Are you hosting a gruesome get-together for a crew of pint-size goblins? Throwing a children's party this time of year is no reason to be scared silly. Kids can help with fun recipes like Haunted House Cake (shown at right). Or consider the following tips and your fall festival will be as easy as pumpkin pie!

  • Keep decorations simple…and have the kids pitch in. They'll have fun making tissue paper ghosts and creating paper chains out of orange and black construction paper. Complete the look with inexpensive store-bought items, such as spiderwebs, black and orange balloons and crepe paper streamers.
  • If you're carving pumpkins before your autumn affair, don't discard the seeds. Wash them and lightly brown in vegetable oil; drain, then place on a baking sheet. Season and bake until crisp. Store the snacks in an airtight container until the party.
  • Put a spooky spin on everyday foods by giving them goose bump-inspiring names. If punch is on the menu, call it "Witch's Brew." Bowls of chili might be "Creepy Cauldrons" while a sweet snack mix can be "Graveyard Goodies." Peel seedless grapes and serve them as "Monster Eyeballs."
  • For an eerie entree, place English muffin halves on a baking sheet and top with pizza sauce and shredded cheddar cheese. Arrange chopped black olives over the cheese to make jack-o'- lantern faces. Bake until the cheese is melted.
  • Let little guests turn sugar cookies or cupcakes into monster morsels. Kids can frost the treats and use gumdrops, licorice and candy corn to create the faces of comical characters. Save time by baking the goodies a day early.