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Credit: From Top Left to Top Right: The Creative Bite, A Spicy Perspective, Veggies Don't Bite; Bottom Left to Bottom Right: One Little Project, Morgan Manages Mommyhood, Joe Lingeman

15 Way-Too-Cute Recipes That Are Perfect for Trick-or-Treat Night

published Oct 19, 2021
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When it comes to the evening of October 31st, we all know that dinner is far from the main event. And, honestly, we wouldn’t have it any other way. But sometime between the Halloween festivities at school, getting decked out in costumes, and trick-or-treating … those kids are going to need to eat. (And you parents, too!) 

There tend to be a few different philosophies when it comes to Halloween dinner. 

  • Just make it easy.
  • Let’s get fun and festive (but still easy!).
  • Try to sneak in something healthy. 
  • Forget about the meal; candy-for-dinner it is! 

No matter where you fall on this spectrum, this list has something for you. 

Deliciously spooky-themed meals

Here’s a little secret: Kids love — love! — foods with fun or silly names. In this case, you can call this recipe monster pasta or zombie brains or whatever creepy thing you think your little trick-or-treater will go for. “My favorite part about this recipe is that you’ll get the chance to get some good, wholesome food into your kiddos before they go out trick-or-treating and start inhaling all things sugar and chocolate,” explains Morgan Wieboldt, a New Jersey mom of two who blogs at Morgan Manages Mommyhood. Plus, the eyeballs come together in seconds by simply placing sliced black olives (buy the can with them pre-sliced; you won’t regret it) on top of small fresh mozzarella balls. Just fill each kiddo’s bowl with pasta, then assemble the eyeballs right on top of each serving. 

Get the recipe: Green Monster Pasta 

Takeout pizza is pretty much a no-brainer for Halloween. But, as mom Jen Nikolaus of Yummy Healthy Easy learned one year, you gotta make sure you can actually get it. “Minutes of wait time turned into about an hour-plus wait time for one pizza,” she recalls. The next year, Nikolaus planned ahead with this fun mummy calzone. It’s got all the pizza flavors that your kids want, plus some extra Halloween magic. And, while it does take more effort than ordering delivery, it still is pretty quick and easy, thanks to store-bought pizza dough. 

Get the recipe: Pizza Mummy Braid 

Kid-classic mac and cheese gets a super-creepy makeover in honor of Halloween. “Doesn’t that look disgusting?” laughs Cooking with Curls blogger, Lisa Johnson. “But guess what? It is soooo delicious; your kids will eat it up and ask for more!” The recipe gets its look thanks to lots of frozen spinach (healthy greens!) and also food dye (you can use the all-natural version from India Tree, if you like). Plus, Johnson even serves up a DIY for making a spooky cauldron to serve it in. I think we know what you’re bringing to the neighborhood Halloween potluck.

Let’s be honest: Have you ever tried a meatball that wasn’t an instant crowd-pleaser? We think not. For this dinner idea, from Holly Nilsson of Spend with Pennies, a trio of meatballs gets wrapped up in strips of pizza dough to give them a mummy makeover. This is a fun twist on popular hot dog mummies, but better for little kids since hot dogs can be a choking hazard. 

Get the recipe: Meatball Mummies

When it comes to celebratory kids’ food, can you ever have too many variations on pizza? We think not. This one is also great because it’s a finger food — literally and figuratively! “Yes, of course they are festive and fun, but more than anything they are delicious,” says blogger Chelsea Lords of Chelsea’s Messy Apron. “Honestly, it’s the best cheesy bread I’ve ever had, and everyone always begs for this recipe!” Also, those pepperoni “nails” are the perfect finishing touch. 

Get the recipe: Cheesy Bread Fingers 

The simplest spreads for hungry littles

Credit: Joe Lingeman

If even using store-bought pizza dough feels like a little too much of a commitment for Halloween night, try this recipe on for size. The base of the mini pizza is an English muffin that gets topped with a little sauce and a piece of cheese cut into a ghost. (This is one of those recipes that can also double as a fun little activity for your kids to do with you.) Before you run out to buy a ghost cookie cutter, check your stash: An up-side-down tulip, santa hat, or holiday bell can work just as well. 

