Get in the spirit of Halloween with some fun delights

October 31, 2008|By GWEN SCHOEN / The Sacramento Bee

If you expect a gaggle of goblins to haunt your house this weekend, it will help to have a repertoire of tricks and ghoulish recipes close at hand.

We looked around for some party-food suggestions. Here are a few of our favorite sources -- and some Halloween tips and recipes.


Even if you aren't planning a party, check out this Web site just for fun. There's a lot of advertising on the site, but it's so clever that it's fun to read and watch. There are online games and ideas for pumpkin carvings. This is a fun site for the fainthearted. There are cute recipes appropriate for little goblins.


When it comes to great recipes, one of our favorite sources is Land O' Lakes, the company that makes dairy products. If you are planning a party for adults, check this site for recipes and menu ideas. There are also cooking videos that are fun to watch, and photos of recipes are an inspiration.



Kraft is a great source of recipes that use store-bought products in creative ways. There are also demonstration videos and party decorating ideas.


The great thing about the Pillsbury site is that its recipes use products that give you a head start. For example, there's a Halloween pizza made by pressing pre-made sugar cookie dough into a pizza pan, then topping it with Halloween goodies such as candy corn.


This site is an endless collection of recipes. You'll also find a slide show of recipes and a dozen or more demonstration videos, many with Halloween themes. You'll find lots of fun party and treat recipes. Among the things we like best are comments from readers about what worked and didn't, and how they made variations of recipes.

Halloween tips:

o Use dyed coconut to decorate cookies. Place a few drops of food coloring in a plastic food-storage bag. Add coconut and close the bag securely. Shake the bag until the coconut is dyed. Place the dyed coconut on a baking sheet covered in wax paper and place it in a 200-degree oven for a few minutes until it is dried but not toasted.

o Turn olives into a spooky spider on top of your guacamole dip. Cut one pitted colossal olive in half from end to end. Place half of the olive on the dip. Cut another olive into four rings. Cut each ring in half and place the eight pieces next to the olive half to look like legs. Slice the end from another olive and place it on the end of the olive half to look like a head.

o Stuff a grape with a chocolate chip so that it looks like an eyeball.

o Hollow out tiny pumpkins and use them as ice-cream cups for your party.

o Cut the stem end out of a small pumpkin and use it as a candleholder.

o Pepperidge Farm Milano cookies make great tombstones on top of Halloween cupcakes. Or create a whole graveyard by pushing the cookies into the top of a cake. Use ready-to-use decorating gel to write "RIP" on cookies.



o Makes 24 servings

This sweet twist on pizza pairs Halloween toppings with a quick-to-bake cookie crust made with Pillsbury refrigerated cookie dough.

1 roll Pillsbury refrigerated sugar-cookie dough
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1 cup candy corn (optional)
1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips or raisins
1/4 cup sliced almonds
1/2 cup miniature marshmallows
1/4 cup vanilla ready-to-spread frosting

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 12-inch pizza pan with foil; grease foil. Cut cookie dough into 1/4-inch-thick slices and arrange the slices in the bottom of the greased, foil-lined pan. With floured fingers, press slices to form the pizza crust.

Bake at 350 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes or until it is a deep golden brown. Cool 30 minutes or until completely cooled.

Using the foil lining, lift the crust from the pan. Carefully remove the foil from the crust. Place the crust on a serving platter. Spread peanut butter evenly over the crust. Sprinkle evenly with candy corn, chocolate chips, almonds and marshmallows.

Melt 1/4 cup of frosting in small saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly until thin and of drizzling consistency. Drizzle icing over cookie pizza. Cut into wedges or squares.


o Makes 15 servings

This recipe is quick to assemble with store-bought ingredients. The recipe is from the Land O' Lakes Web site,

1 jar (16 ounces or 1-3/4 cups) black bean dip
1 container (12 ounces) guacamole
1/4 cup sour cream
1 cup shredded lettuce
4 ounces (1 cup) shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup chopped tomato
Tortilla chips

Spread the bean dip onto the center of your serving platter, leaving 1 to 2 inches around the edge of the platter. Carefully spread bean dip with guacamole.

Spoon the sour cream into a resealable plastic food bag. Snip off the corner of the bag and use the bag to pipe sour cream into four concentric circles on top of the guacamole. Drag a toothpick or knife through the sour cream from the center outward to make a spider-web design.

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