Halloween, for better or worse, has become synonymous with candy. And between school festivities, Halloween parties and Trick or Treating, the amount of candy and sweets can sometimes be too much! Fortunately, there are so many creative treats out there that take some of the sugar out of the holiday—but none of the fun.
Here are some ideas to incorporate into this year's festivities..
Perfect for School
Many schools don't allow candy in the classroom during Halloween because of the rise in peanut, tree nut and other allergies. Luckily, there are plenty of healthy, all-inclusive goodies kids can still eat—and even have a hand in creating themselves—that are perfect for the classroom. One takes an already kid-approved fruit—the clementine—and adds a tiny bit of celery. To make these, you or your kid can peel a clementine, but don't break the sections apart. There will be a natural opening at the top. In it put a small, slim piece of celery to look like a pumpkin stem. It's that easy!
Another favorite is a banana ghost. This one is easy for any young kid to help with. Just cut a banana in half to create the "body" of the ghost. Insert two small chocolate chips for eyes and one larger one for the mouth and you have your ghost!
Easy for a Playdate
What kid doesn't love pretzels and cheese? Put the two favorites together to make witches' broomsticks. You'll need pretzel sticks and string cheese for this one. Take a piece of string cheese and cut it into thirds. Take one of the pieces you cut and start to peel the string cheese about halfway from the bottom to make strands (the bristles of the broom). Poke the pretzel slowly into the top of the cheese taking care not to split the piece of cheese. As an optional step, slice a chive very thinly to tie around the top of the broom (cheese) for a little decoration. You can serve these up on a platter and watch them fly away.
A little bit spookier of a treat: vampire teeth! You'll need apples, peanut butter (or sun butter if there are allergies) and marshmallows. Slice up the apple into quarters. Take two of the apple slices for the mouth and spread each side with peanut butter and nut butter (if you want to get crazy here you can use jam on some of them for a "bloody mouth"). Once you do that, use marshmallows as the teeth. Some choose to use almond slivers or sunflower seeds to make it healthier—up to you!
You can also be creative to get kids to eat their veggies, including:
- Forming baby carrots into pumpkin shapes. Use cucumbers or green peppers as the stem.
- Build a skeleton. The head can be a bowl filled with ranch or other dip, olives for the eye holes. The body is up to you —slices of peppers for the ribs, cucumbers for the spine, celery limbs with tomato hands and feet.
A Fun Meal
Halloween fun doesn't have to stop at snacks! There are plenty of simple meals you can serve spooky style! Make "mummy" hot dogs by using crescent roll dough as the bandages. Make sure to leave room for the face. Once wrapped, cook in the oven (cooking times will vary based on dough and hot dog). When the hot dogs cool down, dot two little eyes with mustard and your kids with clamor over their mummy dogs.
Have a little fun with macaroni and cheese with the help of spinach! Make macaroni and cheese like you normally would, but puree some spinach to add to the mix. If that doesn't give you the desired color, you can always add a touch of food coloring for the true Zombie brains effect. You can also make regular macaroni and cheese if your kids don't dig the color change and serve them in mini pumpkins.
Pizza is usually a party hit and it's easy to jazz up. Buy fresh mozzarella for the cheese and use a ghost cookie cutter to cut out the right shape before you put on top. Use string cheese for a mummy effect, make spiders out of pepperoni or olives, make pumpkins out of orange peppers - the list goes on.
Even if you push (some!) of the candy aside this Halloween, there's no doubt that you can still have a blast with your kids making delicious treats. Who knows, they may even ask to trade in their candy for apple teeth next year. We can dream...