While Halloween is always fun for adults, it’s the kids who absolutely delight in all things creepy and scary. Add to their fun this year, both at parties and just for some every day Halloween excitement, with these Spooky (and delicious) Snacks!
20 Oreo Cookies
1 Tub Vanilla Frosting
60 chocolate chips
Spread a generous layer of frosting onto the top of each cookie, using your knife to draw off the excess in a ghostly “tail”. Add inverted chocolate chip eyes and mouth and plate up for some sweet scary fun!
Witches Hat Crispy Treats
2 cups puffed rice cereal
4 Milky Way or Mars Bars
1/2 cup butter
Witch Hat Cookie Cutter
Melt the butter and candy bars in a small saucepan over low heat. Stir in the cereal and turn to coat completely. Pour the mixture into a lightly greased pan and press into the corners, making sure the surface is fairly smooth. Once the cereal bars are cool, cut out witches hats using a cookie cutter or simply cut into triangles with a sharp knife.
8 Hot dogs
1 package crescent rolls
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Unroll the crescent rolls but do not separate the triangles. Instead, use a pizza cutter to cut 16 thin strips. Starting at the top of the hotdog, wrap one strip around, leaving a gap for the “face” and continue wrapping down the hotdog. Use a second strip of dough to wrap up in the opposite direction creating a criss-cross effect. Use a skewer to poke “eyes” before placing in the oven on a lined cookie sheet. Bake for 9 minutes or until the dough has turned golden.
Ice Cream Witches
1 tub mint chocolate chip ice cream
8 chocolate ice cream cones
Black liquorice shoestrings
Chocolate chips, jimmies and other small candies
Place a large, rounded scoop of ice cream onto each serving plate. Use the candies to create the “face” for the witch and the liquorice stings for hair. Top with an ice cream cone “hat” and serve up to your favorite little goblins!
A big thank you to guest contributor Ruth Randall for this spooky and tasty tutorial!
Decorating gingerbread houses is fun anytime of the year, but at Halloween it’s even better, because the more mistakes the better…. er, spookier it is!
Here’s my method of making a haunted gingerbread house.
Before You Begin
We’re going to make this one from scratch. The good thing about making a gingerbread house from scratch is that the cookie dough obligingly comes out looking decrepit and well used – just like a broken-down haunted house should look.
(Note: if you’re really pressed for time, start out with a basic house kit. You can modify the front gable to be longer/taller, and you’re good to go!)
Plan an entire afternoon for your gingerbread house, and be prepared for a grand time with the kids. Let’s go!
Haunted Gingerbread House Materials
Candy pieces (woohoo!) – follow our basics or substitute your favorites
3 cups basic white flour (whole wheat is not recommended for houses)
¼ tsp salt
½ tsp ginger
1-1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 cup sugar
½ cup oil
1 cup molasses
1 egg, beaten
4 egg whites
6 cups confectioners sugar
½ tsp cream of tartar
Make Your Gingerbread House Pattern
Simple house patterns can be found on the internet, or by browsing through clipart images for Halloween houses to find a shape you like.
To use my haunted house on the right, click on it for the full image. The shape in the guide is for the front and back of the house. Then measure rectangular walls and roofs with the measurements in the document.
Take the house shape you like and enlarge it to fill an 8-1/2” x 11” page. From there you may have to adjust angles or the height/width, by tracing it onto another sheet of paper so that it is just right.
Cut the pattern out of paper and then trace it onto poster board or light-weight cardboard (like a cereal box). Making a pattern out of paper won’t survive the first cut. Do this:
Cut 2 of the shapes for the front and back.
Decide how deep the house should be and mark that out along with the height of the wall to match.
Cut out two rectangles for the roof pieces. Remember to make them large so they overhang, but not so large that the house can’t bear its weight.
Cooking the Gingerbread Pieces
Before baking, decide if this house is going to be eaten or not; the baking time will be different, as well as the appearance of the house. I suggest making additional cookies to eat instead of trying to eat the house.
Try to assemble the house before the kids are around. At this point they won’t be interested or of much help. It also means the house will be set and have less chance of collapsing while it’s being decorated.
Turn your oven to 375 degrees.
Mix the dry ingredients, then mix in the wet. I like the recipe above – it’s a trial and error modification from gingerbread cookies – but the basic cookie recipe is shown at the end of this article. Go with what you’re most comfortable with.
