These devilish delights are scary to eat, but don't take up scary amounts of time to make.
Vampire bite cookies
Any rolled cookie dough can be turned into bloody vampire bite cookies.
Roll the dough, cut into any shape you like and arrange on a baking sheet.
Poke two holes with a straw into half of the unbaked cookies.
Bake as directed, cool, then spread whole, un-poked cookies with red raspberry or red currant jelly.
Top with a cookie with holes. Press together slightly, and the jelly will ooze through the holes like drawn blood.
Turn innocent little cupcakes into horrible delights with some clever icing and candies. Save time with store-bought cupcakes.
Hairy spiders: Coat tops of chocolate-frosted mini cupcakes with chocolate sprinkles. Insert black shoestring licorice pieces as legs and make eyes out of small blue candies. Small pieces of licorice snipped at an angle can be turned into pointy fangs, too.
Yummy mummies: Ice a white cupcake with flat strips of white icing (use the flat tip on a store bought tube or fill an icing decorator bag). Apply the frosting in random directions. Add small candies to make peeking-out eyes.
Shaggy monsters: Shake shredded coconut (sweetened or unsweetened) in a resealable bag with a few drops of green food colouring, until coated. Place in a shallow bowl and dip the tops of frosted cupcakes to coat. A licorice allsort makes a good cyclops eye and gumdrops can be cut up into teeth and ears.
Have you noticed that a head of cauliflower is shaped just like a brain? All it needs is a little fleshy colour and it’s perfect to bring to the dinner table whole on a platter, or serve with dip.
Fill a pot with enough water to cover the entire cauliflower, and slice in a peeled beet or two.
Bring the water and beets to a simmer, then add the cauliflower head, floret-side down, and cook for about 10 minutes.
Remove the pot from heat and let it cool to lukewarm.
Serve separated into florets with tomato sauce or red French dressing for a bloody dip.
Bonus: Pour your lovely leftover blood-red cooking liquid into a vase and stick in a bunch of white daisies. After a day or two their petals may turn a bloody red, too.
Keep your party punch cool with ghoulish floating hands made of ice.
Rinse latex gloves well with water, turning them inside out (many gloves have a powdery coating inside). OPTION: Place a red raspberry or strawberry half in each fingertip to make a red nail before filling the gloves with juice or punch.
Seal by tying the ends of the gloves in a knot, then place on a baking sheet in the freezer until solid.
Peel away the gloves, float the frozen hands in your punch bowl and hope they don’t make a grab for your drink.
Originally published in ParentsCanada magazine, October 2010.