I know the holidays are officially upon us when my neighbors are out digging up their lawns in preparation.

Getting spooky in the hood

Is it just my neighborhood (I live in tinseltown, home of the fiercely talented set decorator and specIal effects people), or is your town going all out for the Halloween graveyard landscape these days too?

I cook for a CSI producer in the neighborhood. Think we need to give her a call?

Now my ‘lil one ain’t so little, I don’t get as creative as I used to on Halloween, so I scoured the web for my top ten favorite food ideas to help you get your creep on in the kitchen this year. Click on the photos for recipes.

Witches Brew:  photo courtesy of Fahrenheit 350

What party would be complete without a bewitching bevy? Especially one that tastes great yet proposes to have blood, spiders, eyeballs, frogs, worms, beating hearts, and witches hair.

Spooky Black Bean Hummus: photo courtesy of Fat Free Vegan

Or this genius way to get your little devils snacking on something healthy. I love the idea of using black beans instead of chickpeas for hummus – an idea I’d certainly love to play around with more. So many flavor combinations and spooky possibilities.

Bloody (pizza) eyeballs photo courtesy of Canary Girl

I’m not paranoid, I KNOW that pizza is watching me. It is much yummier than eye of newt too!

Witch Hat Pumpkin Ravioli: photo courtesy of Tony Tahhan

Ever wonder what to do with all that extra pumpkin once you carve your jack-o-lantern? This clever recipe uses squid ink to color the ravioli, then stuffs it with a pumpkin filling for a wickedly sophisticated meal.

Mummy hot dogs: photo courtesy of Not Quite Nigella

These mummy hot dogs are the perfect party finger food, just make sure it’s not your finger being mummified. Consider making these with cocktail sausages for a perfectly horrifying hors d’oeuvres tray, too.

Veggie Brooms: photo courtesy of Little Food Junction

Don’t forget to put a some vroom in your little witches brooms! Vegetables they will want to eat, love it!

Ghost Duchess Potatoes: photo courtesy of Pham Fatale

Boo! That’s what I have to say to boring old French fries to go with those mummy dogs. Try these ghostly Duchesse potatoes for a hauntingly fun change.

Bloody Brain Pannacotta: Photo courtesy of Not Quite Nigella

Having trouble thinking of something super gory to serve? My Twitter pal Not Quite Nigella is responsible for working this pannacotta into a bloody brain masterpiece. Watch out for her cookbook coming out next Spring!

White Chocolate Bones: photo courtesy of Food Mayhem

Sticks and stones may break your bones, but these delicious white chocolate dipped pretzels will make a delicious crunch in your mouth. Your little monsters will adore them.

Spiderweb Cheesecake: photo courtesy of Epicurean Mom

Who needs icing on a cake when you can have creepy crawly spiders? All your aspiring vampires will enjoy sinking their fangs into this cheesecake with chocolate cookie crumb crust. Be ware though…

Tatjana Rhodes getting creative on Halloween

… if you eat too much you may turn into a spider! Have a great time making these ghoulish goodies and super fond memories – like this chocolate fudge graveyard cake Tatjana and I made together many years ago.

Chocolate Fudge Graveyard Cake

Servings: 12


for the cake
3 ounces of unsweetened (preferably Valrohna) chocolate
2 cups flour, sifted
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter
2 1/2 cups dark brown sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon coffee extract or espresso
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup sour cream
3/4 cup boiling water
for the chocolate fudge icing

4 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups dark brown sugar
4 1/2 tablespoons Valrohna cocoa
1/3 cup milk
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon coffee extract or espresso
1/2 teaspoon sea salt

for decorating
6 rectangular shortbread cookies
tubes of cake decorating icing in colors of your choice


for the cake
1). Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 9″ x 13″ pan.

2). Melt chocolate in a double boiler.

3). Sift together flour, baking soda, and salt into a large bowl. Set aside.

4). Beat butter and brown sugar together until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until light and fluffy.

5). Add melted chocolate, coffee extract, and vanilla and beat until combined.

6). Add 1/3 of flour mixture alternating with 1/3 of sour cream at a time, beating after each addition until all incorporated. Stir boiling water in to thin the batter.

7). Pour into pan, and bake in the 350 degree oven for 35 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean when inserted in center. Cool for at least 10 minutes before loosening sides with a knife, and inverting onto the serving platter. Let cake cool completely before icing.

for the chocolate fudge icing:

8). Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add brown sugar and cocoa. Bring to boil, stirring constantly for 3 minutes. Add milk and remove from heat. Stir well. Stir in sifted powdered sugar, stir well. Add vanilla, coffee extract, and sea salt, stir well. Pour over cake, using a knife to spread evenly and cover completely. Cool completely before decorating.

for decorating

9). Decorate each cookie with RIP as I have done in the photograph. Push the bottom edge of each cookie into the cake at regular intervals to look like a graveyard.

Serving Suggestions:

Serve with ice cream of your choice (I like coffee ice cream with mine, but almost all flavors of ice cream go well with chocolate fudge cake).

« Previous PostNext Post »
  • October 4, 2011
    9:46 am

    Great photos! They made me laugh, grossed me out and gave me the creeps all in one! Amazing creativity shown in ALL of them. I Don’t know which is my fave… but it’s a close race between the black bean hummus and witch hat ravioli. The mummy hot dogs cracked me up LOL

    • October 4, 2011
      1:02 pm

      I love them all too. Makes me wish I had a small one to do a party for again.

