From a Halloween pizza made with a shop-bought base to cheesy broomsticks made with your little ones' favourite cheese, here are the best Halloween food ideas to whip up this October.
“Imagination is the only limit to food creativity, and Halloween food is a great opportunity for children to get involved in the kitchen, whether you’re throwing a fancy dress party or stocking up for trick-or-treaters,” says Michaela Hanna, a chef who offers private cooking lessons and has appeared on MasterChef: The Professionals.
“You can be as retro as you like when it comes to Halloween recipes – cover a grapefruit in tin foil, use black olives on cocktail sticks for eyes, and thread different coloured gummy worms onto skewers to make a Medusa-style head as a centerpiece for a table. Cut discs out of puff pastry, spread with tomato puree, sprinkle on some cheese, and use olives and strips of salami to make a spider snack perfect for handing out to hungry guests. Make a cauldron of green gooey dip by hollowing out a small pumpkin and filling it with guacamole – strips of pepper or breadsticks and nachos will make the ideal dipping accompaniment.”
Michaela is full of ideas for sweet treats, too. “Decorate squares of chocolate brownie with white coated biscuits, with red smarties in the center and black and red icing to make eyeballs,” she suggests. “Whatever your Halloween occasion, your guests will be thrilled with some tasty, themed food, delicious drinks, and spooky costumes.”
Sausage mummies, spooky sandwiches, spider web tart, Mini Roll bats, witch's brew mocktails - the Halloween buffet food list goes on. And don’t forget to stock up on Halloween-themed tableware and decorations alongside all this spooktacular food so you can throw the ultimate Halloween party this year.
Halloween food ideas
1. Halloween cookies
Makes/serves: 18 | Skill level: Easy | Total time: 22 mins
These spooky cookies make ideal treats for trick-or-treaters or are great for kids at Halloween parties. Ideally, invest in some Halloween cookie cutters, then you can cut out bats, ghosts, pumpkins, and tombstones though if you’d rather not fork out, whatever cutters you have in the cupboard will suffice – a skeleton can be piped onto a gingerbread person cut-out, for example, or draw a spooky face on to a round cookie. The biscuits are super simple with only four ingredients and decorated with thinly rolled-out coloured fondant.
Get the recipe: Halloween cookies
2. Halloween muffins
Makes/serves: 12 | Skill level: Easy | Total time: 1 hr
A simple one for the less adept bakers amongst us, these muffins are flavoured like a carrot cake with, well, carrots obviously, as well as cinnamon and walnuts. Piped with an orange buttercream, you can then just mix and match with whatever toppings you fancy, from spooky jelly sweets to sprinkles in Halloween hues.
“These muffins offer a great orange alternative to pumpkin at Halloween – perfect if you want something a bit different than the usual on the dessert table. To get really vibrant colours for your icing, use a colouring paste or gel rather than colouring liquid and let the kids go wild with gummy sweets and chocolate eyeballs to decorate,” says professional baker Naomi Boles.
Get the recipe: Halloween muffins
3. Spooky Halloween pizza
Makes/serves: 6 | Skill level: Easy | Total time: 35 mins
This spooky Halloween pizza recipe is the perfect ghoulish treat and just too cute, if you ask us. Use a cookie cutter to cut out different shapes of Mozzarella cheese including ghosts, bats, and pumpkins. You could also make shapes out of slices of pepperoni and, it might be a little fiddly, but you can also create spiders out of whole black olives. Making extra large pizzas for a party, so there’s plenty of space to show off your toppings is the best idea (and means there’s plenty for guests to scoff, of course).
Get the recipe: Halloween pizza
4. Halloween traybake
Makes/serves: 12 | Skill level: Easy | Total time: 55 mins
This jammy sponge is super easy for the unconfident bakers amongst us, and you don’t even need to make icing as it’s topped with that American classic, marshmallow fluff. This sticky, messy sugary topping is the perfect surface for sticking all manner of crowning glories – jelly worms and other spooky sweets, as well as M&Ms, Smarties and jelly beans in Halloween hues.
Get the recipe: Halloween tray bake
5. Halloween eggs
Makes/serves: 24 | Skill level: Easy | Total time: 30 mins
Is your mind boggling as to how the tie-dye effect in these brilliantly gruesome-looking eggs is achieved – well, it is created using blueberries. The eggs are boiled with them, and then the shells are slightly cracked and soaked overnight in the fruity water – so you need to work ahead on this one. They taste as wonderful as they look, too, filled with an avocado mousse.
“This is a fantastic recipe – it has the visual wow factor, can be made ahead of time and is easy to eat as a nibble with drinks. Serving on a black plate will make the colours pop even more. The lemon will help to keep the avocado green,” says chef Michaela Hanna.
Get the recipe: Halloween eggs
6. Jelly worms
Makes/serves: 100 | Skill level: Easy | Total time: 10 mins (plus time to chill)
Super as a cake topper, or just as a big bowl of slimy worms, these are super easy to make – all you need is some party straws and some good old-fashioned packets of jelly. Make them multi-coloured and decorate your cake plates with them. Simple but very effective.
