Halloween Dead Man Meatloaf

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Dead man meatloaf is classic moist succulent meatloaf shaped and decorated for the spookiest day of the year, it’s the perfect Halloween dinner!

A metal pan with a stuffed teddy bear on it, resembling a whimsical yet macabre dead man meatloaf.
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A metal baking sheet with a gory Halloween costume resembling a dead man meatloaf.

Spooky Dead Man Meatloaf

My old neighbor growing up use to make this spooky silly Deadman meatloaf for my family every year around Halloween. We always got a kick out of it as kids with the ketchup blood. As an adult with kids of my own now I use my favorite meatloaf recipe and my kids look forward to it every year!

For this meatloaf recipe I start with sauteed onion, you can sauté some spinach as well and add that to the mix to sneak in more greens. I then use cracker crumbs to add some structure which makes it easier to shape. I use a mixture of ground beef and ground pork for this meatloaf. I find that the added fat from the pork gives the meatloaf more richness and moisture. If you want to use all ground beef just watch it when baking so it doesn’t dry out.

How to make Halloween Meatloaf

First you will need to assemble the following ingredients:

  • Olive oil (2 tsp) – you can use butter or vegetable oil, this is simply a way to keep the onion from sticking to your pan when sautéing it.
  • Yellow onion – the onion when sauteed adds a wonderful sweetness to the meatloaf.
  • Milk (¼ cup) – the milk will help soften the cracker crumbs so you dont get a dry cracker bite of meatloaf, use whole milk.
  • Cracker crumbs (1 cup) – butter cracker crumbs have a nice fine texture and soak up the fat from the meatloaf while also adding structure.
  • Ketchup (¾ cup) – ketchup adds a necessary salt and flavor, it also makes great blood for the final affect.
  • Worcestershire sauce (4 tsp) – the sauce has a rich and savory flavor that combines sweet, tangy, salty, and umami notes. It adds a wonderful flavor to the meatloaf and the glaze.
  • Ground beef (1 lb) – ground beef has a very fine texture, I use 80/20 ground beef since you add sausage too which has a lot of fat.
  • Breakfast sausage (8 oz) – Breakfast sausage adds some fat which will keep the ground beef from drying out and add flavor. I use regular breakfast sausage but you can use spicy sausage if you prefer.
  • Egg – egg is necessary to give some structure to the meatloaf. Use high quality eggs for the best flavor.
  • Mrs. Dash seasoning (1 ¼ tsp) – this spice blend is herbaceous and spicy, I use the regular Mrs. Dash seasoning but you can use any type you want.
  • Garlic powder (½ tsp) – garlic powder adds a pungent and tangy flavor without adding more moisture.
  • Black olives, carrot slices, or celery sticks – these work great for the face, I also like to use mashed potatoes if you are serving it with them.

Use this method to make your Meatloaf:

Cook the onion. Saute the onion in the oil till translucent.

Make glaze. Combine 1/2 cup of ketchup with 1 tbsp of Worcestershire.

Combine. Add the milk and cracker crumbs to a bowl. Let sit for a minute. Then add the ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, beef, sausage, eggs, Mrs. Dash, and garlic powder. Combine well with your hands.

Make the man. Use your hands to arrange the meatloaf mixture on a baking pan in the shape of a man.

Bake. Bake in the oven for 25 minutes, then remove, pour off some of the grease, and cover with the glaze. Bake for another 20 minutes or until the meatloaf registers at 160 degrees internally at the thickest part. Remove from the oven and let set for about 15 minutes.

Decorate. Stick a knife into the middle of your dead man meatloaf and add ketchup for blood. Add vegetables for the eyes and other features of your dead man.

A tray of dead man meatloaf, covered in mashed potatoes and ketchup.

Tips and Tricks for Perfect Spooky Halloween Meatloaf

Blend the meats well. One of the most important things in making any meatloaf is making sure the meats have been fully combined. I recommend using a hand mixer to break the sausage and ground beef up so you get a really homogenous mixture.

Add more veggies. I like to add some sauteed spinach to my meatloaf so that I can get more greens in. You can also add bell peppers and carrots.

Make it gluten free. This recipe can be easily made gluten free by using fine ground oats instead of the cracker crumbs. Substitute cup for cup.

Bake with a thermometer. The best way to make sure your meatloaf doesn’t dry out is to use an internal thermometer that will alert you when the meatloaf is done.

Let is rest. Its best to let the meatloaf rest for 10 – 15 minutes before slicing. This lets the juices redistribute and makes it easier to slice without falling apart.

Experiment with fillings. You can fill this meatloaf with things like cheese, sauteed mushrooms, or caramelized onions to add an extra surprise.


Can I make this ahead of time?

Yes, I frequently make the mixture up to 24 hours in advance and bake it when I am ready. You can also fully cook the meatloaf then freeze it and reheat later.

Can I freeze meatloaf?

Yes, this Deadman meatloaf can be cooked fully, cooled, then wrapped in plastic wrap then aluminum foil and frozen for later.

