You know how I bombard you with weird appetizer recipes every Christmas season? I’d like to start doing the same for Halloween. You can’t stop me.
I’ve been collecting these little Halloween recipe books for longer than you’ve been alive. They’re placed near the registers in every supermarket at this time of year, and I always buy them. It’s become reflexive. Who knew you could do so many gross things with chicken?
I usually grab ’em early in the season, when I’m still dreaming about hosting my own Halloween party. Those parties never seem to materialize, so as it relates to making goblin heads out of celery sticks and oranges, I have an untapped lust.
Well, no more! I’m finally taking the plunge, party or no party. Below are five spooky appetizers, all built from recipes found in these books. (Credit to the Pillsbury Doughboy, I guess.) I hope they encourage you to spend at least one autumn afternoon as a creepy cook.
Monster Tacos are actually easier to prepare than regular tacos. Instead of shredded cheddar, you use a full slice that’s been trimmed to resemble monster teeth. Instead of diced tomatoes, you slip in one whole piece to act as the tongue. Toss in some olive eyeballs, and you’re done!
They’re like edible Food Fighters, or maybe cousins of those horrible cupcakes from Young Sherlock Holmes. Best of all, they definitely “read” as monster faces. (I own a lot of spooky recipe books, and all too often, you’d need to serve the dishes with PowerPoint presentations for anyone to have any clue about what you were going for.)
Recommended? Yes! The prep is quick, the presentation is great, and as it turns out, I might like tacos with one big piece of cheese and one big slice of tomato better than the traditional way. Trust me, it works!
Mashed Potato Snakes!
Just prepare mashed potatoes as you normally would, but add in some green food dye. Scoop all of that into a piping bag, and squeeze out the mixture to form toxic green potato snakes. It’s a motherfuckin’ blast, guys.
Mine didn’t come out so elegant, but keep in mind, I was determined to finish all five of these recipes in like, ten minutes tops. Gentler hands (and also hands wearing gloves) would probably fare better.
The eyes are made from sliced pimento olives, while the tongues are just pimentos stolen from the same jar. Thrifty!
Recommended? Yes, but my recommendation is more about dyeing potatoes than making snakes. Food dye takes to mashed potatoes brilliantly, and it’s SUCH a Halloween thing to serve. You don’t have to make snakes, but I implore you to do something with rainbow spuds before 10/31.
Tomato Terror Soup!
This is the easiest recipe imaginable, which was why I picked it.
Just heat up a can of tomato soup, and you’re literally 90% done. The finishing touch is a slice of cheddar cheese trimmed with a Halloween-themed cookie cutter. Float that shit in the soup, and serve!
The recipe called for Kraft cheese, but I thought cheddar might class things up a bit. The cheese quickly grew sweaty and eventually dissolved into gloppy strands that streaked through the whole bowl. It was SO GOOD. I will never eat tomato soup without streaks of cheddar again.
Recommended? Yep! It’s a great recipe for when you want to prepare something “seasonal” without really working for it.
Dip pretzel sticks into peanut butter, and then use shards of Triscuit crackers to create broom bristles. I had some reservations about this recipe, but they did look enough like witches’ brooms for me to do my patented passively-approving nod. (It’s kind of like what that blonde kid from the thumbs up gif does.)
The recipe suggested using cheese dip instead of peanut butter. I tried, but the dip I bought wasn’t nearly gluey enough. That turned out to be a happy accident, because the Triscuit/peanut butter combo is notoriously underrated. It’s dry as hell and not unlike eating the beach, but the taste makes me wanna do that weird nod again.
Recommended? Ehhh…. probably not. They’re only worth making to complement some other witch-themed dish. The “brooms” don’t hold together very well, and there’s always the chance that your guests will mistake them for chicken feet.
Creepy Spider Cookies!
They’re more “desserts” than “appetizers,” but can you blame me for seizing upon any excuse to make spiders out of cake frosting and gutted Oreos?
Grab some Oreo cookies and scrape out the creme. Replace it with giant spoonfuls of vanilla cake frosting. Use broken bits of chocolate-covered pretzels to create legs, and then tack on pairs of cinnamon candies so your spiders can see.
I rushed through these like crazy and they still came out well, so yeah, they’re easy to make. I don’t often eat stuff like this anymore, but I did take one bite, and… holy shit. They’re beyond decadent. Like the devil on a S’more’s shoulder.
Recommended? Definitely! Just not in front of mirrors. I caught my reflection with a Creepy Spider Cookie hanging from my mouth, and I totally expected Septa Unella to show up with the cowbell.
Thanks for indulging me, because making potato snakes and Muppet tacos was in every sense an unforgettable experience. If y’all wouldn’t mind more articles like this, I may give some other spooky recipes a try before Halloween.