Mindy loves entertaining and coming up with creative ways to incorporate themed dishes into holiday celebrations.
In my opinion, no party or gathering is worth throwing if the food is not excellent, well-thought-out, and creative. Halloween parties are no exception. Now, I am no Martha Stewart, nor am I am the next Food Network star . . . not even close. That said, I never want my guests to feel like they've caught me off guard or that I wasn't prepared for them and their monstrous appetites.
One thing I love about large parties (like my family's annual Halloween "Boo Bash") is that guests spend their time milling around and socializing—there is no sit-down dinner. For occasions like these, I absolutely love to prepare simple but delicious finger foods.
The first year we hosted the Boo Bash, I made the mistake of preparing sloppy Joes (which I called "dead Freds") for 40 people. That was a ton of meat. I learned that night that people at parties do not like to sit down and eat large portions. My crew ended up eating "dead Freds" for the next week. Ugh. I will not make that mistake again.
Since then, I've learned to keep my Boo Bash menu simple. Most of the treats and appetizers listed here are so easy to make that they don't require actual recipes (but I will share the recipes for the items you can't wing from the photos). Below are my five favorite Halloween party snacks and some tricks I learned while making them.
The 5 Best Halloween Finger-Foods for Parties
- Mummy Hot Dogs
- Pumpkin and Brain Cheese Balls
- Vampire Donuts
- Devilish Eggs
1. Mummy Hot Dogs
These are an absolute must. They are so simple to make, but they look great and taste delicious. They can be served warm but are also fine to sit for a few hours on your buffet. People can grab them and munch on them while they wander around. If you like, you can also set out a bloody ketchup dipping sauce on the side. These are guaranteed to disappear by the time your own Boo Bash comes to a close.
- Hot dogs
- Pillsbury crescent rolls (or similar)
In this case, no dish-specific instruction is needed—simply wrap your hotdogs in crescent rolls so they look like mummies, pop them in the oven, and heat them according to the crescent roll instructions (hot dogs are already fully cooked and will be warmed as the crescent dough expands in the oven).
If you like, you can add mustard eyes, but be sure to wait until the mummies are cool. If they are fresh out of the oven and still quite warm, the mustard will basically disappear after a few minutes.
These are pretty self-explanatory. All you need are ripe bananas and chocolate chips. Cut each banana in half, then use little chocolate chips for the eyes. This recipe is super simple, so it's perfect for getting your kids involved! Have one child peel the bananas while another child places the eyes on them (you or another adult should be responsible for cutting them in half).
3. Pumpkin and Brain Cheese Balls
I am a sucker for cheese . . . my cholesterol is not, but I am. Any excuse to make a cheese ball is right up my alley. For the Boo Bash, we usually make two. One is shaped like a pumpkin and the other is shaped like a brain. The brain mold can be found at loads of different stores (Target, Walmart, Michaels, etc.). They are cheap, and I think the overall effect is nice.
When preparing these, I use my grandma's cheeseball recipe (outlined below). Feel free to tweak the recipe to your liking or sculpt your cheese ball with a different spooky mold.
- 8 oz cream cheese, softened
- 5 oz jar "Old English" cheese
- 5 oz jar "Roka" cheese
- Garlic salt, to taste
- Onion salt, to taste
- 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- Chopped pecans (optional)
- Soften cream cheese and mix with other cheeses.
- Add garlic salt, onion salt, and Worcestershire sauce. Mix well.
- Shape into a ball (or put in your mold) and chill.
- Roll in chopped pecans before serving (optional).
4. Vampire Donuts
My son has food allergies. He loves Publix glazed donuts, so we put out a dozen at just about every gathering we host. They're really good, so sometimes I bring them to other people's parties too! I saw this "vampire donut" idea on Pinterest one year and thought they were way too cute not to make.
All you need are glazed donuts (or donuts of your choice) and plastic vampire fangs. Place a pair of fangs inside each donut's center, and voila—you've got a bloodthirsty batch of prep-free treats!
5. Devilish Eggs
I thought it'd be fun to do a spooky twist on deviled eggs by making the yolks a creepy color. I made a sample batch a few weeks before Halloween to see what color would work best. I really wanted orange or purple, but I didn't like the way either of those turned out, so I went with green. My suggestion is to play around with your eggs and yolks ahead of time.
Deviled eggs are so delicious, and we all love how easy they are to prepare. I mix my yolks with light Miracle Whip, mustard, and sweet relish, but you can mix them any way you like. All you need to do differently when making this variant is add a bit of food coloring while mixing the yolk.
Food Presentation Tips
Have some fun with the presentation of your finger-foods. I love making little food tags to explain what all the items are. I design little tags in photoshop, print them out at CVS, then mount them on cute little cauldron-shaped cardholders from Michael's craft supply.
We usually serve our spooky appetizers out of the decorative coffin pictured above. One year, we actually lined it with plastic and used it as a giant cooler. It was definitely a show stopper. I think everyone laughed and freaked out when they walked into the house and saw it sitting on our dining room table. This really helped kick our party up a notch.
Obviously, not everyone has a six-foot coffin, and you definitely don't need one. Get creative with food names, create little tags, and set your table with dark colors and creepy little details. We hang up white sheets in the garage and house to cover things we can't get rid of. A few days before our party, I like to lay the sheets out in the driveway and have the kids help me splatter red paint on them. Once they are dry and hung, they make the perfect bloody backdrop for our Halloween bash. I also like to fill any empty space on the food table with little Halloween knick-knacks I've collected throughout the years.
I hope you've enjoyed these ideas. Have a spooktacular Halloween celebration!