Recipe: Ghoulish Treats

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Halloween is a good time to get the creative juices flowing from a culinary standpoint; taking ordinary dishes and giving them a fun and spooky twist to share with the kids or at Halloween parties as potluck contributions, such as shaping meatloaf into feet you can create "feetloaf."

Most of the Halloween treats don't require much effort or culinary skills. By sticking pretzels into upside down buttercups you can create witch's brooms or by adding crushed up oreos and gummy worms to your pudding you can create dirt cups, drawing spooky faces on the outside of bananas to create "Boo-nanas" or drawing eyeballs and spiders on cookies with icing. These are all things the kids will love.

Graveyard Taco Dip
1 can refried black beans
2 cups sour cream
1 package taco seasoning
2 avocados, mashed
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 cup salsa
1 bunch green onions, chopped

In a small bowl, mix the sour cream and taco seasoning together. In a separate small bowl, mix the mashed avocados, minced garlic, and mayonnaise.
In a small glass rectangular layer the beans, followed by the sour cream mixture, the avocado mixture and the salsa. Then sprinkle the green onions on top.
Chill the dip at least an hour or until it's time for it to be served.
To make the tombstones, cut the shapes you want out of two large flour tortillas and place them onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake them at 350 degrees F until the tortillas are nice and brown.
If you'd like you can add text to the tombstones with a black food safe marker. Then put the tombstones in the dip just before serving.

Note: The dip can be made a day ahead of time and kept covered in the refrigerator. Also, if you want to go the extra mile you could make all of your tortilla chips for the dip into tombstone shapes or just serve them with a bag of pre-made chips.

Chocolate Spider Trifle

For the cake:

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
1½ teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
½ cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water

For the trifle:

Cake, cut into cubes

2- 3 ounce boxes instant chocolate pudding

3 cups milk

1 container whipped topping

1 package Oreos, crushed

Chocolate syrup

Start by baking the cake. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare a 13 x 9-inch cake pans by greasing the bottom and sides and then lightly flouring.
Mix the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt into a large bowl until well combined.
Add the milk, vegetable oil, eggs, and vanilla to the flour mixture and mix together using a hand mixer on medium speed until well combined. Reduce speed and carefully add boiling water to the cake batter. Beat on high speed for about 1 minute to add air to the batter.
Pour the cake batter evenly between the two prepared cake pans. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Remove it from the oven and set it aside to cool and then cut it into cubes.

Make the pudding by adding milk to the mixes then add half of the container of whipped topping, mixing everything well and then set it aside.

In a trifle dish or a clear bowl add half of the cake cubes to the bottom, then add half of the crushed cookies, next spread on half the pudding cream mixture and repeat the layers.

Top it off with the remaining whipped topping then carefully add the chocolate syrup to the top starting in the middle then swirling it around in one big spiral out toward the outer edges. Take a toothpick and draw straight lines outward from the center to create a spider web.

Hocus Pocus Halloween Punch

1 quart lime sherbet
2 liters ginger ale, chilled
1 cup pineapple juice
green food coloring, optional
sliced limes for garnish
gummy worms

In a glass pitcher or a punch bowl, add the ginger ale and pineapple juice and the food coloring for added vibrancy if you choose to.
Next, scoop the sherbet into the punch right before serving. When you begin to slowly mix it, it will begin to foam.
Garnish the punch with fresh limes and gummy worms.