Guest Post: Set The Perfect Autumn Mood With Halloween Recipes and Fun.

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Halloween is such a great time to gather friends and family together for food and fun. The weather is crisp, the sun starts to set earlier, and the leaves crunch underfoot. It’s the perfect atmosphere to steam up those kitchen windows with a simmering pot of soup or stew, or a cauldron of mulled cider. Any of those aromas can put everyone in an autumn frame of mind!

I always like to get something warm and filling into my family’s tummies before we set out on the candy-raid. That way, I know there is something of nutritional value in there, before the once-yearly sugar extravaganza begins. Even a bowl of soup can calm overly excited trick-or-treaters down a little, before they pull on the masks and capes.  And with a something soothing under their belts, they will be a little less ravenous for the candy. (This strategy gives parents a better chance to inspect the candy for safety—but also to pick out a few choice pieces for themselves—a time-honored tradition, at least at my house!)

If your neighborhood is not trick-or-treat friendly, a Halloween bash is always a great way to spend the spooky evening with friends. A “spooky sounds” CD playing on the porch can really set the scene, and by simply draping your front door in black crepe or tulle, you can quickly and inexpensively create the mood for your arriving guests. Of course, pumpkins and broomsticks add to the fearful fun.

For appetizers, witches’ fingers are creepily munchable. (Use pre-made pizza dough to fashion finger sized logs, mark with a knife for knuckle-marks, and pop an almond in for a creepy fingernail, then bake.) You could offer an array of dips for these Halloween bread sticks.

A cup of pumpkin soup is a great accompaniment, as well. This Simple, Slurpable Pumpkin Soup is one of the most delicious homemade soup recipes and goes great with the Halloween and Fall season.

Preparation Time: 5 min
Cooking Time: 15 min

2 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 (4-ounce) package chopped pancetta
3 tablespoons chopped onion and shallot combination
1 can (15-ounce) organic pumpkin purée
2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
2 tablespoons dry sherry (optional)
1 1/2 cups Swiss and gruyere cheese blend, shredded
Salt, pepper, and red chile pepper flakes

To see more of this tasty recipe check it out here:

Also a bowl of Vampire-Repellent Beef Stew will get everyone in the right frame of mind for Halloween fun. The olives add a salty tang, but also look vaguely “eye-ballish”, which is perfect for All Hallow’s Eve.

Cooking Time: 1 hr

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound lean beef stew meat
1 onion, chopped
6 cubes frozen garlic
1 1/2 cups red wine
1 cup beef broth
1 (12-ounce) bag butternut squash cubes
1 cup green olives stuffed with pimento
salt and pepper

To see more of this creepy, fun recipe check it out here.

Finally,  let the games begin. I like to keep it old-school, with apple-bobbing, marshmallow on a string and pin the tail on the goblin. Use Halloween candy for the prizes of course, or get into the kitchen to dip caramel apples for an old-fashioned treat your guests will enjoy. When was the last time you made a caramel apple rolled in chopped nuts or sprinkles? Classic, simple crunchy fun!

I hope everyone has a great Halloween and happy baking!

For more cooking fun be sure to check out Cherie’s Website, and learn about her latest Trader Joe’s cookbooks and upcoming news at

Also, looking for more ideas for Halloween recipes? Get a head start on your party menu planning and check out our latest free to download eCookbook, 23 Spooky Halloween Recipe Ideas, you can download it here.

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RecipeChatter is a blog for people who love food and want to dish about it. This blog is published by the editors of and its sister sites.
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