Most people call this time of year "fall" or "autumn," but for anyone who's into Halloween, September and October are known as "spooky season." Rather than relegating All Hallows' Eve to one brief day and night, spooky season stretches out the frights to several weeks of decorating, scary movies, and of course, parties.
If you're planning a graveyard smash this year, you already know you're going to need a lot more than candy to entertain all the ghouls and goblins in your life. A well-stocked charcuterie or snack board is always a solid way to entertain a crowd at any event, and if you want to take it to the next level for your next fright night, style your meat, cheese, and other bites into a professional-looking pumpkin-shaped snack board.
All you need to make a seasonal snack display for Halloween is a large round cutting board or platter for arranging the food, at least one cookie cutter that's triangular or any spooky shape you can get your hands on, and a sharp knife. For food supplies, think lots of orange and a little bit of black, and perhaps a little yellow and brown. Once you have all your supplies, it's time to arrange.
Read more: The Ultimate Guide To Snacks In America
Foods You Can Use
To make a big orange pumpkin, you're going to need a lot of orange-colored food. Naturally, you'll want to reach for some orange-tinted cheeses, like American cheddar, pre-packaged soft cheese spreads, darker goudas that lean toward the orange side, and imported cheeses like Devonshire Red. If you're looking for premium cheeses, shop the fine cheese section at stores like Whole Foods and Wegmans, where they have pre-cut chunks, so you can see the color of the inside of the cheese.
A snack board is more than just cheese, however. Mix in some fruits and vegetables, like carrot sticks, orange bell peppers, peeled clementines or mandarin sections, slices of nectarine or peach, dried apricots, and orange cherry tomatoes. You'll also need some black things for the eyes, nose, and mouth of your snack-o'-lantern, so grab some blackberries, black olives, or dark purple carrots.
It's not a snack board without, well, snacks, so fill out your shopping list with some crunchy, salty snacks, like cheese crackers, Cheetos, Doritos, Sun Chips, cheese popcorn, and cheese balls. It's also totally okay (and even encouraged) to incorporate a dip or two, so add the ingredients for a cream cheese pumpkin dip and a jar of queso to the list. Plus, you can doctor up a container of hummus with some turmeric to turn it orange, or mix up a packet of taco seasoning with some sour cream for an orange-colored taco dip.
Arrange Everything On The Board
Once you have all your snack supplies, it's time to make your pumpkin display. All you have to do is fill in the platter space in the shape of a jack-o'-lantern. It's a little easier to make the pumpkin's face first with your black or dark-colored foods and then fill out the rest of the board with groupings of orange bites and bowls.
It's also a little easier to arrange pieces into an artful shape if they're small, so lean on your cookie cutters for anything soft. Cutting your bites into different shapes also makes the display more fun. Cheese, for example, can be cut with cookie cutters to make a pile of ghosts, cats, or bats. If you want smaller pieces, try searching for bento box cutters, which come in lots of small shapes that are an inch or so in size. Whatever is left over from all the cutting can get chopped up and added to a salad or wrap for lunch the next day.
Once you get everything arranged, take a step back and look at the whole picture to see if you need to fill in any spots or tweak the eyes, nose, and mouth. If you want, you can top it off with a stalk of broccoli or something else green for the stem, and then your pro-looking pumpkin snack board is ready to serve.
Read the original article on Daily Meal.