Halloween filled with scary fun not scary ingredients!
Our children love Halloween. In fact, they probably love Halloween almost as much as I dislike it. It is of course highly probable that I am just a massive party-pooper or Halloween grinch, however, part of me cheered a silent cheer when Italy banned halloween this year. Anyway, I am not going to go into my long list of various reasons for my strong feelings about Halloween as a parent....but....as a nutritionist it fills me with dread. Dread about the about the endless negotiations with children. Dread about placing sugar laden candies and lollies upon a pedestal making them seem like a prize which can result in emotional attachments to foods or certain scenarios, and contribute to the development disordered eating and eating disorders. Dread about the food waste. Dread about the sugar, additives and colours. Dread about the missed opportunities for nourishment. Dread about what excess sugar consumption does to the body and mind in both the long and short term. Halloween is a minefield for eating behaviours and nutrition. Arrghh!!!
Despite my feelings about Halloween, we always do something for it. This year due to the pandemic I imagine the neighbourhood celebrations will be somewhat different. It will be definitley be different in our house. We also have one child doing his final school exams and cannot risk anything that will jeopordise him completing them. So this means our Halloween will be centred around activities in the house as our little family unit. The girls already have their costumes planned, and to help you all along a little we started preparing some recipes and activities early. I am not going to post recipes because these ideas are more creative or food art. When I did them with the girls, I showed them a couple of photos and explained my ideas and then left them to be creative on their own. It was actually quite fun and certainly felt much better for me as a parent and health professional to being spendng time with our kids, than "treating" them with candies and sweets. They absolutely loved it, and loved their results.
This was their favourite part of the afternoon, making the guacamole witch. This witches face is made from a simple guacamole with purple corn chips for the hat. The corn chips also serve to scoop the guacamole. The rest was just put together from what we had in the house. I would suggest letting the kids choose what fruits or vegetables they might like to use. For our witch, her eyes are made from boiled eggs with blueberries for pupils. The mouth was created using some slices of red capsicum with cheese slices for teeth, a carrot stick nose and carrot noodles for her curly hair. They were so proud of the final product. I think it looks pretty cool!
Here are our ghosties made from cheese slices. The cheese slices are so easy to cut that you do not need to use sharp knives and can be done entirely by a 6 & 9 year old. The ghosts are surrounded by our clementine or mandarin jack-o-lanterns which can be made by simply peeling the skin from the fruit and adding a small celery stalk.
These are our mummies in coffins. To do these we just wrapped some pastry strips around chipolata or mini sausages and then brushed them with olive oil and popped them into a pre-heated oven until they were cooked and the pastry was golden brown. They are a bit trickier than the other recipes, and did need an adult to supervise the oven part of the activity, however, they are certainly the tastiest of all the activities. To make it easier we sat the celery coffins on a bed of hummus so they stood upright. Like all the other recipes, I showed the girls t one example of how to do it, in this case to wrap the sausage and cut the pastry strips, then they did the rest on their own.
These are the creepy critters made from pretzel sticks and mini Babybel cheese.The eyes are made from black olives and the girls added some sour cream as "glue" for the facial features.
We also did a couple of simple scary monster plates using vegetables. The eyes are made with pumpernickel breads rounds, some hummus, slices of radish and olives. Use whichever fruits, vegetables or other healthy items you have in the house.
That is all we have done so far, although I am planning on doing some sweeter recipes on the actual day to complement these ideas. For the sweeter items we are making jelly jack-o-lanterns in some carved oranges and fruit kebabs with some ghostie marshmallows. This is because despite my feelings about hallowen, I have stronger feelings about the impact of restriction on diets and eating behaviour.
I will leave you with a photo of our Halloween platter we are going to prepare to inspire you to have a halloween filled with scary fun, not scary ingredients!
Love Skye :-)