You're going to have plenty of sweets for Halloween, so balance it out with salty, savory charcuterie, cheeses, and fresh vegetables on this epic Halloween Charcuterie Board.
As with sandwiches, salads, and bowls of cereal, I am of the belief that cheese and charcuterie boards don't require an actual recipe. Grab some cheese. Get some crackers. Put them on a board. Maybe for the sake of Mindy Kaling there's a 12 paragraph introductory story about how your great grandfather wore shoes made out cheese rinds to walk 40 miles to school.
But other than that, you don't really need a recipe.
That being said, visual guides and grocery shopping lists are always helpful when planning and putting together a charcuterie board for holidays and parties, so I've provided those here for you.
Use the photos here as idea starters and visual guides. Download the grocery shopping list to your own excel spreadsheets. I categorized by color and category so you can sort and filter the ingredients as you like. If a Recipe format works better for you, scroll down. Print whichever version works best for you, get shopping, building, and partying!
Ingredients You Need for a Halloween Charcuterie Board
Your Halloween Charcuterie Board can be as cozy or epic as you want/need. Here are the high-level categories of ingredients you need:
- charcuterie, of course!
- crackers, bread, and chips
- olives and pickled things
- fresh fruit and vegetables
- dried fruit
- candy, as a garnish!
Best Types of Charcuterie for Halloween
Any type of charcuterie works for this board so use your favorites. I recommend picking three different types. If you need some ideas, these are some all-around crowd pleasers that I include on most of my boards:
- Capicola or coppa —traditional Italian dry-cured meat made from whole sections of pork shoulder, so it looks like ham or prosciutto. Makers season coppa with different things like garlic, herbs, and spices. Coppa is similar to other hams like Spanish Jamón Iberico and Italian Prosciutto, though it generally costs much less than either of those two.
- Prosciutto —traditional Italian dry-cured meat made from whole sections of pork. It is cured with only salt, and served sliced paper-thin.
- Genoa salami —traditional dry-cured pork salami originating out of the Italian city of Genoa. It is seasoned with garlic and peppercorns, though the flavor is fairly mild, and the texture is on the softer side.
- Spicy sopressata —another type of traditional dry-cured pork salami, usually seasoned with a little more spice giving it some heat. Sometimes, makers "press" the entire sausage giving the resulting slices an oval shape, rather than round. This is one of my favorites!
- Bresaola —traditional northern Italian salted and dry-cured whole muscle meat made from beef instead of the more common pork. It is cut from the eye of round, so it is tender and fairly lean.
PRO-TIP: Offering three (3) different types of charcuterie is generally a good rule for a small to medium sized group of people. As the number of people increases, simply increase the amount of each type, rather than adding more types.
Best Cheeses for Halloween Charcuterie Board
For a Halloween Charcuterie Board, I went with cheeses that fit the color scheme: orange, green and dark purple/black. These are the cheeses on the board, plus some extra ideas:
- Cheddar — is the obvious and probably most easily accessible orange cheese. Cheddar comes in many shapes, sizes, origins, and price points. We used thin slices of simple off-the-shelf cheddar to cutout Jack o-Lanterns with cookie cutters (see below for resource link).
- Mimolette—is an aged cow's milk cheese from France. Cheesemakers add annato seeds to give the cheese it's characteristically bright orange color. Mimolette has the flavor and slightly dry, crumbly texture of a cross between aged Cheddar and parmesan. For some reason, I have been seeing Mimolette a lot on restaurant menus.
- Washed rind—Washed rind cheeses have rinds that develop orange or red color from aging it in a salt or alcohol-laced brine. The rind and the aging process give washed rind cheeses their famously intense fragrance. The wedge of washed rind cheese on this board is a little less intense, a beer-washed gouda.
- Aged Gouda — is cow's milk cheese with a deep golden color. Though it's not quite orange, it's close enough, ya' feel?
- Blueberry Goat Chevre—very soft goat's milk cheese shaped into a cylinder and covered with a blueberry compote. The blueberries give it the deep purple color that works perfectly for a Halloween color scheme.
- Brie—is a soft cow's milk cheese with a bloomy rind. Though the exterior is snow white, Brie is mild, buttery and familiar to most people. It's always good to have at least one widely accessible cheese on a board!
Halloween Charcuterie Board Garnish and Decor Ideas
As you may have figured out by now, I generally like to style boards with subtle suggestions of a holiday, season, or theme, rather than trying to be so literal. For example, I will always choose fruits and vegetables in the color of their natural state over anything that's been dyed solely for aesthetics or visuals. The exception here is, of course, the orange cheeses, which are dyed with annato seeds which themselves are natural, but not the cheeses are not naturally that color.
I especially hate non-edible garnishes like plastic toys placed directly on a board just to fit a theme, e.g. plastic spiders, eyeballs, cotton spider webs for Halloween, but that's a rant for another day.
