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28 Halloween dinner ideas for a tasty and terrifying spread

Put a little fear in your feast.
/ Source: TODAY

If you're the type of person who looks forward to spooky season every year, whose closet is filled with black clothing, whose favorite movie is "Hocus Pocus," whose Spice Girls name would be Pumpkin Spice, who comes up with their Halloween costume at least six months in advance, who thinks of summer as "that season before fall," then it's time to start planning your frightening feast for All Hallows' Eve.

For Halloween appetizers, we're talking literal finger foods (as in, foods shaped like fingers, of course), ghastly guacamole, creepy crudites and haunted hummus, spider-topped deviled eggs, mummy-wrapped hot dogs, mozzarella "eyeballs," mummified brie, a party-perfect pumpkin-shaped cheese ball, a charcuterie skull, vampire-repelling garlic fries, post-jack-o'-lantern-carving pepitas and more.

Moving onto the main course, we're putting out jet-black chicken wings, mac-o'-lanterns (bell peppers stuffed with mac and cheese!), a crowd-pleasing chili, a forbidden rice bowl, squid ink pasta, bloody-looking meatloaf and more.

The idiom "don't judge a book by its cover" is particularly pertinent with Halloween food. The dish's exterior should be gruesome and ghastly — the creepier, the better. But once you sink your fangs into it, the dish should surprise and delight with its terrifyingly tasty flavors. Read on for recipes that embody this dichotomy.

Once you've executed your repulsive-looking dinner menu, don't forget to wash down your feast with devilish drinks and follow it with damning desserts and terrifying treats (including creepy cookies!), and if you're fueling for trick-or-treating, you're going to want to load up on spooky snacks, too.

Spooky starters

Roasting cauliflower with a crispy breadcrumb topping creates fabulous texture without having to be fried. For the dip, black sesame tahini is used instead of a traditional tahini paste, which adds some spooky flair to this recipe if you want to make it for the Halloween season (though, we must say, it's a winner year-round). Your friends and family are going to love it!

Let guests dig into this spooky graveyard dip that has layers of refried beans, shredded cheddar cheese, pico de gallo, seasoned sour cream and guacamole. Turn pita bread rounds into spooky shapes like tombstones, creepy cats and ghosts by using cookie cutters. Then toast them in the oven until they're golden brown. Place the pita chips in the dip, then top off the dish with scallion "grass" and mounds of olive "dirt."

Mozzarella Eyeballs

Easy to make and even easier to eat, these one-bite mozzarella eyeballs come together in a snap. Have fun and display these in a head of cauliflower to resemble a brain. Drizzle with a little balsamic glaze for some sweetness and a creepy drip effect!

Don't have time to make a layer dip? No problem. The only things needed here are a pumpkin and some store-bought guac. Instead of placing the spread in a plain bowl, turn the creamy green goop into a gruesome Halloween appetizer. This cute but creepy appetizer sometimes goes by the rather unappetizing names "pumpkin vomit" or "puking pumpkin," but we'll just call it delicious.

Zombie Cheese and Prosciutto Halloween Party Skull

This creepy zombie skull is the ultimate way to serve charcuterie on Halloween. Simply wrap a clean plastic skull with prosciutto and serve it with more salumi, plus cheese and crackers. Guests will be head-over-heels for this creepy centerpiece.

Roll garlic bread dough into knobby witch fingers that are almost too creepy to eat. Pat down the dough to create knotted knuckles and use a knife to make light creases. Then press in the almonds to create fingernails. Give them a swipe of garlic-infused ghee or butter and serve them up with blood-red marinara sauce for dipping.

Give guests a break from the sugary candy and fill them up with some nice, creepy veggies. It keeps the spooky theme of a Halloween party while providing a healthy snack at the same time.

Spider Eggs

These irresistible bites have all the flavors of classic deviled eggs but with the spooky, salty bite of an olive spider on top.

Pastry Puff Wrapped Mummy Brie

This recipe has just two main ingredients, so it could not be any simpler to assemble, yet the final presentation is totally centerpiece worthy for a Halloween party.

The best part of this dish is watching the expression on peoples' faces after biting into one of them and realizing there's a grape inside. A perfect little trick — and treat! — for Halloween.

Save the seeds from jack-o'-lantern carvings, clean them and dry them out for an easy, on-the-go snack for Halloween's busy activities. This healthy munchie is also great as a flavorful topper for a creamy soup or fall salad.

