Random Ephemera

4 Easy Halloween Party Ideas to Make a Gathering Special

Halloween is coming up fast, and with many of us planning to throw or attend some sort of party, it's a good time to consider the types of spookily themed snacks and treats that will be served. Sure, a party host could just fill up a few bowls with candy he or she bought at the store, but one of the best things about Halloween is how it allows people to show off their creative side, so here are a few ideas to make a get-together extra special.

4. Homemade Candy Apples

There's probably no more Halloween-themed treat than candy apples, and they're not difficult to make. Putting out a tray of these old-fashioned treats will show you're serious about your Halloween entertaining.


Craft sticks or wooden dowels,

12-15 small to medium sized apples. I prefer Granny Smith.

1 cup light corn syrup

2 cups granulated white sugar

8-10 drops red food coloring

1 1/2 cups water

Lightly grease a baking sheet, then wash and dry the apples. Insert the craft stick or section of dowels into the apples and set aside. Combine the water, sugar and corn syrup in a medium saucepan, and heat to 310 degrees. Remove from heat and stir in the food coloring, mixing it in completely. Dip the apples in, and coat them well, before setting them on the baking sheet to cool and harden.

3. Dracula's Dentures Chocolate Chip Cookies

These great-looking cookies definitely capture the spirit of Halloween and will make great party treats. A talented baker named Lori Fillmore won the Toll House Spooktacular Baking Activity Contest with her recipe, and it's easy to see why.


1 16.5 oz. package refrigerated chocolate chip cookie dough
1/2 cup prepared vanilla frosting, tinted red or pink
1 3/4 cups miniature marshmallows
48 blanched slivered almonds

Make the cookies as directed on the package, then cool on baking sheets for a couple of minutes before moving to a wire rack to cool completely. Cut each cookie in half for a total of 48 halves.

Frost the bottoms of all cookie halves with colored frosting, then position six marshmallow teeth around the curved rim of 24 halves. Top with remaining 24 halves. Insert two almond slivers in between teeth for fangs. If fangs do not adhere, dip tips into frosting. This one is almost guaranteed to please partygoers with its toothy smile.

2. "Lovecraftian Goo" Avocado Ranch Dip

Dips are almost a necessity when it comes to any party, and the great thing is that most of them are really simple to make. This one is a zesty avocado and ranch concoction that's excellent for dipping chips or veggies. The addition of a little green food coloring brings out a spooky look that's perfect for Halloween gatherings. Cthulhu would approve!


1 package ranch dressing mix (1 oz.)
1 16 oz. container sour cream
1 large avocado, peeled, pitted and mashed up
1 lime, juiced
1 teaspoon black pepper
A few drops green food coloring.

Mix sour cream and ranch dressing mix, then add the lime juice and avocado. Mix well, adding the pepper and enough green food coloring to make it look spooky. Chill for 30 minutes before serving.

This dip can be garnished with chopped green onions, and served in a "Bread Coffin" for added effect.

1. Safe Bubbling Halloween Punch

This is really a tip rather than a recipe, because there are lots of great ones out there.

Really, any good party punch recipe will usually work for a Halloween shindig, but one popular trick that people use to make their punch appropriately scary is to place dry ice in it. The chemical reaction that dry ice has in liquid isn't harmful and causes the punch to bubble and mist over, but accidentally swallowing a small piece of the super-cold substance would sure be an unpleasant experience. A few years back, I came up with a simple solution by placing the blocks of dry ice in food-safe plastic mesh bags, which prevented smaller pieces from finding their way into someone's drink. It's not a super high-risk possibility, but the bag almost completely eliminated the chance of it happening at all, and seemed like a reasonable precaution especially when the punch being served is alcoholic in nature.

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Chris Lane is a contributing writer who enjoys covering art, music, pop culture, and social issues.