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.

Rebekah Peppler


Credit: Philip Friedman; Styling: Colleen Riley

Recipe Summary

15 mins
1 day
Makes 2½ cups


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Cut a small curved wedge from 2 sides of each cucumber slice to create a skull shape using a pairing knife. Poke holes in the top (wide end) of the cucumber to create the eyes using the flat end of a wooden skewer. Draw three thin lines below the eyes to create the mouth using the pointy end of the skewer.

  • Combine the vinegar, chile, sugar, 2½ teaspoons salt, and ½ cup warm water in a bowl. Whisk until the sugar is dissolved. Add the cucumber, carrots, yellow squash, and fennel. Refrigerate for at least 24 hours and up to 1 month.