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65 Halloween Dessert Ideas, from Totally Spooky to Extra Sweet

Goblins, ghosts and ghouls are frightening enough on their own, but what’s truly spooky is heading into Halloween without a game plan for your sweet tooth. After all, it’s the one time of year when it’s totally acceptable to sneak treats from your kid’s candy stash and bake them into a cupcake recipe…right? To get in a spooky mood, we’ve rounded up 65 of the best Halloween dessert ideas, from the cutest jack-o’-lantern cookies to the scariest spider cupcakes. Time to get baking.

60 Halloween Snacks That’ll Get Any Grown-Up in the Spirit


1. Pumpkin Black and White Cookies

  • Time Commitment: 45 minutes
  • Why We Love It: beginner-friendly, kid-friendly, crowd-pleaser

The iconic NYC dessert is dressed up and ready for sweater season. Lucky for you, these soft, fluffy cookies don’t require a stand mixer to make (and you can shortcut with a store-bought spice blend if you’d like).

2. Pumpkin Cookies with Cream Cheese Frosting

  • Time Commitment: 30 minutes
  • Why We Love It: ready in <30 minutes, beginner-friendly, kid-friendly

Wanna know a secret? This cookie starts with the same base as those black and white stunners, so you could totally make both simultaneously. We love a baking project on a crisp fall day, don’t you?

3. Apple Cider Caramel Poke Cake with Cream Cheese Whipped Cream

  • Time Commitment: 2 hours
  • Why We Love It: special occasion–worthy, crowd-pleaser

True to its name, this is a cake you literally poke all over—then top with a gooey sauce that seeps into the holes, infusing it with flavor and moisture. Extremely satisfying to make, this version features a lightly spiced cake, a tangy cream cheese frosting and an apple cider infused caramel that’s surprisingly easy to make.

4. S’mores Cookies

  • Time Commitment: 45 minutes
  • Why We Love It: kid-friendly, <10 ingredients, beginner-friendly

This calls for a campfire and a scary story—or skip the campfire and fire up your Netflix scary movie queue instead. The cookie itself is made from crushed up graham crackers instead of flour, and it’ll keep soft for days.

5. Candy Land ‘Jarcuterie’

  • Time Commitment: 10 minutes
  • Why We Love It: no cook, beginner-friendly, kid-friendly, <10 ingredients, ready in <15 minutes

If you already stocked up for the impending trick-or-treaters, it shouldn’t be difficult to source ingredients for these single-serve sugar bombs. When assembling the jars, place studier ingredients on the bottom to hold any skewered items securely. Soft ingredients can go on top, and thin, soft items (like sour candy belts) can be affixed to bamboo skewers for height.

6. Peanut Butter Nutella Candy Bar Brownie

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour
  • Why We Love It: kid-friendly, crowd-pleaser

As it turns out, a variety pack of bite-size chocolate candy is a very beautiful thing. (But if you’re going for classy over kitschy, you can leave the toppings off and serve a glossy chocolate-covered brownie instead.)

7. Glazed Brown Sugar Maple Cookies

  • Time Commitment: 45 minutes
  • Why We Love It: special occasion–worthy, crowd-pleaser

If you’re more about treats than tricks, these sophisticated and seasonal cookies have your name on them. They’re finished with a brown butter glaze, which sounds way fancier than it is.

8. Candy Corn Pretzel Hugs

  • Time Commitment: 20 minutes
  • Why We Love It: beginner-friendly, kid-friendly, crowd-pleaser

They take, like, two seconds to make. (Good thing, since they’ll be gone in the blink of an eye.) Don’t like candy corn? Fine, just swap it for another small, sweet treat.

9. Butterfinger Brown Butter Cookies

  • Time Commitment: 55 minutes
  • Why We Love It: kid-friendly, crowd-pleaser

We love when the candy haul comes in handy. To keep these cookies fresh for days, store them in an airtight container with a slice of white bread—it’ll keep them soft for longer.

10. Easy Pumpkin Cheesecake Cups

  • Time Commitment: 30 minutes
  • Why We Love It: ready in <30 minutes, no cook

No one should have to fuss with a water bath while wearing a Freddy Krueger costume. These parfaits are completely no-bake, so you can get to eating them faster.