Roll the dough between two sheets of parchment. I use parchment because it can be slid right onto the baking sheet- no moving house pieces and risking accidents or shape changes.
Now it’s time to cut out the patterns! Sprinkle flour over the dough before laying down the pattern so that they lift up easier. Place your cardboard shape pieces on top and cut the patterns out right on the parchment. Lift away and clean and use your shapes next year.
Slip the cut dough on a baking sheet and place in a hot oven.
Bake for 10 to 12 minutes. About 8 minutes through baking, take it out to re-cut the pattern pieces. This helps to keep the shapes the size they are supposed to be as they finish baking. (Or cut and separate them in the first place, but be very careful. Usually I just slowly peel away the dough between the shapes.) When done, remove from oven.
If the pattern is complicated, it is also very helpful in identifying which pattern piece is which. The pattern I used had several different pieces that were very similar. I labeled them with letters and then wrote the letters on the parchment before baking. It was very handy as they cooled!
Once they are done, let them cool.
Icing Your Haunted Gingerbread House
Using the recipe above, start by adding 1 cup of sugar to the other ingredients, adding one cup of sugar at a time while mixing. Whip this together for about 5 minutes and voila! Gingerbread house cement. Seriously.
Cover the mix with a damp towel so it does not dry out. You can also use 2 t of water and 2 t of powdered egg whites or meringue if you don’t want to use egg whites.
Then, feed it into a thick plastic bag with a small hole cut at the end.
There are two schools of thought about how to ice a gingerbread house: pre-assembly and post-assembly. I’ve done it both ways, and the only difference is how perfect the house looks.
Last year’s house was iced post-assembly and we were dismayed to see the windows run and drip. But in the end it had a rather eerie effect that we liked. Icing before putting the house together makes details much easier., but young kids may not be as interested, because … well, it doesn’t yet look like a haunted house!
You can also check out Pinterest for decoration ideas. I do!
What if You Don’t Have Time to Do it From Scratch?
Yes, creating your gingerbread from scratch can take a while, especially if you aren’t set up for cookie decorating with bags and equipment. Luckily, that’s where kits come in.
A kit comes with pre-cooked house shapes, icing, candy, and the decorating bags and tips. The kit I bought this year had bat candy – and it was already assembled. I just needed to decorate it.
Looks like play dough? Check. Smells like candy? Check. Great for Halloween? Check. Tastes great? Yummy! Edible play dough is such a great thing. Kids can play with it and eat all they want (because there is no sugar, and they will get their fill quickly). The recipe is quick and adjustable, and even better it can be used with ‘butters’ other than peanut butter!
Making home-made play dough is simple:
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1 cup honey
2 cups powdered milk
Optional: Food coloring gel paste (various colors – decrease the honey proportionately when substituting coloring gel.)
Mix these all up until the texture is workable. It takes about 10 minutes total. Plan ahead what you would like to make, and separate into small clumps. Mix the food coloring gel as desired to each clump – orange for pumpkins, green for pumpkin vines and leaves, etc.
In the pictures below, you can see we made these fun, spooky pumpkins. The kids helped out, and it took about an hour or so. The recipe is easy to double or decrease as needed. We followed the recipe and learned a few things:
It makes A LOT.
If you want to use gel food coloring like we did, decrease the honey proportionately. We put the gel in after it was mixed up and the pumpkins were all droopy.
If you chose to work with something besides peanut butter, start with smaller amounts of powdered milk. We used Nutella for one batch and found that using equal parts was just too much powdered milk. We ended up putting some honey in so that it was a useable mixture.
Since the kids were done for the day and mom had a mess to clean up we wrapped the ‘play dough’ in a cling wrap and set it aside. When we decided to use it again, we rolled it out between sheets of wax paper and used cookie cutters.
We used milk chocolate on the peanut butter version and white chocolate on the Nutella batch. A little bit of chocolate seems to go a long way with this play dough. If you use too much, the flavor of the peanut butter gets lost. With the white chocolate and Nutella it didn’t do much at all except to muddy the hazelnut flavor further. But since kids don’t really care about that its not a big deal. The “cookies” turned out pretty good, though. They could be a very nice gift for a neighbor or co-worker during the haunting season!
Get your Halloween on. All year long.