October 27, 2000

Fun, Food Frighteningly Easy

Everybody loves a good party, so make this Halloween a spook-tacular event your guests won't soon forget. The formula is simple: follow the clever recipes for these frighteningly tasty treats and show your guests how to easily create pumpkin masterpieces at your fabulous Bring Your Own Pumpkin Party.

Nothing can set the mood for All Hallow's Eve like the amber light from beautifully carved jack-o'-lanterns. Use a pumpkin carving kit and patterns to make pumpkins come alive with entrancing vampires or menacing witches. Little ghouls and goblins will love to create Fright Lights™ by pounding colored pegs into pumpkins.

Halloween would not be complete without festive and bizarre edible creations. Send taste buds soaring with sweet and tangy treats like Caramel Dipped Apples and Pumpkin Patch Cupcakes. Let your creativity transform ordinary snacks into Spider Web Parfaits topped with tasty cookie and licorice spiders or Ghoulish Cream Pie garnished with Halloween cookies and fun-shaped marshmallows. Children of all ages will savor every spooky bite.


Start a New Halloween Tradition--
a BYOP Party
(Bring Your Own Pumpkin)

Invitations: Invite friends for a special evening a week or so before Halloween. Allow several hours for preparing and carving the pumpkin, socializing, snacking, admiring the carved masterpieces and memory-making photos of the jack-o'-lanterns and their creators.

Pumpkins: Have guests bring smooth pumpkins 12 to 15 inches tall-about the size of a basketball.

Food: Prepare delicious Halloween snacks using the recipes here. To make it an easy dinner event, have the invitations include a "potluck" suggestion. Roasted pumpkin seeds add an alluring aroma and tasty snack - try flavoring them with different seasoned salts.

Preparation: Have an area with wastebaskets for cleaning out the pumpkins - Pumpkin Masters Scraper Scoops make this task quicker and eliminate bending spoons. Provide plenty of carving patterns for guests to choose from - have different sizes to fit the pumpkins. Pumpkin Masters carving saws and drills enable creative carving in a safe manner - hide the knives! If younger children are invited, the Pumpkin Masters Kid's Fright Lights kits can provide fun for them.

Instructions: Copy and post the carving instructions so that people can carve at their own rate. A quick demonstration of the 3 basic steps may help: thinning the area to be carved, transferring the pattern and sawing the design. Children should have adult supervision.

Memories: Light the pumpkins and take photos of your guests with their original masterpieces - an instant camera can provide mementos for your guests. For safe lighting, use a string of 7-watt Christmas tree lights. A group photo will preserve your fabulous evening and provide fond memories when posted at next year's annual BYOP Party.

Wrap-up: Have your proud guests take their jack-o'-lantern masterpieces home: place plastic wrap over the carved area and store them in a cool place until Halloween.


New! Pumpkin Fun for Kids

You Need - a smooth pumpkin, tape, scissors, a Pumpkin Masters Kid's Fright Lights kit (contains patterns, light pegs, mallet and a fun flashing light).

Cut Clean-Out Hole - Pumpkins can be cleaned out from the top or the bottom. The bottom is thinner, easier to cut and you don't have to worry about the lid falling in. Make a hole large enough for a spoon or scoop.

Save the Seeds! - Scrape out the seeds for toasting into a tasty treat: put them on a lightly buttered cookie sheet, salt and roast at 350­ for 30 minutes. Turn the seeds every 10 minutes, adding more butter and salt if desired.

Clean & Scrape - Scrape out the gooey stringy stuff and thin the pattern area to 1 inch thick so the light can transmit through the pegs.

Tape on Pattern - Follow kit directions.

Transfer the Design - Using a light peg, pencil or pen, poke a hole in the pumpkin at each dot; remove pattern.

Pound in the Pegs - Pound a peg in each design hole with the mallet.

Light Your Creation - Insert a 9-volt battery into the flashing light and place inside the pumpkin.

Make Your Own Designs - The light pegs can be removed and reused by gripping with pliers and gently twisting them out. Draw a pattern on paper and create your own masterpiece!


