The Easiest Halloween Party Food for Kids EVER

When I was prepping for my middle man’s Halloween Birthday bash I searched a lot of Halloween party ideas on Pinterest and Google. If you do the same, you’ll find that there are several different types of Halloween party. One of those is the nasty/gross type. My son loves Halloween, but Halloween to him is about fun ghosts and pumpkins – not gross gory weird stuff! Maybe that’s why I have not really ever been into Halloween.  I haaaaate the gross stuff. Like a lot. But helping him celebrate the holiday 365 has reminded me that it does not have to be disgusting or even scary (though we do like stuff to be a little bit “spooky”).  There is a lot about Halloween that is just fun and silly.  So these Halloween food ideas are a small sample of the fun and silly side of Halloween, all approved by the 3 year old man of the hour for his Halloween birthday party.

Some of the foods here are special treats that require preparation ahead of time. Others are literally foods you dump out and set a label on. My kids love coming up with silly names for regular foods for their parties – and I’m not complaining because that’s one less thing I have to make. I like to have fun foods for any party, but I hate when I’m in the kitchen after everything has started still trying to get everything ready. We’ll get started with the ones that require a bit of prep ahead of time – and then finish up with the dump and go! I’ll share my food labels too at the end of the post, so if you want to print those off for use at your party feel free!

Before Party Day:

We were able to knock out several of the food items before party day. Which was super helpful because I had to clean my house (ish) on party day and make big boy’s cake the day before, so I did not have time to be making a bunch of stuff.

Eyeball Bites –

AKA Cake mix cookies with eyeball sprinkles. These bad boys were a party hit with the kids. I had one or two left, and my children argued over who would get the last eyeball. (They split it, and I got another sprinkle from the cabinet. Because I had them, and why not.) I made them the afternoon before the party and stored them in a plastic container overnight. I had never made cake mix cookies before, but they are like crazy easy, and if you are needing colored cookies, I would definitely recommend these over sitting there squeezing in dye to your mix. I used this mix:

And I must admit it was a little weird when the “Vibrant Green” cake mix came out blue. Where is the yellow?! We need green! Anyway the most popular cake mix cookie recipe on the Internet (no stats to back this up, it’s the first one when you search Google) calls for 2 eggs and 1/2 cup oil. So I dumped in 1/2 cup of oil. Then I had the thought… “That was not a lot of cake mix…” Turns out these tiny packages are NOT 18.25 oz standard cake mixes. More like 9. Soooo I now had double the oil in my mix. I did not have another mix, had already poured in 1/2 cup, so I figured it was worth 1 egg to try and salvage this stuff. So I carefully spooned out 1/4 cup of now green oil and just tried my best to not get too many cake mix bits out too. In went the egg, and I mixed ’em up, scooped ’em out, and baked at 350 for about 5-7 minutes. I did some with the “eyeball” before baking, some I stuck it on after – because there’s no info out there about when to add the eyeball to your cookie, and I didn’t know. Turns out I liked the “add the eyeball before” cookies better. The boys loved them.

 

Monster Spit

AKA Water. My 5 year old was super excited about his “Wartortle Water” at his Pokemon party, and really wanted to name the water for his brother’s party. We came up with Monster Spit (though later my husband said he thought Monster Slobber was better… but it was too late.) I had the labels printed off on cardstock, cut them into strips, then my awesome husband put them on the water bottles with clear packing tape. We didn’t even bother to remove the original bottle labels beforehand, because it honestly seemed pointless. I want my kids’ parties to be great, but I’m not trying to spend 3 hours replacing labels on water bottles. We have not tried this method with bottles in a cooler, so I don’t know if the ink would bleed from the melting ice or not. They hold up really well in the fridge though! Scroll to the bottom of the post for the printable water label if you like!

 

Spooky Ghosts

AKA String Cheese. My son loves string cheese, so when I came across this idea I knew we had to have it. These were so easy. I used a sharpie, and drew on some circle ghost faces. Hardest part of these was just tearing apart the cheese sticks and praying that the tear wouldn’t go crazy and accidentally open them!

 

Jack-O-Lanterns

AKA Mandarin Oranges. Do y’all love these as much as we do? I get frustrated when I accidentally pick up a bag that are not the easy peel ones, and even the easy peel ones I have to peel for my kids, but when these are good, they’re good. This one was also a simple draw-on. I used a food writer instead of a sharpie because I wasn’t sure how permeable an orange peel was. These stumped a dad at the party for a minute! He said he had to do a double take to figure out what I was serving!

