Don't let Halloween creep up before cooking up some ghostly fun with your little ghouls and goblins.
Go all out at every meal for a monster mash of wicked fun.
Start with ghost-shaped pancakes with raisin eyes and a big chocolate chip smile. Or pour the pancake batter into long, thin lines and form the strips into a spider web.
A little imagination can transform ordinary foodstuff into wacky faces or scary bugs.
Slice a bell pepper lengthwise to form the outline of a face. Sliced black olives double as eyes and a tomato wedge becomes a mouth. Give the face a good shock of lettuce hair and a drizzle of dressing, and this salad is sure to elicit shrieks of delight.
Or turn those black olives into terrifying spiders. A jumbo olive sliced lengthwise and placed cut side down becomes the body, with eight thin slices serving as legs.
Place sliced green olives with pimentos atop deviled eggs. They'll look like eyes, giving the hard-cooked eggs added personality.
Turn mounds of mashed potatoes into ghosts. All they need are black pepper eyes.
Baby carrots become severed fingers with the addition of slivered almonds.
Pigs in a blanket can easily be mummy-fied by rolling biscuits or crescents rolls into a long thin strip before wrapping the hot dogs or sausages. Two dots of mustard serve as eyes and a sliver of ketchup the mouth.
It doesn't take much to turn Halloween into a sweet treat. Kids can dress up cookies and cupcakes with colored icing and use jelly beans, candy corn, black licorice, M&M's and peanuts and raisins to create their own creatures.
And ice cream cones are perfect as hats for popcorn balls or rice cereal treats. After that, they'll just need chocolate chips eyes and licorice mouths.
GHOSTS IN THE GRAVEYARD CUPCAKES
Makes: 24 cupcakes
1 package (18¼ ounces) white cake mix
1 teaspoon McCormick Pure Vanilla Extract
McCormick Black Food Color
2 containers (16 ounces each) vanilla frosting
24 oval-shaped cookies
Prepare cake mix as directed on package, adding vanilla. Tint cake batter grey with ¼ teaspoon black food color.
Bake as directed on package for cupcakes. Cool cupcakes on wire rack.
Tint 1 container frosting black with 1 teaspoon black food color. Frost cupcakes, reserving ¼ cup of frosting. Spoon reserved frosting into small resealable plastic bag. Snip a small corner from bag. Pipe "RIP" onto top half of each cookie. Push tombstone cookies gently into cupcakes.
For the ghost, spoon remaining container of white frosting into large resealable plastic bag. Snip a corner from bag.
For the body of the ghost, pipe 1/2-inch dollop next to tombstone. Pipe a smaller dollop on top, lifting while squeezing bag so that top of dollop is pointed. This is the head of the ghost.
Use chocolate sprinkles and chocolate chips to decorate the ghost's face.
PUMPKIN PARTY MIX
2 cups Kix cereal
2 cups small square pretzels
2 cups teddy bear-shaped chocolate graham snacks
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