Food & Drink

Spooky Halloween treats: They’re watching you

Monster doughnuts for Halloween are made with glazed doughnuts fitted with vampire teeth.
Monster doughnuts for Halloween are made with glazed doughnuts fitted with vampire teeth. TNS

Let’s face it: Nobody really gets scared on Halloween.

We all know that those ghosts and witches and vampires flying around aren’t there to haunt us or to drink our blood; they’re just children looking for a good time and a lot of candy.

In a similar vein, so to speak, Halloween party food that claims to be frightening isn’t. It is merely meant to be enjoyable, something to evoke the idea of horror.

And yet, there is something – unnerving – about eating something that is looking back at you. Even when it’s all in fun.

For a lighthearted Halloween party this year, we made food that really has its eyes open. Candy eyeballs, painted eyeballs, googly eyeballs – they are all essential parts of a happy Halloween feast.

And they’re all so deliciously easy to make.

Chocolate-covered pretzels have been popular for years. The crisp pretzel base and sprinkling of salt bring out the very best in chocolate. Nothing can beat it, unless you put candy eyeballs on them and call them Screaming Pretzels.

It’s all in the marketing. Who could resist something called Screaming Pretzels?

They’re a snap to make, and they are so much more giddy fun to eat than regular chocolate-covered pretzels.

Monster doughnuts are, if possible, even easier to make. Simply take a glazed doughnut and put vampire teeth in the hole and candy eyeballs above them. Like magic, you have turned a regular doughnut into a monster doughnut.

Continuing the monster theme, Cheese Monsters are actually kind of healthy, or at least they are not unhealthy. You take those miniature rounds of cheese wrapped in red wax – they are made by Babybel – and cut scary or funny teeth in the middle of the wax, where the pull-apart strip is found. A couple of googly eyes on top completes the treat, but if you really want to have fun, use just one eye. Or three. Or maybe 15. These are monsters, after all.

If you enjoy playing with your food, and you don’t mind things a bit spicy, you will love Jalapeno Popper Mummies. These begin with the familiar jalapeno popper. But instead of frying them, you wrap them in mummy-like strips of refrigerated crescent dough and bake them.

Add a couple of candy eyeballs just for spooky fun, and you have a spicy treat that will make you run screaming for your mummy.

By this time, you may be tired of candy eyeballs. So why not make a party treat that actually resembles an eye? Better still, a bloodshot eye.

All you need are deviled eggs, slices of black olives for the pupils, and thin strips of pimento radiating from them across the yolk.

Finally, you’re sure to delight when you combine eyes with America’s favorite cookie – and then make it even cuter by turning it into a cat.

Black Cat Oreos begin with an Oreo. A couple of green M&Ms with black pupils painted with edible marker become the eyes. An orange sprinkle serves as the cat’s little orange nose, and its cat ears are created by a couple of chocolate chips on top.

It looks too good to eat, but I don’t think your guests will have a problem with it. If only those unsettling green eyes weren’t looking at you.


Yield: 8 servings

8 jalapeno peppers

4 ounces softened cream cheese

4 ounces pepper jack cheese, shredded

1 scallion, minced

1/4 teaspoon minced garlic

Pinch salt

Pinch ground black pepper

16 candy eyeballs

1 tube crescent rolls

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Slice jalapenos in half lengthwise and scoop out the interiors.

2. Place cream cheese, pepper jack cheese, scallion, garlic, salt and pepper in a large bowl and mix thoroughly. Fill the jalapeno halves with this mixture.

3. Unroll crescent rolls into rectangles consisting of two triangles each, pinching together the seams. With a pizza cutter, slice each rectangle lengthwise into four even strips.

4. Wrap one or two pieces around each pepper, leaving a small opening for the eyes. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes until golden brown. Immediately place two candy eyes in each opening.

Per serving: 167 calories; 11 g fat; 5 g saturated fat; 14 mg cholesterol; 3 g protein; 13 g carbohydrate; 4 g sugar; no fiber; 265 mg sodium; 17 mg calcium.