11. Halloween Mummy Nutter Butter Cookies

  • Time Commitment: 20 minutes
  • Why We Love It: beginner-friendly, kid-friendly, <10 ingredients

Who’s winning this year’s Halloween party? You are. (Starting with store-bought cookies is the trick.)

12. Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bars

  • Time Commitment: 40 minutes
  • Why We Love It: crowd-pleaser, beginner-friendly

If a blondie and a pumpkin pie had a very delicious baby, it would be this dessert. The addition of pumpkin puree keeps them pleasantly chewy.

13. Bloody Spooky Macarons

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour, 36 minutes
  • Why We Love It: special occasion–worthy, crowd-pleaser

They’re *just* gruesome enough. Making macarons at home is certainly an undertaking, but you’ll have an advantage with the fall weather—lower humidity will make the process easier. Save this one for a lazy weekend.

14. Candy Corn Surprise Cake

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour, 35 minutes
  • Why We Love It: beginner-friendly, special occasion–worthy, crowd-pleaser, kid-friendly

This cake is business on the outside, and party on the inside, and lucky for you, it starts with boxed mix. We can never get enough candy corn.

15. Halloween Spider Cupcakes

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour
  • Why We Love It: kid-friendly, beginner-friendly, crowd-pleaser

They’re so cute, they almost made us forget our fear of creepy-crawlies. Almost. (Psst: The spiders’ legs are made out of black string licorice, in case you're curious.)

16. Halloween Banana Popsicles

  • Time Commitment: 2 hours
  • Why We Love It: beginner-friendly, kid-friendly

Adults will love that they’re healthy, and kids won’t know the difference. Don’t be put off by the two-hour time commitment—most of it is just waiting for the yogurt-based coating to set.

17. Monster Mash Cookies

  • Time Commitment: 20 minutes
  • Why We Love It: ready in <30 minutes, kid-friendly, beginner-friendly

We know you’re wondering, and it’s true: They’re a graveyard smash. (Probably has something to do with the fact that they’re ready in all of 20 minutes, but we’re just guessing.)

18. Halloween Chocolate Boo Bark

  • Time Commitment: 45 minutes
  • Why We Love It: no cook, beginner-friendly, kid-friendly

Mix up the candy toppings however you see fit. But whatever you do, don’t skip the spooky-cute googly eyes.

19. Candy Corn Cupcakes

  • Time Commitment: 50 minutes
  • Why We Love It: kid-friendly, crowd-pleaser, beginner-friendly

We told you we really love candy corn. (Even you’re not a superfan of the sugary treat, these cupcakes are just vanilla with food coloring.) Go ahead and start with a boxed cake mix if you want to save time.

20. Halloween Eyeball Sugar Cookies

  • Time Commitment: 30 minutes
  • Why We Love It: kid-friendly, beginner-friendly, ready in <30 minutes

We only have eyes for these treats. (Heh.) To avoid a spooky bake, press the candy google eyes into the cookies after they come out of the oven.

21. Creepy Halloween Cupcakes

  • Time Commitment: 30 minutes
  • Why We Love It: kid-friendly, crowd-pleaser

We kind of wish all spiders were made of gumdrops and licorice, don’t you? The cupcakes are flavored with molasses and anise for a licorice-y effect, but you could use any flavor you like.

22. Halloween Candy White Chocolate Bark

  • Time Commitment: 15 minutes
  • Why We Love It: ready in <15 minutes, beginner-friendly, kid-friendly

Switch up the usual with white chocolate instead of dark, and plenty of sour candies on top.

23. Mini Peanut Butter Cups

  • Time Commitment: 45 minutes
  • Why We Love It: beginner-friendly, crowd-pleaser, gluten free

To truly impress, skip the store-bought Reese’s and make your own peanut butter cups. They start with a mini muffin pan and end with you devouring half the batch.

24. Spooky Halloween Pretzels

  • Time Commitment: 30 minutes
  • Why We Love It: ready in <30 minutes, kid-friendly, beginner-friendly

The only ghosts we’d like to see are covered in white chocolate and sitting in our snack bowl, thank you very much. (Psst: Have both white and dark chocolate on hand so you can make a mix of owls, mummies and ghosts.)

