If you can stomach the thought of eating during horror movies, it makes sense to match your food to the flick—and it makes scary movie night even more fun. Just imagine serving split pea soup during a showing of “The Exorcist,” or roasting Cornish game hens to peck at during “The Birds.” Having a horror movie food and film fest is the perfect activity for Halloween fans who want a low-key evening (there’s never been a better time to stay home than 2020), but for some of us, this kind of thing goes on all year.
Swedish meatballs to go with “Let the Right One In.” But there are also scores of easier options with broader appeal, from ordering a pizza when you put on “House of the Devil” or offering Froot Loops during “Get Out,” to simply buying a bunch of pig snacks (pork rinds), Cornettos (or Nutty Buddy ice cream cones for a U.S. equivalent), and plenty of beer to round out a “Shaun of the Dead” viewing.There are far too many fantastic scary movies to list them all, and a lot lend themselves to pretty obvious (but no less gleefully ghoulish) pairings—like liver with “Silence of the Lambs,” or
If you’re up for something slightly more ambitious, try one of the recipes below, handpicked to accompany some of our favorite horror movies. They’re roughly split between sweet and savory, so for your socially distant Halloween party (or next Saturday night), consider picking one from each category and making it a double feature—if the idea doesn’t make you too squeamish, that is.
Spoiler Alert: While we’re not giving away entire plots, some key elements are alluded to and you may learn more than you want to know, so proceed with caution!
First Showing: Savory
A classic horror movie and a classic appetizer that just happen to have a great affinity for each other, seeing as how the split baked figs really resemble the eggs from which the baby facehuggers emerge. Don’t let that deter you, though, because they’re also totally delicious, and a perfect finger food for snacking! Stuff them and top them however you like, from the vegan version shown above to this Stuffed Figs with Goat Cheese recipe.
“Midsommar” + Gravlax with Edible Flowers
Any Scandinavian nibbles would work well here, and if you’re truly the ambitious type, you could even (attempt to) recreate the phantasmagoric feast depicted in the movie—but for a lighter bite, gravlax fits the theme and is easy to eat on toast points or crispbread on the couch. Add whatever fixings you like, then pile on as many edible flowers as you can find for the full effect; you can even form the sliced salmon into roses too. (A pot pie is another fine option, but please be careful to ensure no, er, foreign material ends up in the filling…)
We chose these pork chops because of the char factor—but any food that benefits from a brief flare-up is a worthy choice for this dramatically demonic movie. Because the rice does bear some resemblance to certain creepy crawlies, you may want to skip that accompaniment and stick to something safer, like bread. And follow it up with some chocolate cake, by all means, but be absolutely sure it’s safe to serve to those with nut allergies (if you weren’t paranoid about such things before, you might be after this film). Get our Charred Pork Chops with Brown Rice recipe.
This trippy art-house horror flick is a wild ride that’s not for everyone, but those who appreciate Nicolas Cage’s displays of celluloid insanity will definitely want to check it out. And although Cheddar Goblin may only appear for a few seconds of screen time, you’re bound to remember the macaroni mascot, fondly or otherwise. It’s only appropriate to make a big batch of stovetop mac and cheese in the creature’s honor. Get our Stovetop Mac and Cheese recipe.
If you’re up for a double feature, here’s another Cage gem with Lovecraftian origins (plus plenty of body horror, Tommy Chong, and alpacas). You might expect tentacles, but our pick is a magenta-hued snack that mimics the celestial shade so prominent in the movie. Beet hummus is ideal even on its own, but obviously better scooped up with beet chips if you can take the intensity. Wash it down with whiskey if you like, but skip the rocks if you’re unsure of the water quality.
If you, like the vampires’ minion in this movie, occasionally crave raw hamburger, learn how to make steak tartare and serve it up while you watch this disturbing tale. Otherwise, consider smoked salmon to evoke the Alaskan setting, and make it a bagel breakfast casserole as a tribute to the rising of the sun, which you’ll be hoping for as fervently as the besieged town of Barrow. But don’t count on the garlic in the bagels protecting you, because these bloodthirsty monsters are not repelled by much of anything. Get our Smoked Salmon and Bagel Breakfast Casserole recipe.
This Manifest Destiny cannibal black comedy/horror movie is pretty odd (even before you factor in its eccentric soundtrack by Damon Albarn, and David Arquette as a stoner frontiersman), but it’s a modern cult classic, and worth watching at least once just so you can say you have. You may never be able to look at a big steaming pot of beef stew the same way ever again, though. Get our Beef Stew recipe.
