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12 Tricks for Your Halloween Treats

Well, the time is upon us folks. The night of dressing up, going out and returning with a bounty of candy is almost here. And, while those costumes may transform your kids into ghouls, goblins, and Elsa from Frozen (we know we'll see at least a dozen out there), they won't do much to transform the calories, sugar, and artificial ingredients they consume. As moms, dads, and caretakers, you've got a couple options for celebrating the spooky, sugary season:

  1. Throw caution to the wind, clear out that space in the upper cabinet to hide your kids' candy stash and gorge right along with them for the days (and weeks?) following Halloween. 
  2. Read this blog, roll up your sleeves, and try out some of these creative, healthier versions of Halloween favorites. They may not entirely replace the candy, but they can certainly offer an alternative.

Now, we don't want to be the Grinch of Halloween. We understand that this is a holiday of sugary indulgence. Which is why we have listed recipes that reimagine candy classics, introduce fruit into the equation, and distract kids from the health beneifts by making truly ghastly culinary creations. And, if you're looking for more inspiration, check out our post on 11 Healthy Twists for Fall Snacks.

The following recipes are pulled from the best cooking, parenting, and lifestyle blogs around. We will provide a link to the original post so you can get the full recipe and explore what else these great bloggers have to offer!

Reimagining the Candy Classics

1. Candy Corn Fruit Cocktail

If you're anything like Corey, the blogger/mom from Family Fresh Meals and the creator of this treat, then your family LOVES candy corn cocktailcandy corn. It's not something typically carried in stores year round, so when it hits the shelves its easy to fall into the trap of over-indulgence (much like Pumpkin Spiced Lattes for adults). 

For the Grocery List:

  • Pinneapple
  • Oranges
  • Whipped Cream (can be replaced with Greek Yogurt)
  • Candy Corn

Use a clear glass to layer pineapple and oranges, then top with whipped cream (or yogurt) and a couple pieces of candy corn. Serve right away or refrigerate until ready to serve. 

See more great recipes from Family Fresh Meals!

2. Caramel Apple Nachos

You know what doesn't go very well with soft teeth that are still forming? How about a large apple on a stick with a layer of caramel apple slicescaramel that has hardened like cement the minute it cools? This recipe from Chrisy and her blog Homemade Hooplah is a great alternative to the classic caramel apple and sure to be a hit in your home (plus, it's a great use for any heath bars that your kiddos bring home!). 

For the Grocery List:

  • 6 medium apples 
  • 3 heath bars 
  • 1/2 cup white candy melts
  • Caramel sauce (such as the type used for ice cream)

Get the full recipe (and more) from Homemade Hooplah!

3. Sugarless Peanut Butter Cups

Nothing goes together better than the classic chocolate and peanut butter. Reeses Peanut Butter Cups are a Halloween peanut butter cupsfavorite, but these homemade goodies have all of the flavor and none of the sugar. Lee from Fit Foodie Finds provides this recipe and we think it should be a staple in any home this Halloween. 

For the Grocery List:

  • Coconut oil
  • Smooth peanut butter (all-natural)
  • Pure vanilla extract
  • Unsweetened cocoa powder
  • Liquid stevia 
  • Optional: unsweetened coconut

Get the full recipe (and more healthy meals) from Fit Foodie Finds!

4. Homemade & Healthy Twix Bars

"Healthy" and "Twix" aren't two words you typically see together. But, this recipe from Rachel, cook & blogger from Bakerita, has done the seeminly impossible with this gluten-free, grain-free, and refined sugar-free twix bar recipe!Twix bars

For the Grocery List:

  • Coconut flour
  • Kosher salt
  • Pure maple syrup
  • Coconut oil, solid
  • Creamy almond butter
  • Coconut oil, melted
  • Vanilla extract
  • