Edible swamp, bones and mud. Must be Halloween

ALISON LADMAN
The Associated Press
Modified: October 30, 2012 at 4:42 pm •  Published: October 30, 2012
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Party food is supposed to be easy. You are, after all, having a party to have a good time, right?

That's why we assembled these easy Halloween party dishes. Not only are they simple to assemble, they also require little planning and help keep the mood light and festive.

We started off with the dip. It's nice if not everything on Halloween revolves around sugar. Equally at home with a platter of vegetables or chips and pretzels, this avocado and cream cheese-based dip will appeal to kids and adults. Plus, Halloween is one of the few times of the year where food doesn't need to look pretty.

For something bready, we went with frozen puff pastry formed into "bones." Puff pastry is a cinch to work with. You'll find it in the grocer's freezer section. Each package contains two sheets. Simply thaw according to package directions, then unfold, slice, season and bake. And feel free to play around with the spices we suggest, swapping in Italian seasoning, chili powder or even curry powder for the Old Bay seasoning.

For a sweet touch, we went with pots of dirt. Or rather, peanut butter and hot fudge blended with a few other tasty ingredients to resemble dirt.

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CREAMY SWAMP DIP

Start to finish: 10 minutes

Servings: 16

3 ripe avocados, peeled and pitted

8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1/4 cup chopped black olives

1/2 cup chopped Peppadew peppers

1/4 cup chopped marinated mushrooms

Salt and ground black pepper

In a food processor, combine the avocados, cream cheese and balsamic vinegar. Process until smooth. Transfer the mixture to a medium bowl, then mix in the olives, Pappadews and marinated mushrooms. Season with salt and black pepper. If not serving immediately, cover with plastic wrap, pressing it onto the surface of the dip.

Nutrition information per serving: 120 calories; 100 calories from fat (83 percent of total calories); 11 g fat (4 g saturated;0 g trans fats); 15 mg cholesterol; 4 g carbohydrate; 3 g fiber; 1 g sugar; 2 g protein; 85 mg sodium.

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