Can I use different meats in meatloaf?

Yes, but you must consider the fat content. Meatloaf needs fat to retain moisture and come together well. If you want to substitute ground turkey for ground beef keep the ground pork so you still have some of that fat. Alternatively, you can just add a few tablespoons of bacon fat to any combination of meats to maintain that good balance.

What sides go well with meatloaf?

We love to have this meatloaf with mashed potatoes, gravy, green beans, vegetables, corn, or a salad.

A person is holding a dead man meatloaf on a tray.

Sides to Enjoy with your Deadman Meatloaf

Meatloaf is a hearty, flavorful dish that pairs well with a variety of sides. Here are some popular options to consider:


  1. Mashed Potatoes: A classic choice, creamy mashed potatoes complement the savory flavors of meatloaf perfectly.
  2. Green Beans: Steamed, roasted, or sautéed green beans add a fresh and slightly crunchy element.
  3. Roasted Carrots: Their natural sweetness and tender texture make them a great side.
  4. Steamed Broccoli: A healthy and simple option.
  5. Grilled Asparagus: Adds a touch of elegance and a smoky flavor.


  1. Garlic Bread: For a carb-friendly option, garlic bread is always a hit.
  2. Rice: A plain or flavored rice can be a good side, especially if the meatloaf has a rich gravy.
  3. Macaroni and Cheese: Comfort food at its best when paired with meatloaf.
  4. Roasted Potatoes: Seasoned and roasted to perfection.


  1. Caesar Salad: A creamy Caesar salad can add a nice contrast to the meatloaf.
  2. Garden Salad: A light salad with fresh vegetables can balance out the heaviness of the meatloaf.
  3. Coleslaw: Adds a tangy and crunchy element.

Sauces and Gravies:

  1. Brown Gravy: A classic choice for meatloaf.
  2. Mushroom Gravy: Adds an earthy flavor.
  3. Onion Gravy: A savory and slightly sweet option.
  4. Ketchup or Tomato Sauce: Some people prefer the traditional ketchup glaze on their meatloaf.


  1. Dinner Rolls: Soft and fluffy dinner rolls are always a good choice.
  2. Cornbread: Adds a slightly sweet and southern twist.


  1. Mashed Cauliflower: A low-carb alternative to mashed potatoes.
  2. Sweet Potato Fries: For a sweet and savory combination.

Try these other delicious beefy recipes:

Click here to see all our beef recipes!

A dead man is holding a meatloaf on a tray with a fork.

Dead Man Meatloaf Recipe

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A dead man meatloaf on a tray with mashed potatoes and carrots.

Dead Man Meatloaf

Spooky and savory delicious dead man meatloaf is the perfect Halloween dinner!
Course Beef
Cuisine American
Keyword beef meatloaf, Deadman, halloween, Halloween dinner, meat loaf, meatloaf, pork, worcestershire
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Additional Time 15 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 25 minutes
Servings 8 – 10 servings
Calories 654kcal
Author Courtney O’Dell


  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion diced
  • ½ cup milk
  • 2 cup cracker crumbs
  • 1 ½ cup Ketchup + more for decorating
  • 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 lb ground beef
  • 1 lb ground breakfast sausage
  • 2 egg beaten
  • 2 ½ tsp Mrs. Dash seasoning
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • Black olives carrot slices, or celery sticks (for the face)


  • Preheat oven to 350?. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil, spray with cooking spray and set aside. 
  • Heat oil in a nonstick skillet on the stovetop to medium heat. Add the onion and cook till translucent, 5-7 minutes. 
  • Combine the milk and cracker crumbs in a large bowl and set aside. Combine 1/2 cup of ketchup and 1 tbsp of the Worcestershire sauce in a small bowl and set it aside. 
  • Add the ground beef, sausage, remaining ketchup and Worcestershire, egg, seasoning mix, and garlic powder to the large bowl with the soaked cracker crumbs. Mix until well combined. 
  • Using your hands, arrange the meatloaf mixture on the prepared baking sheet to form a stick figure like man. 
  • Bake in the preheated oven for 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and carefully pour off any excess fat. Then spread the ketchup/Worcestershire mixture over the top of the dead man meatloaf. Bake for an additional 20 minutes or until the internal temperature at the thickest part of the man registers 160?. This will vary some depending on the thickest part of your dead man. Remove him from the oven and let sit for 15 minutes. 
  • Decorate the dead man meatloaf with olives for eyes and a piece of sliced carrot for a mouth. For a spine-chilling look put a steak knife in the body with ketchup pouring out. 


Serving: 1g | Calories: 654kcal | Carbohydrates: 25g | Protein: 45g | Fat: 41g | Saturated Fat: 14g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 23g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 197mg | Sodium: 1620mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 13g

About Courtney

Courtney loves to share great wine, good food, and loves to explore far flung places- all while masting an everyday elegant and easy style at lifestyle blog Sweet C’s Designs. Sweet C's devoted to finding the best food and drinks you'll want to make or find, around the world!

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