Neighborhood parties are rapidly replacing traditional door-to-door trick-or-treating as the fun of choice on Halloween. If your kids are invited to such a gathering or you're hosting one yourself, why not get the kids involved in making the treats? Here are a few recipes to get you started.
These ghoulish goodies make great party tray decorations. For a fun presentation, stick them in a "graveyard" of chocolate frosting or pudding and invite the kids to scoop to their hearts' content.
2 ½ c. all-purpose flour
1 c. powdered sugar
2 sticks unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
1 large egg, beaten
1 ½ tsp. pure vanilla extract
Mix flour and sugar together well. Add remaining ingredients and combine well. Divide dough into two sections and wrap well in plastic wrap or put in zipper-lock plastic bag. Refrigerate at least two hours or overnight.
Put the kids to work making cookie cutters out of cardboard, or find the cutters at your local party store.
When the dough is chilled, roll each section to about 1/8-inch thickness and let the kids go to work with their cookie cutters. Older kids can even use plastic knives or pastry cutters to cut their shapes from the dough. If desired, use cookie stamps to put things like "RIP" on the tombstones. (You can make a cookie stamp out of a potato. Just cut in the desired stamp design.)
Bake on parchment-lined cookie sheets at 350° F for 10-12 minutes. Cool on racks.
Kids can get good and goopy putting these together. Just make sure they don't lick their fingers until after all the spiders are made!
12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
1 can chow mein noodles
1 c. dry roasted peanuts
Toss noodles and peanuts together in large bowl. Melt chips in a double boiler, stirring frequently. Pour chocolate over peanuts and noodles, mixing thoroughly. It will very quickly be cool enough for the kids to work with.
Let them make spider shapes or whatever their imagination calls for. Be sure and provide plenty of decoration options, like cinnamon red-hots for the "black widow hourglass" on the belly and sprinkles to make eyes and such.
Set on waxed paper to harden and completely cool.
Worms And Dirt Cupcakes
This one is great fun for even the youngest kids. You can even make the decoration one of the party events!
Bake your favorite chocolate cupcakes, either homemade or from a boxed mix.
Frost them with chocolate frosting, then top with a generous sprinkle of crushed chocolate cookies (Oreos work really well).
Cut the Gummi worms in half, and stick them into the tops of the cupcakes so they look like they're crawling out or burrowing in.