Take the tricks out of Halloween with these easy-to-make, kid-friendly treats. Each one involves only a few ingredients and very little time – perfect for little ones, or anyone, with a short attention span. They also benefit from a creative approach, and since perfection is totally unnecessary, little fingers can easily accomplish most tasks (except those that require a knife or the oven, of course).
If you’re taking on any of these kitchen crafts with pint-sized helpers, make it super easy on yourself and pick up specialty Halloween items such as candy sprinkles, colored frostings, and candy melts at Party Favors, craft stores, or even the regular grocery store. The time you’ll save bringing home pre-colored frosting and ready-to-bake cookie dough just might ensure your little sous chefs don’t abandon you before the fun even starts.
Wide-Eyed Monster Cookies
For this treat all you need is ready-to-bake sugar cookies, a variety of colored frostings, and large candy eyes. The fun Halloween frosting colors are easy to find pre-made this time of year, or you can color vanilla frosting easily enough. Bake the cookies and let them cool before frosting.
To create furry monsters, pull up little spikes after you spread the frosting on. Add one eye, or get extra extra-terrestrial and add many. Cover a few in crystal sprinkles for greater monster variety.
Beady-Eyed Spider Doughnuts
Turn chocolate Munchkins® into scary spiders by dismembering thin pretzels and using the curvy parts as legs. Use a little bit of black or chocolate icing to help the legs stay in place, then use more icing to adhere little nonpareils for eyes.
I like the simplicity (and friendlier look) of just two, but you can be anatomically correct with six or eight eyes, if you like.
Most Halloween treats are sweet so it’s nice to throw a savory option into the mix, and this one couldn’t be easier. Thaw a sheet of puff pastry according to the package directions, then slice very thin (1/4-inch or less) strips of pastry and wrap around a hot dog, crossing and overlapping to make it look like mummy wrappings (about 4 to 5 strips per mummy). I used bun-length dogs, which are longer and skinnier, and cuter for this application. Or, you can make a legion of baby mummies using cocktail wieners. Place wrapped dogs on a parchment-lined baking sheet and brush lightly with a beaten egg wash, which not only helps the pastry brown nicely but also adds to the antique mummy effect. Bake in a 400-degree oven for about 15 minutes, until pastry is golden brown. Let cool slightly, then adhere small candy eyes with a dab of mayo or mustard.
Serve with a bowl of "blood" red ketchup for dipping.
Green candy melts, pretzel rods, and chocolate-covered almonds are all you need to make these creepy digits. To make it easier to dip the long pretzels, melt the candy in a taller container such as a mason jar, and use a spoon to coat all but the last inch or two of the pretzel. Place coated fingers on a piece of parchment paper and immediately position the chocolate-covered almond “nail” at the tip of the finger. Let cool for a few minutes, then use a toothpick to add knuckle lines.
If you can’t find the green candy melts, color melted white chocolate with a little bit of green food coloring and a tiny drop of brown or black to keep it from turning Christmas green.
Halloween Marshmallow Bites
These little bites are fun to customize however you and the kiddos like. You can dress them up in a variety of colored chocolates and dip them in your favorite Halloween sprinkles. I chose orange and black candy melts to go with my selection of sprinkles, but you could also use regular and white chocolate. Insert a straw in the marshmallow, dip 3/4 of the mallow into the chocolate, let set for a few seconds, then press lightly into the sprinkles.
You can create a cute little forest of marshmallow bites with “birch” paper straws, or choose colored straws to go along with your Halloween theme.