Halloween

Halloween is a time to get creative with fun crafts and festive decorations. For those who go all out with a big bash, greet guests with scary wreaths and door décor, and then work a little magic inside with impressive DIY ideas for your Halloween table. Need help? These super creative Halloween crafts add flair and keep the kids busy while you’re decorating. And, even if you don’t transform your whole home into a spooky graveyard, there’s no excuse to miss out on the fun—set aside an hour or so to carve a pumpkin. Or, if you’re really short on time, try no-carve pumpkins or even just make a few of these easy seasonal recipes. Start the day with an all-natural pumpkin spice latte (that’s right—there’s no need to buy one!) and round out the evening with a candy-studded dessert or an apple pie that’ll make your whole house smell like an orchard.

No-Churn Pumpkin Ice Cream With Cranberry-Raspberry Compote

This semifreddo-style frozen custard provides all the satisfaction of your favorite slow-churned pint without the need for a bulky ice cream machine. The only special equipment you’ll need is a candy thermometer (about $10 and great for frying too, so go ahead and invest in one). Serve this creamy treat with caramel sauce or hot fudge but we think it’s especially pretty with the cranberry raspberry compote. Make them both ahead of time and a lovely seasonal dessert will be ready and waiting for you when guests come calling. And here you thought you couldn’t make ice cream at home.

6 Pumpkin Desserts When You’re Tired of Pie

Why should the pie always be the star of the show? We whipped up 6 pumpkin-laced desserts that might just give Grandma’s pumpkin pie a run for its money.

5 Gourd DIYs to Make You Excited for Fall

They might have bumpy textures and odd shapes, but you can craft with them from Halloween until Thanksgiving.

Skull Cucumber Pickles

Look closely at those cucumber pickles. Who says candy and sweets get to have all the fun on Halloween? Get your kids to down just a few vegetables before they head out to Trick-or-Treat (and begin the inevitable sugar overload) with this quick-pickled make-ahead salad. We sliced carrots, fennel, squash, and cucumber, then used a pairing knife to trim each cucumber slice into an adorable miniature skull. A simple solution of vinegar, chile, sugar, salt and water pickles the vegetables in the fridge, so you can make this concoction days (or even up to a month) beforehand. It’ll get spicier (and spookier!) over time.

Pumpkin Cupcakes With Cream Cheese Frosting

These individual pumpkin cakes have been a fall standby long before Pumpkin Spice Lattes came on the scene. Indeed, our cupcakes are deliciously moist, bursting with pumpkin flavor, and topped with a creamy icing that’s decadent but not too sweet. Not to mention, we devised a shortcut that makes whipping up these pumpkin cupcakes for a Halloween party or autumn potluck so much simpler: We start with a box of yellow cake mix to eliminate lots of measuring and mixing. The quick batter comes together with pumpkin puree (rather than the water typically called for on the box), for a dense, satisfying cupcake.

Vanilla Mango Ice Cream Cake

This mango ice cream cake hits all the right notes. Layers of mango sorbet sandwich bits of crushed chocolate wafer cookies and a midsection of vanilla ice cream, so nearly every bite contains exotic fruit, chocolate, and vanilla. Keep in mind that this cake requires at least two hours to refreeze, but you can make it up to two days ahead and keep the dessert in the freezer. You’ll soften sorbet and ice cream for each layer separately before putting the pan back in the freezer to firm up after each step. So, while the three hours, in total, might seem like a commitment, this light, cold treat isn’t difficult to “make” yourself.

Fraidycat Cupcake

These cute cat cupcakes will have feline aficionados and dog folks purring with excitement. Seriously, look at that face! Begin with your favorite cupcake recipe—chocolate or vanilla—and your favorite icing. Buttercream works well, because the fairly wet consistency helps the sprinkles cling. Dip iced cupcake into a bowl of chocolate sprinkles for the fur. Add two sliced peppermint pattie wedges for the ears. Next up? M&Ms form the eyes and mouth, and trimmed black licorice creates those adorable twitchy whiskers. Delight youngsters with these treats, or get their help decorating to teach them that, yep, cooking and baking really can be fun.

Apple Cider Donuts

The quintessential fall treat may be a mainstay at farmer’s markets, but it’s twice as tasty when you eat it straight from the fryer—still warm. This recipe is a breeze to mix up, and makes tender, airy donuts. The dough is sticky, so be sure to liberally dust your hands and work surface with flour. If you don’t have a donut cutter, you can punch out donuts using an upside down water glass and a bottle cap (for the hole). The cinnamon sugar mixture can clump after a couple batches of hot donuts. To keep it from clumping, divide the mixture in half between two pie plates.

Kit Kat-Filled Angel Food Cake

Yep, you read that right: Kit Kat cake. This dessert takes two favorites to create a semi-homemade mash-up that’s ready in 15 minutes flat. The secret? We started with a store-bought (or pre-made, if you go that route) 9-ounce angel food cake. Simply slice the finished, cooled cake in half horizontally and create a small hollowed-out area in the middle, which you’ll spread with a filling of chopped Kit Kat bars and homemade whipped cream. Replace the top layer of cake, dust it with cocoa powder, and you’re ready to slice and serve. Save this recipe for anytime you need an impressive (but easy) cake.

10 Recipes for Leftover Halloween Candy

Your kids have scared up way too much candy. Make the leftovers vanish with these sweet, creative treats.