DINNER TONIGHT

Tuna, Apple and Your Favorite Cheese Melt

(6 sandwiches)

Problem: Every Halloween, moms and dads try to feed the kids some real food in between candy bars. Time is short, both for parents who are running to the door to hand out treats and for kids attending to last-minute costume concerns.

Solution: A tuna melt. This quick, easy-to-make and easy-to-eat recipe can be tailored to individual tastes. For the little goblins, make it American cheese and white bread; for bigger goblins, cheddar cheese and pecan-raisin bread.

From "Halloween Treats: Recipes and Crafts for the Whole Family" by Donata Maggipinto (Chronicle, $14.95). 1/3 cup mayonnaise

2 tablespoons Dijon-style mustard

1 teaspoon lemon juice

2 large (12-ounce) cans tuna (packed in water), drained

1 small apple, unpeeled, cored and finely chopped

2 stalks celery, finely chopped

2 scallions, finely chopped

6 slices bread, lightly toasted

6 slices cheese, each about 1/4 inch thick

Preheat the broiler.

In a small bowl, stir together the mayonnaise, mustard and lemon juice; set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine the tuna, apple, celery and scallions. Add the mayonnaise mixture and stir gently to combine.

Arrange the bread on a broiler pan or baking sheet. Divide the tuna mixture among the bread slices, spreading it evenly over the surface of the bread. Top each sandwich with 1 slice of cheese.

Broil until the cheese melts, 2 to 3 minutes. Serve immediately.

Per serving (with cheddar cheese and white bread): 378 calories, 28 gm protein, 18 gm carbohydrates, 21 gm fat, 56 mg cholesterol, 8 gm saturated fat, 663 mg sodium, 2 gm dietary fiber

In the Spirit of Halloween

If Morticia Addams wandered into Dean & DeLuca in Georgetown in search of an amusing entree for little Pugsley's Halloween supper she would surely spot the beautiful bags of black and orange pasta (right) produced by Il Macchiaiolo ($8 each). This Italian brand of tagliatelle, which comes from the town of La Morra in the Piedmont region, is made in 10 flavors. Ghouls of any age will go for a tangle of nero di seppia (squid ink-colored) as well as pepperoncino (chili-colored) pasta. Toss with a touch of olive oil, sauteed garlic and grated Parmesan cheese. (Dean & DeLuca, 3276 M St. NW; call 202-342-2500.) For that Lurch in your life who would love a cookie, consider large brass cookie cutters (below) in the shape of a pumpkin, bat or spooked cat ($9 each; a set of five smaller cutters is $7). Make the cookies creepy or cute with Halloween Cookie Decorating Kit ($20, right): canisters of sugars and sprinkles in holiday colors and shapes, three tubes of squeezable frosting and two vials of coloring pastes. Also: Eerie muffin liners (below, $2; available at Williams-Sonoma stores.)

This Pumpkin Carver (below, $1.50)--a flexible, double-edged, serrated knife-- makes sculpting a jack-o'-lantern much easier (Available at Restoration Hardware stores).

To Do

TODAY: Book signing with "The Smith & Hawken Gardeners' Community Cookbook" author Victoria Wise at the McLean Sutton Place. Free. 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. 6655 Old Dominion Dr., McLean. Call 703-448- 3828. Also local contributors to the book will be with Wise at the Smith & Hawken McLean store for a signing from 5:30-7:30 p.m. 6705 Whittier Ave., McLean. Call 703-506-0065.

TONIGHT: Food tastings, private shopping and raffles at Crate & Barrel. Benefits Food and Friends. $25. 7-9:30 p.m. 4820 Massachusetts Ave. NW. Call 202-364-6100.

SATURDAY: Wine and food tastings, silent and live auctions featuring 1996 Bordeaux at the Omni Shoreham Hotel. Special guest: Robert Parker Jr. Benefits the American Heart Association. Auctions only, $100, 6:30-10 p.m.; seated wine tasting and auctions, $250, 5-10 p.m. 2500 Calvert St. NW. Call 202-686-6110 ext. 3021.

SATURDAY: Fall firehouse cooking demonstration at Giant's Someplace Special. Free. 2 p.m. 1445 Old Chain Bridge Rd., McLean. Call 703-448-0800.

SATURDAY: Swedish bazaar including bake sale and smorgasbord at the Church of the Little Flower. Sponsored by the Drott Lodge. Free admission. 11 a.m.-3 p.m. 5601 Massachusetts Ave., Bethesda. Call 703-549-5908.

SATURDAY: Bull and Oyster Roast sponsored by the Wine Tasting Association at Fort Hunt Park. $48 for nonmembers. 1 p.m. South of Old Town Alexandria on George Washington Pkwy. Call 703-780- WINE or www.winetasting.org.

MONDAY: Food tasting and book signing with "Moosewood Restaurant Daily Special" contributor Nancy Lazarus. Free. 7 p.m. Olsson's Books & Records, 2111 Wilson Blvd., Arlington. Call 703-525-4227.

TUESDAY: Gloria Ferrer sparkling wine dinner at Red Sage. $85 plus tax and tip. 7 p.m. 605 14th St. NW. Call 202-638-4444.

RESERVE NOW:

NOV. 3: Food and wine pairing lecture and dinner at Clyde's Restaurant. Guest lecturer: Washington Post wine columnist Michael Franz. $55 includes tax and tip. 6:30 p.m. 8332 Leesburg Pike, Vienna. Call 703-734-1901 or www.clydes.com.

Add this Web site to your bookmarks:

www.kraft.com

Navigate past the advertising and underwhelming dinner recipes on Kraft's home page, click on the Hallowing Halloween Helper and brace yourself for Spooky Eyeball Tacos, Halloween Jigglers, Spider Cupcakes and more than 100 other inventive ideas. There's something sure to creep out for everyone--from pint-size Draculas to oversize mummies. If nothing else, you'll get a laugh from the categories, including Spooky Snacks, Orange and Black Freaky Foods, Goulish Grown-Up Gruel and Goblin' Good School Party Recipes. No nightmares here--recipes include prep time, visual cues for ease of decorating and simple instructions that make for fun projects for the kids.