Halloween is my all-time favorite holiday. As a kid I loved visiting the pumpkin patch, picking then bobbing for apples, and getting scared out of my wits on haunted hayrides. Now as an adult, I love shedding my grown-up skin and replacing it with an alternative identity. Let’s face it: Halloween appeals to the kid in all of us. Who knows why? Maybe its primitive origins speak to that part of us that yearns to break free and be a little wild, if only for one evening. I say—go for it! Let the black cats roam, the north wind howl, and the spooks run wild. And maybe even scarf a popcorn ball or two. Just remember that on the stroke of midnight, Halloween is over and the candy-fueled bacchanal is over.
Problem is for most of us, the chocolate-candy-corn-taffy-caramel orgy extends from well before October 31—I’ve been seeing Halloween candy in stores since August—right up until Thanksgiving. Pumpkin-shaped marshmallows, industrial-sized bags of chocolate bars, sour ball mummies, and all manner of confectionery body parts wrapped in foil. There’s enough in those aisles to keep a hob-goblin gobbling for a good long while. And when it’s all irresistibly marked down to 50% to 75% off on November 1 (to make room for the Christmas candy displays), well, forget about the Zombie Apocalypse—you’re looking at a Nutritional Nuclear Winter!
As a kid, everything about Halloween is scary. As an adult, the only thing about Halloween that frightens me now is the amount of execrable food-like products we eat and, worse yet, let our kids eat. Empty calories, tooth-decaying sugars, and artificial dyes, preservatives, chemicals, and stabilizers. For someone in good health, these ingredients are not a good idea. For someone like me, who battles chronic disease, they really are a major no-no.
By now you’re thinking rebellious thoughts: “but, but, but…you can’t celebrate Halloween without candy! Who does Amy think she’s kidding? I WANT TO EAT A SWEET TART EVERY ONCE IN AWHILE! My kids would think I’m the Wicked Witch of the West if I denied them their sweet plunder! Besides, I use Halloween candy as an opportunity to teach my kids how to share…with me.”
Calm down. My coworker and fellow Health Coach Jen and I brainstormed and came up with goodies that will not only have your kids thinking you are Glinda the Good Witch but also allow you to indulge and treat yourself. The trick in these easy treats is the nutritional benefit you’ll reap as you indulge without the sugar high…and inevitable crash.
Here are some ideas to help you set a Halloween table that kids and adults can dive into guilt-free. In fact, they’re so good, you might just have some ghostly guests putting in an appearance!
- Your favorite guacamole
- Veggies for dipping
- Plastic skeleton from the party store or Halloween aisle (or anything else fun)
- Spread guacamole on serving dish for the graveyard grass. Now it’s time to decorate! Slice cucumber ends for the gravestones and stick in guacamole. Add broccoli bushes around and cauliflower bouquets in front of cucumber tombs. Add plastic skeleton pieces rising from the grave. Get creative & have fun!
- Add cut veggies to sides of graveyard for dipping.
- Dried figs (1 per spider)
- Jumbo black raisins
- Toothpicks (8 per spider)
- Step #1: Add toothpicks to fig to create base for legs. Slide jumbo raisins onto toothpicks to create legs.
- Step #2: Cut 1 raisin in half for the eyes. The stickiness of the raisin will act as the “glue”. Add to fig body.
Variation: Substitute dried dates for the figs to make Halloween Beetles.
- Peel orange skin & leave orange whole. Step#2 cut celery length wise in half & chop into approx. 1/2″ pieces. Place celery into center of orange for “pumpkin stem.”
These quick recipes all take advantage of the colors, shapes, and taste of fruits and veggies. Keep them in mind when you are in the produce aisle or at the farmer’s market. You’ll see nature’s bounty through new eyes and be well on your way to creating your own goblin goodies!
For more info on Jen and her recipes, visit her blog Jen’s Food Challenge.
I hope you love these recipes as much as Jen and I do! Share which ones are your favorite and let us know your own ideas for healthy Halloween treats Wishing you a healthy, happy, extra spooky Halloween! 🙂