Half the fun of Halloween — besides the costume parades and heaps of candy — is all the “spooktacular” fun and heartwarming ways to bring a mix of neighbors, friends, and family together.

Before heading out for trick-or-treating, kick off the festivities with a “spooky cocktail” party beforehand. Offer savory, seasonal mini appetizer bites or an easy-to-pull-off, fall-inspired apple and pear crostini before the candy grab. Or afterward, invite friends to enjoy treats from a festive tablescape with savory snacksHalloween cookies, and even a floral centerpiece that glows with fall colors, along with coloring pages for the kids. 

We’ve conjured our picks for favorite Halloween recipes to make your gathering bewitching!

Fangs a lot, “Mummy”

vant to bite your…breakfast! Gel-based food coloring is “bloody good” (it’s the best, actually!) for tinting the cream cheese blood red on this Wolferman’s English muffin “mouth.” A row of mini marshmallow teeth makes this just as terrifying a dessert as it does a magical Halloween morning breakfast treat for kiddos.

Halloween recipes with an English muffin and marshmallows designed to look like vampire fangs.

Perfect Halloween Macarons

There is no need to fear making these classic French cookies at home. Before you begin, make sure your mixing bowl and whisk are very clean — a wipe down with vinegar removes any residual oil. Doing so also helps your egg whites form stiff peaks and glossy meringue — secrets to a tender, chewy macaron that will be parfait. And rely on the richness of melted chocolate truffles for the decadent filling. (What a trick!)

Halloween recipes with black and purple macarons.

Pumpkin Truffle Bites

Pumpkin pie, spiced cookies, and fall spices do the monster mash in these no-bake truffle bites that can be made ahead of time. And you can create a selection of three kinds: Dip a batch in melted white chocolate or milk chocolate, or roll them through finely crushed cookie crumbs. They’re a treat for little hands.

Halloween recipes with pumpkin pie truffles on newsprint.

Candy Corn Martini

Originally called “chicken feed,” candy corn is among America’s oldest Halloween candies. George Renninger of The Wunderlee Candy Company invented the tricolored confection in the 1880s and chose the corn shape to represent farmers. The candy’s festive white, orange, and yellow colors inspire this decadent holiday cocktail, laced with whipped cream-flavored vodka, pineapple juice, and grenadine, and topped with whipped cream and sprinkles.

Halloween recipes with a candy corn martini.

Witches Brew Sangria

Double, double, toil and trouble, this sangria is full of bubble! The deep plum color, of this libation comes from a trick in its creation: Let it steep overnight, and in the morn you’ll have delight! Berries, grapes, dried citrus too, make this drink a fruit-filled brew!

Halloween recipe with a black sangria cocktail with granishes.

Moose Munch Bark

Rich, buttery, milk chocolate-coated Moose Munch premium popcorn is the base for this hauntingly delicious caramel popcorn bark. Break up pieces of this chewy, crunchy, sweet, and salty bark, and add it to Halloween goody bags or serve it as part of a fall snack board with extra caramel for dipping fresh apple or pear slices. Did somebody say fruit!?

Halloween recipes with a bowl of Moose Munch caramel bark.

Chocolate lovers beware!

Handle this Halloween gift basket at your own risk! It’s packed with tempting treats and mouthwatering morsels — a bevy of milk- and white chocolate-covered sandwich cookies, skull-shaped lollipops, coconut-filled milk chocolate truffles, and chocolate-covered grahams. It makes a booo-tiful sweet surprise Halloween gift. But don’t say we didn’t warn you…muahahahaha.

Halloween recipes with a box of chocolate goodies.

Dressed-Up Cake Pops

Whimsical and colorful cake pops beat store-bought bags of packaged candy any day! These unique spiders, silly faces, monsters, and pumpkins make wonderful after trick-or-treating party favors when gathering with dads and “mummies.”

Halloween recipes with several Halloween themed cake pops on a plate.

Spooky & Sweet Snack Board

Some boards are salty, and many are cheesy, but this fall season, reach for one that’s sweet and easy! This collection of Halloween snacks offers incredible texture (crunchy dipped pretzels; dipped cookies; soft, vanilla bean marshmallows) and contrasting cheesy popcorn and cookie-flavored Moose Munch. Arrange them on a skull-shaped acacia wood tray. Now that’s using your head!

Halloween snack board with popcorn, candy, and more.

Halloween Party in a Box

Little ones will love this devilish mix of snack-size chocolate chip, devil’s food chocolate, buttercream-frosted orange cutout, and butter shortbread pumpkin-shaped cookies from Cheryl’s Cookies. And for the kids at heart, there are buttercream-frosted pumpkin and Halloween sprinkle chocolate cutout cookies and jelly pumpkins.

Halloween recipes with a box of Cheryl's cookies.

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Theresa Gambacorta is a freelance food writer, a veteran of New York City restaurants, and cookbook co-author to chef Joey Campanaro's Big Love Cooking (Chronicle) and James Beard-nominated chef Nasim Alikhani's Sofreh: A Contemporary Approach to Classic Persian Cuisine (Knopf). She is currently working on a forthcoming vegan cookbook to be published by Simon Element.

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