However, Halloween is all about cute kitsch, so I am fine with some of the edible decor and garnishes! Here are a few ideas:
- Ghosts cut out of mozzarella or provolone cheese slices, which appear on this charcuterie board
- Jack o'lanterns cut out of orange cheddar cheese slices, also on this charcuterie board
- Mozzarella perline or bocconcini balls with a sliver of black olive poked through it made to look like eyeballs
- Spun sugar as spider webs
- Orange and yellow edible flowers like chrysanthemums, dianthus, marigolds, nasturtiums. Do not use flowers that you just pick up from the floral department. Edible flowers are grown specifically to be eaten and are often grown organically (no harmful chemicals).
Because it's Halloween, here's an extra treat: an all sweet candy board shaped like, what else, a Jack-o-lantern. For that, you really don't need a recipe. The cute Halloween-themed gummies can be found at most grocery stores around this time.
Printable Grocery Shopping List
The Grocery Shopping List includes a brainstorm of orange, green, purple, and black ingredients to get you started. Not everything on the Grocery Shopping List appears on the board in the photo above. It is... a lot.
Copy and paste the table below into your own spreadsheet or grab the downloadable shopping list here
Charcuterie Board FAQs
How much charcuterie should I buy/serve?
If your charcuterie board is an appetizer or part of a larger spread, estimate 2-3 ounces of charcuterie per person. If the charcuterie board is the main attraction along with the usual accompaniments like bread and crackers, estimate 5-6 ounces of charcuterie per person.
How much cheese should I buy serve?
Estimate 5 ounces of cheese per person, give or take 2 ounces based on how much of the other non-cheese accompanying ingredients there are.
How far in advance can you assemble a charcuterie board?
You can assemble the charcuterie board up to 24 hours in advance, as long as you cover it and keep it refrigerated until just before serving. You can leave the assembled charcuterie board out at room temperature (serving) for up to two hours.
Pro-Tip: If you plan to have your charcuterie board out for more than two hours, assemble it with only half the cheese and charcuterie to start, and keep the remaining half in the refrigerator. After two hours, replenish the board with "fresh" cheese and charcuterie from the refrigerator.
Tools and Equipment for Halloween Charcuterie Board
- extra large 16x28-inch wooden cheeseboard
- Halloween cookie cutters (includes jack o'lantern, ghost, bat, and more)
- favorite multi-purpose small condiment bowls
- favorite all-purpose 7-inch chef's knife (expensive but worth it!)
- gold-toned cheese serving set (use fork to crumble the aged cheeses)
Prep for the Fall Season and Upcoming Holidays with these Boards
- Game Day Board for Your Football Game and Tailgating Parties
- What Wine Pairs with a Cheese Board
- Christmas Charcuterie Board with everything red and green!
- Latkes and Smoked Salmon Platter for Hanukkah
- Dessert Charcuterie Board for the Holidays
- Every Charcuterie Board Accompaniment You Need
- Healthy Cheese Board to get started on the New Year, New You!
Halloween Charcuterie Board
- 12 ounces various charcuterie thin and thick
- 1 6-ounce wheel Brie cheese
- aged Cheddar or Gouda cheese
- orange washed rind cheese
- 1 4-ounce blueberry goat chevre
- 4 slices mozzarella or provolone cheese (white)
- 4 slices Cheddar cheese (orange)
Chips, Crackers, and Bread
- fig and olive crackers
- plain white crackers
- blue corn tortilla chips
- autumn leaf-shaped tortilla chips
- ghost- and bat-shaped potato chips
- cheese puffs
Olives and Pickles
- 1 cup black olives
- 1 cup green olives
Dips and Spreads
- orange mini bell peppers
- green bell pepper
- Persian cucumber
- purple "ninja" radish
- blood orange
- green grapes
- black/purple grapes
- dried apricots
- dried mango
- dried persimmon
Candy and Sweets
- candy corn
- black licorice
- gummy candies e.g. skulls
Prepare the Cheeses
- Slice the mimolette wedge into thin triangles with a very sharp knife. Slice the blueberry chevre log into rounds using a cheese harp or twine.
- Using a ghost-shaped cookie cutter, cut out ghosts from the mozzrella or provolone cheese slices. Using a jack o'lantern cookie cutter, cut out shapes from the Cheddar cheese slices. Set the slices aside.
Assemble Charcuterie Board
- Place the aged Gouda in one corner of the board and "crumble" out large pieces with a small, sturdy knife or fork. Place the Brie cheese, washed rind wedge, mimolette slices, and blueberry chevre slices around the edges of the board.
- Arrange the charcuterie around the board, followed by the remaining ingredients on the list.
- Garnish the board with ghost and bat cutouts.
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