When she was just two, Trick or Treating was simple — she enjoyed collecting the pretty colored things (candy) from our neighbors, but didn’t really realize the candy was for eating, i.e. “food.” Halloween was about getting dressed up, going out in the costume, and collecting “items” to put in her pumpkin basket – not about the candy.
Those were the good old days… Fast forward (a year!), now she’s 3 1/2 – and this year she realizes that people are giving away candy! I need a new strategy. I don’t want her having all of that sugar, poor quality ingredients and artificial additives.
Trade Candy for a Fun Activity or Treat
We don’t eat candy in our house (I’m a nutritionist), so I want to set good habits early. I decided that instead of shunning Halloween (our daughter particularly loves the fact it’s a huge block party with dance music), I decided I’d negotiate with her. We’d participate the Halloween festivities, but then when we get back home – she can trade in her collected candy for some homemade family treats. Choosing an activity that does not center around food is always a great idea too.
Before Halloween evening, you want to prepare your favorite yummy (but healthy) treat. You can either include your children in this prep or not, whatever makes things the most smooth, fun and easy.
We are going to make Deviled Egg Owls and Banana Ghosts with our dinner before going out in our Halloween costumes, and Mini Chocolate Spider Web Cupcakes for after the “trade” after Trick or Treating.
Appetizer/Party Halloween Treats
There are many choices. You can make fun dinner/appetizer items, that make Halloween festive but not revolve around sugar. And before Trick or Treating, have some fun and healthy Halloween food to give you the energy and protein you need for an active evening.
Deviled Egg Owls: Make your deviled eggs. Here’s my recipe. Decorate them like an owl by placing round olive slices for the eyes. Then place an upside down triangle out of a carrot for the beak. You’ll see the start of my owls in the photo included here.
Olive Spiders – Decorate deviled eggs and other appetizers with an olive “spider.” Cut the olive in half lengthwise, place that round side up for the body. Then slice 8 legs from the remaining half.
Mummy Pizzas – little gluten free crusts, cut a circle from gluten-free bread or use a gluten-free bun. Cut white casein-free cheese such as Daiya cheese with a cheese slicer, then cut strips and lay them out like a mummy. Decorate with black olive dots for eyes poking out of the mummy strips.
Sweet Treats for Halloween
The sweet treats can either be made with fruit, or they may include added sugar like in the cupcakes. Often I choose to use fruit-based treats versus added sugar; however, this “candy trade” needed a bigger incentive, so we traded it for the cupcakes. And while they do contain sugar, these cupcakes have less sugar than commercial recipes, include only high quality organic ingredients, and have no artificial additives.
Chocolate Cupcake Spider Webs
Start with a gluten-free cupcake. Here’s my chocolate cake recipe for cupcakes.
Melt chocolate chips and coconut milk (just a few ounces) – I don’t measure, just use a small bit to make the chocolate smoother and softer for dipping. Melt in pan on stove. Dip cupcake in chocolate sauce. Let the chocolate cool before putting on the white icing.
Then make a white glaze—use powdered sugar and a very small bit of water (the smallest amount possible), mix until thicker than drizzle texture, more piping thickness. Put throw frosting bag and pipe out of small hole to make concentric circles or a spiral. Then using a toothpick to draw in the frosting, start from the center and draw straight lines out to the edge all the way around making a spider web effect.
This is one of my favorites. I combined this great idea on banana ghosts I saw on Pinterest, with a “topping bar.”
I love topping bars—be it for: chili, tacos, hot fudge Sundaes, or Banana Ghosts. The toppings will vary, but the concept of an abundance of choices and the freedom to choose is always fun!
Peel ripe bananas. Cut in half and place pop stick in the bottom. Gently push chocolate chips in (point first) for the eyes (and nose/mouth if you want).
Prepare small bowls of toppings. People can scoop the toppings that interest them onto their individual plates. It’s really fun and delicious! You’ll be surprised it’s so fun.
Some of our favorite toppings:
- Nut/seed butter
- Chocolate hazelnut butter
- Melted coconut oil
- Raw honey
- Maple syrup
- Chopped nuts
- Chopped salted roasted pumpkin seeds
- Dried coconut
- Raisins, currants, or goji berries.
You can spread the nut butters and honey, dip in the maple, and roll in the coconut. Press on the nuts and dried fruit. If you use coconut oil, it’s best to the roll it in a dry topping and place in the freezer for at least 20 minutes.
Kids and adults alike love these! Enjoy this Halloween with your friends, while sticking to your healthy diet and feeling great!