31 Sensationally Spooky Halloween Ideas

By Patty Sachs - celebrations expert and author of several books, including Pick A Party
Whether you typically make your Halloween party plans weeks ahead or hours before, these inspiring tips will help you reach your party "ghouls" on time!

Eerie Eats and Spirited Snacks

1. Freeze gummy worms and other wiggly creatures into ice cubes. Float them in your party drinks or make a big splash in a punch bowl.

2. Bake apples in "blood." Core apples and place them in a microwave-safe tray. Pour cherry-flavored soda over, into, and all around the apples. Cover them with plastic wrap, poking a few holes in it so air can escape while cooking. Microwave according to the oven manufacturer's directions for baked potatoes.

Ghost figurine3. Serve fiendish punch or spiced apple cider from a large hollowed-out pumpkin.

4. Carve a pumpkin serving bowl by cutting the top off a medium-sized pumpkin in a jagged design. Remove seeds and fleshy innards. Cut assorted veggies into bite-size servings to fit in your smashing new pumpkin bowl.

5. Serve dips and other fiendish snacks from smaller, hollowed-out pumpkins and gourds.

6. Roast pumpkin seeds. Remove the seeds from a pumpkin or two and wash thoroughly. Let them dry for a day on paper towels. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a cookie sheet with vegetable oil cooking spray. Spread seeds on the cookie sheet, and then spray them lightly with the vegetable oil cooking spray. Season with salt, dried salad dressing mix, or your favorite spices. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until the seeds are lightly browned.

7. Treat guests to individual, edible jack-o'-lanterns. Cut the tops off large oranges and set them aside. Scoop out the centers, leaving a thick shell. Cut or draw a jack-o'-lantern face on each orange. Pack chocolate ice cream into the shells, and then gently set the orange tops back on. Put the oranges in the freezer for at least 3 hours before serving.

8. Make "grave" desserts. Use gray construction paper to cut out 4-6" headstones. Write the name of your guests on the headstones, along with a funny memorial to each person. Make instant chocolate pudding and once set, put in individual serving bowls. Then using a food processor, pulverize a package of chocolate sandwich cookies. Process until the mixture resembles rich dirt. Sprinkle liberally on top of each bowl of chocolate pudding. Decorate each with a headstone before serving.

Witch FigurineDemonic Decorations

9. Make a guest book out of brown paper bag pages. Your Halloween guests can sign their names in vampire's blood-red ink as they arrive.

10. Cover your Halloween table with burlap fabric. Cut corrugated cardboard into scary jagged shapes to use as place mats.

11. Glue felt pieces onto your pumpkins to make eyes, noses, and mouths instead of carving.

12. Decorate your carved pumpkins with mini marshmallows or gumdrops secured with toothpicks for teeth. Add glasses, wigs, hats, or bandanas. Bananas and radishes make funny noses. Raisins or cranberries are freaky freckles. Carrot and celery tops make silly hair. And gummy worms or plastic insects hanging out of the pumpkin's nose or mouth is sure to gross everyone out! (Important tip: Don't light votive candles in these pumpkins. It's a fire hazard.)

13. Light outdoor walkways and windowsills with luminaries. Take orange or black paper bags and cut out Halloween designs with a hole puncher or stencil. Line the bottoms with two inches of sand, push votive candles into the sand, and light.

14. For an eerie effect, hang glow-in-the-dark bats from the ceiling and turn out the lights.

15. Write scary warning messages on your front walk using colored chalk.

16. Create creepy centerpieces by filling vases with dead flowers, brown leaves, and empty branches. Tie a black ribbon bow around each centerpiece.

17. Hollow out small pumpkins and carve designs into them like flowers, leaves, spirals, or geometric patterns. Illuminate with votive candles for a more sophisticated look.

18. Make apple candle holders. Choose well-proportioned, round apples that will sit stable on a flat surface and remove the stems. Cut a small section out of the top of each apple - deep and wide enough to securely hold a taper candle. Place the apple candleholders down the center of your Halloween table.

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