For many families, Halloween can be one of the busiest nights of the year. Between outfitting children in costumes, last-minute costume changes, face painting and getting everyone fed, the evening can quickly get away from you. Thankfully, with a little planning, it is easy to create a simple and nutritious dairy-packed menu that can be made ahead and enjoyed before trick-or-treating ensues.

This frighteningly delicious Halloween appetizer spread boasts a spectacularly spooky lineup of hot and cold dips, cheesy sliders, crispy Parmesan bites, antipasta skewers, Frankenstein smoothies and chocolate milk. It’s ideal for an evening that promises to host drop-in guests, neighbors and, of course, your family. You’ll feel good serving these dairy-based recipes designed to taste delicious and offer a wealth of nutrition.

Halloween Party Appetizers

Light and Crunch: Herb Parmesan Crisps

Southeast Dairy Association - Herb Parmesan Crisps

Light and crispy Parmesan bites are similar to potato chips (but so much better)! Allow your favorite kitchen helpers to shred the cheese, mix with fresh herbs and spoon into individual crisps on a baking sheet. These Parmesan bites are baked (versus fried) and are lactose-free, allowing everyone to enjoy their salty, herbed flavor.

Hot Dip: Hot Pizza Dip

Southeast Dairy Association - Hot Pizza Dip

For a show-stopping party favorite, you can’t miss cheesy Hot Pizza Dip. Like most of the recipes shared in this lineup, prep the dip ahead (but don’t bake it yet), store in the fridge and then bake 30 minutes before your gathering. This pizza dip delivers all of the flavor of takeout pizza without having to wait on the delivery. Serve with toasted baguette slices or mini naan.

Cold Dips: Greek Yogurt Dip Trio

Southeast Dairy Association - Greek Yogurt Dip Trio

Transform one container of plain Greek yogurt into three flavorful party dips: Indian Spiced Greek Yogurt Dip, Cheddar Sriracha Greek Yogurt Dip and Black Bean Mango Greek Yogurt Dip. Whether you choose to make all three dips or simply pick one favorite, serve alongside crunchy veggies like baby carrots, cucumber rounds and celery sticks. Most importantly, these dips can be made up to 12 hours in advance, leaving plenty of time for Halloween evening prep.

Hot and Hearty: Cheese Burger Stuffed Sliders with Onion Jam

Southeast Dairy Association - cheese stuffed sliders

Filled with gooey cheese, these stuffed sliders are topped with caramelized balsamic onions. Make the onion jam and form the burger patties ahead. When it’s time to eat, pop the sliders on the grill or in a grill pan. The protein from the cheese and ground beef will help fuel your crew through a fun-filled night of trick-or-treating.

Cold and Crisp: Antipasta Skewers

Southeast Dairy Association - Antipasta Skewers

There are multiple ways to serve this simple skewered appetizer. First, you can bring your kids into the kitchen and let them make the skewers for you. Second, you can place individual bowls of ingredients such as multiple types of cheese (like cheddar or mozzarella), cherry tomatoes, basil leaves, olives, artichoke hearts, tortellini and meat on a tray along with empty skewers and allow your party guests to DIY their own skewers. Finally, you can skip the skewers all together and toss all of the ingredients together in a bowl for a simple antipasta salad. 

Halloween Party Drinks:

“Count Dracula” Chocolate Milk

For a sweet treat that can also be part of a healthy diet, serve spooktacular chocolate milk with dinner. The Official Drink of Halloween, chocolate milk helps children meet their daily dairy requirements and provides 9 essential vitamins and minerals including vitamin D, potassium and calcium. Plus, depending on the brand, one cup of chocolate milk can have as few as 2 teaspoons of added sugar, compared to 8 teaspoons in a candy bar. 

“Frankenstein” Green Machine Smoothies

Southeast Dairy Association - green machine smoothie

Adding iron-rich spinach to a smoothie turns the color a bright green, so use this ghoulish hue to your advantage by offering Frankenstein Green Smoothies. Entice your guests by serving these Greek yogurt-based smoothies in a small Mason jar with a Frankenstein face drawn on the outside.

Find More Hair-Raising Halloween Recipes  

Love this menu but want to make a few ghostly-good swaps? No problem! You can find dozens of chilling choices from The Dairy Alliance. These faves are sure to make your bones rattle!

What are you making for dinner on Halloween? Share with us on Twitter at @TheDairyRD and @dairy_alliance.

Holley Grainger, MS, RD is a nationally recognized expert on “good for you” nutrition and “fun for you” living. She’s also a loving mom who enjoys bringing healthy fun flavored with creativity, ease and sheer enjoyment of all things food, family and beyond. She brings nutritious food to life with a contagious excitement, plus a couple of pint-sized helpers.