Chocolate monster brownies homemade treats for Halloween

Halloween is almost here, and hopefully you’ve got a few costume parties on your calendar. Aside from picking out the very best getup for yourself or crafting the perfect family-themed costume, it’s also time to think about some great Halloween-themed snacks to take to your upcoming shindig.

Sure, you can wimp out and simply bring a bowl full of candy, a box of donuts or a pan of pumpkin bars, but why not have a little fun with your treat options this year.

Even if you don’t have a costume party on your calendar, these ideas for sweet and savory treats, appetizers and desserts are perfect for your family’s pre-trick or treating routine on Oct. 31. Or, if you’re in charge of classroom goodies, there are great options. Here are my favorites, but to find more ideas, visit our Halloween board on Pinterest.

Apps every ghoul will love

Not everything needs to be sugary sweet during the Halloween season. There’s plenty of time to load up on all those Snickers, Twix and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. As you plan out your spooky season menus be sure to include some savory, salty, meaty and even veggie food options. Of course, buying a pumpkin-shaped pizza is always a kid favorite. This year make individual pizzas or even pumpkin pizza pockets to dip in blood-red marinara.

Are you in charge of the meat and veggie tray at your party this year? Add some extra creepiness by transforming that appetizer board into a “crime scene.” Grab a small skeleton or skull. Place him in the middle of the board as the centerpiece. Gather meats like pepperoni, sliced roast beef and shaved ham to create the illusion of guts. Then fill in the rest of the tray with olives, cheeses, peppers, crackers and chips.

Screaming-good movie snacks

Halloween is the perfect time to watch favorite scary movies. Whether your preferred fright level is more along the lines of “Hocus Pocus” or more daring like “It,” now is the perfect time to gather friends and family and cue up the latest or beloved frightening flick. Naturally, no movie night is complete without some delicious snacks to nibble on, too. The spookier the better!

Try this Bewitched Halloween Popcorn recipe. Melt 3 tablespoons of butter in a medium saucepan. Add 3 cups mini marshmallows. Stir until melted. Pour 3/4 of the mixture over 10 cups of popped popcorn, covering well. Pour popcorn onto a cookie sheet. Drizzle with remaining mixture. Sprinkle popcorn with your favorite candy like green and dark brown regular and Pretzel M&Ms. Be sure to add in purple, green and black sprinkles, too.

Devilshly delightful desserts

If you love to bake and create fun desserts for your family and friends, Halloween is a perfect time to create truly delightful and slightly frightful sweets. Red velvet cupcakes become extra creepy with hard sugar shards of “glass” dripping with blood red corn syrup mixture. Extra chocolaty cookies enhanced with black food coloring and adorned with orange candies or mini edible eyes are also great, delicious fun. Dipped Oreos are fun to decorate like bats, ghosts and monsters, too.

When feeding a crowd, try these ghostly Spooky S’mores brownies. Bake up a pan of your favorite brownies. Remove from the oven and top with squares of Hershey’s Chocolate or, for even more decadence, a Symphony bar. Top the chocolate with Ghost Peeps. Place the peeps on top upside down since their faces all just melt away under the broiler. Pop under the broiler until the ghosts are perfectly browned. Then, once cooled, use a food coloring pen to add the faces back on.

— Jennifer Durrant