By Nikole Randolph, MS, CISSN posted October 29, 2018
Kids, big and small, are preparing for the spookiest of traditions. Haunted houses, jack-o’-lanterns, caramel apples, scary stories, and horror films have paved the way for Hallows’ Eve, also known as Halloween.
This Wednesday, October 31st, there will be parades of kids in costumes, traveling from door to door hoping to be met with handfuls of candy. During the day, class parties will be filled with art projects, games and more sweet treats.
I must admit that I have conflicting emotions. I love seeing all the kids in costume, carving pumpkins, and decorating the house with spider webs, and scary ghouls! But the sugar and candy can be overwhelming and genuinely scary. That’s why I try and create fun healthy alternatives for class parties and treats to give away at the door.
Banana ghosts and mandarin pumpkins are my go-to recipes for class parties. Easy and fun, these Halloween-inspired fruit snacks are perfect for kids!
- To make banana ghosts, simply cut a banana in half and add 2 chocolate chips for eyes, and one more for the mouth. What could be easier than that?
- Mandarin pumpkins are just as easy. Simply peel a small mandarin orange, drizzle the top with a little melted chocolate, than add a small piece of celery coming out of the top for a stem. Voilà, super easy and cute!
If you’re looking for some fun veggie ideas, try carving jack-o-lantern-inspired faces into bell peppers and stuffing them with carrots, celery, or apple sticks. Try rolling packets of nut butter, like Justin’s, and putting them in one of the peppers as an excellent complement to apples and celery, or have a dipping sauce on the side.
The real challenge is finding fun treats to hand out to kids that are trick-or-treating, especially when your own child tells you, “Mom, my reputation is on the line!” Temporary tattoos, stickers, pencils, little erasers, spider rings, and vampire teeth still excite many of the young children, but for older children, it can be somewhat anticlimactic (a nice way of putting it).
So, I strive for a middle ground. I like to offer small dark chocolate squares, organic fruit gummies that have been colored and flavored with fruit and vegetable extracts, and some non-food treats like spider rings, glow sticks, and temporary tattoos.
When it’s all said and done, my kids enjoy sorting their candy and keeping a few of their favorites. Then we gather it all up and head to the closest business that participates in a “Candy Buyback” event. Local businesses that participate, primarily dentists, buy back kids’ Halloween candy at a scheduled event with cash, toothbrushes, and other fun exchanges. It’s a great way to let go of all that candy, yet allows kids to enjoy the spirit and excitement of Halloween!
Nikole Randolph, MS, CISSN