Halloween DIY treats and cocktails to impress party guests this season

Media Credit: Lauren Patrick I Photographer

Mulled apple cider is a timeless staple when it comes to fall drinks, leaving a seasoned, delectable incense in your kitchen.

Halloween is rapidly approaching, and with it comes fall parties, get-togethers and the familiar scramble to find a delectable accessory for the Halloweekend festivities before they commence.

If you’re in a bind, never fear – we’ve laid out the best cocktails and treats for all of your last-minute potluck needs. Use our tips to be sure to wow your guests or host – and don’t forget your costume on your way out.

Here are our top picks for the best homemade drinks and treats to make this spooky season:

The Spider Bite
With its murky, swirling base, dramatic glasses and toppling spider egg visuals, this drink is sure to both intimidate and impress your guests in equal measure. It’s relatively easy to make, meaning you can scare your friends without spooking yourself with a complicated recipe.

Ingredients:
– Ice
– Tapioca pearls
– Shallow cocktail glasses
– Coffee liqueur
– Vanilla liqueur

Instructions:
Prepare the tapioca pearls in advance, boiling them in a 5:1 ratio of water to pearls. Pack glasses with ice and pour the pearls on top, styling to resemble spider eggs on top of the drink. For an extra ooze, add flavored syrups like vanilla or caramel. Finally, add coffee and vanilla liqueurs and fill the glass to the brim. For a nonalcoholic alternative, swap the coffee liqueur for black coffee or tea and the vanilla liqueur for milk or coffee creamer. Once prepared, serve immediately.

Spiked Mulled Cider
Mulled apple cider is a timeless staple when it comes to fall drinks. Although making your own pot takes one to two hours, the time it spends simmering will pay off in the taste – and your kitchen will smell amazing for the rest of the day as an added bonus.

Ingredients:
– Store-bought apple cider
– One lemon, sliced
– Two teaspoons honey
– Four cinnamon sticks
– One teaspoon each of nutmeg, cloves and star anise
– Mugs or other heat-safe cups

Instructions:
Combine apple cider, spices, lemon slices and honey in a large pot or slow cooker. Cook on low for roughly an hour on the stove or two hours if using a slow cooker. Serve hot in mugs with a stick of cinnamon and a slice or two of lemon for garnish. If you’re hosting, keep rum, brandy or bourbon on hand for guests who want to spike their mugs. This delectable beverage can also be prepared in advance to have on hand for an upcoming Halloween party in a bind – just refrigerate and reheat the cider when you need it.

The Nurse Ratched
For a spookier vibe, try this drink to add some freaky fun to your night. With its fizzy base, splash of color and mild horror factor created by fake blood, the Nurse Ratched cocktail is the perfect mixture of corny, creepy and interactive.

Ingredients:
– A clear alcoholic drink, like vodka tonic or hard seltzer
– Alternatively, swap for a clear soda like 7-Up or Sprite
– A dark, red-colored juice, like cranberry, pomegranate or cherry
– Plastic syringes (can be found at most pharmacies)
– Ice
– Tall cocktail glasses

Instructions:
First, add ice to your tall cocktail glass before pouring your clear drink of choice, like vodka or gin with tonic water or a clear soda. Maintain a generous amount of space at the top of the glass for the frightening star of the show. Next, draw the red juice into a syringe and place the object into the glasses without depressing the plunger. The body of the syringe should rest against the rim of the glass with the plunger side up. Serve immediately, allowing your guests to squeeze the blood-red juice into the drink to add a burst of color, flavor and creepiness to their drinks.

Oreo and Strawberry Witch Hats
These simple, fun witch hat treats may be more cute than chilling, but they will make for an equally adorable and appetizing choice for your next Halloween get-together. Just melt some chocolate, add some frosting and you’ll be ready to grab your broom and leave for a night out in Salem.

Ingredients:
– Oreos
– Strawberries
– Melting chocolate or candy wafers in brown, black or color of choice
– Frosting in colors like purple, green and orange
– Parchment paper

Instructions:
Begin by melting chocolate in the microwave, heating in 30-second intervals until smooth. Next, dip the Oreos into melted chocolate, coating evenly. Place the chocolate-covered Oreos on parchment paper. Cut tops from strawberries to form cone shapes and dip the strawberries in melted chocolate. After the berries are evenly coated, place one on top of each Oreo with the pointed ends up. Once the chocolate has dried, add frosting to create a ribbon around the base of the cone and a buckle to replicate a witch hat.

Peanut Butter Spider Cookies
These spider cookies are simultaneously endearing and elegant, making them the perfect treat for any Halloween occasion. This recipe is an adorable, simple and quick way to dress up a store bought cookie mix, adding a little extra fun to an otherwise-basic recipe.

Ingredients:
– Store-bought peanut butter cookie mix
– Frozen peanut butter cups
– Candy eyes
– Chocolate frosting
– Piping bag

Instructions:
First, bake your store-bought peanut butter cookies using the instructions on the packet. Immediately after taking the cookies out of the oven, press an upside-down frozen peanut butter cup to the top of each cookie. The chocolate should start to soften once each treat has been assembled. Press your candy eyes to the front of the peanut butter cup. Once the cookies have cooled, use a piping bag to draw eight spider legs on each side of the peanut butter cup with chocolate frosting. Serve immediately or save for later and place in an airtight container until serving.

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