Party foods always seem so far down on the to-do list in October. Halloween is kind of the trifecta of busy holiday madness. If you have kids, you’re trying to get some costumes together, they have their own school Halloween parties and probably some parties with friends, and you’re trying to pull off your own spooky shindig with all the drinks, appetizers and goodies that entails. When you’re so busy, it’s best to have one or two dishes to wow your guests, and some simple but delicious cookies, cupcakes and other bite-sized sweets to add variety.
To help you out, I’m putting a few simple Halloween party food ideas out there to help fill out your party menu. And they’re mostly desserts because — let’s be honest — All Hallows Eve is more about the treats than the tricks these days.
Cookies, Cocktails and Other Spooky Side Dishes
Halloween cookies are bite-sized magic. Cookies are one of my absolute favorite fall treats, probably because nothing beats the cold like hot cocoa and a chocolate chip cookie, in my mind anyway. Moist pumpkin cookies are definitely a fall favorite through October and November. And may I suggest sugar cookies for the kids to decorate at your kid-friendly soirée; you’ll be knocking out a treat and an activity at once. Guests may not go back for a second helping of the grape “eyeball” salad, but they’ll constantly be snatching up cookies if they’re hanging around.
Everyone goes home with goody baskets. It’s always fun to come away from the party with a little memento of the fun you had. I always try to find some goody gift baskets or bag of treats to send people home with. I try to keep it neutral, something that everyone will like, such as candy or cookies. Throw in a few silly party favors or dollar-store toys for the kids. They’ll see their favors the next day and rave about your party to everyone.
Halloween concoctions lift everyone’s spirits. It’s not too early to whip up some pumpkin-spiced hot chocolate, and I think it’s about time I had some hot apple cider (with whip cream, a dash of caramel and some chocolate sprinkles on top). And a party is always the right time and place to try out some new cocktail recipes that are part of your holiday theme. A friend of mine made a cocktail for me last year with black vodka, coffee liquor and a scoop of vanilla ice cream. I have to say, it was pretty awesome, and perfectly dark for Halloween. If you’re using a black light for fun, consider just about anything with tonic water in it; the quinine in it will glow. And a cube of dry ice is all you need to make just about any drink feel like a witch’s brew, brimming with fog.
Brownies are your secret weapon. Is there anyone who doesn’t like brownies? This one is kind of a cheat because they’re my go-to side dessert for just about any holiday part that I have. They have universal appeal, and they’re not specific to any theme or party until you add garnishes of, say, orange and green to make them Halloween-esque? It must be working, because I’ve never had any left over at the end of the night!
I think there are some winning Halloween goodie ideas, here. What are your go-to snacks and finger-foods for parties this time of year? And tell us your costume ideas, too!