Get the recipe: Jelly worms
7. Witch’s fingers
Makes/serves: 45 | Skill level: Easy | Total time: 20 mins
Giving a whole new meaning to the term ‘finger food’, these impressive and seriously gruesome witch’s fingers are made using a biscuit base with blanched almonds as nails and jam as blood. You could even add a little green food colouring to the biscuit mix for a witchy hue. And why not serve them with a sweet dip, like Nutella or dulce du leche?
“Brace yourself because these biscuits look very realistic! Ideal for making with children and simple to decorate, plates of these spooky biscuits are sure to get a reaction. To keep the biscuits snappy, don’t over mix the flour, just bring it together gently and, if you’re making ahead of time, store the biscuits in an air-tight container,” says Michaela Hanna.
Get the recipe: Witch's fingers
8. Pumpkin shaped cake
Makes/serves: 24 | Skill level: Easy | Total time: 1 hr 35 mins
A perfect centrepiece for your Halloween table. Made in a Bundt tin, this cake both contains pumpkin and also resembles that most seasonal of fruits. Also featuring other Autumnal flavours like cinnamon and ginger, the cake is topped with orange icing, bronze glitter and finished off with a fondant stalk. It would be equally wonderful served on Bonfire night, or for an October/November birthday party.
Get the recipe: Pumpkin shaped cake
9. Halloween fairy cakes
Makes/serves: 12 | Skill level: Easy | Total time: 1 hr 10 mins
These simple fairy cakes are a godsend for those who are challenged on the cake decorating front. A brilliant one to do with kids, this recipe features ready-to-use icing and icing pens for you to draw spooky designs with - try spider’s webs and ghostly faces, and if they’re a little rough around the edges, that’s ok because the kids did them, right? (even if it was you, really, wink wink).
Get the recipe: Halloween fairy cakes
10. Pumpkin biscuits
Makes/serves: 12 | Skill level: Medium | Total time: 2 hrs 15 mins
These biscuits are next level tasty, featuring ground almonds, orange zest and runny honey, and the toppings are basically stamped on with a cut-out apple dipped in food colouring (think the potato stamps you did harking back to school days). An excellent Halloween party bag treat or to serve amongst your Halloween party food spread on a large tray so each biscuit can lie flat. They’re too good to give away in the trick or treating stampede, if you ask us.
Get the recipe: Pumpkin biscuits
11. Halloween lasagne
Makes/serves: 6 | Skill level: Easy | Total time: 1 hr 35 mins
Give your classic lasagne a Halloween makeover with this vegetarian butternut squash, spinach and ricotta version, featuring all the requisite seasonal colours and flavours. Make a pumpkin shaped topping out of pieces of the squash.
“Easy to scale up for larger numbers of guests, or cook extra to have at a later date, this is a great recipe that caters for vegetarian guests,” says Michaela Hanna. “Some shredded chicken or cubes of chorizo can be added if you would like to make this a meat version. Line the tray for the butternut with baking parchment to prevent sticking and make the washing up easier!”
Get the recipe: Halloween lasagne
12. Halloween pumpkin cake
Makes/serves: 8-10 | Skill level: Easy | Total time: 1 hr 15 mins
A classic carrot cake is a very Autumnal affair, so perfect for Halloween, topped with these very cute fondant pumpkins (that are pretty easy to make, even if you’re an amateur at the old cake decorating). Cream cheese frosting, a moist sponge delicately-spiced sponge, and a cake that hits the spot all across the seasons, not just for Halloween. Though to make it extra spooky, add some green food colouring to the frosting, and decorate the plate with other creepy delights.
Get the recipe: Halloween pumpkin cake
13. Halloween toffee apples
Makes/serves: 6 | Skill level: Easy | Total time: 20 mins
An iconic treat for this time of year, these toffee apples will also go down a storm for Bonfire Night. Dip your Granny Smiths into the toffee mix, made from golden syrup, sugar and butter (we concede it’s not the healthiest way to eat your daily apple, but hey ho). You could then dip half the mix into different toppings – flaked almonds work brilliantly or you could try some orange and green sprinkles or chocolate vermicelli.
Get the recipe: Toffee apples
14. Cheesy broomsticks
Makes/serves: 12 | Skill level: Easy | Total time: 10 mins
These savoury snacks are so adorable and will be a party talking point, despite being super easy and containing only three ingredients – pretzel sticks for the broom handle, sliced cheese for the broom, and chives to wrap around for colour. We’d serve these with some nice dips - think a nice ‘bloody’ salsa with a kick of chilli and onion. That’ll do nicely.
Get the recipe: Cheesy broomsticks
15. Halloween cake pops
Makes/serves: 20 | Skill level: Medium | Total time: 1 hr 30 mins
This one takes a wee bit of time and skill, but, boy, is it worth it. These pumpkins and skeletons are achieved by using candy melts that you dip your cake balls into. Make them a day or two ahead of your party, and they’ll make a spooky smasher of a centerpiece on your Halloween food table. They’re almost too good to eat. Though we must emphasise the ‘almost’ there.
