by Kate Saumweber Hogan, CPM, LM
This past weekend we had a great Halloween party. With 5 kids 4 and under in our extended family, and our own babe at only 10 months, we wanted to establish a tradition around Halloween that wasn’t all about candy and sugar. I had a lot of fun gathering ideas and making these fun and spooky treats. The party turned out great, and I’d love to share these ideas with others. Plus, it will help decrease the amount of blood sugar roller coasters following Halloween, which is great for kids and parents alike!
We had a costume party, sang halloween related songs, had a mask making station, and various coloring pages that the kids could color. As the activities wrapped up, we made a witch’s brew. You can find various ideas for a witch’s brew here. We had some food allergies we were working around, and I wanted it to be healthy, so ours was made up of:
- Brains (popcorn)
- Toasted Skeleton Bones (small pretzel sticks)
- Baked worms (puffed veggie sticks)
- Roasted Snake Eyes (roasted unsalted peanuts)
- Freeze dried blood (Trader Joe’s freeze dried raspberries)
- Skin flakes (toasted coconut pieces)
We hid bags of the ingredients in a spider’s web for the kids to find. We made the “web” with masking tape in an extra bedroom, and then the kids had to find the bags marked with their first initial, without getting caught in the web! Then we sang a song as each child added their ingredient to the brew. (I made up a separate brew for my 10 month old ahead of time, with foods she is eating, such as freeze dried blueberries, puffed pees, and sliced almonds).
For dinner, we had a variety of spooky foods:
Pizza fingers, found here. Although we used pepperoni as nails instead of red peppers, since we thought the kids would like it better. To keep things less messy, we left out the sauce, and included it on the table as an option for dipping (finger blood). We made our own pizza dough, and layered it with pepperoni, cheese, and then topped it with pepperoni nails along the edge.
Mummy Dogs, found here. We used nitrate free beef dogs, and turkey dogs, cut in half, wrapped with with refrigerator crescent roll dough. I cut each crescent triangle in half, so one 8 pack of dogs and one 8 pack of rolls made 16 mummies! We had “blood” and “snot” to dip them in (ketchup and mustard).
Cheese stick ghosts. I was going to look for food safe pens to use to make the faces, but when I went to pick them up I realized they were full of artificial dyes and colors, which we try to keep out of our house. Instead, I just defrosted a frozen blueberry and used a toothpick to make faces out of the blueberry juice. Simple and cheep!
Ants on a log are a simple classic. I was surprised that the pickiest eater at the table loved these! I would have never imagined to see at least four of these disappear to him (I actually looked under the table to see if they were getting dropped on the floor). I’m a big fan of sunbutter (made with sunflower seeds instead of peanuts for peanut butter), so we used that as the log. It was hit!
Apple mouths were also pretty fun. Again, I used sunbutter, but you could use peanut butter, almond butter, or cashew butter. The trick with these is to cut the wedge out for a mouth, instead of trying to stick two slices together. First, quarter and apple, removing the core. Then cut a wedge out of the quarter, without cutting all the way through to the center of the slice. Next add sunbutter and almond slices.
Lastly, we had dessert. I was considering making mini pumpkin muffins to have a cup cake like dessert, but in the end I didn’t feel that we needed it since we had 3 other dessert items.
We had a mini pumpkin patch, made by peeling mandarin oranges, adding a slivered almond for a stem, and cutting a spinach leaf down to size as a pumpkin leaf.
White pumpkins were easy to make by slicing a banana and using a slivered almond as a stem.
I found this idea for “used Band-Aids” here, and we replaced the frosting with cream cheese and home made jam to cut down the sugar. I made these about 3 hours before we ate, and by dessert time they were getting a bit soggy (which added to the gross factor, but probably wouldn’t have been an ideal choice if I make these again). I could have easily waited to add the cream cheese and home made jam until we were about to serve them.
My mom brought over some Halloween themed table ware to make it extra festive (and clean up was a breeze). I printed place cards onto card stock, adding some simple pumpkin clip art to each name. For drinks, we stayed away from juice (again with all the sugar) and kept it simple with toots water (sparkling) or dead water (flat).
It was a great party and I’m already looking forward to next year’s party planning. Next step, what do we give out at our house to neighborhood trick-or-treaters? Here is a list to get some brainstorming started. Happy Halloween!