Adapted from


Yield: 5 servings

15 Oreos

1/2 tablespoon chocolate frosting

30 green M&Ms, see note

15 pumpkin or orange sprinkles or edible pearls

1 tablespoon chocolate chips

Black edible marker or decorating gel

Note: Single-color M&Ms can be found at some party supply stores.

Frost the back of the M&Ms and attach two to each cookie for the eyes. Dip a toothpick in the frosting and smear on half of a sprinkle or pearl. Attach to the cookie underneath the eyes for a nose. Dip the flat part of the chocolate chips in the frosting and attach to the top of the cookie for the ears. With the black edible marker, draw the center of the eyes on the M&Ms.

Per serving: 189 calories; 8 g fat; 3 g saturated fat; 1 mg cholesterol; 1 g protein; 29 g carbohydrate; 18 g sugar; 1 g fiber; 146 mg sodium; 5 mg calcium.

Recipe from


Yield: 7 servings

1/2 bag dark cocoa candy melts

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

35 mini-twist pretzels

70 small candy eyeballs

1. Melt the chocolate candy melts according to the directions on the package, adding vegetable oil to the mixture for easy dipping.

2. Dip the pretzels into the candy melts, coating both sides. Place pretzels on waxed paper, making sure the bottom section of the pretzel is not filled with chocolate. Insert melted chocolate into the top two sections of the pretzel. When the chocolate has almost set, place a candy eyeball into the top two sections. Allow to set until firm.

Per serving: 194 calories; 10 g fat; 7 g saturated fat; no cholesterol; 1 g protein; 26 g carbohydrate; 19 g sugar; 1 g fiber; 175 mg sodium; no calcium.

Recipe adapted from


Yield: 4 servings

4 glazed doughnuts

4 sets monster teeth

8 candy eyeballs

Place monster teeth (or vampire teeth) in the hole of each doughnut. Press two candy eyeballs above them.

Per serving: 272 calories; 15 g fat; 6 g saturated fat; 19 mg cholesterol; 4 g protein; 31 g carbohydrate; 15 g sugar; 1 g fiber; 202 mg sodium; 65 mg calcium.

Recipe from


Yield: 6 servings

6 eggs

Pinch table salt

1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon good-quality mayonnaise

1 teaspoon lemon juice

12 black olive slices

1 pimento or jarred roasted red pepper

1. To hard-cook eggs: Bring a pot of water to a full boil. Gently lower the eggs into the water and immediately drop the temperature down to a low simmer. Cook for 11 to 14 minutes. Immediately place the eggs in ice water and allow to cool at least 15 minutes. Peel eggs.

2. Cut eggs in half crosswise; carefully remove the yolks, leaving the whites intact.

3. Place yolks in a bowl; mash with the salt, mayonnaise and lemon juice until blended and fairly smooth. Using two spoons or a small ice cream scoop, scoop yolk mixture into small balls and position in hollows of whites to resemble eyeballs.

4. Press an olive slice into center of each yolk eyeball. Cut pimento into very thin 2-inch-long strips for veins. Decorate eyeballs with bloodshot veins.

5. Cover and refrigerate up to six hours before serving. Egg yolk mixture can be prepared one day ahead and refrigerated. Fill egg whites, decorate and refrigerate up to six hours before serving.

Per serving: 161 calories; 14 g fat; 3 g saturated fat; 191 mg cholesterol; 6 g protein; 1 g carbohydrate; 1 g sugar; no fiber; 201 mg sodium; 33 mg calcium.

Recipe adapted from Women’s Day


Yield: 10 servings

1 package Mini Babybel Cheese

Googly eyeballs

Remove wax strip from the middle of each cheese. Use a knife or scissors to cut scary or funny teeth in the wax. Using nontoxic PVA glue such as Elmer’s, affix two googly eyes (or one or three or more) above the mouth to make a scary cheese monster.

Per serving: 74 calories; 6 g fat; 4 g saturated fat; 20 mg cholesterol; 5 g protein; 1 g carbohydrate; 1 g sugar; no fiber; 172 mg sodium; 152 mg calcium.

Recipe from