Mother and teenage kids are preparing food for Halloween party.

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17 Halloween Dinners Perfect To Eat Before Trick-Or-Treating

You know, before the dessert of 87 mini candy bars.

Trick-or-treating is the pinnacle holiday event of parenthood to me. Even more than Christmas morning — it really just looks the same for every family. You’re all rushing around, finding costume accessories and putting on face paint, and you’re also trying to figure out what to eat before trick-or-treating so everyone doesn’t immediately gorge themselves on mini Reese’s and Snickers. Halloween dinner ideas are not always easy to make happen.

Because of course Halloween takes some prep work, and you want a Halloween dinner that’s easy to make, is a crowd pleaser, and will be a good “base” in everyone’s bellies before all the candy. And hey, if Candy For Dinner is your Halloween vibe, then go for it. But there are plenty of great Halloween dinner recipes that are a good mix of protein, carbs, and fat to keep everyone from melting down too early on Halloween.

If the idea of cooking dinner on a holiday — when your kids are constantly asking you, “Is it time? Can we go yet? Where is the my $75 skeleton mask?” as you try to peel potatoes — then please know there are plenty of easy Halloween dinner options:

  • frozen chicken nuggets
  • boxed mac and cheese
  • frozen burritos
  • tacos
  • hot dogs and chips
  • canned soup
  • sandwiches and chips
  • breakfast for dinner

By the way, when I say “breakfast for dinner,” I 100% mean a frozen waffle or a bowl of cereal. It’s Halloween! Put out the spiderweb tablecloth and just enjoy feeding your kids something quick and easy for Halloween dinner. But if you want a little extra sustenance, the below options are great to eat before trick-or-treating.


Halloween Quesadillas

Who doesn’t love a quesadilla? If you need a quick, easy Halloween dinner that your kids will actually eat and that are on theme, try out these Halloween candy corn quesadillas featured on Yummly. Don’t worry — there’s no real candy corn involved.


Ghost Blob Pizza

Another fun themed idea is the ghost blob pizza from A Pretty Life in the Suburbs. The ghosts melt perfectly into creepy little blobs on the pizza, and you could easily prep a bunch of this earlier in the day and throw it together right after school for an early Halloween dinner.


Halloween Worms

This Yummly-featured recipe for Halloween worms is so gross and hilarious, but kids will get a big kick out of it and probably gobble them up. Major crowd pleaser, easy to throw together, and also a great option if you’re having people over because you can make a bunch at once.


Crockpot Beef Chili

Chili is an all-time Halloween dinner favorite because you can throw it all together earlier in the day, it’s loaded with protein to keep everyone from having too many candy crashes, and you can let everyone customize their bowl to their liking with toppings. This recipe for crockpot chili from Half-Baked Harvest is pretty hands-off, so it’s a great option for busy families.


Easy Loaded Baked Potato Soup

Another easy hands-off Halloween dinner is this loaded baked potato soup from A Spicy Perspective. You can make it on the stove or in a crockpot, and it’s another excellent, stick-to-your-ribs option for Halloween.


Classic Spaghetti & Meatballs

Spaghetti and meatballs from Damn Delicious is an absolute classic, and this recipe works so well for Halloween. Your kids are sure to eat, even if they’re dying of excitement about trick-or-treating, and you can even have leftovers for easy lunches the next day so you’re not cutting sandwiches after a night of chasing little ghosts for candy buckets.


Slow Cooker Lasagna

Want another slow cooker recipe? Perfect, then try this lasagna soup from Gimme Some Oven. An easy, budget-friendly Halloween dinner option and so ridiculously good. Also a breeze to make, and easy to reheat if you want an extra bowl after trick-or-treating.


Halloween Pizza Skulls

These silicone skull molds were all the rage a few years ago, and for good reason. I’m obsessed with these Halloween pizza skulls featured on Yummly, and these would be a really fun themed Halloween dinner. Make them early in the day and reheat them right before trick-or-treating.


Frankenstein Pasta

I’m a big fan of holiday dishes really just being normal foods shaped into seasonal symbols, and this Frankenstein pasta featured on Yummly is the perfect example. Feel free to customize and play around with what your family likes, but a big bowl of pasta right before trick-or-treating is always a good choice.


Ghost Shepherd’s Pie

I’m biased, but I think the perfect “base” for a night of candy is a big hearty serving of shepherd’s pie, and I’m obsessed with this version of Halloween shepherd’s pie featured on Yummly. It’s your classic dish, but just turn the mashed potatoes into ghosts instead of another layer on top. So fun and so good.


Chicken Meatballs With Orzo & Peppers

Not everything has to be Halloween-themed though, and this Pinch of Yum recipe for chicken meatballs with peppers and orzo is perfect to eat before trick-or-treating. You can easily make a huge batch if you have friends and family coming over, but it’s also a mild taste for picky eaters and full of all the good things you want to eat on Halloween. (Before the candy, that is.)


Slow Cooker Smothered Beef Tips

Another hearty protein-rich option is this recipe for slow cooker smothered beef tips from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe. Pile them on top of a big bed of pillowy mashed potatoes for a super easy and delicious dinner that will keep everyone full all night long.


Instant Pot Pulled Pork

This recipe could not be more hands-off if it tried, which is great for Halloween. Mom on Timeout’s Instant Pot pulled pork recipe makes some amazing barbecue sandwiches, but you could also use them to fill tacos, or just eat in a big pile with some veggies and other favorite sides.


Meaty Eyeballs & Breadstick Bones

I am disgusted and mesmerized by these meaty eyeballs and breadstick bones from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe. These are so ridiculously fun — mini meatloaves shaped into eyes and served with breadstick “bones” — but they’re also still full of protein and all the good things that’ll keep your energy up for trick-or-treating.


Cornbread Chicken & Dumplings

A Cozy Kitchen’s recipe for cornbread chicken and dumplings is so easy, it’s almost criminal. Making the dumplings out of cornmeal really adds in some amazing texture and flavor, but the whole dish is a perfect one for picky eaters and is a very good choice if you want a meal full of sustenance.


Homemade Mac & Cheese

There is zero shame in pulling out a box of macaroni and cheese to make, but if you want to go homemade and serve something easy that even the most excited kids will sit down and devour, try this extra cheesy homemade mac and cheese from Budget Bytes. It’s packed with cheese and is the perfect ooey gooey texture.


Crockpot Stuffed Pepper Soup

And one more dish for the slow cooker category: stuffed pepper soup from Cook Nourish Bless. So good and easy, and a nice change from some of the other soups and dishes on this list. This is an especially great one for parents who’ve barely eaten all day with all of the last-minute Halloween prep.

No matter what you eat before trick-or-treating, the important thing to remember is that it’s Halloween! Go have some fun. If all anyone eats before they run out the door is a cup of yogurt and a handful of crackers, that’s just fine. You can conjure up something later.