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How to Turn 5 Basic Foods into Spooky Halloween Props

whole roasted cauliflower with tahini and pomegranate, made to look like a brain
Lauren Sakiyama

If you’re seeking ghoulish grapes to haunt your next fruit salad, or if you’re craving spaghetti with a side of eyeballs, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve put together a list of five everyday eats that, with a little creativity, become a frightening feast.

One of the best parts of Halloween is the blood-curdling buffets. People have discovered all kinds of ways to make their food a little freaky, and we couldn’t be more thrilled. So, we put together a list of our five favorite ways to spook-ify your dinner. Whether you’re serving it at a party or just want to terrify your next-of-kin, we’ve got plenty of ideas for you.

Cauliflower Brains

Whole roasting cauliflower has become a common sight with the rise of vegan and vegetarian diets. It’s also quite stylish for Halloween. Just look at a cauliflower and try to tell us it doesn’t look like a brain.

To really make things freaky, roast your whole, cored cauliflower to tender at 400 F. This will take about an hour. Then, frost the roasted cauliflower with tahini and drizzle with pomegranate molasses. If that doesn’t look like blood and brains, we don’t know what does. Be sure to leave a chef’s knife coming out the top for a truly gruesome set-up.

Spaghetti & Eyeballs

Forget the meatballs and make eyeballs instead. This one’s very easy to create. Simply use your favorite spaghetti and meatball recipe. You can even use pre-made, store-bought meatballs—we won’t tell!

To turn meatballs into eyeballs, you’ll need mini mozzarella balls, sometimes sold as bocconcini, and sliced black olives. Make and cook your meatballs as you normally would. Then, during the last five minutes of cooking, add a mozzarella ball to the top of each meatball. This gives the mozzarella time to melt, but not brown, so it can form the whites of the eyes. Then simply press a sliced olive into the melted cheese to create a pupil. For an extra scary scene, serve your eyeballs with black, squid-ink pasta.

Spooky Spider Pizzas

Want to make a pizza spooky? Cut a few sliced olives into pieces. Use those little black bits to create eight-legged creepy crawlies, and throw them on top of your pizza. Seriously, it’s that easy.

Olive spiders are most effective on individual pizzas. English muffins work well here. To complete the look, use string cheese to create a spider web under each olive spider.

Shrunken (Apple) Heads

Baked Apple Carved into a shrunken head for halloween
Lauren Sakiyama

Baked apples are a fall classic, and easy to make Halloween ready. You can use any baked apple recipe for this one. The only change will be to carve a face in the front of each apple before baking.

As the apples bake, they naturally shrivel up, creating your “shrunken heads.” To truly frighten your friends, try pouring a sweet and simple custard over the top and be sure to let everyone know it’s brain goo.

Freaky Fruit Salad

We’ve all seen the carved melons that appear to be vomiting perfectly good fruit salad. That’s one way to make a salad freaky, but it requires some legitimate carving skills. Here’s an easier way to make a spooky side dish.

Cut and prepare your fruit salad exactly as you usually would. Then, grab some candy eyes. Stick those eyes into random pieces of melon, and you instantly have a super freaky fruit salad. To take things up a notch, use less familiar fruits. Dragon fruit and lychee make for especially scary salads if you can find them.

Whether you’re throwing a Halloween bash or just want to give the kids a little scare, making food freaky is really fun. So, grab some candy eyes, cut some olives into spiders, and savor the many ways you can turn everyday eats into a spooky feast!

Lauren Sakiyama Lauren Sakiyama
Lauren Sakiyama is a freelance writer with over a decade of experience in the hospitality industry. She has managed restaurants, country clubs, and large-scale event operations, but her passion has always been about the food. Read Full Bio »
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