Halloween has always been my favorite holiday. In addition to my lifelong weakness for sweet treats, I love the wackiness and creativity that infuse the day and the element of fantasy as kids and adults get to dress up in outlandish costumes. But other than trying to resist it ourselves, what are we to do about the irresistible candy?!
As a parent, I believe that treats have their place at parties and special occasions, especially in the context of a healthy diet. Andrew and I usually let our kids binge for a night, then save the rest of the treats for special times. Sometimes, I think our kids care more about scoring and sorting the candy than they do about eating it, anyhow.
Over the past few years, I’ve collected and invented some ideas for healthy Halloween snacks. While we wouldn’t miss trick-or-treating, these cute snacks can help you celebrate the holiday at home or at school parties with at least a little bit of good nutrition. I’ve found that the kids don’t even mind the absence of frosting or candy with these hands-on treats:
Let kids spread peanut butter or cream cheese on a round cracker. Put another round cracker on top, leaving a little space between them. Insert eight pretzel sticks between the crackers for spider legs. Using a dab of the peanut butter or cream cheese, attach raisins or chocolate chips to the top of the crackers to make the spiders’ eyes.
Ghost and Ghoul Sandwiches
Kids can use Halloween-shaped cookie cutters to turn sandwiches (on wheat bread, of course) or Cheddar cheese slices into a scary lunchtime treat or snack.
Use small cookie cutters to cut fall shapes out of thin wedges of cantaloupe, or carve funny mouths out of apple slices and put them on pumpkin shaped slices of Cheddar cheese (see suggestion above) or rice cakes. Peeled grapes make great slimy eyeballs, too.
Spooks on a Stick
Cut a peeled banana in half the short way. Let kids push the pointy ends of chocolate chips into the banana to make a ghost face (the pointy ends of the banana halves are the tops of the ghosts.) Push a Popsicle stick or chopstick into the flat end of the banana so the ghosts can float around before they eat them.
Use a few drops of food coloring to turn cream cheese orange. Spread the cream cheese on toasted English muffins. Make silly jack-o-lantern faces using raisins or chocolate chips.
Slice hard-boiled eggs in half the long way. Replace the yolk with an olive with pimento and sprinkle a little paprika on the whites to make them look bloodshot
Put black olive “fingernails” on the ends of baby carrots or mini-hot dogs. Or use cheese sticks with a piece of red pepper on the end.
Make homemade caramel apples by melting caramel and dipping crispy apples. While the caramel is still warm, let kids stick a few gummy worms to the outsides of the apples.