Healthy Halloween: Trick or Treat Reinvented

Halloween is almost here.

This year, some families may be choosing to find new ways to celebrate that do not include trick or treating or large gatherings. There is still so much you can do to make this Halloween memorable, fun, healthy, and safe. 

Instead of Trick or Treating this year, try a Halloween Party.  

I’ve put together some really fun and delicious ideas which offer you many options for allergen free foods and treats, crafts, and activities to enjoy during this unique Halloween. 

I even have some friends and clients who prefer a Halloween party to Trick or Treating because with their food allergies, they are not able to (and do not want to) eat the candy. In fact, my good friend, former client, and business colleague, Terri Hirning has shared some of her favorite Halloween treats and activities from past years, in the photos below. 

New traditions can be fun to start and even expand on year after year. At home Halloween parties can be a great alternative, especially this year. You can have fun Halloween music, crafts, and activities to keep everyone engaged and having fun (and not even missing trick or treating!)

Appetizers

Deviled Eggs

They are a great way to get in additional protein and healthy fats and you can get very creative with them for different holidays! You can make deviled eggs of bats, spiders, and pumpkins as I did in this photo, you can check out my previous blog I did which includes a recipe.

Hardboiled Egg Ghosts

This is another great way to boost protein and healthy fats while making an easy and delicious appetizer. With a few cuts into the white of the hardboiled egg, you can create cute or scary ghosts.

Meatball Mummies

Meatballs are not only easy to eat as finger foods depending on size but they are also delicious! You can bring in additional veggies using purees or shredded vegetables like carrots, squash, zucchini, etc. The dough can be made gluten and dairy free and can be made to fit your child’s dietary needs, including grain-free or paleo! There are many great allergen-friendly dough recipes out there.

You can also use hot dogs or even half of a hot dog and wrap with your dough instead of meatballs.

Pumpkin Mandarin Oranges or Tangerines

Fruit is always a popular option and these are seriously so easy and delicious! You can do them peeled, or not. You can also draw jack-o-latern faces on these in lieu of cutting them. This can also be a great “decorate your own” activity for the kids before they eat them! Just use non-toxic markers for safety.

Popcorn Skeleton Hands

This is a great (and super easy) treat that is really festive and delicious! Pop some organic popcorn using organic coconut oil in a pot with a lid or a popcorn popper and let cool completely. You can buy skeleton treat bags here or use basic food service gloves. Just make sure the popcorn is completely cooled before loading into bags. Tie with a twist tie or small ribbon. You can even put a plastic spider or other Halloween ring on for added decor.

Dinner

Halloween Spider Pizza

Pizza is a crowd-pleaser for many kids and adults alike! There are a number of homemade gluten and dairy free pizza crusts out there or if you have a favorite like Daiya, you can simply add your own toppings to create the Halloween spiders using thinly sliced red bell peppers for the legs and then olives for black spiders! If you are looking for a box dough that I like, Simple Mills has a grain-free version I like.

Monster Pasta

Pasta is another easy kid favorite food! You can turn plain pasta into a Halloween haunt using sliced radish (like daikon) for the whites of the eyes and then add some sauce for the bloodshot look and then finish with a half of an olive for the iris. You can add some additional radish for the “fangs” and olives for the mouth. Or get creative and come up with your own Halloween designs.

Sweet Potato Fries

A delicious kid-favorite can be made into festive jack-o-laterns. Choose a nice round sweet potato and slice it into 1/2″ thick rounds and carefully cut out eyes, nose and mouth – and roast with coconut oil and salt, flipping once until lightly browned and cooked through. These sweet potato fries will leave your goblins and ghouls happy and filled up with high fiber healthy carbohydrates!

Creative Veggie Trays

Make a skeleton or a pumpkin out of raw vegetables like baby carrots in the shape of a pumpkin, cut cucumbers for triangle eyes, nose, and jack-o-lantern “teeth.” For the skeleton, use sliced red peppers for the skeleton “ribs”, celery, carrots, or sliced red peppers for the arm and leg “bones”, cauliflower, broccoli, and cherry tomatoes for “knees, hands, and feet.”

All of these can be made gluten-free and dairy-free and tailored to your child’s specific dietary needs.

You can use ingredients that are favorites of your child, especially when it comes to the vegetables.

Kids love being part of this, and take greater interest in eating it when they helped create it! Whether it is adding toppings to the pizza, arranging the veggies for the veggie tray, etc. the more you can get your child involved, the higher likelihood they will want to eat the healthy foods you put out!

Treats

Gelatin

Using candy molds, you can make festive and gut supporting treats in the shape of jack-o-lanterns, bats, witch hats, spiders, skulls, etc. All you need are candy molds and gelatin.

If you need a healthy gelatin recipe, check out my blog. There are cute Halloween gelatin molds like this and this.

Coconut Date Monster Heads

You can use any raw date ball recipe like my Coconut Date Balls. Form small balls and then use a small amount of frosting to add spooky faces and decor to turn them into monsters.

You can also cover some in white frosting for skeleton faces!

Banana Ghosts

Banana ghosts can be another super easy – yet delicious and healthy – recipe! I have blogged on this before. All you need are bananas and mini chocolate chips that are allergen-friendly like Enjoy Life Mini Chocolate Chips.  You can either push the chocolate chips – pointy side into the banana – to make eyes and an open mouth, or you can melt them and draw on the face.

You can also roll them in toppings like coconut, chopped nuts, etc. You can also put them on a stick for less mess or just use your fingers! There is no right or wrong way to do these.

