You've seen Martha Stewart's Halloween special. Now forget about it. Creating the perfect Halloween scene setters and snacks doesn't have to take a cast of many and a lot of money; ordinary pantry items can be transformed into tricky treats.
Dig those worms: Hot dogs become wiggly worms when you cut them into thin slices, score the edges and boil or microwave them until they curl like wiggly worms. Serve on a bun.
Sweep dreams: Make mini witches' brooms with pretzel thins and fruit roll-ups. Cut a 2-inch length from a fruit roll-up. With the shorter ends on the side, fringe the bottom (but leave an uncut border at the top) to create broom bristles. Moisten the upper edge and tightly wrap around the pretzel.
Boo, who? Banana is the base of this tasty treat. Cut a banana in half, push a popsicle stick into each of the cut ends. Cover each pop with plastic wrap and freeze until firm (about 3 hours). Next, melt a piece of white chocolate candy in the microwave, and spread melted chocolate on the frozen banana halves. Set the pops on a dish covered with waxed paper. Press on candies or raisins for eyes and mouths and return to the freezer until ready to serve.
You little devil: Ditch the paprika on top of deviled eggs and use a black olive instead. You'll have instant eyes.
Finger lickin' good: A bowl of dip is a bowl of dip, but it becomes downright scary when there's a carrot hand sticking out of it. Peel four thin carrots for fingers and a medium carrot for the thumb. Cut a diagonal slice along the top of each carrot, where you can "glue" on an almond slice for fingernails with cream cheese. Stick the fingers in the tip and give yourself a hand.
Speaking of hands: If you have a little time, a Jell-O Creepy Jigglers Hand will steal the show. Green Jell-O makes a perfect touch (see recipe).
Pumpkin patch: For party favors or table decorations, slice the curved ends off two orange-slice jelly candies and press together. Slice the bottom off of a green gumdrop and place the top part on top of the pumpkin.
Run, forest, run: Let your imagination run wild with an all-vegetable (and all-edible) forest. It will be a nice change of pace from the sugar high (see recipe).
A ghostly snack: Cereal and marshmallow treats take on a spooky look when formed into ghost shapes and dipped into melted candy coating. Use pieces of licorice, chocolate sprinkles or chocolate pieces for facial features. Scary (and easy)!
Sources: FamilyFun, Better Homes & Garden
Poll: Which 2013 Taste Holiday Cookie Contest entry do you most want to try?