Let the power of cheese cast a spell over your guests this Halloween by giving the standard party platter a silly, spooky makeover. This mixture of cream cheese, goat cheese and Parmesan can take on whatever bewitching shape your imagination conjures up — spider, monster, brain— with the help of plastic wrap or wax paper.

I chose to make a pumpkin adorned with black poppy seeds, orange bell peppers for the eyes and nose, and green olives for the mouth. Black pumpernickel toasts continue the creepy color theme. Decorating the cheeseball takes about 15 minutes, but it’s worth the effort because no creature will be able to resist this delectable treat.

Read on for the recipe…

Jack-o’-Lantern Cheeseball

The finished cheeseball needs to be refrigerated for at least two hours to set, so plan accordingly. Serves 20.

  • 6 8-ounce packages cream cheese, softened
  • 3 4-ounce packages goat cheese, softened
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 orange bell pepper
  • 1 large pretzel stick (such as Snyder’s “Rods”) broken into a 2-inch piece
  • 1 2-ounce container of black poppy seeds
  • Pitted green olives, sliced

Beat cheeses, salt and pepper with an electric mixer on low until
smooth. Shape into pumpkin using plastic wrap or wax paper as an aid,
and place on top of a plate covered with plastic wrap.

Cut eyes and
nose out of orange bell pepper and press onto cheese. Place pretzel on
top for stem. Cover cheese all over with poppy seeds, pressing to
adhere. Add olive slices in the shape of a mouth. Cool in the
refrigerator for at least two hours. When ready to serve, use plastic
wrap to transfer to serving platter. Surround with pumpernickel toasts,
crackers, or celery sticks.