Throughout the fun and festive Halloween season, we parents brace ourselves for the real horror: a frightfully large quantity of bewitchingly sweet candy. It has the potential to haunt homes for weeks!
Whole Kids Foundation® opens in a new tab believes there’s no need to move monstrous mountains of sugar in the name of frightful fun. Kids can have a fantastically spooky time with treats that have nutrients lurking inside.
Rewrite your family’s Halloween horror story to feature more fruits and veggies, starting with these hauntingly healthy bites opens in a new tab:
Make lunches a little creepier by transforming sandwiches into monsters opens in a new tab with cheese slices sticking out the sides like teeth, and a tomato or red bell pepper slice hanging out like a tongue. Add olives for eyes on top. Or use Halloween-theme cookie cutters to shape sandwiches, cheeses or firm fruits.
If your crew goes for the gross-out, some foods can simply be placed in a bowl and labeled as something yucky: dried cranberries become “dried scabs,” green olives become “eyeballs,” and dried apricots become “ears.” Slice white cheese into small triangles to make “vampire teeth” or serve up a mini jack-o'-lantern with guacamole “vomit opens in a new tab.”
Mandarin jack-o’-lanterns opens in a new tab: With a black Sharpie, draw jack-o'-lantern faces on unpeeled oranges.
Baby carrot fingers opens in a new tab: Put a dab of hummus and a slivered almond “fingernail” on the tip of each baby carrot. Serve with hummus dip. For extra-spooky presentation, place five carrot fingers reaching up out of the dip bowl. BWA-HA-HA-HA!
Hardboiled egg eyeballs opens in a new tab: Peel and halve hardboiled eggs lengthwise. Halve pimiento green olives crosswise. Place one olive half in the center of each egg yolk.
Apple monster mouths opens in a new tab: Cut apples into segments. Sandwich a generous amount of peanut butter (or other nut butter) between two apple slices, and add slivered almonds for teeth.
“Looks like candy corn” opens in a new tabice pops opens in a new tab: Fill pop molds or small paper cups 1/3 with vanilla yogurt, 1/3 with orange or mango juice, and 1/3 with pineapple juice. Allow each layer to partially freeze 20-30 minutes before adding the next one, so layers stay separated. Insert craft sticks when adding second layer.
Bell pepper jack-o’-lanterns opens in a new tab: Carve bell peppers just like you would pumpkins and stuff them with something yummy (rice pilaf or pasta salad work great).
Banana ghosts opens in a new tab: Peel some bananas. Cut each one in half crosswise. Press three chocolate chips into the surface of each banana half to make eyes and a mouth.
Spiders on a log opens in a new tab: Spread a celery stick with nut butter, hummus or cream cheese and add a plastic spider.
Avocado alien heads opens in a new tab: Slice an avocado in half. Carefully remove the pit and the peel while keeping each avocado half intact. Place the avocado halves, cut side down, on a plate. Add two almonds to each one for eyes. Get creative using nuts, olives or dried fruits to make a more detailed face if you wish. Serve it with crackers or veggies.
Certainly, no matter how hard you work to cut the sugar, on October 31 it’ll still be out haunting. Help bring some balance to your neighborhood by choosing minimally processed Halloween handouts: dried fruit packs, trail mixes, yogurt-covered pretzels, fruit juice gummies or honey straws (locally sourced if you can).
Non-food items are just as fun as candy: temporary tattoos, stickers, bead bracelets, pirate patches, glow-in-the-dark toys, cool pens, bubbles, mini Play-Doh, mini hand sanitizers or lotions. These can also be enjoyed long after ghosts and goblins stop ringing doorbells — and parents won’t have to perform as many tricks to get rid of excess treats in November!
Whole Kids Foundation opens in a new tab is dedicated to helping kids eat better and enjoy it. Check out more hands-on Halloween fun, including the bat hat opens in a new tab and bug mask opens in a new tab Scrapkins craft projects. Also discover new ideas for serving up healthier sweets all year long in Whole Kids Foundation’s Better Bites “Sweet on Fruit opens in a new tab” edition.
Green “slime” smoothies? Grape “eyeballs”? Do you make scary — and better-for-you — Halloween bites? We’d love to hear your ideas.