Spider Web Parfaits

Makes 6 servings

16 Halloween Oreo Chocolate Sandwich Cookies, divided
1 cup Jet-Puffed BoooMallows, divided
2 cups prepared whipped topping, divided
1 (4-serving size) package chocolate instant pudding & pie filling
2 cups milk Chocolate-flavored syrup
12 black jelly beans
Prepared chocolate frosting
Black shoestring licorice

1. Chop 10 cookies; fold chopped cookies and 1/2 cup marshmallows into 1 1/2 cups whipped topping. Set aside.

2. Prepare pudding mix according to package directions using milk.

3. Spoon about half the pudding mixture into 6 (6-ounce) parfait glasses. Top with whipped topping mixture. Repeat pudding layer. Refrigerate 2 hours or until well chilled.

4. Decorate tops with remaining whipped topping. Drizzle with chocolate syrup in circular pattern; cut through with toothpick to create web effect. Serve immediately garnished with Cookie Spiders and remaining marshmallows.

5. Cookie Spiders: Insert 1 1/2-inch pieces of black shoestring licorice into cream filling around sides of each Halloween Oreo Chocolate Sandwich Cookie for legs using frosting as "glue." Using additional frosting, attach 2 jelly beans to each spider for "eyes."


Caramel Dipped Apples

Makes 4 dipped apples

4 wooden popsicle sticks
4 large apples, washed, well dried
1 (14-ounce) bag Farley's Caramels (about 50), unwrapped
2 tablespoons water
Melted white chocolate, for garnish
4 sticks hard candy, optional

1. Insert a popsicle stick into stem end of each apple; set aside. Heat caramels and water in large saucepan over medium- low heat stirring until caramels are melted and smooth.

2. Dip apples into melted caramel, spooning caramel over apples to coat. Place on waxed-paper-lined baking sheet; let stand about 15 minutes or until caramel sets.

3. Drizzle melted white chocolate over dipped apples; let stand until firm (refrigerate if needed). Store in refrigerator for up to 2 days. Just before serving, replace popsicle sticks with hard candy if desired.


Pumpkin Patch Cupcakes

Makes 24 cupcakes

24 Halloween Oreo Chocolate Sandwich Cookies
1 (18.25-ounce) package yellow cake mix, batter prepared according to package directions
1 (16-ounce) can prepared vanilla frosting
Flaked coconut tinted green with food coloring, if desired
Black decorator frosting or gel

1. Split cookies, leaving filling on 1 side of each cookie. Coarsely chop plain split cookies; set aside.

2. Fold chopped cookie pieces into prepared cake batter; spoon into 24 paper-lined 2 1/2-inch muffin-pan cups.

3. Bake according to package directions or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove from pans; cool completely on wire racks.

4. Frost cupcakes with prepared frosting. Immediately sprinkle with green tinted coconut. (Frost and sprinkle a few at a time so frosting does not harden before adding coconut.)

5. Decorate orange filling on split cookies with black decorator frosting or gel to resemble pumpkin faces. Allow to dry.

6. Stand one pumpkin face on edge into frosting on each cupcake.


Ghoulish Cream Pie

Makes 8 servings

23 Halloween Oreo Chocolate Sandwich Cookies, divided
1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted
28 Farley's Caramels
2 cups milk, divided
1 (4-serving size) package vanilla or chocolate pudding & pie filling (cooked variety)
1 1/2 cups prepared whipped topping, tinted orange if desired
1 1/2 cups Jet-Puffed BoooMallows

1. Finely crush 22 cookies. Mix crushed cookies and butter or margarine in small bowl. Press mixture firmly onto bottom and side of 9-inch pie plate; set aside.

2. Melt caramels with 1/4 cup milk in heavy saucepan on low heat, stirring frequently until smooth. Add remaining milk and pudding mix. Cook, stirring constantly, over medium heat until mixture comes to a boil.

3. Pour into prepared crust; cover surface of pie filling with plastic wrap. Refrigerate at least 2 hours or until completely set and chilled.

4. Before serving, remove plastic wrap, spread pie with whipped topping and garnish with reserved cookie and marshmallows.

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