No tricks, just our favorite classroom-friendly treats.
There’s no doubt about it, Halloween is one of the best days of elementary school. Getting to eat sweets and dress up in fun costumes is pretty much every kid’s dream, especially if they’ve been planning their outfit for weeks. But between making the costumes, planning for any adult parties, and buying the candy for Trick or Treating, baking treats for classroom parties can often fall to the bottom of the to-do list. That’s why we rounded up a collection of easy desserts that look impressive but can be whipped up at the last minute. Because Halloween food can range from incredibly creepy to super cute, we included a wide range of treats so there’s something for everyone, no matter what vibe you’re going for. Plus, we think you’ll love these enough to keep some at home, too, and they can double as dessert for other Halloween potlucks or parties. We also have a delicious Apple Cider Donut recipe that you can enjoy for breakfast before sending them to school with the kids. Speaking of the kids, be sure to have them help you prep the treats. They’ll have fun cutting out candy corn-shaped cookies, rolling popcorn into balls, cutting out donuts, swirling chocolate and pumpkin batter, and decorating Frankenstein cupcakes. Not only will their help speed up the process, but being in the kitchen with kids is a great habit to get into. If you start the tradition when they’re little, making Halloween goodies can become a fun annual project.
Candy Corn Cookies
The kids will love turning sugar cookie dough into these fun candy corn-shaped cookies. You’ll begin by dividing the dough into thirds, tinting 1/3 of it with orange food coloring, and 1/3 with yellow. Press them into layers in a loaf pan, slice into wedges, and cut into tiny triangles. As they bake, they’ll puff up slightly into bite-sized sugar cookies. The best part is that you don’t have to worry about frosting them, which can often turn into a sticky mess. If the kids are giving them out at school, pack them in individual cellophane bags and tie with orange, yellow, and white ribbons.
Get the Recipe: Candy Corn Cookies
M&M Popcorn Balls
We gave classic popcorn balls a burst of color by adding M&M’s into the equation. The entire recipe only requires five pantry ingredients: butter, marshmallows, salt, popcorn, and M&M’s. That makes it great for a last-minute treat for school, since you can whip it up the night before and still have a festive dessert all the kids are sure to love. The technique is similar to making Rice Krispies treats, except instead of cereal, you’ll be tossing popcorn into the buttery marshmallow mixture. Buttering your hands will keep the marshmallows from sticking, so don’t skip this step, even if you’re skeptical.
Get the Recipe: M&M Popcorn Balls
Apple Cider Donuts
Apple cider donuts covered in cinnamon-sugar are the quintessential fall treat, and they’re even better when made from scratch. Using a deep fry or candy thermometer takes all the stress out of frying: you’ll know exactly when to add the donuts to the oil. If you don’t want to give away all the treats to school, save the donuts for yourself and send the kids with the donut holes. If you don’t have a donut cutter, use a drinking glass to cut out the donuts and a bottle cap to cut out the hole. No one will ever know!
Get the Recipe: Apple Cider Donuts
Pumpkin-Chocolate Swirl Cupcakes With Chocolate Buttercream
These pumpkin cupcakes are tender and moist, finished with a rich and creamy chocolate frosting. The marbling of the batters is so pretty, though, that we suggest leaving some bare to show off the swirl. A heaping tablespoon of pumpkin pie spice in the batter will make your kitchen smell incredible as they bake, and gives them that quintessential pumpkin spice taste. But if you don’t have any pumpkin pie spice on hand, you can make it yourself: combine cinnamon, ground ginger, ground nutmeg, ground allspice, and ground cloves, then add to the batter and proceed as usual.
Get the Recipe: Pumpkin-Chocolate Swirl Cupcakes With Chocolate Buttercream
Bride of Frankenstein Cupcakes
These treats are sure to be the cutest cupcakes at school, and no one has to know how easy they are to make. The base is a simple homemade chocolate cake, but start with store-bought cupcakes if you’re running short on time. The secret to the frosting is marshmallow fluff, which makes it glossy and just sticky enough to hold the toppings. Sanding sugar acts as the hair, licorice stands in for eyebrows, sprinkles make the mouth, and pretzel rods mimic electrodes. Yellow candy dots for eyes are the finishing touch. Bring to school with festive Halloween napkins.
Get the Recipe: Bride of Frankenstein Cupcakes
White Chocolate Ganache Eyeballs
These spooky edible eyeballs are ideal for kids who are more into the trick than the treat. Though they look like they’ve been decorated by a professional, they’re actually quite easy to make at home. All you need is white chocolate, heavy cream, salt, chocolate chips and red food coloring. Our favorite part about them is the chocolate chip trick: the pupil of the eye is simply an upside down chocolate chip that’s been pressed, pointed-side down, into the top of each ball of ganache. To create creepy looking red veins, dip the tip of a toothpick in food coloring and draw them on.
Get the Recipe: White Chocolate Ganache Eyeballs