Hauntingly Delicious

Trick or treat, smell my feet, give me something good to eat!

It's still one bazillion degrees outside here in North Texas nearing the end of October.  Regardless, we are still going to pumpkin all the things in this post.

I love making themed food.  I have no idea why.  Maybe because I would have thought this was cool as a kid, or I just think it's fun now.  Whatever the reason is, I hope that my family will have fond memories of the holidays at home and also learn that we can enjoy those fun things without destroying our bodies.

If you are familiar with Pinterest, or even Facebook, you've seen many, many ideas on how to make fun treats for the holidays.  I did a quick search on Pinterest, and within the first few results I saw M&Ms, pizza, brownies, rice krispie treats, cupcakes, etc...

Now, I know you're thinking "Hey, it's Halloween, lady.  It's all about the treats."  I agree.  Kind of.

Your kiddos are going to spend an entire evening (and if you are busy like me, your kiddos will get 4, yes FOUR, evenings) collecting more junk than can fit in that pillow case you used to carry around when you were too old to go door to door.  Halloween is pretty close to Christmas when it comes to treat food and parties.

I want to be able to celebrate the holiday at home and be the fun mom.  I also want to do this without throwing our values and lifestyle out the window.

It is possible.  Promise.

Let's start with some family meals and then we'll tackle all those treats you your kiddos are itching for.

Really love pumpkin?  Then, this will do it for you.  Between the two recipes, it will use up an entire can of pumpkin (Which I love, because usually I have just enough left over to never be good for anything.  If this happens to you, give it to your dog.  They love it and it's good for them.)  This meal was gobbled up by my little goblins and it was quick and easy to make!

Click here for the recipes!  Pumpkin Curry and Rosemary Pumpkin Flat Bread

How about something that just looks fun?  I've made this the past two years and the kids love how gross it looks (the one time of year when gross looking food actually helps your kids eat).  Bonus:  Your kids will actually eat a bell pepper.
Zombie Pumpkin Peppers

Do your kiddos wake up perky and wide-eyed?  Not here.  But when they come down to breakfast and see something funny staring back at them, it completely changes their mood.  This one does the trick and you don't need TBHQ and food dyes.
Creepy Chia Doughnuts

I often worry about how my kiddos feel because their lunches look a little different than most kids.  This could be one reason why I like to make themed food.  It gives us a place to meet in the middle on how much junk goes into their growing bodies.
I used my go-to veggie dog recipe for this one and store bought crescent rolls.  Pay attention to those ingredients!  I used Immaculate Baking Company rolls and their ingredient list is way less dangerous than Pillsbury.  I shoved in sliced almonds for eyes because my kids would freak if I used mustard!  Just make the veggie dogs in advance and then press out the rolls, cut into long strips and squeeze into thinner strips to wrap around and bake!

After the meals are made and it's time to party, our kids can come in the door with an overwhelming amount of cancer sticks candy.  You don't have to give up and let them have everything because you fear the struggle it will take for them to let it go.  And if you are the one struggling to say no, remember why you want to say no and if consuming all that candy is what you want for yourself.  A lot of parents I talk to say they are way more concerned about what they put in their kiddos bellies, but not so much their own.  Well, let me remind you that your kiddos are going to be the ones taking care of you down the line.  In my experience, no parent wants to be a burden to their children.  Take care of yourself.  I digress.



Here are a few tips on tackling the candy monsters:

- Talk to your kids before the collecting/party begins.  Agree on what is going to happen with all that candy or treats.
- Find an organization to donate extra candy to: troops, retirement homes, the garbage can.
- Local dentists' offices may have collection drives going on.  Last year we turned in our candy and they gave my kids $2 per pound.  My kids collected $10 and I of course explained the definition of commission.  (I got $2...It's enough for my Starbucks.)
- Use the "Switch Witch".  There is an official book and story, etc., but basically she comes in the night and swaps your candy out with other items.  Whether it be vegan candy, healthier alternatives, or non-food treats.
- Just say no.  Our neighborhood is throwing a Halloween party.  There will be lots of activities and we've been reminded to bring our buckets for candy.  Our family will be focusing on the activities and less so on the candy.  If your office and/or friends are hosting a party, remember you are there for the fun and friendship!
- Tuck the extra candy away in a special spot in the pantry and set guidelines for how much and when the candy can be eaten.  After a few days, much of it may be forgotten.  I also throw out pieces here and there and my kids have no idea.  Shhhh.

For our family, we choose not to consume animal products.  Many of the treats the kiddos come home with will undoubtably contain some.  We go through the items together and then we swap for a few vegan treats.  This has not yet resulted in a giant fight.  It may happen, but this works for us now so I'm sticking with it.

These are what we will trade out for and give as special treats on Halloween.  I really love Love Grown Foods - the cereal is made with beans, no GMOs, and very little ingredients.  No Whey Chocolate is also especially awesome since their stuff is made without the top 8 allergens!
Remember, you are the adult.  Just like you make decisions in all other areas of life for yourself and your kiddos, you are in charge of what goes into those bodies.  You do not have to throw in the towel just because it's a holiday.  Be conscious of your decisions.

Here are a few more tips to turn those healthy meals into treats!

- Use cookie cutters.  I have pumpkins, ghosts, and a castle (I think it's actually supposed to be a princess castle, but it looks haunted to me).  Use them for bread, tortillas, melons, cucumbers, potatoes, apples, homemade crackers, etc.  Just set the cutters on your counter for a while and they'll speak to you.
- Squash mini vegan chocolate chips, sliced almonds, pepitas, macadamia nuts in anything for spooky eyes!
- Just give something a fun name.  Naming food has always been fun for my kids and it will give them a different perspective on something they may not have wanted to even try before.  Mummy dogs, witches brew, forbidden fruit, zombie brains...
- Use a piping bag on mashed potatoes.  Keep the liquid level low so they stay stiff.  Swirl it around to form potato ghosts!
- Peel grapes and call them eyeballs.  Ok, I am never going to do this because time, but my kids would love it.
-Explain the Teal Pumpkin Project.  This is an awesome way to get your kids on board with non-food treats.  There are so many allergies these days, that it must totally suck for kids that can't have peanut butter, etc.  I love peanut butter.  This is also a good opportunity for kids to learn compassion and open their eyes to a world beyond their own.
- Think in colors!  Orange, black, and purple are excellent Halloween colors.  Oranges, orange grape tomatoes, carrots, eggplant, grapes, blackberries, purple potatoes.  This could be a great way to make that platter you signed up to bring to the party.

Spending a few extra minutes on presentation and planning will be worth it to give your kids (or you) some fun and give you some peace of mind.  You could also get some veggies on the plate.  Now, that would be scary.




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