Apart from the slowly stalking harbingers of death and glimpses of dilapidated Detroit, one of the most iconic visual bits of this movie is the clamshell-shaped e-reader one character uses in several scenes; it makes it impossible to place the movie in a specific time or reality, despite the overwhelming ’80s vibe. Get your hands on some scallop shells to pay homage, and pile them with bite-size seafood sprinkled with buttery, crisp breadcrumbs and pancetta. Get the Baked Sea Scallops recipe.
“Spring” + Sauteed Calamari with Parsley and Garlic (or Grilled Octopus)
This comparatively under-the-radar horror-romance is set on the Italian coast, so it’s a good excuse to make any garlic-heavy seafood dish—say, lobster risotto if you’re not a fan of squid. But know that tentacles are thematically appropriate—and that you probably want to eat yours well before they show up on screen. Get our Sauteed Calamari with Parsley and Garlic recipe (shown at the top of the page), or try your hand at cooking octopus.
The bulk of this Stephen King story adaptation sees the characters barricaded in a grocery store, grilling the meat department’s offerings to sustain themselves, so really, anything you can grill in the comfort of your own home (or safely in your backyard, free of monster-hiding mist) is fair game, but these bacon-wrapped hot dogs are a little freakish—in the best way possible—so they seem an especially good choice. (Also, the B-movie aspects of this creature feature fare much better when you watch it in black and white.) Get our Spiral-Cut Bacon Hot Dogs recipe.
Fondue is a perennially great party food, and it’s also perfectly emblematic of the 1970s, during which both of this franchise’s films were set. That means it also works for “The Amityville Horror”—or anything else that takes place in the same time period (or was actually made during it). And if you prefer chocolate fondue to cheese, that’s always an option, which helps us transition into dessert. Get our Cheese Fondue recipe.
Second Showing: Sweet
This claustrophobic flick about a group of friends exploring an uncharted cave system (with dire consequences, of course) calls for trail mix as a nod to the necessity of packing light—but baking it into cookies is safer than just eating it from bowls. Otherwise, certain jump scares might have you plucking dozens of individual pieces of fruit and nuts from your floor (and you are not going to want to get your face too close to that deeply shadowed cavern under your couch for a while after this one). Get this Peanut Butter Trail Mix Cookies recipe.
Death metal, loving families, and possible Satanic possession (among other elements) make for a rather captivating watch. Fireball whisky, with its flaming burn and fire-breathing dragon on the bottle, makes a fitting accompaniment—but turn it into marshmallows and it’s even more on-theme. Simultaneously sweet and searing, and technically candy, you can always toss them in hot chocolate or s’mores if you prefer an even warmer treat. Get the Fireball Whisky Marshmallows recipe.
A blood-dripping red velvet cake is perfect for any number of slasher movies, from “Hush” to “Scream”—and blood-drenched classics like “Halloween.” If you want to get even gorier, see how to hide dripping raspberry blood inside—and consider bloody cupcakes if the thought of wielding an actual knife on the night of turns you into a scream queen. Get the Bloody Halloween Cake recipe. (If serving for a viewing of “The Shining,” consider planting a hand axe in the top.)
Before the Babadook was an out-of-left-field LGBTQ icon, he was a terrifying specter at the center of this emotionally draining movie that’s also plenty stomach-turning in places. Feed your fear (and your twisted gut) with these disturbingly realistic gummy worms and some crushed-Oreo dirt—and just try not to squirm. Get the Realistic Gummy Worms recipe.
The most fitting foods to pair with this tense flick are any that you can eat without making a sound—chocolate mousse is lighter than a whisper, so it’s a perfect candidate, but it definitely won’t survive til the end of the film. Get our Chocolate Mousse recipe.
Wouldst thou like the taste of…butter? Wouldst thou like to live deliciously? If thou wouldst, a classic gooey butter cake is your best bet here—with pumpkin added in honor of the spooky season. Serving a braised rabbit (or goat!) main course beforehand is totally optional, as is the boxed cake shortcut; see how to make the gooey butter cake base from scratch if you prefer. Get the Pumpkin Pie Gooey Butter Cake recipe.
“Hocus Pocus” + Halloween Candy Bark
OK, this one is in no way scary (except for the fact that in retrospect, it’s actually kind of awful), but for those of a certain generation, it’s a classic must-watch around Halloween, and a nice palate cleanser if you need something to calm your nerves after a truly frightening flick. It’s sweetly nostalgic and encapsulates so much of what we love about the holiday—just like this Halloween bark full of all the candy you used to get in your bucket. Switch it up so your personal favorites are represented, but don’t skip the candy eyes, as a nod to the iconic spell book at the heart of the movie. Alternatively, you could make this a little less cutesy and eat it while watching “Candyman” (honeycomb would be the most appropriate addition in that case). Get the Halloween Candy Bark recipe.