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Spooky Halloween Appetizers For The Grown-Ups

Halloween night can be delightfully chaotic: last-minute costume assembly, makeup of all shades and colors covering the bathroom sink, sticky jack-o'-lantern hands. And then all of a sudden, the kids are out the door toting pillowcases and king-sized expectations—and where does that leave you?

If your kids are old enough to trick-or-treat without adult supervision but the holiday spirit still burns bright inside you, invite friends or neighbors join you for an adult-friendly Halloween fete. These eats (and drink) are appropriately gross (without crossing over into too-gross-to-eat territory) and can be whipped up quickly and easily between trips to the door to hand out candy.

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Mummified Spring Rolls
Ayelet Ronen

Mummified Spring Rolls

Spring rolls look difficult to make—but don't let that scare you! In reality, the process is surprisingly easy. If you’ve been dying (pun intended!) to try your hand at making spring rolls, here's your chance.

Ingredients:

  • pack of spring roll wrappers
  • assorted vegetables cut into thin strips, such as carrots, cucumbers, or cabbage
  • hot water
  • 3 tablespoons hoisin sauce
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons reduced sodium soy sauce
  • dash of hot sauce
  • chopped green onion (optional)

Directions:

  1. Combine the sauces, stirring until combined well.
  2. Fill a large bowl with hot water. We're going to be making one spring roll at a time, so make sure you have all of your veggies cut and accessible.
  3. Following the instructions on the packaging, submerge one of the wrappers in the hot water until softened (about 3-5 seconds). Remove and lay out flat on a large plate.
  4. Arrange a small handful of vegetables on the rice paper and roll like a burrito, folding the side nearest to you over the vegetables, folding over the two ends, and rolling the rest of the way. (Check out The Fresh Find for a step-by-step demonstration of this technique.) Be gentle but work quickly.
  5. Repeat until you’ve made all of the spring rolls you’d like to serve, making sure you have at least 3 wrappers to spare. One at a time, submerge each of these extra wrappers in the hot water, then lay out on a large plate. Using a sharp knife, cut into long strips. Take one strip at a time and wrap around each of the spring rolls, going in alternate directions, until it looks like a mummy.
  6. Arrange the spring rolls on a plate and sprinkle with chopped green onion. Serve immediately with dipping sauce on the side.

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Bloody-good Cranberry Crostini
Ayelet Ronen

Bloody-Good Cranberry Crostini

These cranberry brie treats are so good, you won’t even be tempted to go near your child’s candy haul! If you’re short on time, cut the prep time by using canned cranberry sauce—we won’t judge.

Ingredients:

  • baguette, cut into thin slices
  • 10 oz brie cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh cranberries
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup water

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Combine cranberries, sugar and water in a medium saucepan. Cover and cook on medium heat for 5 minutes.
  3. Once the cranberries have softened a bit, gently crush them with the back of a wooden spoon. Reduce heat to low and cook uncovered for 3 more minutes. Remove from heat.
  4. Arrange baguette slices in a single layer on a baking sheet. Pop in the oven to dry for 8 minutes.
  5. Remove the baguette from the oven and top each with a slice of brie and a small spoonful of crushed cranberries. Put back in the oven for another 5 minutes or until the brie begins to melt.
  6. Remove from the oven and arrange on a serving plate. Drizzle the liquids from the cranberry mixture to enhance the bloodiness and serve immediately.

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Cauliflower Spider Bites
Ayelet Ronen

Cauliflower Spider Bites

Beware: these little guys have a kick to them!

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 head of cauliflower
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 2 tbsp hot sauce
  • 3 tbsp sweet chili sauce
  • ranch dip
  • chopped green onion (optional)

Directions:

  1. Preheat the over to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with tin foil and spray with cooking spray.
  2. Cut the cauliflower into bite-sized florets. Whisk the eggs in a small bowl, and pour the panko into another bowl.
  3. One at a time, dip the florets in the eggs and then roll in panko to coat. Place on the baking sheet.
  4. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown.
  5. Meanwhile, combine the hot sauce and sweet chili sauce. When the cauliflower is done, toss with the sauce to coat.
  6. Prepare your serving plate by piping a ranch dressing spider web using a piping bag or Ziplock bag with the tip cut off. Serve the cauliflower bites over the spider web and top with green onion.

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Kiss of Death Cocktail
Ayelet Ronen

Kiss of Death Cocktail

Skip dessert (there will be candy for days after tonight) and end with this sweet concoction instead. If Halloween falls on a school night or the kids are back home, simply leave out the gin for a deviously delightful mocktail.

Ingredients (makes one drink):

  • 2 clementines
  • 1 oz gin
  • sparkling water or tonic
  • 1/2 oz grenadine
  • ice

Directions:

  1. Squeeze the juice from the clementines and pour into a glass.
  2. Fill the class 2/3 full with ice and add the gin. Pour enough sparkling water to just cover the ice.
  3. Add grenadine. Stir with a straw or serve as is for a cool ombré effect.
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