Whether you're feeding party guests or looking for something to do with all that extra candy, these Halloween recipes will get you in the holiday spirit.

Monster avocado toast

Credit: Marge Perry

2 large avocados
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 radishes, thinly sliced in rounds
2 slices pumpernickel bread
4 pitted black olives
4 roasted pimento pepper strips
4 slices whole wheat bread, toasted


1. Mash the avocado with the salt in a medium bowl.

2. Cut 4 radish slices in half to form the ears. Use remaining slices for some of the mouths. Cut the crusts from the pumpernickel bread and use the point of a paring knife to cut them into jagged scars. Cut the pumpernickel bread into hair for each of the monsters. Slice 2 of the olives across for the eyes. Cut pimento strips into small bits for eyeballs and drops of blood; form some strips into mouths.

3. Spread the avocado mash onto each slice of toast and decorate. Makes 4 servings

Skulls on a stick

Credit: Doug Young, Recipe by Lauren Chattman

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1⁄2 cup unpopped popcorn
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1⁄2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 (10.5-ounce) bag mini marshmallows
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Light corn syrup for decorating
Small candies for decorating


1. Spray a large mixing bowl with nonstick cooking spray. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.

2. Heat the vegetable oil over high heat in a large, heavy pot. Add the popcorn, cover and cook, shaking the pot occasionally to keep the popcorn from burning. When the popcorn stops popping, remove the pan from the heat, and place the popcorn in a large bowl.

3. Add the butter, brown sugar and marshmallows to the pan and cook over medium heat, stirring, until the mixture is melted and smooth. Stir in the vanilla. Pour it over popcorn, stirring with a nonstick spatula to coat.

4. Spray a 1-cup dry measure with cooking spray. While the popcorn mixture is still warm, scoop a rounded spoonful into the measuring cup, remove and mold with your hands into a skull shape around a Popsicle stick. Place on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining popcorn, to make 8 skull pops. Pour a little bit of corn syrup into a small bowl. With a small, clean paint brush, apply some corn syrup to candies and place them on popcorn skulls. Let stand to dry, about 30 minutes. Makes 8 skulls.

Green Mystery Dip

Credit: Marge Perry

The chili pepper makes the dip mildly spicy. It may be omitted or doubled, depending on your preference. Use cut-up vegetables to decorate the dip.

1 cup cilantro leaves
1 serrano (or jalapeño) pepper, seeded
1 small clove garlic
1/2 cup canola mayonnaise
1/3 cup reduced-fat sour cream
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon salt


Combine all ingredients in the blender and puree until smooth. Makes 8 servings.

Ghost toasts

Credit: Marge Perry

4 slices (about 3 ounces) Swiss cheese
4 multigrain English muffins, split
8 tablespoons marinara sauce
1 black olive, cut in tiny bits


1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

2. Cut a ghost shape out of a piece of paper, taking care that it is slightly smaller than the diameter of the muffin, because the cheese will spread as it melts. Use it as a stencil to cut eight ghosts out of the slices. Shred the trimmings on the finest holes of the grater.

3. Spread 1 tablespoon of marinara on each cut surface of the English muffins. Top with a ghost and sprinkle some of the shredded cheese around the edges. Place two tiny bits of olive on the ghosts for eyes. Bake on a cookie sheet until the cheese is just melted, about 4-5 minutes. Makes 4 servings.

Credit: Doug Young, Recipe by Lauren Chattman

1 (12-ounce) package cocktail-size frankfurters (about 36)
1 (8-ounce) sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
Sliced almonds


1. Use a sharp chef's knife to cut off about 1/2 inch diagonally from one end of each hot dog, to create a "fingernail bed."

2. Cut puff pastry into 1/2-inch-by-3-inch strips. Wrap each hot dog in a piece of pastry, overlapping the edges slightly and leaving both ends visible, fingernail bed facing seam-side up. Place seam-side down on a baking sheet. Place baking sheet in freezer for 15 minutes, or cover with plastic and freeze for up to 1 week.

3. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Bake until pastry is puffed and golden, about 20 minutes. Arrange on a platter, squeeze or spread ketchup onto fingernail bed, place a sliced almond “fingernail” on ketchup, and serve. Makes 36 mini hot dogs.

