Char-BOO-terie Manor

By 01/14/2023June 3rd, 20232 Comments

This recipe idea is half food and half craft project, mainly because it take a little bit of planning and measuring where you want your doors and windows to go before you begin. But before you can do all that you’ll need to get a square or rectangular container first. I found this square plastic container at my party supply store in the candy bar aisle below the color coordinated bulk candy. It was the perfect size and shape for my Char-boo-terie Manor and it just so happened that I had a small square bowl that fit perfectly to create an angled roof. Not to worry if you can’t find a square bowl, any small plastic bowl will work because we will coat the whole thing in cheese and the roof shape can be molded with cheese. Feel free to make this idea your own by adding your favorite veggies, seasoning up the cream cheese with your favorite herbs and spices. Confession time…For this craft/food project I used regular cream cheese for this without adding any seasoning so I could scrape off the excess to use on bagels later because…you know….groceries are expensive right now and there is only so many veggies my kids will eat. 😉 If you prefer to add crackers to your platter, try making some easy Char-BOO-terie Crackers.

(Note: When I began this idea I used alcohol ink to stain the inside of the container orange to make the windows glow more orange when I added lights to it, but honestly this is not necessary to do.)

Char-BOO-terie Manor

Take your veggie platter to new heights with a 3D light-up Char-BOO-terie Manor made with cream cheese and ghostly veggies.
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Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: Halloween Food
Keyword: charcuterie, cheese board, crudite


  • large square plastic container (Approximately 7" x 7" x 7")
  • small square bowl (Approximately 5" x 5" x 3")
  • fairy lights with remote
  • tombstone, skull and ghost cookie cutters


  • 3-4 blocks cream cheese, room temperature (depending on the size of your containers)
  • 1-2 tsp. each of garlic and onion powders (add fresh herbs or garlic if desired)
  • assorted ghostly vegetables cucumbers, zucchini, parsnips, turnips, cauliflower, button mushrooms, radishes, jicama, etc.
  • white cheddar or Monterey jack cheese slices (door and skull garnish)
  • equal parts cream cheese and feta cheese (tombstone)


  • Mix cream cheese with garlic and onion powders together and adjust seasonings to taste. Add fresh herbs and garlic if desired. Set aside.
  • Prepare Vegetables:
    Peel and slice parsnips into rounds for roof and walkway to door.
    Prepare mushroom skulls. Use a straw to punch out eyes and a knife to make the nose and mouth.
    Peel and slice jicama for shutters and boarded up windows.
    Cut cauliflower into small florets for shrubbery.
    Slice zucchini into thin strips for house trim and roof trim and place cup up strips into small cups for shrubbery.
    Cut cucumber into strips and place in small cups for shrubbery.
    Cut thin slices of a turnip and use a cookie cutter to cut out ghosts. Use straws for eyes and mouth.
    Cut up additional cups of desired vegetables and place around the manor for landscaping.
  • Cheese Details:
    Use the paper template for dimensions to cut the sliced cheese into a front door and use a mini cookie cutter to cut out a window (optional).
    Use skull cookie cutter to cut out the skull garnish for the roof gable. (optional)
    Mold cream cheese and feta cheese mixture into a tombstone cookie cutter and refrigerate until firm. Gently push the tombstone out of the cookie cutter and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Char-Boo-terie Manor Assembly

  • Wash and dry plastic containers.
    (Note: When I began this idea I used alcohol ink to stain the inside of the container orange to make the windows glow more orange when I added lights to it, but honestly this is not necessary to do.)
    Hot glue the small bowl to the top of the large square container to create the roof.
    Take measurements of one side of the large square container and make a paper template in those dimensions. Use a ruler and pencil to place doors and windows on the paper template to create the front of the house. Make another paper template for the other sides of the container with larger windows and no door. Transfer template to tracing paper or colored vellum and cut it so that it fits inside the square container and tape to the inside of the container. Use blue painters tape to mask off doors and windows leaving a folded tab down the center of the tape in order to easily remove the tape once the house is frosted with the cream cheese mixture.
  • Frost the outside of the container with the cream cheese mixture like you would a cake and smooth it out with a bench scraper or cake smoother thingy...I can't think of what it's called. Chill in refrigerator for 30 minutes or so to firm up. Use a fork to find the blue painters tape tab and pull to remove the tape to reveal the windows and door.
    Next add more cream cheese mixture to cover the roof and build up more cream cheese in the front to create a pointed gable. Leave the very top of the roof uncovered. This is so you can place your hand on top to steady the manor when you press the veggies in and also so you can easily move the manor to your serving platter by placing one hand on top to stabilize while you lift from the bottom at the doorway.
  • Place remote controlled fairy lights on serving platter and place your ghostly manor cheeseball over the lights. Test to make sure the lights come on. Now you are ready to decorate your house using your prepared veggies, by pressing them into the cream cheese mixture. Add front door and skull details.
    Note: I used monochromatic veggies to reinforce the ghostly feel of my theme but feel free to mix it up and add all your favorites and definitely add a bunch of turnip ghosts...they are just adorable. Flip on the lights and serve!
  • To eat, just pick a veggie off the manor and scrape a little mixture off the haunted house! Enjoy!


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