USC Students’ Favorite Family Halloween Dessert Recipes

It’s finally fall, the time of year known for changing leaf colors, chillier weather and optimal desserts. Nothing warms the heart quite like seasonal sweets, and USC students have plenty of desserts to look forward to. After surveying a number of students, we’ve compiled a short (but sweet) list of some students’ favorite Halloween family recipes.

Pumpkin Bread Muffins
Megan Johnson, a junior majoring in business administration, said her favorite Halloween dessert is the pumpkin bread muffins her mom makes every year around this time. Johnson has enjoyed this family recipe since she was in elementary school.

-1/2 tsp. cloves

-1 tsp. nutmeg

-1 tsp. cinnamon

-2 cups sugar

-1 cup oil

-4 eggs

-1 ½ tsp. salt

-1 small can cooked pumpkin

-2/3 cup water

-2 tsp. baking soda

-3 cups flour



-Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

-Cream together cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon, sugar, oil, eggs and salt.

-Add pumpkin and water, mix well.

-Stir in baking soda and flour.

-For muffins: Pour batter into muffin tins until 2/3 full and bake for 25-30 minutes.

-For bread: Grease two large loaf pans, distribute mix evenly between pans and bake for 65-75 minutes.


Dream Bar Cookies

Noah Cherner, an undeclared freshman, is particularly excited to enjoy his favorite Halloween dessert this year— Dream Bar Cookies. The cookies are a longtime family recipe, passed down by his mom.

“You can really have these anytime of the year and be happy, but there’s something about the subtle graham cracker taste that make this dessert so seasonal and fun,” Cherner says.


-5 oz. Butter

-1/4 tsp. cinnamon

-1/2 tsp. salt

-9 oz. graham cracker crumbs

-3 oz. coconut

-5 oz. chopped pecans

-25 whole pecans

-4 oz. milk chocolate chunks

-3 oz. white chocolate chunks

-3 oz. dark chocolate chunks

-8 oz. condensed milk


-Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt butter, combine with cinnamon, salt and crumbs.

-Arrange onto greased pan.

-Scatter coconut evenly over the crust.

-Scatter chopped pecans evenly over the coconut.

-Mix chocolates in a bowl, then scatter over the pecans.

-Pour the condensed milk over everything.

-Place the whole pecans in neat rows rounded side up.

-Bake for 10 minutes.

Gently press pecans into chocolate and bake again for 10 minutes. Done when the condensed milk starts to gently bubble and the edges are just golden.


Tootsie Roll Ball

Ehren Elder, a freshman majoring in philosophy, politics and law, has a more unconventional recipe up his sleeve for Halloween this year.

“Ever since I was little, my family and I would stick together melted Tootsie Rolls and combine it all into a giant ball,” Elder says. “It’s really fun to do, and actually tastes great.”


-As many Tootsie Rolls as one can find


-Wait for Tootsie Rolls to become slightly melted.

-Mash them together to make a huge ball.

Other students take a more relaxed approach to Halloween desserts.

“I tend to buy prepackaged cookie dough so I don’t actually have to really bake that much,” said Alex Coco, a freshman majoring in aeronautical engineering. “Although I do still like to decorate the cookies afterward for fun.”

Some people, however, choose not to exercise their creativity at all in the baking field.

“I buy candy from my local grocery store,” said Chris Bell, a freshman majoring in biology.

Erik Thomas, a freshman majoring in business administration, keeps it even simpler.

“I’ll just go pick up a decorated cupcake at EVK,” he said.

Innovative or not, USC students are prepared to get snacking this season; make sure to join in and spend the year’s spookiest holiday enjoying these aforementioned sugary delights.