Sure, candy is the star of the show on Halloween, but that doesn't mean your family isn't in need of a well-balanced dinner before heading out into the night. These Halloween dinner ideas are creative and fun; and they'll give kids all the energy they need to plow through an evening full of trick-or-treating.
Seriously Scary Spaghetti
There are few dinner dishes easier to make than good old spaghetti! On Halloween, give your noodles a makeover and color them green, purple, or black. All you need is some food dye to take your pasta from typical to terrifying. You can also create a pesto pasta and skip the food coloring completely. Do whatever suits your tastes, but the point is to give the dish a ghoulish color. Next, you'll need to create some hair-raising eyeballs for your festive meal. Take small balls of fresh mozzarella cheese and attach a black olive slice to each ball using a small toothpick. If you feel extra creative, give a few of the mozzarella "eyeballs" a squiggle of sriracha sauce.
Seasonal Soup to Warm Bellies
The great thing about soup as a dinner dish is that it can be made ahead of time (as in the far-less-busy day before Halloween) and tastes just as delicious as a leftover meal the day after it is served. Play on the scents of the season and create a pumpkin soup that's full of flavor. Pair this hearty autumn classic with your favorite bread recipe, and boom, you're done with dinner and ready to hit the spooky streets come nightfall.
Bratwursts Nearly Too Spooky to Eat
Making bratwurst is a pretty easy task, as long as you can boil water. For Halloween brats, you'll need to boil your sausages and then, when fully cooked, give them a sear on a skillet. You can also bake the brats in the oven if boiling isn't up your alley. Remove the brats from their heat source when fully cooked and plate them on a spooky serving platter. Cut a small piece of cheese out in the shape of a fingernail, and add one to the tip of each brat. At the base of the brat, drizzle ketchup. Serve these with a side of mashed potatoes for a frightfully good Halloween dinner.
The Creepiest Charcuterie Board in all the Land
Charcuterie boards are all the rage these days, so why not create one for your family to feast on before they head out for trick-or-treating? Purchase a plastic skull at any local Halloween decoration store. Clean it well as you will be putting food on the skull. Place the skull on a large platter. Cover the platter with slices of cheese. Cover the entire skull with thin slices of meat. You'll want to add other culinary elements to your board to surround the skull. Think olives, tomatoes, pickles, crackers and dips, and grapes. This isn't a traditional multicourse dinner meal, but it's a fun one for families that plan to pick at their meal while they get ready to celebrate the special evening.
Dig up your favorite burger recipe and delight your family with a cheeseburger that is out of this world. With this meal, the real fun comes when it's time to jazz up the cooked burger to look like a monster. Use a slice of tomato for the tongue, or a long-sliced sandwich pickle. Slice white onions for jagged monster teeth and create eyeballs from sliced cucumbers and black olives. Good luck getting your kids to eat a "non-monster burger" after this!
Cheese and Crackers with a Spidey Vibe
Halloween is one of those holidays where it might simply be impossible to get the kids to sit down and eat a large meal. There is too much excitement in the air! Fun finger foods like spider-shaped cheese and crackers are cute enough to capture kids' attention; and when paired with raw veggies and yogurt dip, parents can feel good about hitting most of the major food groups with this meal. That is such a major win on a sugar-fueled holiday like Halloween.
First, make small variations of your favorite cheese ball recipe. The cheese ball will be the body of your yummy spider. To create spider legs, insert small breadsticks into the cheese ball. Create eyes on each cheese ball spider, (capers or olives work well), and chop veggies up with a side of homemade yogurt or veggie dip to round the dinner out.
Pizza night is always a hit in a house full of kids, and with this fun recipe, you won't have to beg a soul (living or otherwise) to eat their dinner. Prepare pizza using your favorite pizza recipe. When it comes time to put the cheese on the dish, you won't be sprinkling cheese all over the pie, but instead, you will stretch the mozzarella cheese across the pizza to emulate spiderwebs. Once the pizza is cooked and cooled, feel free to dot the pizza with a few fun plastic spiders. Just make sure young diners know not to eat these spooky toppings.
Mouse meatballs are almost too cute to eat! Start by creating meatballs using your favorite meatball recipe. You'll want to make the balls in two different sizes, with larger ones serving as the mouse bodies and smaller ones serving as their heads. Attach the two balls laterally using a toothpick. Break raw spaghetti noodles into small pieces, and create whiskers from them. Fashion tiny eyes and noses for each mouse and set the critters atop a pile of steaming mashed potatoes.
Stuffed Pumpkin Peppers
Create an artistic masterpiece of a meal using orange bell peppers and any filling you'd like to stuff the peppers with. Follow a general stuffed pepper recipe, but because Halloween is all about extra flair, be sure to carve a jack-o'-lantern face into each pepper. Cook them up and serve them to starving kiddos who are geared up for a night of fun. Serve this dish with a simple green salad and know that this meal is fun, yummy, and healthy.
A quesadilla is a simple dinner dish to create, and thankfully, even the pickiest eaters will often accept tortillas and cheese on a plate. To put a twist on this recipe, all you have to do is cut out shapes that emulate a jack-o'-lantern face into one of the tortillas before cooking. Serve this dish with a side of homemade guacamole and stick crackers into the dip to mimic gravestones. What are you? Picasso?
Things to Keep in Mind for Halloween Meals
For most families, Halloween is a whirlwind of a day. Between school parties and evening trick-or-treating, there isn't going to be much time to create culinary magic in the kitchen. Take simple meals that you could cook in your sleep and put spooky touches on them, making them perfect for dining on October 31st. These dishes will delight your family and convince them that you are a kitchen wizard!