When I was a little girl, I loved Halloween. We lived in a neighborhood with tons of kids my age and the trick or treating game was on point.
My ever supportive parents totally indulged my Halloween obsessions. As soon as the calendar would flip to October I'd become fixated on planning my costume. My dad, the crafty one (shocking, but true), was always at the ready to help me assemble my masterpiece.
A few days before Halloween, my dad, my sister and I would take a dolly and roll it the mile or so from our house to the pumpkin stand. We'd comb through tray after tray of pumpkins until we'd found the perfect ones for our jack-o-lanterns. Then we'd strap them in and roll them home.
The night before was devoting to transforming our front porch. We'd put out our carved pumpkins, cover the porch in fake cobwebs (my favorite) and we even had a mat that screamed when you stepped on it. Like I said, I was into it.
But my favorite family Halloween tradition was our annual black and orange dinner. On Halloween night, before we went out trick or treating, we'd always set the table in the dining room (reserved for special occasions only) and we'd feast on a meal made entirely of black and orange foods.
Those who have been reading the blog for a while know that my dad is an amazing cook and he loves a challenge (this is why Thanksgiving is like his personal Super Bowl). So when my sister and I hatched this idea for the black and orange dinner, each year he'd come up with more and more sophisticated dishes.
I thought it would be fun to share some of our old standbys as well as some new ideas I found on Pinterest (which is a gold mine for recipes if you don't already scour it on a regular basis).
Let's start with a special drink. I love this spooky caldron cocktail from Kara's Party Ideas. The smoke is made with dry ice.
As a starter, my dad always used to make black bean soup. Check out this five ingredient recipe from Gimme Some Oven.
If black bean soup isn't your taste, prepare to drool over this pumpkin soup with gruyere from Bon Appetit. I love this presentation.
This year I discovered another fun recipe in a pumpkin which meets both the color requirements for this themed dinner - squid ink pasta!
My sister and I always wanted macaroni and cheese for the main course. Our parents had us on a pretty healthy diet, but Halloween was one of the few nights a year we could make Kraft macaroni and cheese. The blue box blues!
If you want to make a version that's a bit more sophisticated and a bit more Halloween-y try this recipe for pumpkin mac & cheese from Chocolate Covered Katie.
I also think this version with butternut squash from Nosh and Nourish sounds super delicious.
If you have leftover butternut squash, you can use it to make fries! Sweet potato fries would add a nice pop of orange too.
Year after year, I always felt it was easier to come up with orange foods. Thanks to Pinterest, I have some brand spankin' new ideas to even out the color ratio. If you like the idea of breakfast for dinner (and who doesn't?) whip up these chocolate zucchini waffles.
Now for the best part of any meal, dessert!
There are several options for black and orange desserts, starting with these pumpkin Oreo cheesecakes from Inside BruCrew Life. You'll notice the Oreo makes an appearance in several Halloween recipes.
Another black and orange dessert option - whoopie pies!
If you have mason jars, you can also build cupcake trifles. This photo is from Glorious Treats, but you may remember my friend Stephanie also made a delicious version for my Emmy Awards viewing party. Check out her recipe here.
Remember dirt dessert from when we were kids? Swap the gummi worms for candy pumpkins and ta da! Halloween dirt dessert.
With those same candy pumpkins and a fresh bag of Oreos (told you they'd resurface) you can create the world's most delicious graveyard.
With the help of Milano cookies and a jar of peanutbutter, you can also make this version of a graveyard dessert.
If you're feeling super fancy, you can try this take on the graveyard dessert with whipped cream ghosts. Our Best Bites gives an awesome step-by-step tutorial.
Now before I share these last two dessert items, I have to make something clear. I am a purist. I feel that all the food in the black and orange Halloween dinner should be black and orange. My sister, more open minded and more flexible than me in a million ways, thinks that white should also be a major player in the themed dinner.
If you take my sister's approach and allow white foods (a nod to ghosts) then give these Oreo donuts with vanilla glaze a whirl. Arrange them on a tray to spell "Boo" for an extra Halloween flair.
Continuing the white/Oreo recipes, how fun are these Oreo pudding pops? I'd eat these any day of the year!
And there you have it! I hope today's post helps you menu plan for any Halloween celebrations you're hosting or attending. All of these recipes (and many more) are on my Black & Orange Dinner Pinterest board.
Does your family have an annual Halloween tradition?
*All images courtesy of Pinterest.