Some of these Halloween treats are gorgeous and can be enjoyed any time of year, and some of the more on-theme ones are, let's say, just cool-looking. They're a case of that axiom: beauty is in the eye of the beholder. For instance, we think little edible meat cleavers atop cupcakes are pretty adorable. And skulls can be downright glamorous.
So what are these crazy skulls about anyway? Halloween in the United States is related to the Day of the Dead (Día de Muertos) in Mexico and the Catholic holiday, All Soul's & All Saint’s Day. Mexico's indigenous people combined the Catholic holiday with their own ancient beliefs of honoring their deceased loved ones on November 1 and 2. "They believe that the gates of heaven are opened at midnight on October 31, and the spirits of all deceased children (angelitos) are allowed to reunite with their families for 24 hours," according to Mexican Sugar Skull. "On November 2, the spirits of the adults come down to enjoy the festivities that are prepared for them."
Celebrations call for decorations, and we — of course — like decorative food as well. If you're no culinary artist but you are an art appreciator, you might find some of these Chowhound-curated, prepared treats as irresistible as we do. If you do find resistance is futile, consider getting one for a gift to bring to a Halloween party, as something spectacular to set out on the dessert bar at your own Halloween party, or as an unexpected present for someone you love … or like (or, you know, like-like).
Jack-O'-Lantern Macarons | Buy it here
Halloween comes to those ethereal and light French treats that are a hybrid of pastry, cookie, and candy. They're like almond paste cookies sandwiched with (usually) cream or ganache. These handcrafted pumpkin macarons are a sweet surprise. The dozen treats will be shipped frozen. Buy it here.
Chocolate Dipped Rice Krispies| Buy it here
Get a box of 12 Belgian-chocolate-dipped Rice Krispies treats, stuck and drizzled with all sorts of deliciousness. Each treat is drenched in either white, dark, or milk chocolate and then topped with favorites such as macadamia nuts, mini peanut butter cups, nonpareils, color chips, coconut, and Heath Bar crumbles. Buy it here.
Silver Gianduja Skulls | Buy it here
Miniature silver-dusted dark chocolate skulls are filled with a creamy gianduja, which is a Nutella-like spread. This version is made with hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, and almonds. The treat is made by FIKA, a Swedish chocolatier and coffee shop with several locations, born in New York City. Buy it here.
Pumpkin Pretzels | Buy it here
These treats are cute, but we'll eat them anyway. The mini pretzels are covered in pumpkin-spiced chocolate and striped with white chocolate. It's a perfect combination of salty and sweet. Buy it here.
5. Richart Petite Intense Chocolate Box | Buy it here
Bring this box of chocolates to a party or give it to someone for a Halloween surprise. It's way beyond the usual candy corn. This French-made delicacy includes 49 gorgeous chocolates, each only 19 calories. The dessert contains seven aromatic families: exotic spices, sunny citrus hints, true chocolate ganache, nutty textures, fruity coulis, refreshing herbal scents, and creative flowery aromas. Buy it here.
6. Wilton Meat Cleaver Icing Decorations | Buy it here
Serve Halloween treats that are a cut above — top them off with these sharp-looking icing knives. You can stab pumpkins or a sprinkle of blood or whatever your creativity imagines. They're made with sugar. Everyone will love the way they dress up brownies, cupcakes, and other treats in an instant. Each order includes 12 icing decorations. Buy it here.
7. Pure Chocolate Skull | Buy it here
Place this centerpiece chocolate in a prominent place on your table. Made by Håkan Mårtensson of FIKA in Tribeca, this hauntingly realistic, solid 70-percent dark chocolate skull is the ultimate showstopper. It's 4.5 ounces and is 3.5-by-2.5 inches. Buy it here.
8. Spiderweb Laser-cut Cupcake Wrappers | Buy it here
Don't eat the pretty spiderweb paper cupcake wrappers, but do eat what's inside. You get two dozen black laser-cut wraps to decorate your cupcakes (or other treats like brownie, cookies, muffins, or candies if you choose to go in another direction). Don't put them in the oven either; just use them to decorate the treat after baking. The wraps add an elegant and professional touch to your cupcakes with the filigree web pattern by Giveme5. Buy it here.
Day of the Dead Cupcake Wafer Paper Toppers | Buy it here
You can place these 12 edible toppers, about 1.5 inches in diameter each, on frosted cookies or cupcakes. The almost-tasteless toppers are made from wafer paper (potato starch, vegetable oil, water) and edible ink (food coloring). They're similar to a communion wafer and won't melt into the icing. Pre-cut and ready to use, each topper is handmade to order. Buy it here.
Amy Sowder is a New York City-based food and fitness writer who's also on Chowhound's editorial staff. She loves cheesy things, especially toasties and puns. She's trying to like mushrooms. Ice cream is a strong motivation for her running habit. Follow her on Instagram, Twitter, and her blog, What Do I Eat Now. Learn more at AmySowder.com.