25. Chocolate Bark Halloween Brownies

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour, 30 minutes
  • Why We Love It: beginner-friendly, kid-friendly, crowd-pleaser

The more sprinkles and candy, the better. This is Halloween, after all. Hot tip: If there was ever a time to rely on boxed brownies, it’s now. With all the toppings, no one will know they’re not homemade.

26. Chocolate-Stuffed Brownie Bites

  • Time Commitment: 35 minutes
  • Why We Love It: beginner-friendly, crowd-pleaser, <500 calories

Dark as midnight on a moonless night—dark chocolate, that is. (The filling is actually milk chocolate, but you could use dark or white if you wanted.)

27. Halloween Chocolate Mousse

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour, 10 minutes
  • Why We Love It: kid-friendly, special occasion–worthy

We could make a cheesy joke about graveyards, but we’ll just say these are delicious.

28. Apple Tart with Soft-Pretzel Crust

  • Time Commitment: 2 hours, 15 minutes
  • Why We Love It: special occasion–worthy, crowd-pleaser

Is a soft-pretzel crust a bit of an undertaking? Maybe, but it’s worth every drop of effort. Use a crisp, sweet-tart apple for a balanced flavor—we like Honeycrisp, Gala or Pink Lady.

29. Pumpkin Angel Food Cake with Cream Cheese Glaze

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour, 5 minutes
  • Why We Love It: special occasion–worthy, crowd-pleaser, <500 calories

We can’t decide which is more swoon-worthy: the pumpkin cake, or the cream cheese glaze? If you don’t have an angel food cake pan, you could make this into cupcakes. Just reduce the baking time and keep an eye on them in the oven.

30. Caramel Coconut Macaroons

  • Time Commitment: 40 minutes
  • Why We Love It: crowd-pleaser, make ahead, kid-friendly

We’ll let you in on a sweet tip: If you dip these cuties in melted chocolate, they taste like a fancy Mounds bar.

31. Caramel-Chocolate Macadamia Tart

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour, 50 minutes
  • Why We Love It: special occasion–worthy, crowd-pleaser

This classy tart might not scream “Halloween” from the get-go but go ahead, take a bite. It tastes just like a candy bar. The crust is a press-in situation, so there’s no fussy rolling or chilling required.

32. Snickerdoodle Chocolate-Chunk Bundt Cake

  • Time Commitment: 2 hours
  • Why We Love It: crowd-pleaser, kid-friendly

For adults, Halloween is definitely about reminiscing on your favorite nostalgic candy. And FYI, this cake tastes like a Twix. To make the flavors more complex, try swapping the light brown sugar for dark brown.

33. Easy Nutella Mousse

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour, 30 minutes
  • Why We Love It: beginner-friendly, special occasion–worthy

For a last-minute dessert, break out a jar of Nutella. We know you already have one in your pantry.

34. Pumpkin Pie with a Chocolate Crust

  • Time Commitment: 3 hours, 10 minutes
  • Why We Love It: crowd-pleaser, special occasion–worthy

Halloween color scheme? Check. Autumnal flavor profile? Double check. The crust comes together with a whopping two ingredients (and both are store-bought).

35. Dark Chocolate Dipped Pretzels

  • Time Commitment: 30 minutes
  • Why We Love It: <10 ingredients, beginner-friendly, kid-friendly

These toe the line between snack and dessert, which is why we love them so much. Just be sure to use the most festive sprinkles in your pantry.

36. Salted Caramel Apple Sundae

  • Time Commitment: 50 minutes
  • Why We Love It: kid-friendly, beginner-friendly, gluten free

Admit it, you were sold at the mention of salted caramel. The sauce itself calls for three ingredients—how’s that for effortless?

37. Mini Caramel Apples

  • Time Commitment: 50 minutes
  • Why We Love It: <10 ingredients, beginner-friendly, gluten free, make ahead

Forget the gigantic, mass-produced caramel apples you find at the store (or even at the pumpkin patch). Making them at home is easy, fun and worth getting gooey caramel stuck to your teeth.

38. The World’s Biggest Peanut Butter Cup

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour, 5 minutes
  • Why We Love It: gluten free, kid-friendly, crowd-pleaser, <10 ingredients

All Halloween candies aren’t created equal. Peanut butter cups > everything. So naturally, we had to supersize them. A tip for serving: When slicing into this beauty, let it come to room temperature for about ten minutes and run your knife under hot water to avoid cracking.

