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Are you hosting a Halloween celebration?  How about having healthy food?  Just because it is healthy doesn’t mean it has to be boring or not taste delicious.

 Try these food ideas:

  • Pumpkin Dip – canned pumpkin, Greek vanilla Yogurt, one inch pieces of carrot sliced crosswise and then put cream cheese on one of the sliced ends and add half an olive to make it look like an eyeball.cinnamon, and a little orange Juice – Served with mini graham crackers
  • Monster Mash – use your favorite guacamole recipe. You can always mash avocado, add lime juice, & salsa for an easy treat.
  • Carrot Eyes –  carrot with cream cheese and half of an olive
  • Veggie Skeleton – Veggie Girl – Put your dip in a dish and then add leaf  lettuceVeggie Girl – Put your dip in a dish and then add leaf lettuce for hair, broccoli eyes, and red pepper for a mouth, for the body use cucumber slices, cauliflower for a skirt & red pepper ribs and legs, carrot sticks for arms.for hair, broccoli eyes, and red pepper for a mouth, for the body use cucumber slices, cauliflower for a skirt & red pepper ribs and legs, carrot sticks for arms.
  • Scarecrow Veggie Tray – On top of dip add cucumber slices with olives for eyes, carrot nose and red pepper slice for mouth. Around the dip place slices of carrot, celery and peppers for the straw hair and bottom of dish.  Top with rows of crackers in the shape of a hat.
  • Jicama Bean Salad- black beans, chopped orange bell pepper, and choppped jicama with vinaigrette dressing. You can put the salad into hollowed out red or yellow pepper to serve.
  • Trail mix served in Pumpkin Dish – nuts, seeds (pumpkin seeds), raisins or dried cranberries, dried apricots could be added.
  • Pumpkin Peppers – Cut the tops off bell peppers and carefully remove the center section of each pepper. Cut faces into the sides of the pepper. Fill with vegetables – Kale, Asparagus, Celery, Carrots, Cauliflower, and/or Broccoli.  You could also add some hummus if you want.
  • Spooky Pizza – Add pizza sauce to a whole-grain crust. Top with cut outs of ghosts from mozzarella cheese.  Bake and eat.
  • Halloween Quesadillas – Add black beans, mashed sweet potato, chopped cilantro and some jack cheese to a flour tortilla. Heat until hot and serve.
  • Cook a spaghetti squash. Put the spaghetti squash in a bowl and add some white cheese (Mozzarella, Parmesan or your choice).  Put some different sauces around it and let people choose what to add.

For Dessert

– peel a banana and cut in half crosswise. Push into the pointed top 2 mini chocolate chips to make eyes and add one regular size chocolate chip to make a mouth.

  • Banana Ghosts – peel a banana and cut in half crosswise. Push into the pointed top two mini chocolate chips to make eyes and add one regular size chocolate chip to make a mouth.
  • Fruit Pops – Use a melon baller or medium cookie dough dropper to cut circles out of the apples and/or peaches. Add a stick. You can also dip them into peanut butter or chocolate and then into some crushed nuts
  • Draw faces (with non-toxic ink) on clementine to make Jack-o-lanterns. These can be for decoration and eating.
  • Peel oranges or clementine and stick a piece of celery in the top to make a pumpkin stem.

Drinks – Serve water, unsweetened Ice Tea, or a  Halloween-themed punch – try mixing sparkling water with a little 100% orange juice and float orange slices and black grapes or blackberries in the punch bowl.

For activities:

  • Pumpkin Game – Pin the Face on the Pumpkin
  • Pumpkin Painting Activity
  • Halloween Charades – Fill orange balloons with themed physical activities: Bat Flying (flap your arms), Frankenstein walk, spider crawl, zombie walk.  Pop balloons and act out.
  • Pumpkin Bob using feet
  • Pumpkin Hunt – hide items such as pennies, small toys inside a pumpkin which has not been cleaned out. Let children reach in & try to find an item.
  • Roll Apple
  • Apple Toss
  • Scarecrow Dress Up Relay

Be sure to decorate your home and your table.  Enjoy your healthy Halloween Celebration!

Author:  Pat Brinkman, Family and Extension Educator, Ohio State University Extension

Reviewer:

References:

American Heart Association, (2016). How to Have a Healthy Halloween. retrieved from: http://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-eating/eat-smart/nutrition-basics/how-to-have-a-healthy-halloween

Ohio Action for Healthy Kids, (2012). Seasonal Fall Recipes.  retrieved from:  http://www.actionforhealthykids.org/game-on/find-challenges/1446

Ohio Action for Healthy Kids, (2017). Host a Healthy Halloween Celebration.  http://www.actionforhealthykids.org/storage/documents/game-on/Healthy_Celebrations_Halloween.pdf

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kids2 Many of us will see trick-or-treaters visiting our neighborhoods this week. When you do, consider starting a new Halloween tradition. My sister, Debbie is a great hostess for trick-or-treat night. She fixes a big pot of chili with healthy beans, lean beef and tomatoes. As the soup simmers, family members can stop in for a bowl of soup and some veggies before hitting the streets. A fun veggie tray encourages everyone to try a veggie dipped in reduced fat ranch dressing. The kids and their parents have a healthy meal to get them started on their journey. Veggie Girl

Let’s explore some Healthy Option Trick or Treat Ideas:

• Offer Halloween toys, stickers, glow sticks, pencils, or erasers.
• Offer small balls, bubbles, modeling clay, plastic spiders, bugs, skeletons or sidewalk chalk.
• Offer fruit cups, 100 % juice boxes, nuts, trail mix, graham crackers, or raisins.
• Offer small Clementines with a pumpkin face for an added surprise.

Clementine PumpkinsDid you know? A research study from Yale University found that children are just as likely to choose a small toy as candy when offered both of them. Given the choice between lollipops, fruit flavored candy, tart hard candy and stretch pumpkin men, glow in the dark insects, Halloween-themed stickers and pencils, 50% of the children chose the toys.

You may have your candy stash ready to go for this year but I challenge you to visit the store after Halloween and pick up some of the non-perishable ideas to offer next year. Oftentimes we can get post-Halloween items at 50 -90% off! Purchase these for savings next year and store them in your box with your Halloween decorations (if you have one) or in the special place that you can easily find when it is time to buy candy for next year. You may be surprised at the savings you see!

You don’t have to stop offering candy but consider adding some healthy alternatives. Did you know that the average Jack-o-Lantern Pumpkin contains 250 pieces of calories equaling about 3 pounds of sugar and 9,000 calories? Let’s make that number closer to 100 pieces of candy next year! That’s enough of a treat for anyone.

Can you start a healthy Halloween tradition?

Writer: Michelle Treber, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Pickaway County, treber.1@osu.edu

Reviewer: Beth Stefura, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Mahoning County, stefura.2@osu.edu

Photo Credits: Debbie Klinger, Pat Brinkman and Michelle Treber.

Sources:

American Heart Association, (2014). How to have a heart healthy Halloween. retrieved from: http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/NutritionCenter/HealthyEating/How-to-Have-a-Heart-Healthy-Halloween_UCM_317432_Article.jsp

Schwartz, M. , Chen, E., & Brownell, K. (2003). Trick, treat, or toy: children are just as likely to choose toys as candy on Halloween. Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, 35, 4, 207-209

Kids

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