Set Up a Spooky Halloween Buffet

2 Minute Tricks for Your Halloween Buffet
Gather your ghosts and goblins -- young and old -- for a buffet of traditional party foods disguised in Halloween style.

Chilling Chalkboard Message

Gather 'round and we'll share hauntingly good ideas for setting up and dishing out a spooktacular Halloween buffet. We've got you covered from decorations to recipes.

Write a mysterious message, such as the first lines of Edgar Allen Poe's poem "The Raven" (shown here), on a chalkboard. Set the chalkboard against the wall behind the food to give guests something to read while waiting in line.

Pumpkin Garland

A special message greets party-goers via this creative pumpkin garland. Simply cut the pumpkins and letters from cardstock, hang with twine, and swag across a window, doorway, or mantel to set the scene.

Creepy Chandelier

Birds love to pick at table scraps. Attach a fake raven to a chandelier above the buffet table, and watch your guests cover their food to avoid it getting stolen.

Grave Window Decoration

With the help of your digital camera, this creepy view can be yours. Convert an image of a graveyard to black-and-white. Take the image to a blueprint service and have them enlarge to the desired size. Tape the image to the window from the outside for an eerie sight.

Black & White Table Runner

Set the table with classic black-and-white toile and houndstooth patterns to add gothic elegance. Add ruffles to the end of the runner by gathering a thread through the center of strips of yellow and black ribbon. Then stitch the ribbon in place 1-1/2 inches from the short edge of the runner.

Serving Up Scary

Whet your guests' appetites with an eerie menu. Give party foods Halloween-inspired names. (For example, fondue becomes "Demon Dip.") Use scrapbooking letter stickers to spell the newly named dishes on an old mirror, and display the menu on a plate stand. Surround with Halloween decorations, such as ravens and pumpkins.

Frightening Labels

These stone labels cloak any aspect of the buffet in ghastly guise. Use black acrylic paints to darken stones. Stencil seasonal words on the rocks for table decorations or label with names for place settings. Identify buffet food and drinks with these eerie rocks for a spooky touch.

Ghoulish Glasses

Dare your guests to grab a glass. They'll have to reach past flexible skeleton figurines clinging to the cup.

Vine Coasters

Party-perfect perches are simple to make. Cut 4-1/2-inch-diameter circles from yellow poster board foam. Stick adhesive-back, black felt die-cut garland to the circles, trimming as necessary.

Spooky Silverware

Keep an eye -- or eyes -- on guests with this creepy silverware. Cover the handles of inexpensive utensils with black polymer clay, and adhere plastic doll eyes. Bake the decorated silverware according to clay package directions. Hand-wash silverware after use.

Unnerving Napkins

Iron-on transfers imprint cloth napkins with Halloween spirit. To get the look, print clip art onto transfer paper. Iron on according to manufacturer's directions.

Ghoulish Drink Station

Set up a drink station in the corner of a room where guests can mingle while pouring their favorite beverages. Fill thermoses with cider and juice, and use pumpkin labels cut from crafts foam to identify the drinks. Transform a plastic pumpkin into a spiderlike ice bucket by attaching chenille legs.

Bug Skewers

Food sitting out always attracts insects. This party is no different. But these creepy skewers neatly stab delectable nibbles. Photocopy bug images and use a jumbo punch to punch out two bug circles for each skewer. Glue the circles together with the skewer in between.

Devilish Eggs

Give a party favorite some Halloween flair with a few extra garnishes. Top deviled eggs with a dollop of caviar "bug guts" and sliced green olives "monster eyes." Serve the eggs on a platter surrounded with red licorice ropes "guts." A ghoulish hand, ready to pounce, may scare off some guests, but the bolder ones will risk attack to snag a deviled egg.

Spooky Spread

For a creepy effect, serve a severed finger with party dip. Look for rubber fingers and other Halloween decorations at party or crafts stores. When party time comes, hollow out a small pumpkin to use as a serving bowl. Fill with cold dip or spread, and serve with crackers or party breads.

Demon Dip

Basic cheese fondue becomes "Demon Dip" when served in a witch's cauldron. Use breads, vegetables, and tortilla chips as dipping options for the fondue.

Midnight Mix

Go batty with the party mix as munchies. Mix popcorn, pretzels, dry cereals, dried fruits, nuts, and candies. Serve in a festive bowl or trick-or-treat bucket.

Ghoul's Punch

Boring party drinks become spooky with the addition of dry ice. Place dry ice in a tall, heavy metal cup and set it inside a punch bowl. (Be sure the cup extends above the rim of the bowl.) Pour cold cider into the punch bowl and watch the fog drift from it. Place a tray beneath the bowl to catch any drips. Surround the eerie concoction with edible eyeball candies and black licorice jelly beans.

Alien Apples

Granny Smiths are just the right hue to give apple treats an "alien green" vibe. These Alien Apples are easy to make, and they taste out of this world. Look for caramel apple kits at the grocery store. Prepare according to directions. For extra flavor, dip the apples in crushed peanuts while the caramel is still warm. Serve them on a bed of candy corn.

Sweet Treats

Don't forget a sweet finish to your Halloween buffet. Use Halloween-theme cookie cutters and refrigerated cookie dough to create easy treats. Frost and decorate the cookies with edible embellishments, such as colored sugar and round cinnamon candies (as shown on the cat cookies) or licorice and mini candy-coated milk chocolate pieces (as shown on the pumpkin cookies). Jack-o'-lanterns can rest in a bed of orange jelly beans, while purple frosted cupcakes are the perfect perch for black cat cookies.

Create a wow-worthy Halloween buffet display with a few quick-to-execute tips. These ideas take just minutes!

2-Minute Tricks

These easy Halloween buffet ideas take just minutes to assemble, but the results look like you spend hours prepping for the little monsters. Head to the party store and grab a few packages of cheap paper fans. Take three overlapping fans together to dress up table legs. On the food table, compotes and a vintage scale do double duty as pretty layered table decor, and as candy holders. Stick to a simple color scheme, black, white and metallic, for example, to streamline your collection. A color scheme can also inform your food. We shopped for matching candies, and then added five more substantial munchies, including cupcakes and candy apples. Beside food, your table should have a few surprises. We covered a moving hand with a glass clothe to scare up some fun as the kids grabbed treats. Copper pails become ice buckets with flair. Group similar drinks together so guests aren't guessing which beverage they're grabbing. Dry ice is the ultimate Halloween party staple. Here's how to get the look. Place your punch bowl inside a larger bows that's layered with dry ice. Prepare a pitcher of hot water. Pour the water between the bowls so the water hits the dry ice. [MUSIC] The rolling smoke is a wonderful effect. You'll need to repeat the pour every 20 minutes or so if you want the smoke to linger. It only takes a few minutes to assemble each piece of your Halloween buffet. Pick and choose your poison for your best party yet.

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