Halloween will always be associated with sugary candy, which is full of harmful, unnatural ingredients, and parents will always give it out to little goblins. You can set an example in your neighborhood, though, by serving treats that are healthier for kids and the planet.
Processed food that is not USDA Certified Organic contains GMOs in the form of corn syrup, soy fillers, sugar from sugar beets, artificial dyes and preservatives. If you don’t feed these things to your children, why should you feed them to the neighborhood kids? Here are some healthy alternatives for giving out to little ghosts and witches or sending to school parties.
If you have a food co-op, natural food store or farmers market in your community, you can buy organic foods to serve instead of candy from the supermarket. Offer granola bars, animal crackers, pretzels, trail mix, fruit leather, pumpkin seeds or rice cakes. There are organic, fair trade replacements for cookies and crackers, too. Get in the kitchen and bake pumpkin muffins, pop popcorn or use cat, witch and ghost shapes to cut healthy cookies.
Sadly, in this day of child abuse on a fun, kid-centered holiday, many children are not allowed to take food that was not wrapped in the factory. This time of year most treats are now sold in single serving packages. Decorate them with spooky Halloween faces, cobwebs and holiday-themed ribbons.
You can bake for kids whose parents you know or for your child’s class at school. If you have the opportunity to do this, make the packaging as fun as possible. Kids are more likely to eat healthy, non-traditional Halloween treats if they are wrapped in a way that is fun for them to receive or choose them.
Wrappings can be pumpkin colored paper and a green ribbon with a toy spider tied to it. Popcorn balls can be wrapped to look like a jack-o-lantern with a spooky face. Cover bags of crackers or cookies with cobwebs
Studies show that kids will choose a toy over candy if they have the choice. Holiday themed pencils, stickers and temporary tattoos are a hit, as well as fake teeth, bubbles, yoyos, glow sticks and hacky sacks. Think ‘party favors’ when you’re buying toys, and be aware of choking hazards for the tiniest black cats that come to your door.
Again because of child abuse, many parents do not allow their children to go trick or treating in strange neighborhoods. They accompany them to homes of people they know, and they throw parties instead. A block party is a great idea to take the burden off of one family.
You can cook at home for parties and classrooms making unusual, one-of-a-kind spooky and fun dishes. Shop locally for the greenest Halloween.
Offer baked apples and apple cider with fruit from a local orchard or the farmers market. My favorite small treat is a mini-pizza with a cheesy spider web drawn on top and a black olive spider. Make jack-o-lanterns from large oranges and fill with home-made fruit cocktail. Hard cooked eggs make great eyeballs, and carrot sticks turn into witchy fingers with sliced almonds for fingernails. An eerie dip would be especially fun to eat with a witch’s finger!
Educate and Inspire
Junk food will always be a part of Halloween. If you are thinking creatively, though, you can serve up yummy, sweet, healthy food from natural and organic ingredients. Your actions can educate other parents about organic, fair trade and local food that is not full of GMOs and toxic chemicals. If one other household has been informed and changes their eating habits in a small way due to your baked apples or pumpkin muffins, others will get inspired, too. Halloween can turn into somewhat of a harvest festival for neighborhood parties!