An easy way to give deviled eggs an effectively spooky twist for Halloween is to top each stuffed egg with a slice of black pitted olive – for the eyeball look.

Hard-boil the eggs and allow to cool. Peel and halve; remove yolks and combine with mayonnaise, yellow mustard, finely chopped sweet or dill pickles, and salt and pepper to taste, until you have a smooth filling. Fill each egg white with a mound of the yolk mixture and garnish with a slice of pitted black olive.

The effect is enhanced if the deviled eggs are served on a white plate with a border of fake black spiders.

Source: Adapted from “Party Living,” Perigee, 2004, $19.95 paperback

Let guests decorate those baked treats

Instead of facing the dark outside, consider celebrating this Halloween by giving a party at your own haunt. By planning activities that include the holiday’s most redeeming features – sweet times and sweet treats – you can offer a good time for guests of all ages.

Gwen Willhite, founder of Cookies by Design, suggests entertaining guests this year with treats they can decorate themselves. She offers the following tips for DIY decorating:

-Make classic sugar cookies at home and cut into creative shapes, paying special attention to the thickness to ensure cookies won’t crumble.

-Trace designs on cookies lightly with the tip of a pairing knife before laying into the icing. If you’re helping little ones, create cookies with a few standard designs beforehand that they can easily trace with icing.

-Whip up (or buy) icing in a variety of colors – orange, black, red, green, brown and white – to give your artists options to create everything from pumpkins and witch heads to bloodshot eyes and bones.

-Instead of risking your good frosting tips, fill baggies with icing and snip off a corner to create an easy-to-hold bag for guests. Have bags available with various sized holes to expand their design options, and keep spreaders on hand for full-on coating.

-Accessorize: What’s a spider cookie without black licorice legs, or a witch’s face without little candy eyeballs? Provide bowls of edible accessories to add to designs, and to occupy hungry mouths while decorating. Chocolate chips make great warts or noses, candy corn is perfect for jack-o’-lanterns, sanding sugars or edible glitter add sparkle, and Red Hots make great blood.

-Keep it clean: Instead of messy icing, consider edible markers. Don’t like the spooky themes? Decorate with autumn leaves, scarecrows and gourds. If bobbing for apples is too unsanitary, consider shrink-wrapped apple cookies.

-Have a floral pot or cauldron on hand filled with floral foam to display guests’ cookie designs. Use wooden skewers to spear cookies and arrange into your own boo-quet.

Source: Cookies by Design

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