Planning a Halloween party for your little monster and his friends is no easy feat. You have to think about decorations and activities that are festive, but not too scary for toddlers and preschoolers. You’ve also got to find a way to feed a bunch of kids without resorting to the typical candy and sugar-laden Halloween treats. With a little imagination, you can make creepy and cool Halloween snacks using healthier ingredients. Since you’re hosting a Halloween party for kids who don’t always pay attention to the standard parental rules, “No talking while chewing” and “Keep your mouth closed while chewing” and “Chew carefully,” be sure to take a photograph and then chop round, firm food pieces into bite-sized chunks no larger than 1/2-inch, before you serve these spooky goodies.
Sweet Potato Pumpkins
Turn sweet potatoes into mini pumpkins without wands or fairy dust for a healthy side dish. Simply peel baked sweet potatoes and shape them into ovals and balls, about the size of a large egg. Use a toothpick (but don’t let the tots try this — they might poke themselves with a toothpick) to draw vertical lines on the sweet potatoes so they look like pumpkins. Trim a piece of romaine lettuce and stick it in the center of each “pumpkin” at the top to complete the pumpkin look.
For a simple Halloween snack, use a ghost-shaped cookie cutter to cut out shapes from large slices of white cheeses, such as white cheddar. Cut pumpkin shapes out of orange cheddar cheese slices. You can also turn mozzarella sticks into creepy fingers by cutting them in half lengthwise, then use a knife to score marks in each half to look like knuckle and joint lines. Use your own fingers as a model. For the nail bed, slice off the top end of the mozzarella at an angle. Dab a tiny amount of low-fat cream cheese on the nail bed, then cut red bell peppers to look like sharp nails and press onto the cream cheese for each “finger.” Before serving, cut the mozzarella ‘fingers’ into 1/2-inch, bite-sized pieces, in a recommendation from the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Hot Dog Worms and Meat Ball Eyes
Turn a package of turkey hot dogs into creepy, yet tasty Halloween worms. Slice each hot dog length-wise, then slice each half lengthwise again. Place the thin slices of hot dogs in boiling water until they curl up and look like worms. Drain the water and douse the hot dogs in sugar-free ketchup to make them slimy, and serve on a platter. Before serving, cut the hot dog “worms” into 1/2-inch, bite-sized pieces. Turn ground turkey meatballs into eyes balls by spreading a little marinara sauce on top of each one, then a small square of mozzarella cheese. Melt the mozzarella under the broiler, then add an olive slice for the eyeball. Before serving, cut the meatball into 1/2-inch, bite-sized pieces.
For basic Halloween-themed desserts, you can make pumpkin cupcakes by adding pumpkin puree to a basic cupcake recipe. Make it healthier by using whole grain flour or gluten-free flour for allergies, and skip the sugar. Applesauce adds both moisture and flavor to cupcakes. Make a low-fat, cinnamon cream-cheese icing. For healthy pumpkin ice cream, freeze pumpkin puree in an ice cube trays over night, then add the frozen puree cubes, a half-cup of coconut milk, a frozen banana, and a dash of cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla and a sweetener of your choice, to a blender. Blend the mixture to a smooth consistency and serve immediately.