Halloween inspires creative costumes and crafty desserts, with Americans projected to spend more than $10.14 billion on this year’s holiday—an all-time high—according to the National Retail Federation’s annual survey.
To get in on the fun without having to spend excessively ahead of the holiday season, Stacker scoured Allrecipes.com and other online recipe hubs to curate a gallery of Halloween-themed treats that will help bakers bleed the most out of every dollar this season.
Cooks of all skill levels will find something to concoct with these fun and ghoulish recipes, which can take as little as 10 minutes or several hours to create. Some recipes on this list don’t even require baking—just arts and crafts to bring the dessert alive. Even experts will find a challenge along the way: A monkey brain cake combines cooking and crafting to create a dessert that guests may be too scared to eat.
Bakers of all skill levels will learn something along the way when making these desserts—like the fact that substituting tonic water into a recipe will make it glow under a blacklight. While all of the following treats are sweet, some are a little hot, including the ginger-wasabi chocolate skulls, which pack a punch of heat that’ll add a little trick onto the end of that treat.
This list also includes recipes for those who follow a gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan, vegetarian, or paleo diet. There’s something on this list for everyone.
Read on to discover 33 spooky dessert recipes for this Halloween.
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Just Joely // Allrecipes.com
Spooky Witches’ Fingers
A little more than an hour is all it takes to make this great conversation piece. Guests may need a minute to get past the bloody reality of red decorating gel oozing from an almond fingernail, but once they do, a delicious treat awaits.
footballgrl16 // Allrecipes.com
Serve this cold pudding dessert in a flower pot with a garden trowel for an added touch of reality, while gummy worms emerging from the sandwich cookie “dirt” completes this fun treat. For those who think the 800-plus calories per serving is too scary for their Halloween party, substitute lower-calorie cream cheese, whipped cream, and sandwich cookies.
Wafflemancer // Allrecipes.com
Spooky Halloween Eyeballs
These white chocolate-covered peanut butter balls take a little over three hours to craft, but the result is sure to make people stare. Get creative with some red food coloring for an extra spooky bloodshot eyeball for added effect. Peanut butter is high in fat, but its heart-healthy benefits shouldn’t scare people off.
cesarachp // Wikimedia Commons
Ginger Wasabi Filled Chocolate Skulls
These vegan and gluten-free treats take just five ingredients to make and come with a kick in flavor. Adjust the amount of wasabi paste or powder to the ginger, tahini paste, maple syrup filling to control just how spicy Halloween gets.
Buckwheat Queen // Allrecipes.com
Some unique ingredients go into these spirited cookies, including almond flour, cream of tartar, and mascarpone cheese. Macarons can be challenging to make well, so following the directions carefully to ensure the right consistency for the batter and create a cookie that’s worth the effort.
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Culinary Envy // Allrecipes.com
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Brownies
If Halloween candy doesn’t do the trick, these four-ingredient, easy-to-make brownies are just the treat to satisfy a chocolate craving. Adding bits of apples, pineapples, or bananas are a good source of fiber to increase the health benefits of brownies. Drop some Halloween sprinkles on top to finish off this classic dessert.
Mshev // Shutterstock
Just add some red food coloring to the vanilla frosting and spread across halved chocolate chip cookies to create this fairly simple Halloween dessert that’s sure to impress. Marshmallow teeth and almond slivers for fangs complete a treat for guests to sink their teeth into.
Snap fudge-striped cookies in half to create bat wings, with a chocolate kiss in the center to make a face. Red gel icing for eyes completes the look, making these bats ready for flight into the mouths of guests. The recipe calls for chocolate cake and frosting, but swap out any flavors to make the bats’ perch.
Carefully placing black shoestring licorice into baked cupcakes will give these spiders legs. Top with frosting, candy corn fangs, and red hots for little eyes to create a dessert that looks like it is ready to crawl off the plate.
Ai-Chan // AllRecipes.com
Bloody Broken Glass Cupcakes
These cupcakes require a candy thermometer on hand to get the right consistency for the sugar glass topping. The water, corn syrup, sugar, and cream of tartar mix should hit 300 degrees before pouring it into a metal baking pan to cool. Some red and blue food coloring creates edible blood to top the cupcakes.