Credit: Doug Young, Recipe by Lauren Chattman


For the meatloaf:
2 pounds ground chuck or meatloaf mix
1 large yellow onion
1 large egg
11⁄4 cups Panko breadcrumbs
1⁄2 cup plus 2 tablespoons ketchup, divided
1 cup grated mozzarella cheese
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon salt
Ground black pepper

For the face:
1 black olive, cut in half
1 hard-boiled egg, halved crosswise
7 or 8 slivered almonds
Ketchup for garnishing


1. Make the meatloaf: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with heavy-duty aluminum foil.

2. In a large bowl, combine chuck, onion, egg, breadcrumbs, 1⁄2 cup ketchup, cheese, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper, and mix with your hands or a spatula until evenly blended.

3. Pat mixture into an oval approximately 9 inches long and 5 inches across. Place on baking sheet and further shape into a skull, narrowing one end of the oval to create a chin. Press the back of a small ice cream scoop into the wider part of the skull to make hollows for the eyes and mouth. Bake until meat is cooked through (160 degrees on an instant-read thermometer), about 1 hour. Brush with remaining 2 tablespoons ketchup, cook another 5 minutes, and remove from oven. Let stand 15 minutes.

4. Decorate the meatloaf: Transfer the meatloaf to a serving platter. Press an olive half into the yolk sides of the egg halves. Place the eggs in the eye hollows. Insert slivered almonds into mouth to resemble teeth. Drizzle ketchup on and around meatloaf to resemble blood. Slice and serve. Makes 6 servings.

Credit: Doug Young, Recipe from 'The Monster’s Cookbook' by Hoxton Street Monster Supplies

7 ounces white chocolate, broken into pieces, divided
1 stick unsalted butter
3 eggs
1 cup superfine sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup dried cranberries, divided


1. Line a 7-by-11-by-2-inch baking pan with nonstick parchment paper and snip diagonally into the corners so the paper fits snugly.

2. Melt half the chocolate and the stick of butter in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of gently simmering water. Beat the eggs, sugar and vanilla extract in a separate bowl with a handheld electric mixer until light and frothy and the beater leaves a trail when lifted.

3. Fold the chocolate and butter mixture into the beaten eggs with a metal spoon. Sift the flour and baking powder over the top, then fold in gently. Chop the remaining chocolate and fold half of it into the mixture with half the cranberries.

4. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and scatter with the remaining chocolate and cranberries. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes until well risen. Let cool in the pan.

5. Lift out of the pan, peel off the paper, and cut the cake into 20 squares. Makes 20 squares.

Credit: Doug Young, Recipe by Lauren Chattman

18 thin baguette slices, toasted
6 tablespoons sun-dried tomato pesto or caponata
18 small (1-inch) mozzarella balls
6 pimiento-stuffed green olives, sliced thin


Spread a teaspoon of pesto on each baguette toast. Place a mozzarella ball on top of the pesto. Place an olive slice on top of the mozzarella ball to resemble an eyeball. Arrange on a platter and serve immediately. Makes 18 pieces.

Credit: Doug Young, Recipe from 'The Monster’s Cookbook' by Hoxton Street Monster Supplies


For the skewers:
1/3 cup dark soy sauce
2 tablespoons sesame oil
1 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder
3/4 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into long, thin strips
10 bamboo skewers

For the sauce:
1/4 cup peanut butter
1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
Pinch paprika or chili powder
1/2 cup water
Cucumber, cut into strips, to serve


1. Make the skewers: Place the soy sauce, sesame oil and five-spice powder in a bowl and mix together. Add the chicken and toss together to coat in the marinade. Cover and let stand to marinate in the refrigerator for 1 hour, stirring from time to time.

2. Thread the chicken, zigzag fashion, onto 10 soaked bamboo skewers (soaking them in warm water for 30 minutes will prevent the sticks from burning while cooking), and place the chicken under a preheated broiler for 8 to 10 minutes, turning once, until golden and cooked through.

3. Meanwhile, put all the sauce ingredients, except the cucumber, in a small saucepan and heat, stirring, until warm and well-mixed. Transfer to a small serving bowl.

4. Place the bowl of sauce on a serving plate with the cucumber on one side and the hot chicken skewers around it. Makes 10 skewers.

Credit: Eve Bishop, Recipe by Lauren Chattman

1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
16 mini peanut butter cups
1 cup M&M's


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8-inch-square baking pan with heavy-duty aluminum foil, making sure that the foil is tucked into all the corners and at least 1 inch overhangs the top of the pan on all sides.

2. Combine flour, baking powder and salt in a small mixing bowl.

3. Melt butter in a medium saucepan over low heat. Remove it from heat. With a wooden spoon, stir in the brown sugar until it dissolves. Quickly whisk in the egg, yolk and vanilla. Stir in flour mixture until just incorporated.

