Trick-or-Treat: Halloween Dessert Ideas

by Shannon Salzano

Published October 12 2023

Trick-or-Treat: Halloween Dessert Ideas

While many major holidays give top billing to savory main dishes, Halloween is the one night a year where candy and sweets reign supreme. With the holiday’s main attraction being centered around the goal of getting the most candy possible, it’s no surprise that Halloween is a dessert lover’s dream.Any Halloween party or event is not complete without Halloween decorations, a spooky soundtrack, and plenty of treats to go around. The other 364 days of the year may be about a balanced diet, but this day hosts should go all out with goodies, so here are a few tips on how to make desserts the star of your halloween party and what kind of treats you should be serving up.

Why Desserts Are the Life of a Halloween Party

If you’ve ever been to a gathering before, you know the crowd always ends up in the kitchen. The truth is no good party is complete without food, and Halloween means that food should be sweet. Good desserts can add excitement to your Halloween party, giving your party guests something to do while they show off their creative halloween costume, and also adds a layer of excitement and contributes to the decoration and vibe of the festivities. Just like you wouldn’t have a holiday party with frosted cookies, Halloween desserts, candy apples, snack sized chocolates and more are a must have. And no one is ever upset to see a bowl of candy corn.

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Top Halloween Dessert Ideas

Half the fun of a Halloween party is seeing your favorite snacks transformed into something on theme for the spooky day. What seems like an everyday rice krispie treat gets a monster spin with some green food coloring and candy googly eyes. A little red velvet pudding mix means you’ve got vampire blood pudding cups for guests to do their best Dracula on. Regular cookie dough shaped like a log and topped with a kernel of candy corn becomes a zombie finger cookie. The possibilities for cheesy and fun snacks are only limited by your imagination.
Beyond the cutesy, you can also plan your epic Halloween party menu around flavors of the season. Pumpkin spice rules October for a reason, so why not give into a little basic behavior and load your buffet up with fall spins on your favorite recipes. Pumpkin Pie cupcakes, apple cider donuts, caramel apples, and cinnamon dusted puppy chow all make great fall offerings. And of course there is always Pumpkin Milk Bar Pie, Caramel Apple Cake and Pumpkin Coffee Cake Truffles if you are showing off.

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Vegan and Gluten-Free Halloween Dessert Options

Of course there is nothing spookier than being a bad host, so it's always a good idea to consider the dietary restrictions of all the ghouls and goblins coming to your Halloween bash. A few vegan and or gluten-free options can go a long way in making everyone feel festive, and they are a breeze to do on theme. A ghost shaped white meringue is naturally gluten free, and pretty cute. Many candies and cookies are available that are vegan for your trick-or-treat stash, or you can swap in alternative milks in your Halloween baking to fit the bill. A dozen Gluten-Free B’Day Truffles is always sure to please.

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Under the full moon, with witches and ghosts galore, you now know that when it comes down to the basics of how to throw a Halloween party, you’ll need a variety of good halloween desserts. Halloween treats make the party theme feel more festive, and for one day of the year folks are showing up expecting something sweet. From candy apples to easy halloween recipes, and whether you’re hosting or are wondering what to bring to a Halloween party as the guest, make sure you give everyone a good treat this year!

About the author

Shannon Salzano is a New York Times best selling author and hospitality industry veteran. A graduate of Northern Illinois University's Literature and Communications program, Shannon spent half a decade in editorial publishing before making the pivot to hospitality. She served as the Creative Director to Chicago's lauded Girl & the Goat restaurant empire for five years where she oversaw the design and launch of several brick and mortar concepts, a line of home chef sauces and spices, and multiple cookbooks. In her Director of Special Projects role at Christina Tosi's Milk Bar, Shannon has executed partnerships with household names like Google, Verizon, Converse, Cheetos and Pillsbury, and oversees brand voice.