Get the recipe: Mini Ghost Pizzas

Yes, charcuterie boards are still all the rage. And the Halloween versions, like this one from Danielle Green of The Creative Bite, might just be our most favorite yet. Load it up with crackers, cheeses, meats, nuts, and fruits that your family likes, then add a few festive touches like candy eyes and plastic spiders. Place it on the counter or coffee table, then let your kids graze as they get hungry. (Halloween is not the time for a fight over sitting down for dinner!) 

Get the recipe: Spooky Charcuterie Board

No #PinterestFail here! Seriously, if you have a pair of kitchen shears, these jack-o’-lantern quesadillas are super easy to nail. Trim your tortillas into the shape of pumpkin, then add some face details to the top one and you’re basically done. Just fill them up with shredded cheese, or even some rotisserie chicken and beans if you’re feeling fancy, and then throw them in the oven. “You can absolutely load up these quesadillas however you like, but if you have picky little eaters like I do, feel free to embrace the cheese,” adds mom Debbie Chapman, founder of One Little Project and author of the book Low-Mess Crafts for Kids.

Credit: Nick Evans

Set-it-and-forget-it seems like a pretty good plan come Oct 31. This pumpkin curry is delicious and festive, if just a little bit unexpected. It’s made with cubes of fresh pumpkin (yum!) so just be sure to take care of slicing that baby up either the night before or while the kiddos are at school. Then, throw everything in the pot and dinner will cook itself while you enjoy the festivities. (Also worth a look: these 10 slow cooker dinners to make before trick-or-treating.) 

Nourishing, parent-approved meal options 

Dairy-free, grain-free, and vegetarian, these little bites of goodness are a great option if you’re feeding family members or guests with dietary restrictions. (You can also omit the egg to make them vegan, if needed.) “The dairy-free cream cheese and olives make them look a little like monster eyes staring back at you inside the nests,” explains Paleo Paparazzi blogger Kendra Cardoza. 

This recipe had us at “boo-dle,” which might just be our favorite Halloween food pun yet. But, also, you really can’t go wrong with a festive version of delicious chicken noodle soup — especially with that fall chill in the air. Morgan Wieboldt of Morgan Manages Mommyhood dyes bowtie pasta black to make it look like bats, but you could also pick up a bag of Halloween-shaped pasta at your local grocery store or Trader Joe’s if you prefer. 

Get the recipe: Chicken Boo-dle Soup 

Eat your veggies, if you dare! These stuffed mushrooms are the perfect spooky side dish for more adventurous kids, and also a good option for anyone who doesn’t eat meat. Mom and A Spicy Perspective blogger Sommer Collier’s 12-year-old daughter actually gets the credit for coming up with this idea: “She loves Halloween and is dreaming up crafty snacks and decorations all year long until the spooktacular day finally arrives.” With only five ingredients and just a few steps, you could even enlist your own kiddos to help you prep these. 

Start by whipping up a big batch of Everyday Maven blogger Alyssa Brantley’s seasonal beef butternut squash chili, which happens to be bean-free so it’s great for kiddos who don’t like ‘em. Then, up the fun factor by dubbing dinner a “DIY chili bar.” Simply put: This means putting out bowls of lots of yummy toppings so everyone can happily prep their own bowl. “A chili bar is the perfect trick-or-treat meal,” explains Brantley. “You can make the chili in advance and then keep it warm in a slow cooker. It’s warm and comforting and you can get as creative or easy as they want with the topping options! The kids love the freedom of building their own personal bowls and not having to sit down to a more formal dinner when they are anxious to get out there and work on their candy haul!” 

Get the recipe: Butternut Squash Chili 

If you want to ward off the night’s sugar high, packing your kiddo with some protein can help. And Iowa Girl Eats’s Kristin Porter has the perfect option. In this recipe, she remade her classic meatball recipe, but you don’t have to roll them up or brown them — hello, time-saver! Plus, they’re stuffed with cheese. “The cheesy ‘ooze’ factor is especially fun for Halloween,” she adds. 

You know what they say … more mummies, more problems. Unless, you’re talking about mummified Halloween food, of course. Then you can never have too many options. This version, from Sophia DeSantis of Veggies Don’t Bite, uses polenta rounds as the base and then tops it with salsa, strips of dairy-free cheese, and black bean eyes. You can even let the kids each make their own! 

Get the recipe: Mummy Polenta Bites