Worm Food

AKA Pudding with Oreos and Gummy worms. This was just a classic dirt-and-worms dessert scooped into cups! One of my all time favorite desserts. Mix chocolate pudding (according to package) and incorporate with a package of cream cheese that has been beaten with 1/2 cup of sugar. Fold in a container of Cool Whip, and the pudding is done! The ‘dirt’ is just Oreos that have gone through the chopper. I did wait until party day to top the pudding with the dirt and worms.

On Party Day

These are the things I did on the day of the party. Nearly all of them were “dump and go.”

Mummies

AKA Hotdogs wrapped in crescent rolls! I opened a can of crescents, pressed the perforated edges closed, then cut little strips with a pizza cutter. After that I took the strips, wrapped one per hotdog, and baked according to the crescent roll package. These were more of a hit than I could have imagined at the party. The kids loved this one!!

Creepy Carrots

AKA Carrots, Cauliflower, and Broccoli. This one was for the non-junk eaters (yes we have those!) It was super easy to do, and I used olives for the jack-o-lantern features. Done in a flash. We almost always have a veggie tray anyway, so it was crazy easy to just dump them in a pumpkin shape.

Zombie Eyes

AKA Grapes. That’s right. I just poured some grapes on a plate. The sign did the work.

And last but not least,

Pumpkin Skins

AKA Nacho Cheese Doritos. My 5 year old came up with this one and was so proud. I loved it. Another dump and go item with a clever name.

 

The food for your party does not have to be 100% homebaked and difficult. Planning a party is hard work, especially if it’s at your house that you’re trying to clean too! Feel free to use my food labels for personal use only! Hopefully they can make your party planning a little bit easier!

thumbnail of Halloween Food Labels 1 thumbnail of Halloween Food Labels 2 thumbnail of Monster Spit print

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Halloween Pumpkin Cake

We recently threw a Halloween (birthday) party for my three year old. His birthday is in August, but he’s batty for Halloween (see what I did there?) – so we went with it. You can read about the party as a whole here, but I wanted to give a few more details about the good stuff – the food – so we’ll start with the cake!

I decorate cakes sometimes as a side hobby/job, which may sound at first like it’s a great thing when it comes to planning my kids’ birthday parties. It’s a double edged sword though. On one hand, I don’t have to pick a cake from the book at Wal-Mart, and I’m able to give my kids a custom cake that doesn’t break the bank. Because my budget is definitely going to land my kids a Wal-Mart cake if I’m not doing it myself. (I feel like I should say that I actually love the Wal-Mart whipped icing. Like I sometimes actually crave it. But I don’t want to make my kids pick a sheet cake when they know good and well I can make them something else!) I don’t have to worry about a cake surviving a drive. I hate cake driving! And I’m pretty sure everyone else on the road hates cake driving too. I know my husband especially hates cake driving when he’s the one doing it because I can’t control my gasps and need to grip the door handles on every turn. Next time someone is driving like crazy slow in front of you, take a deep breath and convince yourself they’re delivering some kid the birthday cake of their dreams. It’ll help calm you down. Maybe. I also don’t have to worry about somebody spelling my child’s name wrong or sending us a cake wreck. Not all of my cakes have turned out perfectly, but I don’t recall any TOTAL disasters. Okay, maybe one. These points are all great reminders of why it’s nice to be able to bake my own cakes. However, I always tell my children to take their expectations down a notch for their cakes, because I’m not just making their cake, I’m having to do decorations and other food and clean my house too! So it makes for a bit more work on top of regular birthday planning. Therefore, I need the cake to be easy and fast when it’s for us.

Super Easy Pumpkin Cake

I asked my son what he wanted for his Halloween birthday cake, and his only requests were “sprinkles and pumpkins.” So I went literal, and gave that boy a sprinkle explosion topped with a pumpkin. He loved it. To me it kind of looked more like a sprinkle disaster, but kids do. not. care. I don’t know what it is about sprinkles, but they want them on donuts, cakes, and anywhere else they’ll stick.I cannot tell you how easy this pumpkin cake was. The pumpkin part alone would be plenty for a small party, I just needed a place for the requested sprinkles so I did two tiers! The bottom cake tier was assembled from two 9″ round cakes. I leveled my layers with a cake leveler (a serrated knife would work fine too!), placed one on a 12″ cake board, then iced them with buttercream.  I put the iced bottom cake in the fridge for about 10-15 minutes to let the buttercream get somewhat set so that as I tried to press sprinkles into the cake I didn’t wind up with a palm full of icing. I could not find Halloween sprinkles anywhere (because remember – this was an August party!!) so I went with a bright blue/green/white round sprinkle mixture along with orange and black nonpareils. In hindsight, I definitely should have just picked one of those color schemes, because I did not love them all mixed together. And not to mention, the different sizes of sprinkles didn’t adhere to the cake uniformly, so keep that in mind too if you’re mixing several types of sprinkles! Again though, the man of the hour was thrilled with the sprinkle situation, so I am happy.