Pumpkin or Ghost Cupcakes

Who doesn’t love cupcakes?!? You can turn a classic favorite into either pumpkins or ghosts. Use your favorite allergen-friendly cupcake and frosting recipe to create cute little ghosts!

Simply swirl vanilla frosting in a ghost shape using a piping bag. Then, use two or three allergen-friendly chocolate chips (like we did with the banana ghosts) to make eyes and you can also add a mouth if you want. These are sure to be hits!

Store-bought Treats

Some of my favorite store-bought treats include Smart Sweets, Enjoy Life Halloween Chocolates, Enjoy Life Halloween Minis, and Yum Earth Candy Corns.

For even more options and ideas, check out my previous blog here.

Craft ideas

Crafts are fun for kids of all ages and I want to share some of my favorite ideas for kids, both big and small! One of my favorite crafts uses toilet paper rolls to make Halloween characters.

For a keepsake craft, check out this Halloween BOO! craft which uses your child’s hand and footprint to make cute wall decor that you will cherish for years to come.  Your child(ren) can paint the canvas if you like or you can take over the task.

You can use any colors you like and even create a spooky crackle texture. Paint a spider web in one corner. Then, use black paint for a handprint spider (add googly eyes if desired or simply paint them on) and then use white paint for a footprint ghost. Finish it with letters cut out from cardstock and glued or paint them on. You really can get creative and make this truly personalized.

Need more ideas? We put together a Pinterest board of Halloween Arts and Crafts Ideas for Kids (and adults).

Activities

Depending on the age(s) of your child(ren) these activities can be expanded or reduced as needed for their age and ability. The key is getting them all involved with the planning and even engaging older children in as the “leaders” and helpers for younger children can also get greater buy off as kids get older and sometimes lose interest in holiday events.

Sensory Bin

Fill a bin (larger than a shoe box size) with rice or beans and put various little items like spiky balls, round bouncy balls, jacks, puzzle pieces or game pieces, spider rings, erasers, etc. and either have your child be blindfolded and try and identify the item by feel. This is a great sensory activity too!

Spider Races

For these fun spider races, use larger diameter straws and the small plastic spiders, using masking tape or another option that does not mark or damage your table or surface to put a line down the middle of a table. Have one child on the right of the line and one on the left. Each child tries to blow their spider to the other side of the table (or whatever point you designate) first to “win.”

Pumpkin Stress Balls

To make cute pumpkin stress balls, use orange balloons and with a black marker draw triangular eyes and teeth drawn and filled with corn kernels.

Bean Bag Toss

This is a great craft idea and game! Kids can have a great time sewing bean bags and with just a little orange felt cut into squares, you can have a fun game in no time. Sew two felt squares together, starting on one corner and leaving about 2 inches open to fill with either dried rice or beans. Once filled, sew the remaining corner shut. You can paint or draw with markers on the unsewn squares fun jack-o-lantern faces. You can use white felt and draw in black for a skeleton, green for a monster, the ideas are endless. And if you don’t have felt, any scrap fabric will work! Use a Halloween trick or treating bucket or even a large bowl for the target. Kids can take turns seeing who can make it into the bucket for a prize or just a high five!

Scavenger Hunt

This is an old favorite! Create clues that lead from one spot to the next. Maybe hide small treats or Halloween items like pencils, erasers, stickers, or candy/treats. The older your children are, the more creative and elaborate you can make this. Engage your older children to even help write the clues!

Room by Room Trick-or-treating

Move the trick or treating indoors. Set up a candy station inside each door of your home and having your costumed kids parade through the house, knocking on doors, and collecting their candy, have different choices at each door to add variety.

Ping Pong Eyeballs

If you have a ping pong table, color “eyes” onto the balls for a silly change up to your regular game.

Autumn Tic Tac Toe

To make a festive Halloween Tic Tac Toe, use the small decorator pumpkins in orange and white as the markers for the game. Use masking tape or other surface-safe tape or use sidewalk chalk on concrete or use a large tic tac toe board if you already have one. Then, play as you normally would, placing your color pumpkin in your spot.

Pumpkin Patch Stomp

Blow up orange balloons to create your “pumpkin patch.” Kids can have fun and get their sillies out by stomping the balloons to pop them! Make sure you pick up all of the broken balloon pieces, especially if you have younger children or animals!

Pin the spider on the web

This is a classic party game that can be re-created with a Halloween flare! You can use white yarn or a printed image for the “web” and then print out paper spiders and do the classic “pin the tail” activity with this fun twist.

Halloween Bingo

There are various resources on the internet to print bingo cards that are Halloween themed.

Other Fun Games or Activities

Halloween painting craft

Pumpkin painting or carving

We can always find creative ways to celebrate holidays and especially bring in healthy and delicious healing foods at the same time. No matter what your Halloween looks like this year, we are wishing you a healthy and happy experience!

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Hi, I’m Julie Matthews, a Certified Nutrition Consultant, Author, and Published Researcher. I teach parents and practitioners that children with autism, ADHD, and related disorders can improve and heal, and that there’s hope for their children. Then I educate and empower them to make strategic dietary changes that positively affect children’s health, which in turn helps their learning and behavior. With 18 years of experience and my unique range of knowledge, from nutrition research and clinical experience to cooking in the kitchen for my own family, I’ve created a much-needed community for parents and practitioners looking to help children with autism live happy, healthy lives. Join us.

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