4. Set aside 1 cup batter and spread the rest into the prepared baking dish. Arrange peanut butter cups on top of the batter in the pan, with about 1/2 inch between each candy. Smooth the reserved 1 cup of batter over peanut butter cups. Sprinkle with M&M's.

5. Bake brownies until they are just set in the center, 30 to 35 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack.

6. Grasping overhanging foil on either side of the pan, lift out the brownies and place them on a cutting board. Cut into 32 pieces. These blondies will keep at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Makes 16 blondies.

Credit: Marge Perry

1 cup bottled marinara sauce
4 multigrain light English muffins, split
6 ounces reduced-fat Cheddar or mozzarella cheese, cut in 1/8-inch thick by 1/4-inch wide strips
8 pimiento-stuffed green olives, cut across in half
4 black pitted Kalamata olives, quartered lengthwise
Miscellaneous vegetables for garnish


1. Line a baking sheet pan with foil. Coat the foil with cooking spray. Preheat the broiler.

2. Spread thin layer of marinara on cut side of English muffins. Place cheese in zigzag pattern on top of marinara for "bandages." Place green olives, cut side facing up, on each pizza for eyes and a strip of black olive for mouth. Add garnishes such as scallions, celery and peas, to dress up faces as desired.

3. Place under the broiler until cheese just melts, about 1 to 2 minutes. Serve immediately. Makes 4 servings.

Credit: Marge Perry

2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 cups chopped onion
2 ribs celery, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 1/2 cups yellow split peas (about 12 ounces)
5 cups low-sodium vegetable or chicken broth
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper


1. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a Dutch oven or soup pot over medium-high; add the onion, celery, carrots and thyme. Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Increase the heat to medium-high and add the split peas and broth; bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium and gently simmer until tender, about 50 minutes. Remove from heat and transfer to a blender or food processor in batches to puree. Stir in the rosemary, salt and pepper.

2. Cut each slice of bread into a cat shape (I used a cat-shaped biscuit cutter). Brush the cats on both sides with the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil. Heat a large, nonstick skillet and toast the bread lightly on both sides in the pan. Place a cat on top of each bowl of soup. Makes 4 servings.

Credit: Marge Perry

2 large eggs
4 cups skim milk, divided
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice mix
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 pound sliced dense white bread
Candy corn, ice cream and/or whipped cream to taste


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 9-by-12-inch baking dish with cooking spray.

2. In a large bowl, lightly beat the eggs. Stir in 3 cups of the milk, the sugar, pumpkin, spice mix and vanilla.

3. Place a layer of the bread in the baking dish and pour some of the mixture over it. Add another layer of bread and repeat until all the ingredients are used.

4. Bake 30 minutes and remove from oven. Use a fork to prick holes all over the pudding and slowly pour the remaining cup of milk into pudding, stopping to allow the bread to absorb some of the milk before the next addition. Return to oven and bake another 25 to 30 minutes, until pudding is slightly puffed. (The pumpkin on top will still be soft, but it will be cooked through on the interior.)

5. When bread pudding is slightly cooled, decorate with candy corn, if desired, and serve topped with ice cream or whipped cream. Makes 8 servings.

Credit: Marge Perry

1 large egg
1 pound lean ground beef (93 percent lean)
1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 ounce provolone cheese, cut in 1/2-inch rounds
1/4 cup sliced green pimento-stuffed olives
1 1/2 cups tomato-basil sauce
6 potato (or regular) hot dog rolls


1. Coat a baking sheet or broiler pan with cooking spray; preheat the broiler.

2. Beat the egg lightly with a fork in a large bowl. Add the beef, bread crumbs and Parmesan; mix thoroughly. Form into 18 round balls (each about 11/2 inches in diameter), press lightly on the top and bottom to slightly flatten.

3. Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium high. Add the meatballs and cook until browned on the undersides, about 4 minutes; turn and cook until again browned, about another 4 minutes. Transfer to the prepared pan.

4. Top each meatball with a piece of provolone and broil until just melted, about 2 minutes. As soon as it comes out of the oven, top each piece of cheese with an olive slice stuffed with pimento.

5. Warm the tomato sauce in the skillet; place the meatballs "eyeballs" facing up in the sauce until warmed through. To serve, spoon the sauce in the folds of each roll and top with the meatballs. Makes 6 servings.

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