Halloween Party Food and Drink Ideas

August 29, 2008

What’s a Halloween party without perfectly-themed food? Every party will be a little different, but here are a few ideas to get you started.

Kids Halloween Parties

Food coloring is your friend! Start with the old standbys – cupcakes and hot dogs and such – then get creative. Dye your cupcakes neon colors or even black (you can get specialty food dyes at good cooking stores or online), then frost with white or orange frosting. Look in the candy aisles at the store for bags of chocolate fingers and eyeballs to stick on the cupcake.

Or make dark devils-food cupcakes, top with chocolate frosting and crushed black cookie crumbs, then embed some gummy worms into the frosting for dirt cupcakes. Sprinkle spider rings on the tray with them.

Hot dogs, slit from one end to a little past half to make eight “legs”, will cook (grilled or boiled) in such a way that the “legs” splay out, making hot dog spiders. Serve with olives (eyes), noodles and spaghetti sauce (guts and blood), and string cheese (lady fingers).

Candy, of course, is a must. Mix up traditional favorites with some gross things – gummy worms and body-part chocolates. Gummy spiders are always a winner. You can have these in a big dish or – smarter – put them in favor bags.

For drinks, float a half-gallon chunk of rainbow sherbet in red fruit punch – fizzy is preferable. If you can find some, put some dry ice in to get the lovely steamy effect, but be careful and don’t let the kids touch it.

Finally, you have to have an apple-bobbing event. Use a wide, shallow bowl, and put just enough water into it to float the apples. Pick off the apple stems so no one is tempted to cheat!

Adult Halloween Parties

Start with candy. No matter how old you get, you’re never too old for Halloween candy. Use the same candy you’re passing out or purchase upscale specialty candy, whatever works for you, and put it in a nice favor bag.

After that, the sky’s the limit. Start with finger foods – that look like real fingers. Strips of steak or sausage, large pretzels, and other finger-like foods, complete with “bloody” dipping sauces, are always a hit. Pigs in blankets become mummies, when you wrap them all the way in phyllo dough.

For more upscale foods, experiment with pumpkins. Sort and keep the pumpkin seeds from your jack-o-lanterns, and roast them with different flavorings: salt, Mrs. Dash, or a Mediterranean herb blend are winners. Chilled pumpkin soup is a winner, as are pumpkin breads.

Most importantly, pay attention to your drinks: Bloody Mary is a must, and a good assortment of alcoholic beverages will always do well. The children’s punch noted above but made with Sprite and rum is excellent, for instance. Decorate the table with lights, and put dry ice under fake spider webbing to keep your cold dishes cold while lending some nice fog to your overall party atmosphere.

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