Because candy shouldn't get all of the spotlight.
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Fresh homemade decorating halloween dessert with ghost, creeping spider, bat, haunted castle and horrifying eyeball on wooden background, copy space - stock photo
Credit: insjoy/Getty Images

We know, we know. Halloween is all about the candy. From mellowcreme pumpkins and candy corn to mini candy bars and gummy worms, candy has historically been the centerpiece of October 31, or Halloween.

But since 2020's Halloween celebrations are going to look a bit different than in years past due to the coronavirus pandemic, we're firm believers that it's the perfect time to introduce a new festive tradition: Halloween cookies.

Rather than waiting for Christmas baking season, get a head start with these more-sweet-than-spooky cookie recipe ideas, including from-scratch, semi-homemade, and pre-baked store-bought mixes that are ready for you (and your little goblins) to dress them up for the holiday.

5 Homemade Halloween Cookie Ideas for Every Kind of Celebration

If you have the time, energy, and interest in going fully DIY with your cookies, consider these Halloween desserts that will please revelers of all ages. Many also feature candy so you can score a two-for-one treat. We've listed them from least to most complicated so you can choose your own adventure.

1. Haunted Oreos

Two chocolate-dipped Oreos decorated to look like baths with Oreo "wings", next to a white chocolate-dipped Nutter Butter mummy
Credit: Allrecipes Magazine

Get the Recipe: Haunted Oreos

With Oreo's cream-filled sandwich cookies as the base, all that's left to do is dunk and decorate to complete these batty no-bake Halloween cookies.

2. Peanut Butter Spider Cookies

Peanut Butter Spider Cookies
Credit: Snacking in the Kitchen

Start by mixing up a basic peanut butter cookie dough, then bake. While they're still warm, press a little divot on top to hold the chocolate truffle "spider head."

Bring the bugs to life with candy eyeballs (like these Wilton Edible Candy Eyeballs, $2.49; and chocolate frosting "legs."

3. Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies
Credit: Happyschmoopies

Get the Recipe: Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

Less decorative but classically seasonal and scrumptious, these all-ages-friendly cookie sandwiches showcase a fluffy vanilla cream center between two tender and light pumpkin cookies. For a little festive fun, roll the edges of the cookies in sprinkles.

4. Halloween Ghost Cookies

Halloween Ghost Cookies
Credit: Allrecipes

Get the Recipe: Halloween Ghost Cookies

Take a tulip-shaped cookie cutter (such as this Ann Clark Flower Cookie Cutter, $6; and give it a flip. Voila! You've got a ghost costume ready to use with your traditional sugar cookie dough. After baking and cooling, garnish with a sheet of white icing and two mini chocolate chip "eyes."

5. Halloween Skeleton Cookies

Halloween Skeleton Cookies
Credit: barbara

A gingerbread-shaped cookie cutter transforms into a festive, cartoon-like skeleton — one where you add the bones. We'll make no bones about it: Since the decorating takes a bit more detail than the rest of the Halloween cookie recipes above, we're ranking it most intricate and challenging. But we promise you can definitely handle this baking project.

4 Semi-Homemade Halloween Cookies For When You're Crunched For Time

If you want to save more time for watching Ghostbusters or It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown for the eighth time this season (that can't just be us), stock up on these ready-to-bake or ready-to-decorate Halloween cookie kits and doughs. Again, we've listed them from least to most ambitious so you can get the popcorn ready just in time to pair with your cookies and Halloween punch.

Tools to Ace Your Halloween Cookie Recipes

If you're more in the mood to freestyle and make your Halloween cookies your own, try something like our wildly popular The Best Rolled Sugar Cookies. Then dress them up as your heart desires. Allow them to dry, then pack little snack bags to safely deliver to friends, neighbors or co-workers.

  • Williams Sonoma Halloween Day of the Dead Boxed Cookie Cutter ($21;
  • Wilton 7-Piece Metal Haunted House Cookie Cutters ($6,
  • Halloween Monster Mash Sprinkle Tub ($4 for 5.6 ounces,
  • Aneco Cellophane Halloween Snack Bags with Twist Ties ($12 for 150,