By Ashley Kappel

I love a good Halloween craft, but when it comes to actually making the over-the-top themed dinner, I have to face facts: That's just not going to happen. As much as I want to give my kids the full Halloween experience, I have to focus on, you know, keeping them alive, groomed, and generally happy before I can focus on transforming their lunches into full-on edible haunted houses.

So instead of setting my own personal bar so high that it smacks me in the face, I've picked out a collection of recipes that bring all the Halloween fun without any tricks that might trip me up.

Sweets and Treats

1.Creepy Halloween Skull Cupcakes

These cupcakes are a working parents' dream come true. If you have time, make the cupcakes at home. If not, pick up frosted cupcakes at the grocery store and add the faces at home.

Photo by barbara

2. "Dirt Pudding" Pumpkin Patch

"I was bringing a dessert to a 'spooky Halloween dinner,' and wanted to make something creative," say recipe creator Strange-1. "I had heard of the 'dirt cup' recipes with gummy worms before, but I wanted to do something a little different, so I adapted the recipe to this! Kiddos loved it and so did the adults!"

6. White Chocolate Strawberry Ghosts

This kid-friendly Halloween treat recipe is perfect for school parties. Kids can help prep this treat from start-to-finish; the spookier the faces, the better!

Photo by Maria

11. Halloween Fondant Ghost Cupcakes

These might be the cutest ghost cupcakes ever. If you're short on time, pick up mini cupcakes from the grocery store. Pop the finished treats into clear bags and tie with orange and black ribbon for cute Halloween favors.

Photo by barbara

15. Halloween Ghost Cookies

Use your tulip cookie cutter to create adorable Pac-Man-inspired ghosts

Photo by sterubawi05

19. Halloween Popcorn Pumpkins

Keep these ingredients on hand for when your little one is begging to help in the kitchen. You can skip the food coloring if you want to avoid dye, but it does give the balls a festive Halloween glow.

Photo by The Messy Cook

23. Halloween Popcorn Hands

Save your sweet tooth! Serve up a savory popcorn blend to this year's trick-or-treaters. The best part? You can make as many as you need start-to-finish in about 25 minutes.

Photo by KellyJo

Halloween Dinners

27. Stuffed Jack-O-Lantern Bell Peppers

Transform a weeknight standard into a festive must-try Halloween dinner. Let kids draw faces with edible markers for added fun. Serve this one before trick-or-treating to ensure kids get a layer on dinner in before the sugar rush hits

30. Mummified Meatballs in Crispy Potato Skin Coffins

This dinner takes three easy elements, meatballs, potatoes, and cheese, and makes them into a quick and easy Halloween meal. Frozen meatballs speed up prep, making this meal ideal for busy fall festival nights. Let the kids add the candy eyeballs to bring out the giggles.

Photo by Soup Loving Nicole

31. Halloween Zombie Meatloaf

Instead of shaping meat into a loaf, make a terrifying face. Moms of toddlers will want to skip this one unless they hope to permanently remove meatloaf from the menu.

32. Halloween Jack-o'-Lantern Beef Pies

Beef cups are an easy weeknight meal. They reheat well, so cook them through step three then simple heat, add cheese faces, and toast when you're ready to serve.

35. Chef John's Face Pie

Keep older kiddos guessing at the dinner menu by serving this savory pie. As one reviewer noted, "By the way, can someone get sued for giving people nightmares?"

36. Halloween Bloody Baked Rats

Spaghetti noodle tail, carrot ears, cheesy innards—these rats have everything you need for an over-the-top Halloween dinner that's easy as well as, well, horrifying. The pea eyes make for a deranged looking entrée.

Snacks and Appetizers

37. Halloween Eye of Newt

Deviled eggs take an even spookier turn thanks to a little food coloring and some imagination.

Photo by mannlicheDamme

42. Ghost Sandwich

Lunchbox prep has to happen, even in October, so why not have a little fun? A ghost-shaped cutter makes easy work of any sandwich, though you can easily freehand these spooky snacks. Some moms might use raisins for eyes, but clearly chocolate chips are the way to go.

Photo by Lola

46. Halloween Punch with Frozen Hand

Is it even a Halloween party if there isn't a hand floating in the punch? To remove the glove easily, dip the hand in warm water before peeling away the glove.

Photo by Magda

Browse our entire collection of Halloween recipes.