  • October 4, 2011
    10:08 am

    Brilliant as usual! Loved the witch hat ravioli and of course the cheesecake (drool!)!! My question to you is: What was your most favourite thing that you dressed up as? (As I wrote that I began wracking my own brain for my own answer, which I have yet to come up with)…

    • October 4, 2011
      1:04 pm

      I was a HUGE fan of Bewitched, so I dressed up in one of my mothers black negligee’s and wore a blond wig to be Samantha. Couldn’t get that nose wiggle down for the life of me!

      • October 4, 2011
        10:44 pm

        LOVED Bewitched! My sister and I watched that! Big fans! I can’t do the nose wiggle either, so you’re not alone there!

        I think my favourite costume was actually one my father made for me from things around the house when I was about 5. I remember he made a makeshift gown for me and He took curtain shears and made some sort of crown with a veil…I was a princess.

      • October 5, 2011
        10:41 am

        I always HAD to be a Fairy Princess but one year an older neighbour actually lent me her mother’s hand beaded flapper’s dress from the 20s. I was in love. It weighed a ton and my mother was on the ceiling the entire time I was out but I felt VERY glamourous.

  • October 4, 2011
    11:09 am

    great Julie, Halloween is my favorite Holiday.. the money I spend on decorations (if only my husband new) and I decorate all by myself-no help. I wanted to have a party this year but your X decided to have a concert on that date so I’m going to hold off and have it next year. Plus I’m not prepared. But I will use any recipes you put up.

    • October 4, 2011
      1:04 pm

      How inconvenient of him!

      • October 4, 2011
        1:05 pm

        PS. It will be a GREAT show – everyone will be in the party mood.

      • October 5, 2011
        6:42 am

        yeah how inconvenient of him lol Nah it’s going to be good show.. Lot’s of good reviews I can’t wait :)Plus it’s in atlantic City, gambling time too 🙂

  • October 4, 2011
    12:40 pm

    Can’t wait for Halloween! These are all great! You have such fantastic ideas/references/recipes for us and I love your writing style. Keep it up 🙂

    • October 4, 2011
      1:06 pm

      Thanks Ange – I can’t believe how creative and talented these people are! They deserve kudos.

  • October 4, 2011
    4:17 pm

    Thanks so much for the lovely mention Julie Anne! I can imagine how creative your neighbourhood would be-I love that skeleton idea 🙂

    • October 4, 2011
      11:26 pm

      You really won’t believe – I walked another part of the neighborhood today, and couldn’t believe my eyes. Will take the camera with me next time so I can share.

      Can you believe the block party we could have if you came here for Halloween – your food and their decorating would be a match made in ghoulsville!

      • October 6, 2011
        4:01 am

        Haha wouldn’t it be great? And your organising and cooking skills too (btw loved reading your ebook last night!) 🙂

      • October 7, 2011
        9:17 pm

        Blush, so happy you liked it. Still working on the full size book, but I got a little sidetracked by the website.

  • October 4, 2011
    11:08 pm

    and how much do I love you and Pinterest right now? Pinning all these since they will be recreated over here – without a doubt. My 13 yr old will be all over these ideas!
    Thank you!

  • October 4, 2011
    11:31 pm

    Aren’t they just the most clever recipes AND great photos! So much talent in the world waiting to be found with a few taps of the keyboard. Can’t wait for Lorraine at Not Quite Nigella’s cookbook in April.

    • October 6, 2011
      4:01 am

      Aww thanks Julie Anne! It’s actually more a memoir like Julie & Julia but there are some recipes that I hope you like! 🙂

  • October 5, 2011
    10:38 am

    Thank you, these were great photos and I will definitely be trying some of these for this Halloween. 🙂

    • October 5, 2011
      11:25 pm

      Let me know how they come out!

  • October 6, 2011
    3:07 am

    So creepy!!! Love the white chocolate bones 🙂 the grave prank’s so good 🙂 Happy halloween!!

    • October 6, 2011
      10:29 am

      I think the white chocolate bones are sheer genius too. The fact people would be biting into bones that crunch in their mouths is fantastically monsterous, and they look fun to make.

  • October 6, 2011
    9:49 am

    These ideas are great. I have to try those potato goblins. Joey Travolta is a family friend of ours and he was up here for Halloween a few years ago and couldn’t believe the decorations (or lack of) compared to where you guys live. One more reason why tinsel town is exciting I guess.

  • October 6, 2011
    10:32 am

    Jessica – it is out of control! The creativity is astounding, but the “gotta outdo the Jones’s” is definitely in play. I’m missing classic jack-o-lanterns. There are some, but they are lost in the ghoulish glitz.

  • October 6, 2011
    1:07 pm

    the eyeball pizza is a little disturbing…
    my youngest would love the mummy hot dogs!!

    • October 6, 2011
      1:20 pm

      Hahaha – not everything is for all ages, but the mummy dogs are probably a safe bet.

  • October 7, 2011
    12:47 pm

    I received an email from the Jello company that they are giving away free (plus S & H) a jello brain mold, while supplies last. After that they are $3 or so. Someone planning a Halloween party might want to check it out.

    Happy Halloween.

  • October 7, 2011
    12:55 pm

    Oh how I love when my professional Personal Chef friends chime in! Thank you Cathy – you are an endless fountain of helpful information on anything food.

  • October 8, 2011
    11:54 pm

    I have some recipes I made from last year. Cream cheese gravestone with pretzels and a brownie graveyard with chocolate trees!..Can I post pics somewhere?

    • October 9, 2011
      9:07 am

      Hi Kizzie – yes please! If you are a premium member, you can post pics in the cyber living room. If you have trouble (I did when trying to figure it out), just post that you need help, and someone will explain it to you. I think it’s already been answered somewhere a few months ago, so scanning through the posts might help too.