By Hayley Sugg

A slow cooker can do the work of dinner while you take the kids out to collect candy.

As the end of the month approaches, you may be convinced that you're prepared for Halloween. The decorations are up, costumes are composed, and you've got an overflowing bowl of treats for the neighborhood children. But have you planned out your Halloween evening dinner yet? With the potential for some serious candy overindulgence, it's a good idea to serve a balanced meal after rounds of trick-or-treating.

If you're not certain of what to whip up for your hungry ghouls and goblins, don't panic! We've rounded up a list of kid-friendly slow-cooker recipes that are sure to be a hit. Simply start your dish in the afternoon, and you'll have a warm and comforting dinner ready for when you return laden with candy.

Busy Day Slow Cooker Taco Soup

Get all the convenience of tacos without all the messy prep work! Lucinda's recipe only calls for seven simple ingredients, most of which are pantry staples. Serve the soup alongside your desired taco fixings so everyone can DIY their dinner. Some of our favorite options include sour cream, shredded cheese, guacamole, hot sauce, and tortilla chips.

Photo by Baking Nana

Slow Cooker Lasagna

Family-friendly lasagna just got so much easier with the help of your slow cooker. After browning the ground beef, all you need to do is assemble and set it to low heat. The recipe, which was shared by KIMIRN, has rave reviews with many users saying they added extra flavorful ingredients like sautéed onion and ricotta.

Photo: Sheila LaLonde

Cauliflower Potato Soup

The ultimate stick-to-your-ribs meal, this slow cooker potato soup recipe by AMYL22 is a real crowd-pleaser. Chopped bacon adds a deep savory flavor, while cauliflower keeps the soup on the lighter side. (You have candy to eat, after all.) Top with a little sprinkle of cheese and fresh parsley after cooking and you're ready to serve.

Photo: Kellie-Vin

Outrageous Warm Chicken Nacho Dip

Think nachos are just for game night? Think again! This kid-friendly favorite is as simple as setting and forgetting the slow cooker. The dip, created by Brightlightz, can have the spice level adjusted for younger palates. Set up a nacho station when serving so your trick-or-treaters can customize to their heart's content.

Photo by Marianne

Sweet and Sour Meatballs

Take the work out of making dinner by prepping your meal's main star beforehand. By cooking the meatballs directly in sauce, they're sure to end up being delicious and tender. Serve the meatballs with rice or egg noodles, a few slices of bread, or stuffed into a sub roll for a saucy sandwich. You can roll the meatballs the night before to keep your pre-walk work fast.

Photo: Angela F.

Easy Slow Cooker Enchiladas

With two types of beans and two types of cheese, these slow cooker enchiladas will be difficult for even the pickiest of eaters to resist. PIXIEBOOTS' recipe is a Tex-Mex play on lasagna, with flavorful layers of filling stuffed in between corn tortillas and shredded cheese. If you or your family aren't big ground turkey fans, many reviewers say that ground beef works as a great substitute.

Photo: AlabamaAng

Slow Cooker Chicken and Dumplings

If you're looking to warm up after a night of going door-to-door in chilly temps, this chicken and dumplings recipe will fit the bill. Refrigerated biscuit dough makes this recipe by Janiece Mason a snap. Simply cook the flavorful chicken mixture before adding small pieces of the dough to puff up into dumplings. This can easily be made into a one-pot meal by stirring in a bag of steamed mixed veggies in after cooking.

Slow Cooker Chicken and Dumplings | Photo by KGora

Slow Cooker BBQ Pork Chops

Dinner with just two ingredients? Sign us up! Pork chops cook low and slow until they're incredibly tender. Use your family's favorite barbecue sauce to make Kathyrn's recipe extra delicious. You can go sweet with a brown sugar-based sauce, choose tangy by sticking with a vinegar base, or go international by reaching for some Korean barbecue sauce.

Photo: wannabe chefette

Slow Cooker Mac and Cheese

Nothing says "kid-friendly" quite like mac and cheese. This slow cooker version by Cathy P uses evaporated milk and eggs to make an irresistibly creamy sauce that your trick-or-treaters are sure to enjoy. Pick whatever pasta shape your little ones like best. Some users suggested skipping the pasta cooking step for a more al dente texture in the end.

Photo: Millicent Hollins

Slow Cooker Baked Potatoes

If you're ready for the most moist and tender baked potato of your life, then chuck some spuds in the slow cooker. While they cook through, you can set up a baked potato bar with everyone's favorite fixings. We like to include toppings such as chili, sour cream, green onions, and shredded cheddar cheese.

Photo: bd.weld

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