Halloween is lurking so some party hosts and hostesses may be in need some last-minute, themed food ideas. Whether you keep it simple with pumpkin muffins or get frightful with edible entrails, here’s a smattering of tasty trussed treats to help you get your scare on and sneak in some nutrition too.
Freaky finger foods
Slice up fresh veggies and fruit to form feisty faces and scary shapes. Serve these healthy, easy-to-eat portable appetizers with creatively creepy dips and sauces. Shake up your hummus or spinach dip with puff-pastry “fingers” topped with almond “nails.” Form a spider web over the top of seven- layer dip with light sour cream piped over guacamole and serve with red peppers strips. Make a mini Dracula with light cream cheese balls, red pimento or roasted red pepper fangs, and black olive widow’s peak hairline and eyes. Or serve guacamole dip with green guacamole tortilla chips for a swamp effect. Zinc-rich roasted pumpkin seeds are always welcome — just limit or omit the salt.
Spike your protein- and fiber-rich black bean soup with plastic novelty “body parts” like mini-skeletons, fake fingers, vampire teeth or even plastic bugs and spiders: but don’t eat the decorations.Serve vitamin A-rich pumpkin or butternut squash soup in mini hollowed-out pumpkin “bowls” or use a larger pumpkin as a tureen. Garnish with crème fraiche or light sour cream piped from a plastic bag with a tiny hole cut in the corner. To form a spider web, make concentric circles or octagonal shapes and draw lines with a toothpick or knife, from the inner to the outer circles.
Try edible arachnids formed from onion rings, slimy night crawlers made via gelatin in straws (instructions found at divinedinnerparty.com/halloween-party-food.html) or creepy cockroaches created from sweet dates stuffed with walnuts and cream cheese. Meatloaf from lean ground beef or turkey can be formed into a rat shape and topped with green peas for eyes, carrot rounds for ears, and a spaghetti noodle tail; serve it with plenty of lycopene-rich red tomato sauce.
Deviled eggs can be transformed into bloodshot “eyeballs” with beet juice and pimento-stuffed olives for irises; serve atop a crimson salsa bath. Enjoy meringue “bones” made from egg, a “brain” of mushroom soup and reduced-fat cream cheese, “fingers” formed of dough, and “eyeballs” of gelatin and sugar. See brittablvd.com/Halloween/recipes.html for details.
Turn ordinary sugar cookies into pumpkins, goblins and ghosts with Halloween-themed cutters or pre-made pans. Spice up cupcakes with canned pumpkin and antioxidant-rich nutmeg, cinnamon and cloves. Turn the mini treats into spiders with thin chow mein noodle legs glued with melted dark chocolate and raisin eyes. Or serve roasted wrinkled pears seeping honey: marthastewart.com/343458/shrunken-pears.
Make a bloody-good punch with beet juice for color, sparkling fruit juices for flavor and seltzer for bubbles. Create witchs’ brew from gelatin, 100 percent fruit juices and ginger ale (use versions containing real ginger); carefully put dry ice nearby for a smoky effect: foodnetwork.com/recipes/sandra-lee/witchs-brew-recipe/index.html. For more fun drink ideas: brittablvd.com/Halloween/recipes.html#brew.