There’s Halloween candy, the mass-marketed stuff that kids bring home in a pillowcase at the end of trick-or-treating, and then there are Halloween desserts. Desserts that are served at both adult and kid Halloween parties are often more than just treats. They’re also part of the décor.

We’ve got some great recipes that are sure to please your party guests while making your table look very festive or quite creepy.

A note about food coloring before we get to the recipes: It stands to reason that many Halloween desserts are colored with food coloring. We recommend natural food dyes that are free from the chemical colors that can cause allergic and behavioral reactions in kids and adults. India Tree Natural Decorating Colors basic 3-pack of red, blue and yellow can be combined to make almost any color.

Halloween desserts for kids

Meringue Ghosts – Eggs, sugar, vanilla and miniature chocolate chips are all that is needed for these cute, not-so-spooky ghosts. They’re perfect on their own, but they also make great cupcake toppers.

Easiest-Ever Chocolate Spider Pops – Chocolate is melted right in a decorating bag then piped onto wax paper (or repurposed cereal box liners) with a stick underneath. It might be fun to put the stick at the top of the spider’s head and then hang the spider pops from some Styrofoam painted black and suspended from a chandelier to make it look like the spiders are dropping from above.

Kitty Litter CakePeanut Butter Eyeballs – Peanut butter, confectioners sugar and white chocolate combine to make eyeballs that look like they’ve just popped out of someone’s head. Kids can pop them right into their mouths.

Kitty Litter Cake – This is so gross, but it’s just right for third and fourth graders. Conventional boxed cake and pudding mixes are the bases of this disgusting dessert, but you could easily substitute organic versions or homemade versions. Cake and pudding are mushed together to create a kitty litter looking treat, and Tootsie Rolls are stretched a bit to make the litter look dirty. Serve the cake in a brand new, clean litter box and use a brand new, clean litter scoop to portion it out, and you’ve got one nasty dessert kids will never forget.

Halloween desserts for adults

Halloween Cupcakes in a Jar – These jars filled with layers of chocolate cupcake and orange frosting would be fine for kids, but they wouldn’t appreciate the presentation. They just want to stuff a cupcake in their mouths. These cute cupcakes in jars will impress the adults at a party, and they’re not difficult to make at all.

Chocolate Graveyard Pots De Crème – Kahlua flavored chocolate pots are covered with crushed chocolate sandwich cookies to create the ground of a graveyard. Milano cookies etched with “RIP” create a gravestone for this grownup dessert.

Witches fingersVegan Witches Fingers – A little too scary looking for little kids, these cookies are great for a teen or adult party. This is a vegan recipe but the specific vegan ingredients could easily be substituted for non-vegan if you’d prefer.

Bloody Brain Pannacotta – You’ll need a brain jelly mold for this dessert that’s really disturbing looking. When the vanilla pannacotta is unmolded, red food dye is poured artfully over it, furthering the brain illusion. Finally, a knife is plunged into the middle, completing the gross effect.

Pumpkin and Brown Sugar Crème Brulee – An elegant dessert for a Halloween party, the classic fall flavor of pumpkin is added to the traditional vanilla crème brulee and brown sugar adds a bit of autumn color to the top of the custard.

Have other ideas for Halloween desserts? Leave us a note in the comments below.

Robin Shreeves ( @rshreeves ) focuses on food from a family perspective from her home base in New Jersey.

Halloween desserts for adults and kids
There's Halloween candy, the mass-marketed stuff that kids bring home in a pillowcase at the end of trick-or-treating, and then there are Halloween desserts. De