Updated 21st Oct 2022
With Halloween nearly upon us, there's no shortage of food ideas to keep the kids and ourselves entertained. With a little bit of effort, you'll be able to create a Halloween themed bento to impress your family and friends. Bento boxes and in particular picnic bento boxes are ideal containers to pack food to bring to gatherings and parties. They are also perfect for presentation when entertaining at home.
But what do you prepare? There are so many ideas out there, and it can hard to decide what’s yummy and easy enough to prepare. Here are 5 bento ideas that will get you started this Halloween season. We haven’t detailed too much on the actual recipes but focused on how some food can be morphed into spooky and fun shapes and characters.
1. A 3 layered Halloween themed picnic bento
First layer: Cooked stuff
🎃 Frankenwraps - Spinach wrap with ham, cheese and cucumber (you can use any filling). Use cheese, olives and nori seaweed for the faces and arms.
🎃 Ghost face pizza - Cut out face shapes from sliced cheese and decorate face with olives, cut olives and arrange into spiders. Bake/toast as needed. Don't bake too long, as the cheese will melt and lose the face shape.
🎃 Toasted snakes - Wrap pizza dough around chopsticks, press one end for the head and lay on olives for eyes and bake for 220 degrees for 15 mins.
🎃 Sausage finger - Any cocktail Frankfurt, cut top off one end, and lay on cheese. Slice off 2 sections for joints.
Second layer: Candies and sweet stuff
🎃 Chocolate doughnut bat - You can make the doughnuts, or just buy it from the shops. You'll need to buy some eye-shaped icing (or make it!). Stab in the googly eyes and half-cut oreo for wings, and you can use corn or nuts for teeth. Icing for any face decorations.
🎃 Chocolate doughnut spider web - Use icing to draw the web, and cut out an olive to make the body and legs, and place in the hole.
🎃 Oreo bats - Marzipan with black colouring for the face, stab googly eyes and half-cut oreo wings into marzipan, and toothpick it into a mini muffin.
🎃 Ghost face breadsticks - Dip breadsticks into melted white baking chocolate several times to get a good coating, dry and then add draw a ghost face with icing. Careful not to break the breadstick!
🎃 Decorate with any lollies and candy.
Third layer: Fruit stuff
🎃 Deadpool tomato - Just cut Nori seaweed or olives for eyes.
🎃 Mummy apple - Just peel at random places and add olives or nuts for eyes.
🎃 Monster apple - Slice a small piece out for the mouth, add googly eyes and apple peel for the tongue and nuts for teeth.
🎃 Mandarin pumpkin - Peel and add a stem.
2. Your standard halloween work bento
Have a fun lunch at work during October. With just a few pieces of Halloween themed food, you can get right into the mood even at work. Great for the kids too!
🎃 Cocktail sausage fingers – Also used in the picnic bento above, this is a standard for Halloween bentos! After boiling, just cut out the joints and use cheese as the fingernail.
🎃 Capsicum ghosts – Cut in half and grill lightly with a basting of soy sauce. Leave the centre seeds to mimic the face, add eyes and you’ll have a ghost of a face.
🎃 Pumpkin, bat and ghost crepe/omelette cut outs – just use cookie cutters on a thinly prepared egg crepe.
🎃 Fill the other parts of the bento with broccoli or green veges for colour contrast. All topped on rice!
3. Riceball characters
You can make a really fun bento for kids with uniquely shaped riceballs. Here we are using just one layer of a picnic bento box, almost like a frame for a work of art 😉.
🎃 Makkuro kurosuke riceballs – these are characters from the anime, My Neighbour Totoro. Just make very small riceballs (with any filling you want), cover completely with seaweed, and put on eyes (here, we just use premade icing decoration eyes for convenience, but you can really use anything).
🎃 Bat, pumpkin and ghost shaped riceballs – the rice is first mixed with a shiso furikake seasoning, then use a cookie cutter to make the shapes. The trick here is to first dip the cookie cutter in water, then use a plastic wrap to line the cavity, then add the rice. This will prevent the rice from sticking to the cutter when you remove the plastic wrap from the mould. Just flip over and done!
🎃 Kinshi tamago (shredded egg crepe) – this is used as the background and provides a nice contrast. You’ll need to prepare a thin egg crepe/omelette, then slice thinly and cover the base of the picnic bento box.
🎃 After adding the egg and riceballs, decorate the spaces with some greens like broccoli and edamame, and some tomato to provide colour contrast.
4. Centrepiece spook
If you don’t have time to prepare many items for your bento, you can just prepare one main one, preferably rather large, and sit it in the centre of the bento, like with this capsicum joker bento.
🎃 Capsicum joker - Just cut one in half and stick in some bento toothpick eyes around the top. The seeds look like teeth, by using a large capsicum here, the shape will make it look like it is smiling like a joker. You can roast or grill the capsicum first if you don’t like it raw.
🎃 Mung bean vermicelli stir fry (called Harusame in Japanese) – Cooked with minced pork, bok choy and spring onions. Cover the base of the bento box first with the vermicelli, then lay on the centrepiece capsicum. For the base, you can use anything really – rice, pasta, salad even!
5. Simple enough halloween picnic bento box
We wrap up with another picnic bento box. You don’t have to spend hours preparing a picnic bento with many Halloween themed items. We know this can certainly be time consuming! For this bento, we made some character fruit shapes that was easy to prep in one layer, and baked some cookies (made with premix) in the other layer. There’s enough sugar in this one to keep the kids running around at a party for a while.
🎃 Kiwi Frankenstein – Raisin and pine nuts/seed mix to make the face. Peel the kiwi but leave a little at the top to mimic hair.
🎃 Mandarin pumpkin – Easy one. Stick some celery or fruit into the top of a peeled mandarin.
🎃 Ghost banana – Another easy one. Use the tips of a banana and black food ink to draw the face.
🎃 Monster face apple – Cut out a slice to make the mouth, and use pine nuts for teeth, and cake icing eyes.
🎃 Bat and pumpkin rock melon and apple cut outs – You can use any fruit that keeps the shape. Add more variety with different types of cookie cutters.
🎃 Strawberry eerie face – Simple. Just add some seeds from a edible seed mix for eyes.
🎃 Bat, ghost, pumpkin and cat cookies with snake lollies – Just use a cookie premix for the cookies (took us 25 mins to prepare this), arrange with some lollies.
Need more bento ideas?
Which Halloween food idea did you like? 🎃
You can find these ideas and other bento inspirations on our Instagram page.