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Didriks // Flickr
Eyeball On A Stick
Simple to make, as well as gluten- and dairy-free, these vegan sweet treats will make people stare. Stuff a lychee with any flavor of preferred preserves and push a blueberry in for a fruity pupil. The toothpick through the top helps hold everything in place—but also adds a nice visual touch.
Stasty Cook // AllRecipes.com
Bloody Skeleton S’mores
The graham cracker coffin encapsulates a marshmallow skeleton on a bed of chocolate to create the perfect s’more. Drizzle red icing over the top of the skeleton for a bloody, sugary punch. A 20-second stint in the broiler is all the cook time it takes before guests dig into these treats.
Anastasia_Panait // Shutterstock
Grape and lime gelatins carefully poured together create the body of this mini-Frankenstein, while little licorice bolts and decorating gel bring it to life. Take them to the next level by substituting boiling tonic water and placing them under a blacklight—watch the quinine in the water glow in the dark.
Anna Shepulova // Shutterstock
Chocolate Orange Panna Cotta Graveyards
These spooky graveyards require some time to dig correctly since the chocolate panna cotta needs to chill for 90 minutes before pouring its orange counterpart on top. Tilt the glasses in an egg carton while they set to create extra flair with a diagonal design for a jiggly, pudding-like treat. Top it off with some crumbled cookies for dirt and add candy skulls to complete that six-feet-under look.
Monkey Brain Cake
This Indiana Jones-inspired dessert requires some baking and artistic talent to execute, but the result is something that’s almost too creepy to eat. Fondant, edible glue, dusting powder, and the requisite brush are some of the more unique ingredients. Raspberry and grape gelatin are mixed to create a brainy color while gluing fairy floss at the end adds edible hair.
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apolonia // Shutterstock
Rice Krispie treats are a simple-to-make, party favorite, with just butter and marshmallows needed along with the breakfast cereal. Use an ice cream scoop to form them into a ball and drop a dollop of melted green chocolate on one side. Finish with a candy eyeball and some sprinkles for a fun Halloween dessert.
jennifer gergen // Flickr
Eyeball Lava Cake
Creepiness jumps to a new level when someone cuts a piece and raspberry jam “blood” gushes out of this bundt cake. Soften blue taffy in the microwave and flatten with a rolling pin to create the iris of the eye, while doing the same to black candy gummies to form the pupil. Draw lines with red decorating gel for a bloodshot effect that will make people stare.
Little Jar of Souls
Gummy worms inside a murky, gelatinous mixture make these souls ready for harvesting. Each container of gelatin mix makes two servings, so plan accordingly if there’s going to be a crowd.
Prospective PhD // AllRecipes.com
The tombstones are made of chocolate-covered graham cracker cookies with frosted vanilla lettering. Several household items can be fashioned as a substitute if pastry bags aren’t accessible. Spook them up using gummy worms or candy ghosts for an added touch.
SawBear // Shutterstock
Spooky Monster Halloween Cake Balls
Making these gluten- and dairy-free cake balls require xanthan gum and desiccated coconut. Spirulina and turmeric powders mixed with white chocolate create bright yellow and grass green coatings for these spongy cake balls. Top them off with Halloween-themed sprinkles and some candy eyeballs.
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Black Forest Cake
A chocolate and cherry cake surrounded by a forest of chocolate shards creates a decadent dessert. Smooth out melted chocolate between two layers of parchment paper, roll it up, refrigerate it, and unravel the cooled paper to create the chocolate shards. Black Forest Cake is named for a specialty liqueur in the Black Forest mountain range region of Germany.
Stacy Spensley // Flickr
Vampire Bite Cupcakes
These vanilla cupcakes come with a nice bite of strawberry jam in the middle. Poke holes in the icing with a straw and pour the watered-down strawberry jam into the holes to create the illusion of blood dripping from a vampire’s bite. Use almond milk and vegan frosting for an egg- and dairy-free dessert that’s sure to scare.
