WITH vampires, werewolves and zombies still all the rage on our screens, Halloween is the perfect time to show off your creative side.

Even if your costume-crafting skills don’t stretch beyond cutting eyes out of a sheet, you can keep the kids happy by following the lead of Annabel Karmel.

The best-selling children’s cookery author shares her tips for making Halloween the spookiest night of the year.


  • When trick-or-treating, telephone any friends nearby and warn them in advance that you will be popping over so they are prepared and children are not disappointed. Also, visit houses with pumpkins or Halloween decorations as this suggests they are happy to receive trick-or-treaters.
  • If you have a large pumpkin, hollow it out and put a glass or plastic bowl inside and use it as a children’s punch bowl.
  • Don’t forget to buy treats to hand out to children who visit your house trickor-treating. As well as bite-sized chocolates and sweets, stock up on nonedible treats such as stickers.
  • A nice idea for party decorations is to hollow out oranges and cut out little faces in the side so they look like mini-pumpkins.
  • Remember to have a few tricks ready when you go out trick-ortreating. You could encourage children to make up spooky jokes or take a small black plastic bag filled with cooked spaghetti to feel like worms.
  • A fun activity to do with children before a party is to collect some twigs from the park, put them in a basket or vase and use pieces of ribbon to hang pictures the children have drawn of bats, spiders and skeletons.
  • Play witches’ cauldron, a game that will send shivers down children’s spines. Fill a bowl with items that represent different body parts: peeled grapes for eyeballs, linked sausages for intestines, cauliflower for brains, a balloon filled with water for a heart, liquorice laces for veins or jelly for liver. Get the children to sit blindfolded in a circle and take it in turns to pull out an item and guess what it is.



225g plain flour
1 tbsp baking powder
125g butter softened
125g caster sugar
Quarter tsp salt
1 egg
200ml milk
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
100g raisins
125g pumpkin, peeled and

1 tub vanilla frosting
Green food colouring
White fondant icing
Black fondant icing


Preheat the oven to 180C (fan).

Line a 12-hole muffin tin with muffin cases. Measure all the ingredients into a free-standing electric mixer. Whisk until blended. Spoon into the cases.

Bake for about 20 to 25 minutes until well risen and lightly golden on top. Place the muffins on a wire rack to cool.

Colour about half the frosting green using some of the food colouring. When the muffins are completely cool, swirl the green icing on top of the muffins using a piping bag with a plain nozzle. Make small balls of white fondant icing and flatten them to make the whites of the eyes. Make smaller balls of black fondant icing and flatten them to make the pupils of the eyes. Roll out some black icing and use to make eyebrows and moustaches.



2 egg whites

1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar

100g caster sugar


In a small bowl, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar on medium speed until soft peaks form. Gradually add sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating on high until stiff peaks form.

Place mixture in a piping bag with plain nozzle or heavy-duty resealable plastic bag with a small hole cut in the corner.

On parchment-lined baking sheets, pipe meringue into a 3- inch log. Pipe two 1-inch balls on opposite sides of each end of the log. Repeat with remaining meringue. Bake at 110C for one-and-a-half hours or until firm. Remove to wire racks. Store in an airtight container.