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DIY Halloween Treats for All Ages Here on the Suncoast

| Angela Naff |

It’s that time of year again where costumes rule the holiday, and everyone tricks or treats. While it is easiest for most of us to run to the store for our treats this holiday, here are amazing fun and fresh ideas to make this Halloween even more memorable.

Peanut Butter Spider Cookies

These spooky treats are sure to be a hit with kids of all ages. This recipe is super fun as kids can help roll the cookies into balls and be part of the fun from the start.

spider halloween
Photo courtesy of AllRecipes


½ cup shortening
½ cup peanut butter
½ cup packed brown sugar
½ cup white sugar
1 egg, beaten
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
¼ cup white sugar for rolling
24 chocolate candy spheres with smooth chocolate filling (such as Lindt Lindor Truffles), refrigerated until cold
48 decorative candy eyeballs
½ cup prepared chocolate frosting


  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Line baking sheets with baking parchment.
  • Beat shortening, peanut butter, brown sugar, and 1/2 cup white sugar together with an electric mixer in a large bowl until smooth. Beat egg into the creamy mixture until fully incorporated. Stir milk and vanilla extract into the mixture until smooth.
  • Mix flour, baking soda, and salt together in a small bowl; add to the wet mixture in the large bowl and stir until completely incorporated into a dough. Divide and shape dough into 48 balls.
  • Spread 1/4 cup white sugar into a wide, shallow bowl. Roll dough balls in sugar to coat and arrange about 2 inches apart onto prepared baking sheets.
  • Bake in preheated oven until golden brown, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove cookies from oven and quickly press a dimple into the middle of each cookie using the blunt end of a wooden spoon. Cool cookies on sheets for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire cooling rack to cool completely.
  • Cut each chocolate sphere into two hemispheres. Put one piece atop each cookie with the rounded side facing upwards.
  • Spoon frosting into a pastry bag with a small round tip or a plastic freezer bag with one end snipped off. Dab a small amount of frosting onto the back of each candy eyeball and stick two onto each chocolate candy to resemble eyes. Then pipe frosting in four thin lines, starting at the base of the candy, on each side atop the cookie to resemble spider legs.
  • Let frosting harden at room temperature, about 30 minutes. Store cookies in an airtight container.

Witch Finger Pretzel rods

These crunchie pretzel fingers are sure to gross out and entertain the crowd this Halloween. Package up a set to give out to trick or treaters, or make them up for a great centerpiece to your Hallowe spooktacular gathering.

Photos courtesy of The Spruce/Julia Hartbeck


28 blanched almonds (see note)
1 tube black gel food coloring
14 large pretzel rods
12 ounces bright-green candy coating


  • Gather the ingredients.
  • Use a small food-safe paintbrush to paint the top of each almond with black gel food coloring. (Wear food-safe gloves if you want to avoid getting your fingertips dyed black as well.)
  • Set aside on waxed paper or parchment paper to dry while you prepare the rest of the recipe.
  • Gather the pretzels. Break or cut each rod in half.
  • Place the green candy coating in a small but deep microwave-safe bowl (or heatproof cup) and microwave in 30-second increments, stirring after every 30 seconds to prevent overheating and burning. Stir and heat until the candy coating is completely melted and smooth.
  • Holding a pretzel rod by the unbroken end, dip it in the green coating until almost all of it is covered, leaving about a 1/2-inch section undipped at the top where you are holding it.
  • Place the dipped pretzel on the same lined baking sheet you used to dry the black candy-coated almond nails and immediately press one of them on the tip of the pretzel rod that is coated in green candy coating.
  • Continue to dip more pretzels and, while you do, keep an eye on the already-dipped pretzels. When the coating has started to dry and is mostly matte but not completely hard, it’s time to add the wrinkles for the knuckles.
  • Take a toothpick and hold it perpendicular to the pretzels. Gently roll it across the top to add wrinkles. Make two sets—one set near the fingernail, and one set about halfway down the finger. This will make your witch finger super realistic-looking. If the coating is too melted and sticky when you try, give it a few more minutes to set before trying again.
  • After all the pretzels have been dipped and decorated, refrigerate the tray for 10 minutes to set the coating completely. After that, the witch fingers can be served on a party tray or be standing up in a mason jar.

Marshmallow Monsters

Monsters go thump in the dark, under beds, and out on the streets this Halloween. Why not take all those scary monsters and create some yummy treats for your belly this year. These sweet marshmallow treats are a fun and unique addition to the Halloween sweet offerings


Photo courtesy of Taste of Home

12 ounces white candy coating
2 teaspoons shortening
Paste food coloring, optional
36 lollipop sticks
1 package (10 ounces) large marshmallows (about 36)
Colored sugar
Assorted toppings: candy eyes, assorted nonpareils, licorice, and sour straws


  • In a microwave, melt candy coating and shortening; stir until smooth. If desired, tint with food coloring.
    Insert one lollipop stick into each marshmallow.
  • Dip marshmallows in melted candy coating, turning to coat; allow excess to drip off.
  • Roll in colored sugar.
  • Place a dab of melted candy coating onto assorted toppings; decorate faces as desired.
  • Place on waxed paper; let stand until set.

Old-fashioned Popcorn Balls

These have been a fan favorite for generations. We all have memories of popping up the popcorn and grandma or mom making up these sweet treats. With a wonderful balance of sweet and savory, these make a nostalgic Halloween treat that everyone can help make.

Photo courtesy of Click Americana


1 cup Karo Syrup, Blue Label or Green Label
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon vinegar
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
2 quarts unsalted popcorn


  • Combine first four ingredients in saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until mixture boils.
  • Continue cooking, stirring almost constantly to hard ball stage (260 F) or until a small amount of mixture forms a hard ball when tested in very cold water.
  • Remove from heat; quickly add butter and blend.
  • Slowly pour over popcorn in large bowl, while mixing well.
  • Form into balls, using as little pressure as possible. Butter hands, if desired.

Graveyard Cups

These are super fun and creative desserts for kids, and adults alike. Put your own twist on this “dirt” dessert to gross all your guests out this Halloween. Oh, and you can even add a touch of “adult” beverages to the mix for those fun events or after-parties that aren’t child-approved.

Photo courtesy of yummly


  • 1 batch chocolate pudding (homemade) – or favorite mousse recipe
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tablespoon powdered sugar
  • 20 chocolate sandwich cookies (crushed, like Oreos or Jo Jo’s)
  • gummy worms


  • Make the mousse/pudding and line the bottom of the cups.
  • Add crushed cookie mixture to the top.
  • Add in worms, gravestones or any other garnishments you like.
  • Chill until time to serve.

Whether you are hosting a party at home this year or hand-packaging treats for the little goblins that will appear at your door – these DIY treats will keep it unique. From candies, healthy options to cookies, there is something for every skill level and taste on this list. Add your own personal touches and make this Halloween one for the memory books.


Feature photo courtesy of Deposit Photos

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