It's Halloween, so time to party! Let young imaginations run wild with a frightening feast and ghoulish games that will have them screaming with delight.
Spooky savoury feasts
Throw your favourite little horrors a Halloween party using our guide and they're sure to shriek with excitement. Although, for grown-ups, few things are more terrifying than a room full of overexcited kids. With that in mind, you may want to scale back the sugar, but we have plenty of tasty savoury suggestions that should keep them at the table and, of course, a few sweet treats are a must.
Mini baked potatoes with sticky sausages, witches' brew pea & bacon chowder, eyeball pasta and cheesy bean potatoes are all fun and popular snacks with children. For a more substantial main, treat them to some doughy delights like these super spider pizzas. Kids can get involved with making them and learn about different ingredients when designing the spiders on top. We used olives and salami but thin slices of pepper or carrot are also good for making spidery legs.
Our Halloween dips & bites with avocado slime sludge, vegetable hellfire spread and creepy bites should also give them some nutritious fuel for trick-or-treating and spooky game-playing.
It wouldn't be Halloween without a sweet-tasting trick or treat and scary Halloween jelly, slime bug cups, cheesy popcorn brains will all be a hit with a gore-loving crowd of kiddies, amongst other supernatural snacks...
Use a food processor to speedily whizz together these freaky edible zombie fingers, which are realistic enough to make you look twice! Mould the chocolate and date mixture into long shapes on baking parchment, then position the fingers so they're emerging from the centre of a bowl. Finish off with an almond fingernail for a final chilling flourish.
Discover five wicked flavours for coating your toffee apples.
For something a bit special, these sleek and shiny toffee apples make a stunning centerpiece at a Halloween gathering. As the liquid toffee gets very hot, making these goodies is a job for grown-ups – but kids will be delighted to eat them. Add an extra menacing glint to the candy apples by including red or black food colouring and edible glitter in the toffee mixture.
Creepy cakes and devilish desserts
Catering for the more genteel type of ghoul? Hooting Halloween owls, pumpkin cakes, Frankenstein cupcakes, spider nest cakes and spider web chocolate fudge muffins should do the trick, but the crème de la crème has to be this haunted graveyard cake which everyone from toddlers to teens will love.
If your kids want to have some fun in the kitchen and help decorate, these creepily cute Halloween cupcakes are the perfect victim. After you've baked the cakes and left them to cool, your little Frankenstein's monsters can get busy using fondant icing pens and sweets to work their creative magic.
If you just want to make one centerpiece dessert to feed a crowd, our 'mummified' Halloween apple & strawberry pie does the trick. Wrapped in a lattice of puff pastry strips to make the bandages – oozing red jam, with beady icing eyes peering out – this terrific pud is too tasty to run away from.
Little ghosts and ghouls can quench a deadly thirst with Dracula's blood punch and squirm-inducing squash. Don't forget to accessorise your drinks with sweetie fangs, red food colouring and edible glitter. You can also use grapes, olive or lychees to make eerie 'eyeballs' skewered on cocktail sticks, as in our ominous eyeball snot-tail recipe.
Get more Halloween drinks ideas for kids and grown-ups:
Run a few silly contests for awards like, 'biggest witch's nose', 'best broom' or 'scariest fingernails' so that everyone wins a little prize. Great homemade giveaways include these eerie eyeball cake pops, toffee popcorn bark or squeamish squares.
Try spicing up traditional apple bobbing by adding some milk and food dye to the mix to make it frogspawn green, or blood-curding red. You could also add edible glitter and fake spiders to turn it into a witch's potion or a giant's blood bath. Whoever bobs the most apples in a limited space of time could win a small party bag of treats to take home.
Putting ingredients like cold spaghetti, lychees or runny jelly in a bowl and getting blindfolded party guests to guess what they're feeling is always good squelchy, squealy fun. Give your concoctions names like 'baby snakes', 'eyeballs' or 'goblin goo'. Just don't get too carried away with parties for younger children, pre-schoolers probably won't appreciate a full-on 'I'm a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here' experience...
If you're looking for something a little less scary, then how about a hunt for a ghost ship's treasure chest, you could scatter clues attached to gold chocolate coins around the house leading to a hoard of ghostly goodies like cheap costume jewellery, bags of popcorn or golden coins.
One of the prizes could be our ghost-shaped biscuit piñatas. They're fun to make and contain a hidden surprise centre of popping candy and edible silver balls to make little ones squeal with delight.
Check out more horrifying Halloween guides...
Do you have any terrible treats in store for your little ones? Leave a comment below...