Boo! Make it a Healthy Halloween
My mother-in-law’s favorite holiday has always been Halloween. At her house, Halloween was a full evening event composed of a dinner party with her children’s friends, and then group trick-or-treating. She loved helping dress up her children and then handing out candy to the neighborhood. Afterward, the kids would congregate to go through their candy loot and trade for their favorites.
If you want to create similar happy Halloween memories for your children but do not want the stomach aches, mood swings, illness, and cavities that follow this one-night candy smorgasbord, try one or more of the tips below. You can create a memorable, fun, and healthier Halloween.
Have friends over for a Halloween party! With a party you can control exposure to treats, offer a satisfying, healthy meal to minimize the quantity of treats consumed while trick-or-treating, and displace some of the time spent trick-or treating with games and crafts. This makes the evening fun and memorable without amassing tons of candy. Here are some ideas for a fun and healthy party.
Our Halloween family favorite is Dinner in a Pumpkin. Some other ideas for spooky and healthy Halloween foods include:
- Spaghetti squash “brains” or “worms.” This can be a creepy way to include vegetables in the meal, especially if you add whole cherry tomato “eyes” to the mix!
- Floating eyeball punch. Use juices of your choice such as apple and cranberry juice, along with sparkling water and float frozen grapes as the eyeballs. This will have less sugar than most fruit punch options, without compromising taste!
- Deviled Zombie Eye Eggs. This fun deviled egg recipe uses the water left over from boiling beets to produce red/purple streaks over the egg whites to make them look zombie-like.
- Fruit balls with cat ears. Use a melon baller to make large fruit balls. Insert a lollipop stick in the fruit balls and use fruit leathers to make triangular cat ears and small square cat noses. Use melted chocolate to attach the nose and ears to the fruit pops. You can use melted chocolate to add some cat whiskers too!
- Pumpkin spice muffins
- Vampire blood soup. Serve warm tomato soup in test tube-style containers for an eerie dinner course.
- Roasted pumpkin seeds
- Bobbing for apples
- Dry apple bobbing: hang apples from trees at different levels and use mouths only to catch an apple. This great option will prevent face paint from getting wet.
- Pin the spider on the web
- Steal the witch’s broom (like capture the flag)- great for older kids, parties with at least 8 kids and a big yard to play in.
- Make your own mask using paper plates, string, construction paper, markers, pipe cleaners, etc.
- Make your own spiders using pipe cleaners and beads for eyes
- Make your own mummy candy cans using large cans with the labels removed, cheesecloth, and googly eyes. You can use the can as the measurement of how much candy the kids can keep after trick-or-treating.
- Gingerbread haunted house decoration
- Face painting
- Halloween drinking cup decoration using puffy paint, stickers, pipe cleaners, fun straws, etc.
- After trick-or-treating, have a “prize station” where children can trade in their candy for small toys and trinkets.
The Switch Witch is a smart lady who comes to children’s houses on Halloween night and exchanges their masses of candy for a special toy, a gift card, or a special experience (eg., a trip to the Children’s Museum). Children leave their Halloween loot out with a letter asking the Switch Witch for the gift of their choice and in the morning, the candy is gone and a non-candy treat is in its place.
Even if you don’t host a party, you can still start Halloween night off right with a balanced meal, displace some of the trick-or-treat time with a Halloween themed craft, and limit the candy eating both along the trick-or-treat path and afterward with the Switch Witch.
With these ideas, you can create happy and healthy Halloween memories for your family. And maybe Halloween will become your favorite holiday too!