Let's face it: The best part about Halloween is the treats. Sure, tricks can be funny when well done, particularly by a younger audience, but this festive holiday is best celebrated with a killer costume and pillowcase packed with candy — or cake.
Beyond the classic door-to-door confections collected by kids disguised as goblins, ghouls, ghosts and probably a whole bunch of "Stranger Things" characters, there are plenty of creative desserts to make and enjoy at home. Because, sadly, at one point or another, everyone grows too old for the ol' trick-or-treat run (that is until parenthood grants the free pass to engage again as a chaperone who, in turn, gets the pick of the candy crop).
The point being, celebrate Halloween with treats of all kinds — doughnuts, pies, cupcakes, cookies, even bananas disguised as ghosts (for the candy comedown). Whether you're throwing a saucy, grown-up Halloween soiree, a family fright fest or just want to cry into a boo-berry pie because it's the first year the kids are out on the town without you, this recipe roundup is here.
From easy hacks to transform store-bought baked goods into ghastly goodies to elaborate cakes sure to mystify guests, here are some of TODAY Food's favorite devilish desserts.
These sweet pumpkin treats are an adorable, crowd-pleasing addition to any Halloween party.
These fun cupcakes use two mini doughnuts stacked on top for extra height. Anna Helm Baxter recommends using natural food dyes for the fun colors.
Zombie brain cupcakes manage to be creepy, cute and delicious all at once. In other words, they're perfect for Halloween. Just don't think too much about eating brains when you dig in.
The not-so-tangled web on these cookies is created by frosting them with white royal icing, adding a thin spiral of black frosting and pulling a skewer from the center of the cookie out to several points on the edge.
Whether you "borrow" from the bags of candy before Halloween or use leftovers after the 31st, these gooey, salty cookies flecked with the flavors of a good night of trick-or-treating are a winner.
Vegan chef Chloe Coscarelli's homemade version of classic Hostess cupcakes is just as rich and decadent as the original — even without butter or cream. It's a dark-hued classic hard to pass up!
When fall strikes, we all long for cozy, chewy treats, but who is always in the mood to make a full pie? Not us. These little squares deliver big on dessert magic and pumpkin flavor leading up to October's spookiest night.
These sweet and spooky cupcakes help set the scene for a festive Halloween party.
A pack of store- or bakery-bought macarons and a food-safe marker transform this elegant French cookie into a ghoulish group of lovable creatures.
Once you get past the anatomical likeness, these are in fact delicious — creepily delicious, that is! This recipe makes 28 eyeballs and uses one 8- or 9-inch cake layer (half of a boxed cake mix).
These adorable banana pops, dipped in white chocolate and coconut are a lesser evil on Halloween than the standard gummy worms, taffy brains, and candy corn! Baby bananas are a great choice here, because of their size, but regular halved bananas are fine too.
Halloween is all about tricks and treats ... and this creative cake has both! Hiding inside the colorful layers is a stash of candies just waiting to jump out.
If gingerbread men are sugar, spice and everything nice, these pumpkin-spice "ghoulmen" are sugar, spice and everything spooky. With just a hint of pumpkin spice, these cookies are the perfect fall treat.
When it comes to these mummy cookies, the messier the better! Use a fork to drizzle the frosting back and forth over the cookie then leave it to dry. Use different sized candy eyeballs to give each cookie its own unique personality.
Some of the best party desserts are ones that come from the store but look completely homemade! Turn chocolate doughnuts into a Halloween treat you'll want to sink your teeth into.
Even if you're a pumpkin skeptic, you can't deny the magic that is made when these cakey cookies meet melted chocolate chips — it's a true match made in fall heaven. The pumpkin adds a subtle flavor that isn't too overpowering, while lending to the extremely soft and fluffy texture of these cookies.
Make three-ingredient, personal-sized pies and turn them into sweet and spooky mummies for a fruity and festive Halloween treat for morning, noon or night.
These doughnuts are a scream! Their fluffy texture and sweet, ghostly glaze will have them all devoured in no time. You won’t believe they aren’t from your favorite doughnut shop.
These hand-shaped pies are the perfect portable, easy-to-eat treat for ghouls of all ages. And unlike traditional hand pies, these are better when there’s some filling oozing out to really make them Halloween-worthy.
No fright fest is complete without Frankenstein — and here he is in cheesecake form. The best part is it's a no-bake dessert, which means you don't even need an oven to exclaim, "It's alive!"
These super souped-up brownies have something for everyone! Piled on the rich brownie base is a layer of creamy frosting, chocolate candy bars, caramel popcorn, candy corn, chocolate chips and so much more.
Add a creepy confection to your Halloween menu with a quick and easy recipe that transforms store-bought puff pastry into individual desserts. These sweet treats are filled with fresh raspberries and then topped off with sprinkle-studded spiders for the ultimate addition to your spooky soiree.
Cookies or candy? Why choose? Have them both in these mouthwatering candy cookie bars, which repurpose leftover Halloween candy.
Pumpkin cake and Halloween candy come together to create the ultimate cake for October. It's sweet inside and out.
These cupcakes come together in just a few minutes because there's no cooking involved — which is definitely something to love! They only require three ingredients, including store-bought or made-ahead frosted cupcakes.
Store-bought doughnuts make the perfect blank canvas for creating these adorable treats! Technique tip: Use forks to dip the doughnuts, this will help prevent finger smudges.
Make a batch of Martha Stewart's vanilla madeleines (the batter of which can be refrigerated for up to two days) for the base of these festive cookies. With some chocolate frosting and almond slivers, you'll soon have the fixings for a frightening feast.
This recipe could not be any easier or fun to make. It's a great one to get the kids involved and using store-bought pie crust is a great shortcut!
Two of the best things about fall are hot chocolate and Halloween. These fun cupcakes combine the comforting flavors of warm cocoa with all the festive colors of the holiday. Plus, they're topped with candy!
For this cake, Milky Way bars are melted in butter and mixed into traditional cake batter. The result is a chewy cake with a slight chocolate flavor. Serve it warm with a light dusting of powdered sugar or with a scoop of ice cream and a drizzle of caramel.
Just the idea of a skillet cookie is drool-worthy. Once you add Halloween candy all crumbled up on the top, it becomes a truly decadent affair. But that's what trick-or-treating is all about, right?
There's lots to do this fall, so why not skip the long ingredient list and cheat a bit with this tasty, three-ingredient recipe. All you need is a box of spice cake mix, a can of pumpkin and some chocolate chips.
A little food coloring goes a long way to transform the beloved cereal-based treat into bloody little brains. Aside from cooking spray, the recipe only requires five ingredients that are probably in the kitchen already.