Get the recipe: Halloween cake pops
16. Witch's hat cookies
Makes/serves: 12 | Skill level: Medium | Total time: 1 hr 30 mins
Ice cream cones and biscuits, stuck together and covered with melted chocolate, they’re so simple and brilliant, especially with the brightly coloured fondant belts and buckles. “These are a visually brilliant, sweet treat for any Halloween party. Children will love to see how they can transform a few simple ingredients into fun chocolate treats. If you do not have a microwave, melt the chocolate in a bowl over a pan of simmering water – just make sure the bowl doesn’t touch the water,” says Michaela Hanna.
Get the recipe: Witch hat cookies
17. Halloween whoopie pies
Makes/serves: 20 | Skill level: Medium | Total time: 1 hr 10 mins
That most American of cakes, these whoopie pies (apparently the name comes from the Amish folks who would say ‘whoopie’ when one appeared in their lunch boxes) are given a seasonal twist. The filling is scattered with orange and black sprinkles, and topped with pics of spooky skeletons attached to cocktail sticks – get the kids crafting for this one.
Get the recipe: Halloween whoopie pies
18. Halloween pumpkin soup
Makes/serves: 4 | Skill level: Easy | Total time: 45 mins
Because pumpkins aren't just for carving… This healthy, nutritious, comforting, lightly spiced pumpkin soup has an impressive spider web topping made from natural yoghurt (though you could always use creme fraiche, or sour cream). If you really want to go all-out, you can ladle it into mini cauldrons for your guests.
“Delicious, seasonal and batch-cook friendly, make lots of this pumpkin soup so you can freeze some and have it later. If you can’t find turkey rashers, then shredded chicken or ham would make a good alternative,” says Michaela Hanna.
Get the recipe: Halloween soup
19. Creepy cheese faces
Makes/serves: 4 | Skill level: Easy | Total time: 5 mins
Sometimes the simplest ideas are the best. To make these sinister cheese faces, you will need a packet of English muffins, tomato puree and cheese slices. Cut the muffins in half, toast the outsides, then flip them over, very lightly toast, then spread with a layer of tomato puree. Take the cheese slices and carve out scary faces. Place onto the muffin and grill. Until bubbling and toasted.
20. Eyeball cake pops
Makes/serves: 10 | Skill level: Medium | Total time: 2 hrs 20 mins (plus chilling time)
Vanilla sponge balls, dipped in buttercream and white chocolate melts, you’ll need to use your artistic skills to draw on the blood red veins around a black fondant eyeball. Suitably sinister, these will have your trick or treaters or your party guests highly impressed. It’s a shame to actually eat them, really.
Get the recipe: Eyeball cake pops
21. Zombie-bread men
Makes/serves: 18 | Skill level: Easy | Total time: 32 mins
Make up a batch of these zombie-bread men with your small party guests. They can decorate them however they like – and eat them afterwards, of course. Do a batch of classic gingerbread and decorate with red, white and black icing, making eyes out of white and black fondant. A deliciously spooky twist on a classic.
22. Terrifying trifles
Makes/serves: 3 | Skill level: Medium | Total time: 1 hr 20 mins
These five-layered individual trifles are given a Halloween twist, and can be as easy or as tricky as time and skill allows. Make your own sponge for the bottom level, or just buy one, then add custard with a splash of green food colouring – again homemade, ready-made, or with good ol’ fashioned custard powder – before a layer or crushed biscuits of your choice (we think Oreos work particularly well). After this, add orange jelly and top with whipped cream. Then decorate with spooky faces. Glassware for presentation is essential - buy the jars from Lakeland, or you could make one big, scary trifle in a traditional glass dish.
Get the recipe: Terrifying trifles
23. Halloween marshmallow pops
Makes/serves: 16 | Skill level: Easy | Total time: 30 mins
Taking your kid’s marshmallow love to the next level – toasting them round the campfire will have nothing on the excitement of these creepy creations. Kinda like cake pops without having to make or shape actual cake, marshmallows are turned into ghost, pumpkin and mummy and – our favourite – Frankenstein pops, thanks to the addition of ingredients like candy melts; pretzel sticks and white choc. The variation looks amazing, but if you’re short on time, just focus on one or two of the spooky options.
Get the recipe: Halloween marshmallow pops
24. Bloodbath cocktail
Makes/serves: 1 | Skill level: Easy | Total time: 5 mins
Vampires will love this bloodbath cocktail made with pomegranates and vodka, and a dash of lemon juice. Double or quadruple the recipe to make enough for punch, and, for a really impressive presentation, serve it in a fake cauldron. Add some lemon slices and enjoy, safe in the knowledge that you’re getting your superfoods in alongside a cheeky bit of booze.
Get the recipe: Bloodbath cocktail