Chocolate covered maraschino cherries with red stems make the perfect shape for Halloween mice. Attaching milk chocolate candy kisses for the face, with sliced almonds as ears and red decorating candies for the eyes and a mouth, create a tiny creature that is the perfect cupcake topping. A steady hand and icing can also be used to create the facial features on the frightening little treat.
Haunted Cookie House
Time, patience, and a small list of ingredients create this perfect Halloween holiday party centerpiece. While homemade cinnamon cookie dough acts as the house foundation, upside-down ice cream cones create rooftops, and chocolate candy kisses become a sugary siding. As for landscaping, crushed Oreo cookies and candy pumpkins make up a perfect lawn of dirt that is fine for kids to eat just this once.
Peanut Butter Spider Cookies
Unlike the real-life creepy, crawly creatures, these Halloween spider cookies are easy to pick up and fun to eat. After baking peanut butter sugar-covered cookies, which create a base, cut a Lindt Lindor Truffle in half and place it on top to create the spider body. Then create skinny spider legs with chocolate frosting, which can also be used to stick tiny candy eyeballs to the truffle to create a face.
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Meringue Bones and Ghosts
All that’s needed to make this tiny meringue Halloween treat are egg whites, lemon juice, cane sugar, and chocolate chips. Whisk egg whites, lemon juice, and sugar into a thick and foamy meringue consistency, place in a frosting bag and pipe bone shapes and white puffs onto the baking sheet. After baking for one hour and cooling for another, melt down the chocolate chips and create little brown eyeballs for the puffed meringue ghosts.
Three simple ingredients and less than 15 minutes go into making Monster Bites. Core and cut an apple into eight pieces, coat one side of each slice with peanut butter, and press candy corn into the peanut butter to act as teeth. Substitute candy corn for walnut for almond slivers to make this recipe even healthier.
sanzoe // AllRecipes.com
Of all the Halloween desserts on the list, this is the easiest one to make and requires very few ingredients. Simply place a fudge striped cookie upside down and stick a chocolate kiss to it with some honey. To add some flair to the hat, pipe any color frosting onto the rim in the traditional buckle shape.
Magda // AllRecipes.com
Follow this recipe to make homemade cupcake batter and icing, although if that’s scary, substitute a boxed mix and frosting to make things easier. These owls become lifelike in the decorating process, with opened sandwich cookies creating the large eyes and brown candy-coated milk chocolate pieces as irises. Drop a vertical candy piece in the middle for a beak, and a dessert that’ll be a hoot to eat.
Anastasia_Panait // Shutterstock
Chocolate-covered strawberries are always a party favorite and take less than 20 minutes to make, perfect for a last-minute dessert. Dip strawberries in melted white chocolate and set on parchment paper, dropping two mini chocolate chips near the top for eyes. Place them in the refrigerator for 10 minutes before piping different shaped mouths in dark chocolate. Another five minutes in the fridge, a ghastly sweet dessert is ready.
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nito // Shutterstock
Dead Velvet Cake
To begin, make a red velvet cake according to the box, and split into two pans. Concoct the blood in a small saucepan using water, corn starch, and corn syrup, with vanilla and red food coloring added after removing from heat. When the cakes have cooled, carefully cut the domes off and place a layer of blood between them before stacking and frosting. Finish with a plastic knife or cleaver for extra effect.
Elena Shashkina // Shutterstock
An answer to the processed foods that are so popular at Halloween, these mouth-watering mouths are vegan and paleo, and dairy- and gluten-free. Spread peanut butter across the open mouth, insert slivered almonds as teeth and smear with strawberry jam for blood and a couple of cranberries for the illusion of a fly in its mouth. Brush or drip a little lemon juice on the outside of the apples to keep them from browning if leaving them out for a party.
Perfect Pumpkin Pie
Whisking just seven ingredients together is all it takes to create this Halloween classic dessert. Get creative to step up the spooky factor by using fondant and food coloring for a variety of decorations. The pie takes about an hour to bake and aside from being delicious, and the health benefits from eating pumpkin are wide-ranging.
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