Let’s face it: Nobody really gets scared on Halloween.

And Halloween party food that claims to be frightening isn’t. It is merely meant to be enjoyable, something to evoke the idea of horror.

And yet, there is something unnerving about eating something that is looking back at you. Even when it’s all in fun.

This Halloween, the eyes have it.

For a lighthearted Halloween party this year, we made food that really has its eyes open. Candy eyeballs, painted eyeballs, googly eyeballs — they are all essential parts of a happy Halloween feast.

And they’re all so deliciously easy to make.

Chocolate-covered pretzels have been popular for years. The crisp pretzel base and sprinkling of salt bring out the very best in chocolate. Nothing can beat it, unless you put candy eyeballs on them and call them Screaming Pretzels.

It’s all in the marketing. Who could resist something called Screaming Pretzels?

They’re a snap to make, and they are so much more giddy fun to eat than regular chocolate-covered pretzels.

Monster doughnuts are, if possible, even easier to make. Simply take a glazed doughnut and put vampire teeth in the hole and candy eyeballs above them. Like magic, you have turned a regular doughnut into a monster doughnut.

Continuing the monster theme, Cheese Monsters are actually kind of healthy, or at least they are not unhealthy. You take those miniature rounds of cheese wrapped in red wax — they are made by Babybel — and cut scary or funny teeth in the middle of the wax, where the pull-apart strip is found. A couple of googly eyes on top completes the treat, but if you really want to have fun, use just one eye. Or three. Or maybe 15. These are monsters, after all.

If you enjoy playing with your food, and you don’t mind things a bit spicy, you will love Jalapeño Popper Mummies. These begin with the familiar jalapeño popper beloved by patrons of sports bars across America. But instead of frying them, you wrap them in mummy-like strips of refrigerated crescent dough and bake them.

Add a couple of candy eyeballs just for spooky fun, and you have a spicy treat that will make you run screaming for your mummy.

By this time, you may be tired of candy eyeballs. So why not make a party treat that actually resembles an eye? Better still, a bloodshot eye.

All you need are deviled eggs, slices of black olives for the pupils, and thin strips of pimento radiating from them across the yolk.

Finally, you’re sure to delight when you combine eyes with America’s favorite cookie — and then make it even cuter by turning it into a cat.

Black Cat Oreos begin with an Oreo. A couple of green M&Ms with black pupils painted with edible marker become the eyes. An orange sprinkle serves as the cat’s little orange nose, and its cat ears are created by a couple of chocolate chips on top.

It looks too good to eat, but I don’t think your guests will have a problem with it. If only those unsettling green eyes weren’t looking at you.

Jalapeño Popper Mummies

Serves 8.

Note: Adapted from frugalcouponliving.com.

• 8 jalapeño peppers

• 4 oz. softened cream cheese

 4 oz. pepper jack cheese, shredded

• 1 green onion, minced

• 1/4 tsp. minced garlic

• Pinch salt

• Pinch ground black pepper

• 16 tiny candy eyeballs

• 1 tube crescent rolls


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Slice jalapeños in half lengthwise and scoop out the interiors.

Place cream cheese, pepper jack cheese, green onion, garlic, salt and pepper in a large bowl and mix thoroughly. Fill the jalapeño halves with this mixture.

Unroll crescent rolls into rectangles consisting of 2 triangles each, pinching together the seams. With a pizza cutter, slice each rectangle lengthwise into 4 even strips.

Wrap 1 or 2 pieces around each pepper, leaving a small opening for the eyes. (Remember, you are creating a “mummy.”) Bake for 10 to 12 minutes until golden brown. Immediately place 2 candy eyes in each opening.

Black Cat Oreos

Makes 5.

Note: Single-color M&M’s can be found at some party supply stores. Recipe from partypinching.com.

• 15 Oreos

• 1/2 tbsp. chocolate frosting

• 30 green M&M’s (see Note)

• 15 pumpkin or orange sprinkles or edible pearls

• 1 tbsp. chocolate chips

• Black edible marker or decorating gel


Frost the back of the M&M’s and attach 2 to each cookie for the eyes. Dip a toothpick in the frosting and smear on half of a sprinkle or pearl. Attach to the cookie underneath the eyes for a nose. Dip the flat part of the chocolate chips in the frosting and attach to the top of the cookie for the ears. With the black edible marker, draw the center of the eyes on the M&M’s.

Screaming Pretzels

Makes 7.

Note: Recipe adapted from orientaltrading.com

• 1/2 bag dark cocoa candy melts

• 1 tbsp. vegetable oil

• 35 mini-twist pretzels

• 70 small candy eyeballs


Melt the chocolate candy melts according to the directions on the package, adding vegetable oil to the mixture for easy dipping.

Dip the pretzels into the candy melts, coating both sides. Place pretzels on waxed paper, making sure the bottom section of the pretzel is not filled with chocolate. Insert melted chocolate into the top two sections of the pretzel. When the chocolate has almost set, place a candy eyeball into the top two sections. Allow to set until firm.

Monster Doughnuts

Makes 4.

Note: Recipe from atimeforallseasons.net

• 4 glazed doughnuts

• 4 sets monster teeth

• 8 candy eyeballs


Place monster teeth (or vampire teeth) in the hole of each doughnut. Press 2 candy eyeballs above them.

Bloodshot Deviled Eyeballs

Makes 6.

Note: Recipe adapted from Women’s Day

• 6 eggs

• Pinch table salt

 1/4 c. plus 1 tbsp. good-quality mayonnaise

• 1 tsp. lemon juice

• 12 black olive slices

 1 pimento or jarred roasted red pepper


To hard-cook eggs: Bring a pot of water to a full boil. Gently lower the eggs into the water and immediately drop the temperature down to a low simmer. Cook for 11 to 14 minutes. Immediately place the eggs in ice water and allow to cool at least 15 minutes. Peel eggs.

Cut eggs in half crosswise; carefully remove the yolks, leaving the whites intact.

Place yolks in a bowl; mash with the salt, mayonnaise and lemon juice until blended and fairly smooth. Using 2 spoons or a small ice cream scoop, scoop yolk mixture into small balls and position in hollows of whites to resemble eyeballs.

Press an olive slice into center of each yolk eyeball. Cut pimento into very thin 2-inch long strips for veins. Decorate eyeballs with bloodshot veins.

Cover and refrigerate up to 6 hours before serving. Egg yolk mixture can be prepared 1 day ahead and refrigerated. Fill egg whites, decorate and refrigerate up to 6 hours before serving.

Cheese Monsters

Makes 10.

Note: Recipe from danyabanya.com

• 1 package Mini Babybel Cheese

• Googly eyeballs


Remove wax strip from the middle of each cheese. Use a knife or scissors to cut scary or funny teeth in the wax. Using nontoxic PVA glue such as Elmer’s, affix 2 googly eyes (or 1 or 3 or more) above the mouth (but on the wax) to make a scary cheese monster.