The spookiest time of year calls for a spooktacular food spread. Make a Halloween Charcuterie Board to help make your Halloween fun, but not too scary.
It’s hard to top a charcuterie board for celebrating special days. While they feel extra fancy, cheese boards only take a few minutes to come together, and there is something on the board that everyone in the family will like! And with a few special Halloween extras, you can take your charcuterie board to char-BOO-terie board in just a few minutes.
This cheese board is the perfect snack for pre-trick-or-treating. It’s easy to munch on while everyone is busy getting their costumes on or enjoying a Halloween party. It provides some much-appreciated substantial food before the candy onslaught begins. And, maybe best of all, it comes together in only about 10 minutes—so you can enjoy your spooky scary holiday with the fam!
What is a Halloween charcuterie board?
A Halloween charcuterie board is the show-stopper your Halloween party needs! It’s an arrangement of cheese, cured meats, crackers, and snacky goodies, all on one big board. We love it because it takes just minutes to put together and has so many different textures and flavors—there is a little something for everyone!
What meats and cheese should I put on my charcuterie board?
For meats and cheeses, you’ll want to choose a wide variety of textures, flavors, and colors to add visual and flavor interest. We recommend at least:
- One soft cheese, like Brie or goat cheese
- One hard cheese, like Parmesan, gruyere, or cheddar
- One crumbly cheese, such as blue cheese or feta
- Two meats. At least one should be cured, such as salami, prosciutto, or pepperoni. The second can be another cured meat, or you can include something uncured, such as ham.
If you’re at a higher-end grocery store with a cheese counter, look for a bargain bin. Many will have a basket of cheese ends that were too small for people to order, and these can be the perfect size for a cheese board (and will cost considerably less). It’s a great way to get a lot of variety and to try something new!
What other foods should I put on my Halloween charcuterie board?
The sky’s the limit when it comes to stocking a charcuterie board! But we like to try to have at least one or two things from each of these categories:
- Crunchy. You’ll need something to put the cheese on! Rice crackers, water crackers, cheese crisps, bagel chips, crunchy breadsticks, and pita chips are all favorites. If they don’t fit on the charcuterie board, you can offer them in small bowls on the side. Candied walnuts and salty nuts are great additions, too.
- Salty. Stuffed olives (pimento-stuffed green olives are particularly spooky), marinated artichoke hearts, pickles, and Marcona almonds are all good choices.
- Sweet. We wanted to incorporate some orange color reminiscent of Halloween pumpkins, so dried apricots and dried mango were our sweet treats of choice. We also love to include chocolate-covered almonds, chocolate squares, yogurt-covered raisins, or small cookies.
- Fruits and Veggies. We stuck with dark or red fruits for our Halloween board to add to the spooky vibe: blackberries, raspberries, grapes, figs, pomegranate arils, persimmon slices, cherries, and strawberries are great. For vegetables, cherry tomatoes, sliced bell pepper, or blanched vegetables all work.
- Condiments. Honey, jams, grainy mustard, hot sauce, or other dips.
- Garnishes. To stick with the Halloween theme, we chose some spooky decorations for garnish. We used bloodshot candy eyes (available in the Halloween baking aisle at your supermarket), small skulls, and a skeleton hand candle holder that we used to hold a bowl of olives. Small plastic spiders would also be a great addition (just make sure everyone knows what is and what isn’t edible).
Do you have to use a wood board for charcuterie?
Nope! Any large flat surface will work: a big cutting board, a serving platter, or even a baking sheet can do the trick! For Halloween, a large slate board is our favorite—its dark color can add to the spooky festive feel.
How much food do I need?
This can be a little tough to estimate and depends on how much other food, if any, will be available. Are you serving your charcuterie board as an appetizer or to take the place of a meal? Here are some good rules of thumb:
- For an appetizer: One standard-size wedge/piece (4-6 ounces each) of cheese or meat per three people served.
- For a main: One standard-size wedge/piece (4-6 ounces each) of cheese or meat per two people served.
But if you want a great mix of textures and flavors, you may need more than this. When in doubt, we err on the side of more meat and cheese.
What do you put on the charcuterie board first?
When it comes to snack boards like these, I have a very “pile and go” mentality. And the first thing I put down are the big wedges of cheese.
If you’re short on time (or serving mostly adults), you can get away with not pre-slicing your cheese. Instead, we put the uncut pieces of cheese on the tray with cheese knives so that guests can slice to whatever thickness they’d like.
If you are serving a bunch of little goblins, you might want to pre-slice or pre-cube your cheese so little hands can quickly grab their snack without having to ask an adult to help with the knife.
How to assemble your Halloween charcuterie board
For the most beautiful board, here is the order in which we build our Halloween charcuterie boards:
- Cheese first. Space the cheeses evenly throughout the surface of the board.
- If there are any large decorations you want to incorporate (like that skeleton hand holding the olives), put them down now so you don’t run out of space for them!
- Pile the meats around the cheeses.
- Add the salty items. Using the cheese wedges as focal points, arrange the nuts, olives, and other savory items around the cheeses and meats. For items that tend to roll away like olives, use small bowls to keep them corralled.
- Start to fill in with sweet things. Nestle fruits, veggies, and sweets in among the savory items.
- Add piles of crackers. If you didn’t leave room for these, you can serve them in a separate bowl or basket off to the side.
- Add condiments. Condiments are a fun addition to a charcuterie board and a great way to use up the jams and mustards that you’ve canned or have been gifted.
- Fill in empty spaces. You can do this with grapes or cherry tomatoes, but this is also where you can incorporate more Halloween decorations for a festive board.
What else could make this spread festive?
It also helps to keep color in mind when you are picking out your ingredients: do you want to go spooky with dark red, dark purple, and black? Or bright and fun with oranges and yellows?
We loved incorporating some spooky decorations to help this Halloween charcuterie board fit the theme: candy eyeballs, a skeleton hand to hold the olive bowl, mini pumpkins, and little plastic skulls. We might add some plastic spiders next time, too.
If we wanted to make this less “scary” for younger kids, we would probably swap out the skulls and spiders for gummy worms and candy corn.
Can you prep a charcuterie board ahead of time?
Assembling a Halloween cheese board should only take a few minutes, but if you want to do some prep in advance, you totally can. Just wait to put on crunchy items like crackers and nuts until right before serving so they stay as crisp as possible. You can assemble the rest of the charcuterie board up to a day in advance, though. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate until serving.