*Note – if you are making a tiered cake as pictured, and are not familiar with how to stack cakes read the tips at the bottom of this post!

Once the bottom cake was sprinkled, I began work on the pumpkin. For this element I baked two bundt cakes, leveled them, and built the pumpkin cut-sides together – with a healthy heap of buttercream in between, of course. There was a gaping hole in the middle of my pumpkin, so I filled it with scraps from the leveling. (I did not serve the scraps in the middle! They were just in there so I could have a surface built up to ice as the middle of the pumpkin & to set my stem on!) I dyed my icing orange using gel food coloring. I would highly recommend buying gel coloring if you are coloring buttercream, as liquid coloring will cause your icing texture to change and possibly separate. To get the icing on the pumpkin smooth, I iced the cake first not caring what it looked like – just getting icing for coverage. I then took my small angled spatula, and starting at the bottom of the pumpkin ran it up and over the top smoothing toward the center. I went all the way around the pumpkin doing this, making sure each stroke slightly overlapped the one before. This ended up leaving small vertical ridges of icing where the strokes were, but I actually liked that since pumpkins don’t have a smooth surface anyhow!

The facial features were cut from black fondant (you can get it cheap at a craft store with a 40% or 50% off coupon if this is all you need it for!) I was stumped on what to do for the stem, and did not want to just put a huge ball of brown fondant in the middle as that seemed wasteful. I ended up using a little bit more of those cake scraps from the leveling mixed with some extra icing to form a cakeball stem, coated with chocolate candy melts that I had left over from the time I bought the stuff for but then forgot to make a treat to take over to our new neighbors. Oops. Perhaps I should take them a belated welcome treat? Maybe one cakeball stem? The birthday boy loved his cake, and it was not so time consuming that I couldn’t get anything else done! That’s my kind of cake.

 

*For stacking cakes, you’ll want to make sure that the top tier has a cardboard cake circle underneath it approximately the same size as the bottom of the pumpkin. The bottom tier will need some sort of supports added so that the weight of the top tier does not crush the bottom one over time. You can either cut 4-6 wooden dowel rods or straws to the height of the bottom cake, and evenly space them so that the top cake will rest on them. The dowel rods will be a stronger choice than straws if the cake will be sitting for a long time.

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Happy Halloween Birthday Party!

I love my kids’ birthdays. I love giving them gifts, I love taking them out for birthday donuts, I love seeing how fun it is for them to have a special day, and I love throwing them a birthday party they love. There’s lots of stuff out there about “Pinterest culture,” and how being a mom is hard today because we hold ourselves to some super high standard because we have access to everyone’s absolute best ideas. I like to think that although I do frequent Pinterest, I have a realistic idea of what my kids actually need from me & realistic ideas about what I can and should be expected to do as a parent. I don’t give my kids cutesy lunches, and when it’s our turn for snacks at playgroup we bring oranges and Oreos. However, as I mentioned before I love a good birthday party. I don’t plan games and themed food because I feel like I have to or need to compete with anyone, I just genuinely like doing it. And I don’t have any judgement on somebody who rents out the jumping place because they just don’t want to think about it. I get it – it’s a lot of work to do a themed party, and it’s not work that everyone enjoys. I think kids love their birthday parties whether they are extravagant affairs, middle of the road planned (this is usually my line!), or thrown together at the last minute, so as parents I don’t feel like it’s necessary to stress about something you can’t/don’t want to do.

My 3 year old is all about Halloween – all year long. We read “Splat the Cat: What Was That?” and “Little Blue Truck’s Halloween” at least once a week, with other Halloween books mixed in (with a healthy sprinkling of truck books). I really don’t even know what sparked this love of Halloween. Neither my husband nor I are super Halloween fans – though I do decorate, and he was incredibly excited about our giant spider web and fake spider that covered the mantle last year. He likes to talk about “ghostes” and pumpkins, but he is not into anything scary or suspenseful (in fact both of the books I mentioned have pages that at least at some point he has asked us to skip!) This year, he wanted to celebrate his birthday with a Halloween party. It was fitting for him, and I was excited because I knew we’d be able to figure out some fun things to do and make.