39. Pumpkin Cheesecake Cookies

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour, 30 minutes
  • Why We Love It: kid-friendly, crowd-pleaser, <500 calories

The outside is soft, the inside is creamy and they’ll melt in your mouth. If you’re craving the flavor of cheesecake but don’t feel like making one, this cookie is for you.

40. Creamy Pumpkin Eton Mess

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour, 20 minutes
  • Why We Love It: special occasion–worthy, crowd-pleaser, gluten free

This tastes like the best part of pumpkin pie (the filling). Plus, you can use store-bought meringue cookies, if you want to save time.

41. Sea Salt Chocolate Pumpkin Cups

  • Time Commitment: 18 minutes
  • Why We Love It: gluten free, dairy free, paleo, ready in <30 minutes

DIY candy? Trust us, it’s worth it. These guys are a little sweet, a little salty and (surprisingly) pretty healthy too.

42. Jack-O’-Lantern Hand Pies

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour, 10 minutes
  • Why We Love It: kid-friendly, special occasion–worthy

Fill them with your choice of bourbon-apple or roasted blackberry (and go ahead, use store-bought crust if you want).

43. Milk Chocolate Stuffed Jack-O’-Lantern Cookies

  • Time Commitment: 45 minutes
  • Why We Love It: kid-friendly, special occasion–worthy, crowd-pleaser

The cookies are flavored with cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg, and would be as delicious on their own as they are when decorated with chocolate.

44. Vegan Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour, 15 minutes
  • Why We Love It: dairy free, vegan, crowd-pleaser

No eggs, no dairy, no problem. If you don’t tell anyone it’s vegan, they probably won’t even know. You can use any dairy free milk in the base, like rice, unsweetened almond or light coconut milk.

45. Biscuit Dough Pumpkin Hand Pies

  • Time Commitment: 45 minutes
  • Why We Love It: beginner-friendly, crowd-pleaser, kid-friendly

Are these the cutest single-serve desserts in existence? They’re definitely up there. You don’t even have to worry about achieving a tender, flaky crust (store-bought biscuit dough does that for you).

46. Cinnamon Sheet Cake with Cider Frosting

  • Time Commitment: 55 minutes
  • Why We Love It: beginner-friendly, crowd-pleaser, kid-friendly

For a more subtle take on the holiday, you can’t beat this easy sheet cake. The whole thing is ready in under an hour (and the frosting is divine).

47. Halloween Pumpkin Pie

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour, 20 minutes
  • Why We Love It: special occasion–worthy, crowd-pleaser

It’s remarkable what you can do with a good pie crust and a few seasonal cookie cutters.

48. Pumpkin Bars

  • Time Commitment: 3 hours
  • Why We Love It: crowd-pleaser, kid-friendly, beginner-friendly

They’re a cross between a pie, a cake and a cookie. And yes, they’re as good as they sound. Swap the cream cheese frosting for another flavor if you dare—we like the sound of chocolate.

49. Black Sesame Ice Cream

  • Time Commitment:
  • Why We Love It: <10 ingredients, special occasion–worthy, gluten free

Imagine the look on everyone’s face when you serve them a bowl of black ice cream. Now imagine when they dive in with spoons. You registered for that ice cream maker because you needed it; now put it to good use.

50. Halloween M&M’s Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • Time Commitment: 4 hours, 26 minutes
  • Why We Love It: kid-friendly, beginner-friendly, make ahead

Proof that you don’t have to spend all day and night making a festive treat. Chilling the dough ensures it’s easy to scoop when you’re ready to bake.

51. Apple Cider Caramels

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour, 20 minutes
  • Why We Love It: <10 ingredients, crowd-pleaser, special occasion–worthy

These caramels feel very Martha Stewart, don’t you think? If it’s your first time making the confection at home, don’t panic. Just bring out your candy thermometer and resist the urge to stir.

52. Pumpkin Tiramisu

  • Time Commitment: 8 hours, 30 minutes
  • Why We Love It: <10 ingredients, special occasion–worthy, crowd-pleaser, no cook

If you can’t find pumpkin pie liqueur, use something equally creamy and sweet, like Irish cream.

