s a mix of tequila, lemon, apple cider, maple syrup, ginger, cinnamon, and sparkling hard cider. With all things fall, Half Baked Harvest says, "It's warming and cozy, and the perfect easy cocktail to make from today until Hallow's Eve."
Pro Tip: Garnish the drink with a cinnamon stick and apple slices to wow your crowd.
Halloween Zombie Punch
The Recipe: Halloween Zombie Punch
Why We Love It: Touted as "sinfully fruity and delicious," this zombie punch recipe from The Butter Half includes sherbet and lime gelatin mix. While the ingredients give your beverage its electric green color, dry ice adds another element of spookiness for a bubbly, smoky finish. Fill a cooking syringe with raspberry syrup to add some extra zombie flair.
Pro Tip: Be careful when working with dry ice. The Butter Half recommends putting your dry ice in a tea infuser, or if you don't have them handy, to drink this cocktail carefully with a straw. Make sure dry ice never touches bare skin.
Deathly Hallows Cocktail
The Recipe: Deathly Hallows Cocktail
Why We Love It: Why stop with the cheeseboard? Pair your handiwork with this Deathly Hallows Cocktail from Half Baked Harvest. Mix a splash of cranberry juice with tequila, orange liqueur, lemon juice, maple syrup, and ginger beer for a cocktail with all the best Halloween vibes. This simple recipe just requires mixing your cocktail ingredients ahead of time (chill until ready to serve), and adding a splash of ginger beer just before serving.
Pro Tip: Garnish with a fresh thyme sprig and light it on fire for a smoky effect, Half Baked Harvest recommends.