Food & Drink

Recipes evoke the spooky spirit of Halloween

Liven up Spooky Cemetery Cupcakes with Halloween figures or even spider rings.
Liven up Spooky Cemetery Cupcakes with Halloween figures or even spider rings. Drew Martin/The Beaufort Gazette

More than anything, Halloween is a time to have creepy-crawly fun. It's the only time we're encouraged to dress up in ridiculous costumes, pig out on candy and dig around in pumpkin guts. So if you're throwing a spooky bash this weekend, or just putting out a few munchies for your brood of trick-or-treaters, forget about your everyday recipes. Evoke the spirit of the holiday with fun and freaky foods.

Spooky Cemetery Cupcakes

Makes: 24 cupcakes

1 (18.25 ounce) box Devil's Food cake mix

Oil, water and eggs called for on cake mix box

1 (16 ounce) can dark chocolate frosting

2 (7.5 ounce) boxes Pepperidge Farm Milano Cookies

Chocolate cookie crumbs (from about 10-15 chocolate sandwich cookies)

Small tube black frosting (not gel)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Prepare the cake mix according to the package instructions. Line cupcake pans with paper or foil liners. Fill each cup with 2/3 cup of batter. Bake for 18-21 minutes. Cool completely.

For cookie crumbs, crush chocolate sandwich cookies in a zip-top bag or pulverize in a food processor. Put the cookie crumbs on a plate.Spread the tops of the cupcakes with chocolate frosting. Dip the iced cupcakes into the cookie crumb "dirt."

Write "RIP" across one end of each cookie. Allow the writing to dry for a few minutes. Use a knife to make a small cut in the center of each cupcake. Carefully place a cookie into the slit, making sure it's securely in place.

Apple Brickle Dip

Shave off calories by using reduced-fat or fat-free cream cheese.

Makes: 10 servings, or about 2 cups dip

1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1/4 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 (10 ounce) package English toffee bits or 1 (7.5 ounce) package almond brickle chips

3 medium Granny Smith apples, sliced

In mixing bowl, beat cream cheese, sugars and vanilla. Fold in brickle chips. Serve with apples. Refrigerate any leftovers.

Spicy Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

To clean pumpkin seeds, put them in a bowl of water. Run them through your hands, and pick out any remaining pumpkin fibers. Lay rinsed seeds on paper towels and allow to dry before roasting.

1 1/3 cups pumpkin seeds, cleaned and rinsed

2 teaspoons garlic powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon crushed red pepper

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Spray a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray. Combine the pumpkin seeds with the garlic powder, salt, crushed red pepper and black pepper on prepared baking sheet and toss to combine. Bake for about 15 minutes, or until seeds are crispy and light golden brown. Remove from the oven and stir with a spatula or wooden spoon to release any seeds that have stuck to the baking sheet. Cool completely before serving. Roasted seeds will keep in an airtight storage container for up to 1 week.

From Food Network

Witches Brew Halloween Punch

When shopping for this recipe, be certain to purchase pearls of tapioca, which resemble small white beads. The more common instant tapioca is too small, won't resemble balls once cooked and will be too mushy to be used in the punch.

Start to finish: 30 minutes (plus cooling)

Makes: 20 servings

4 cups water

1 cup tapioca pearls

1/2 cup sugar

64-ounce bottle cranberry juice blend, chilled

2-liter bottle lime seltzer water, chilled

12-ounce can frozen peach blend juice concentrate, thawed but cold

Gummy candies, such as worms, to garnish

In a medium saucepan over high heat, bring the water to a boil. Add the tapioca pearls and sugar, then return to a boil. Lower the heat to medium and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Transfer the tapioca mixture to a bowl, cover and refrigerate until chilled. Once the tapioca has chilled, in a large, clear punch bowl, combine the cranberry juice blend, seltzer water, peach juice concentrate and tapioca mixture. Stir to combine. Garnish the bowl with gummy candies.

From The Associated Press

Carrot-Finger Food

Vegetable dip

4 long carrots

1 medium carrot

Cream cheese, softened

Sliced almonds

Baby carrots

Fill a serving bowl with your favorite vegetable dip. Wash and peel 4 long carrots for fingers and 1 medium carrot for a thumb. With a paring knife, cut a flat, shallow notch in the tip of each carrot. Then use a dab of dip or softened cream cheese to stick a sliced-almond fingernail atop each notch. Stick the fingers in the dip and serve with peeled baby carrots for dipping.

From Disney FamilyFun Magazine

Tastes-like-a-Payday Party Mix

1 cup candy corn

1 cup salted peanuts

Mix together candy corn and peanuts. Serve in a bowl.