Vampire Garlic Fries

It's Halloween, and what could be spookier than the threat of a ghastly vampire bite? These garlic fries will keep your immune system strong — and chase all the vampires away. Just be sure to keep some breath mints handy.

These savory bites are the ideal way to balance out your candy-induced sugar shock. That's because each edible "eyeball" is packed with blood-sugar-stabilizing stuff: protein-rich egg whites plus fiber-filled hummus and guacamole, which also contribute heart-healthy fat.

Popcorn shrimp wouldn't be exciting without a sauce. This is one that packs in complex flavors. The gochujang in the sauce adds an intensely sweet and spicy taste (plus its bloody appearance), and the shrimp is slightly spicy and tangy from the buttermilk-chili marinade.

Smoky chipotle peppers bring the heat to this Southwestern-inspired dip whose dark color is perfect for Halloween. Use just one pepper if you want a mild dose of spiciness, or add more adobo sauce or pepper if you want to amp up the burn. If possible, use fresh, in-season corn — the raw kernels’ juicy sweetness will offset the heat.

Black Forbidden Rice Arancini

The color of the black rice with the digestive charcoal is surprising but the flavor is deep and rich so it's fun to see the initial skepticism on people's faces before they bite it and then react to the delicious taste.

Mummy Hot Dogs

This easy recipe turns to regular hot dogs and pre-mad croissant dough for one adorable dish. It requires very little time and effort yet is a savory showstopper for an otherwise sweet-filled holiday!

Slow-Cooker Barbecue Cocktail Wieners

Your guests would never know this deliciously addictive appetizer was made in mere minutes and with just two ingredients. Just call them "bloody fingers" and they're the perfect Halloween finger food.

This cheesy and savory party pumpkin is the perfect edible showstopper for any festive autumn party. It adds instant fall flair to the table and gives guests a fun and interactive appetizer. Serve with a selection of chips or colorful crudites.

Ghoulishly good entrées

While it doesn’t impart any additional flavor, black squid ink pasta is traditionally used for seafood-based dishes. During the colder seasons, we love to swap it in for regular dried noodles to add visual depth to the table. The dark, swirling noodles make the other ingredients pop with color and is a particularly fun choice during fall and Halloween.

Pizza-Stuffed Meatloaf

Love deep-dish pizza? This meatloaf is for you. It has all the flavors of a cheesy, saucy pepperoni pizza combined with the homestyle goodness of flavorful meatloaf. The tomato sauce topping and surprise of melty mozzarella cheese in the middle take this easy weeknight dish to a whole new level of deliciousness. Plus, the sauce's blood-red hue and the oozing mozzarella cheese give make it the perfect addition to a Halloween spread.

You don't have to feel the sugar rush to celebrate Halloween. This creative and healthy recipe is the perfect way to get into the spirit without experiencing the crash. Plus, you know, it's super cute.

There is nothing quite like a rice bowl bursting with fresh ingredients that contain diverse textures and flavors. Both delicious and healthy, this recipe hits all the marks for a nourishing comfort meal, while being plant-based and vegetarian. You can also easily swap out the sour cream for coconut yogurt for your vegan pals. It's the ideal recipe to satisfy everyone, no matter their dietary restrictions, and is a spooky showstopper for Halloween with the black forbidden rice and orange sweet potatoes.

Black Sauce and Lingonberry Sauce Wings

Give the classic game day favorite a spooky makeover with this easy recipe. The wings get fried and smothered in two diabolically delicious sauces. One is a tangy red lingonberry barbecue sauce and the other a jet-black spicy bean sauce. Perfect for some frightening fun!

Get festive (without being too scary) with this fall comfort meal. Earthy sausage takes the place of classic ground beef and a pumpkin-cream puree brings sweet flavors to the mix. It's great the first night and leftovers are even better, which is perfect for tired trick-or-treaters.

Severed Finger Hot Dogs

Sometimes it's hard to get kids to slow down and eat at a Halloween party but when they see these gory hot dogs, they'll scarf 'em right down — that is, if they're not too scared.


Let's be real: Kids don't want to eat the pepper part of stuffed peppers anyway. So just make them into fun and festive serving bowls instead for delicious mac-and-cheese. It'll help everyone fuel up before they hit the streets for trick-or-treating.

Serve this one-pot, blood-red chili for Halloween. It's hearty and filling — without any beans. It's such a unique combination of flavors that simmer to perfection.