September: back-to-school season, the return of sweater weather, and—most exciting for some—the first socially acceptable month to start obsessing over Halloween. For costume auteurs, it’s time to begin plotting another high-concept production; die-hard hostesses can start crafting this year’s killer party plans; and sugar freaks can rest in peace as visions of fun-size chocolates dance in their heads.
Speaking of sweet dreams: While the grocery store candy aisle is a perfectly suitable source for the stuff you’ll hand out to your neighborhood hordes of handful-happy trick-or-treaters, to limit your worldview of Halloween treats to those supermarket standbys would be a grave mistake. Whether your holiday look skews more grim reaper or fairy princess, inspiration for more festive snacks abounds. Read on to discover four scary-good treats guaranteed to take your Halloween soirée to the next level. Try one, or go all-out for a super spooky spread.
If you’re in the market for an eye-catching confection that’s equal parts twisted and tasty, this delicious red velvet skeleton cake will not disappoint. Slice it open for a creepy surprise that’s certain to give guests a good scare. Difficulty level: advanced
Calling all fans of witchcraft and wizardry: These two-ingredient pretzel and phyllo dough broomsticks are the magical appetizers you’ve been waiting for. Keep your presentation classic with a savory nacho cheese dip, or opt for sweet and add a finishing cinnamon sugar flourish. Difficulty level: easy
Dubbed the Poison Apple, this adult-approved elixir is the perfect concoction to round out your Halloween spread. Serve it with dry ice and a black sugar rim to up the spooky quota—cauldron optional. Difficulty level: easy
Made with black cocoa powder and muscovado sugar, this edible haunted house is deceptively delicious. Doubling as decor and dessert, this break-and-eat haunted mansion takes grandma’s gingerbread house to the dark side. Difficulty level: advanced