Tips for a Healthier (and Safe) Halloween
Halloween can be a fun time of year for kids and parents alike. As families gear up for parties, trick-or-treating and spooky fun, the Healthier Michigan team has some tips and recipes to make one of the season’s not-so-healthy holidays a little healthier.
- Enjoy candy in moderation. Kids collect thousands of calories worth of treats on Halloween, not to mention all the sugar. Set aside a small handful of candy and put the rest away. Don’t let kids eat everything at once.
- Fill up on a healthy dinner. Before heading out for trick-or-treating, have kids fill up on a healthy dinner. Strapped for time? Slow cooker soup or chili can be a healthy way to warm up on a cold Halloween night.
- Decide on a point to get rid of leftover candy. Set a date to get rid of any candy that’s leftover — for example, by Thanksgiving. Or, even better, allow kids to trade in their candy for a new toy or another kind of reward.
- Consider non-edible treats (keep an eye out for Teal Pumpkins!). Stickers, pencils or other dollar store goodies are fun for kids to collect. The Teal Pumpkin Project (TM) is an effort to help kids with food allergies enjoy Halloween by providing non-food treats for trick-or-treaters. Keep an eye out for the teal pumpkins in your neighborhood.
Trick-or-Treating Safety Reminders
- Take caution and drive slowly around the neighborhoods. Be on the lookout for kids crossing at sidewalks and driveways. Remember to take it slow.
- Make sure your child’s costume does not present a trip hazard or obstruct his or her vision. Be sure to bundle up if it’s rainy or cold.
- Keep walking areas around your house clear of obstacles so trick-or-treaters have an open path. Be especially careful to place jack-o-lanterns or other candlelit decorations in a place where they won’t pose a fire hazard.
Healthier Halloween Treats
- 2 cups of cranberry juice
- 1.5 cups of apple cider
- 1 cups of grape juice
- 3 cups of ginger ale
- Non-latex glove
- Mix all 4 liquids together in a punch bowl.
- The night before make the lychee blueberry eyeballs. Place blueberry inside of lychee and freeze over night.
- The night before, also place some water in a non-latex glove and seal it. Lay flat in freezer to harden overnight.
- Before serving punch, put lychee blueberry eyeball and frozen ice hand into punch.
- Meltable white chocolate
- Mini chocolate chips
- Popsicle sticks
- Cut bananas in half, down the center.
- Peel and then cut each half length-wise. Each banana should make about 4 boo-nana ghosts.
- Place popsicle stick through each “ghost.”
- Place wax paper on platter.
- Melt white chocolate and dip banana into it. Use mini chocolate chips to make eyes and mouth.
- Place on wax paper.
- Keep refrigerated until ready to serve. Enjoy!
- 1 pound ground sirloin
- 1 pound ground turkey
- 1 cup canned 100% pumpkin puree
- 2 eggs, slightly beaten
- ½ cup finely diced onion
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- ¼ cup bread crumbs
- ¼ cup parmesan cheese
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1¼ teaspoons ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- 1½ tablespoons chopped fresh sage
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- Orange bell peppers, cut into strips to look like spider legs.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
- Mix all ingredients together in large mixing bowl, except the ground sirloin and ground turkey.
- Add ground sirloin and ground turkey into mixture with hands.
- Form 1.5 inch meatballs and place on parchment-lined cookie sheet.
- Bake in oven for 15-30 minutes until cooked through.
- Use orange bell pepper strips to add to meatball to look like a spider.
- You can also use a small dice of orange bell pepper for spider eyes.
- Serve on top of zoodles, zucchini noodles. See recipe below.
- Orange peppers
- Thin whole wheat spaghetti noodles – 1 box
- About 6 cups total of vegetables of your choice, cleaned and chopped into bite size pieces (Tomatoes, Cucumber, Bell Peppers, Olives of your choice, Banana Peppers, Artichokes, Sun-Dried Tomatoes)
- 1-2 lbs. total of your favorite lunch meats, cubed into bite sized pieces (Salami, Ham, Turkey, Pepperoni)
- About 1 lb. (3-4 cups) total of your favorite cheeses cubed into bite sized pieces (Cheddar, Provolone, Feta, Colby-Jack)
Red Wine Vinaigrette Dressing
- 2 cups olive oil
- 1 cup red wine vinegar
- 3/4 cup lemon juice, about 2 -3 lemons if using fresh squeezed
- 1/3 cup of honey
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 tsp. dried oregano
- 4 tsp. kosher salt
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Make red wine vinaigrette first. Just whisk together all ingredients and place in an air-tight sealed container in the refrigerator.
- Cook spaghetti noodles in water seasoned with some salt and a splash of oil. Cook until al dente, then drain and rinse with cold water.
- Place noodles in a bowl and dress with vinaigrette right away.
- While the noodles are cooking, clean orange bell peppers. Cut off the top and keep as top of “jack o’lantern.” Clean out all the seeds and membranes of orange bell pepper carefully.
- Next carefully, cut out a jack o’lantern face from each orange bell pepper. Set aside.
- Chop all vegetables, meat and cheese, then add to noodles. Toss thoroughly so all the salad items are covered in dressing.
- Place pasta salad and peppers in the refrigerator. I recommend making the pasta salad the day before serving.
- When serving, place antipasto spaghetti salad in each of the jack o’lantern orange bell peppers for a fun, healthy and spooky
- Halloween meal. Enjoy!