Whether you’re hosting a full-fledged Halloween bash or whipping up a low-key celebration tonight, throw a party that’s just as much about the good food as the costumes. Let’s face it: in between nibbles of bite-size candy bars and fistfuls of candy corn, your guests — and kids — could use some real food, too. Go beyond the annual sugar binge and make homemade appetizers and treats with fall’s finest seasonal produce. These dishes will impress even the most discerning ghosts, vampires and witches.
Made with crunchy phyllo shells and roasted Kabocha squash, Food Network Star winner Damaris Phillips’ Squash Tartlets with Kale Pesto are perfect mouthfuls between bobbing for apples and pumpkin carving. Then, save one pumpkin from a chiseled, toothy grin: Food Network Magazine’s Pumpkin Queso Fundido roasts a hollowed pumpkin with bubbly, spicy cheese inside. Savored with tortilla chips, it’s one part appetizer and another part decoration.
As a seasonal rendition of the Mexican mainstay, Butternut Squash Tamales are wrapped up mummy-style in traditional cornhusks. Stuff these with a squash-based dough and a filling of raisins, olives and chipotle chiles, and peel them open in between trick-or-treaters.