53. Apple Cider Doughnut Holes

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour, 30 ,minutes
  • Why We Love It: beginner-friendly, kid-friendly, crowd-pleaser

The apple cider adds a hint of seasonal flavor and also keeps these snackable doughnut bites from drying out.

54. Sourdough Doughnuts with Concord Grape Glaze

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour, 40 minutes
  • Why We Love It: crowd-pleaser, kid-friendly

Psst: Concord grapes are in season. They taste like childhood and look like a mad scientist’s creation. (And if you can’t find ’em fresh, no worries. Just use juice.)

55. Kit Kat Bar Ice Cream Cake

  • Time Commitment: 3 hours
  • Why We Love It: crowd-pleaser, no bake, kid-friendly, <10 ingredients

Sign us up for any dessert that doesn’t require turning on an oven. Even better, this one comes together with just three ingredients.

56. Caramel-Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • Time Commitment: 30 minutes
  • Why We Love It: ready in <30 minutes, <10 ingredients, kid-friendly

If there’s one holiday that requires you to stuff cookies with candy, it’s Halloween. Embrace it.

57. Mini Caramel Pecan Pies with Cinnamon Roll Pie Crust

  • Time Commitment: 45 minutes
  • Why We Love It: beginner-friendly, crowd-pleaser, special occasion–worthy

Want a dessert that looks mighty impressive but can be made in under an hour? These little guys will do the trick. The secret is store-bought pie crust, natch.

58. Puff Pastry Apple Galette

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour
  • Why We Love It: one pan, special occasion–worthy, crowd-pleaser

This might be the prettiest apple dessert we’ve ever laid eyes on. It doesn’t hurt that it’s easy to whip up in a single skillet with store-bought puff pastry.

59. Pumpkin Pie Parfaits

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour
  • Why We Love It: vegan, gluten free, <10 ingredients

They’re vegan, gluten-free, made with ten ingredients and ready in 60 minutes. Need we say more? Sure: Use store-bought granola if you don’t want to make your own.

60. Cinnamon Meringue Pie

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour, 50 minutes
  • Why We Love It: special occasion–worthy, crowd-pleaser

There’s nothing scary about this gorgeous fall pie. While the base is a cinnamon custard, it borrows its fluffy topping from citrus pies. The combination of sweet and spice just works, people.

Photo: Christine Han/Styling: Erin McDowell

61. Sweet Potato Sugar Cookies with Marshmallow Frosting

  • Time Commitment: 30 minutes
  • Why We Love It: beginner-friendly, crowd-pleaser

Sweet potato casserole always felt like dessert to us anyway. This is an excellent way to use up any leftover cooked spuds you have hiding in your fridge.

best halloween dessert recipes sticky toffee honeycomb cake recipe hero
Photo: Nico Schinco/Styling: Erin McDowell

62. Sticky Toffee Honeycomb Cake

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour, 20 minutes
  • Why We Love It: special occasion–worthy, crowd-pleaser

It’s certainly pretty enough for a party, but it’s actually easy enough to make anytime your sweet tooth strikes. Look for honeycomb at specialty grocery stores or your nearest farmers market.

63. Gluten-Free Matcha Cheesecake Frankensteins

  • Time Commitment: 2 hours, 41 minutes
  • Why We Love It: no bake, crowd-pleaser, special occasion–worthy

These gentlemen are no-bake and take about 25 minutes to assemble, no big deal. The cheesecake is matcha-flavored, so yeah, they’re for adults too.

64. Candy Charcuterie Board

  • Time Commitment: 30 minutes
  • Why We Love It: beginner-friendly, crowd-pleaser, kid-friendly

We’ve died and gone to Halloween candy heaven. While mixing up the candy and chocolate provides the most crowd-pleaser, variety, we can also envision a sour candy feast or chocolate lover’s tray.

65. Candy Apples

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour
  • Why We Love It: beginner-friendly, kid-friendly

These apples have a secret: They’re made with melted down Jolly Ranchers for an easy treat. The white chocolate drizzle is optional, but we think worth it.

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Katherine Gillen is a writer, recipe developer and food stylist with a degree in culinary arts and professional experience in New York City restaurants. She used to sling sugary desserts in a pastry kitchen, but now she's an avid home cook and fanatic baker.