I've been a little worried that I'm getting too old for Halloween. But, no. This is one holiday that just keeps getting better, right?
Could it be that we have come to fully embrace dressing up in outlandish costumes, overindulging in candy, and throwing theme parties? Have we asserted our hidden desire and said, "Christmas is not the only season in which we'll make foods that resemble other things!" Well, cable TV seems to think so. And in this case, I'm on board.
I've thrown quite a few Halloween parties over the years. In my experience, all those monster paws and extra long nails can make it logistically difficult to eat, while guests who come as the Green Man or a Pirate Wench will be trying to keep their shape. For that reason, the perfect spread includes a few savory bites, one dessert, and a cauldron or two of booze.
Here are a few spooky nibbles to serve:
Deviled Egg Eyeballs
At Halloweens of yore, my mother used to peel grapes, put them in a bowl of fruit juice, and call it eyeball soup. To this day, I find something particularly creepy about the idea of an eye, all squishy and veiny, rolling loose from its head.
Having decided my Halloween party would be insufficiently scary without an eyeball snack, I conjured up these deviled egg eyeballs. I include a good dose of mustard and paprika in my deviled eggs to give them a spiced kick. The eyeball accouterments—black olives for irises and sliced roasted red pepper for the veins—add a nice salty, earthy element.
Pumpkin-Shaped Cheddar Crackers
Talk about a Halloween trick: I own over 100 cookie cutters, yet when I went to make these cheesy cheddar crackers, my pumpkin shape was missing. I didn't let that deter me, and as it turns out, you can work magic with a biscuit cutter and a pairing knife. The resulting crackers are flaky, salty, and packed with extra sharp cheddar cheese. They're the perfect, pumpkin-shaped cocktail bite.
Sugar is mandatory at any Halloween party and the less healthy the treat, the better. That's why I've topped chocolate cupcakes with a fluffy marshmallow frosting. The moist cocoa base cuts against the sugary, sticky marshmallow and the resulting taste is, in the best way, akin to a Hostess cupcake. A few properly placed dark chocolate baking chips transform the cupcakes into a ghostly delight.
About the author: Carrie Vasios is the Community Manager of Serious Eats and writes the Wake and Bake, Cookie Monster, and Serious Entertaining columns. She likes perusing her large collection of cookbooks while eating jam from the jar.