My daughter loves to be in the kitchen, experimenting with new recipes and practicing fun cake decorations. She looks forward to the arrival of her food magazine, endlessly searches Pinterest, then supplies me with shopping lists to replicate the perfect pictures she sees. Of course, this leads to the next thing she is also all about, which is parties and using them as an opportunity to showcase her latest kitchen adventures. Over the past few years, this has meant an annual Halloween party.
Throwing a Halloween party takes a bit of extra care to ensure it isn’t full of too many sweets. After all, a holiday that’s all about candy doesn’t need much more. Luckily there are many fun recipes and over the past few years, my daughter and I have come to find ways to bring spooky fun without scary amounts of sugar (sneaking in some veggies too!). Here’s how we do it:
Not So Scary Drinks
Halloween parties are all about presentation, so we fill a caldron with our “Witch’s Brew.” Kids see a green drink created to look way more “sugary” than it is. I see an ingredient combination of flavored seltzer (there are many to choose from) or a sugar-free citrus soda like Fresca and enough drops of natural food coloring to make it look green.
Not Just Ice Cubes
Drinks are made more fun when even the ice cubes are decorative. We make “eyeball” ice cubes (freeze gummy “eyeball” candies in them) or use a Halloween-themed silicone mold to make spooky shaped ice cubes (freeze water mixed with natural coloring).
Of Course, Veggies
BUT…. I place them on a platter in the form of an owl, ghost, or other shape so kids are drawn to them. I serve them with “ghost goop” (AKA ranch dressing) and “monster mush” (AKA hummus or guacomole). Carrots, bell peppers, jicama, orange grape tomatoes, and cucumbers are some veggies that we use to “match” our Halloween theme.
And Of Course, Sweets
Kids will be looking for treats, after all it is a Halloween party. But when they are kept small (mini cupcakes and brownie bites) and packaged in little themed bags, I can control how much they have. Serve this homemade dessert hummus (or pick one up at the store) along with graham cracker sticks or mini fruit skewers. Lastly, rather than a candy bowl, offer a goodie bag to limit the amount of candy kids take.
More Nutritious Halloween Dishes
Halloween Nachos: Combine yellow cheddar cheese, sliced black olives, black beans, scallions, and diced avocado.
Spooky Snacks: Baked chips, cereal mixes and more are made special when plastic bugs and other party perfect decorations are added to the bowl (for older kids) or around it.
Black Bean Noodles: Kids are thrown off by black spaghetti, but these protein rich noodles are just what they need to balance the sweets. Serve with a collection of sauces including tomato, pumpkin (there are several Guiding Star-worthy jarred options at the supermarket) and pesto.
Check out this blog post for more ideas (and keep an eye on social media for this year’s Halloween party food pics!).