The invitation was made in Photoshop using some free patterns for personal use. My kids love to have their picture on their invites – I guess it’s one of those things that you do it once, and it becomes a ‘thing.’ He really likes the word “spooky” so I had to throw that in there!Halloween party invite

I asked him what he’d like to do at his party, and he said, “Play with my toys?” So I figured I was on my own there. I know that nobody has high expectations for a 3rd birthday party, but I at least wanted to have something to offer so that it wouldn’t be like we were surprised everyone showed up! After all, a birthday party is a special day, so I like to have a little bit of out-of-the-norm fun. I started by thinking about bean bag games or something that would be easy to make out of a large piece of cardboard. I figured I could cut some holes pretty easily and paint some pumpkins and ghosts & call it a day (we already have beanbags for other games). But then I had a genius idea (if I do say so myself!) The church where I take the boys for a weekly play group puts on a huge Halloween carnival, so since it’s off season I thought it was at least worth a shot to see if they would let us borrow a couple of games for the party! And I was ecstatic when they agreed – one more thing off of my list!

My older son is Pokemon obsessed, and at his party we had a “pin the Pokeball on the Pokemon” felt board game. It was a big hit with the kids, so I really wanted to incorporate a felt board game at this party too. I don’t mind putting in work for things like this, because my boys can play with the felt board year round. For felt board games the fun is putting on and taking off, so what’s a better Halloween felt activity than mix-and-match Jack-O-Lantern faces? Nothin’, that’s what! It turned out that this one was not AS big of a draw as the Pokemon felt board, but it definitely kept a few kids busy, and again – mine will use it again, so I’m calling it a win.

Finally, what is Halloween without Trick-or-Treating? There was no way we were going to have a Halloween party for kids without taking a loop around the block begging for candy. I did give my neighbors a heads up, and everyone I asked (that was going to be home) agreed and loved the idea. I offered to bring candy to each of them – because I didn’t want this to be a burden to anyone else – but it turned out that most of them were so excited about it that they bought their own candy. We have great neighbors who love seeing happy kids. We had the kids wear costumes, though most of them were surprised about the Trick-or-Treating. My in-laws live in the country and holiday fun almost always includes a hay ride. We threw it out there as an idea for the Trick-or-Treating, and my father-in-law was all in. He loaded up the trailer and puttered around the block. We thought about asking if it was legal beforehand, but we figured it was the kind of thing that might be better to ask forgiveness! And hey – if my 3 year old got his first ticket for a birthday party hayride, I figure that’s a pretty good story for the future, right? It was truly awesome, and a little bit of rain made it bearable to be outside in the Texas summer heat. I know that not everyone would have access to a city hayride, but don’t let that deter you from a Halloween themed birthday party! The kids won’t even know they’re missing it, because candy.

Hands down, my favorite part of planning a party is the food. My family has a lot of fun coming up with silly names for all of the items we serve. A few of the things we ate this time were mummies, zombie eyes, and worm food. I’ll be posting more about the food soon! I decorate cakes as a sometimes paying hobby, and this year when I asked what kind of cake I should plan on, he said “Sprinkles and pumpkins.” Ask and ye shall receive, child. He got sprinkles, and a pumpkin. You can read more about the cake here! I was a little bit bummed because we wouldn’t be able to find cute Halloween plates and stuff, but alas, JoAnn Fabrics seemed to know what was up, and put their Halloween swag out about 3 months early. Normally I’d be with everyone else saying slooow on down JoJo, but this time I was like yesssss. So we got some cute on-theme plates. But black and orange would’ve done fine had JoAnn not come through in the clutch.

I was really excited about how everything turned out, and I think all of the kids had a great time. (And the games just might have gotten more play by some of the parents than the kids!) I think our 86 year old neighbor said it best, “I never heard of this, but I like it!” Halloween in the summer was awesome, and if you don’t know your neighbors, well – what are you waiting for? Go out and meet them, because you may want to ask them something crazy soon, and they need to know up front what type of nut you are! We lucked into a wonderful neighborhood, and I was so happy that everyone was on board to make the day special for our big 3 year old boy.

DIY Toddler Pumpkin Costume
The cutest Jack-O-Lantern around!

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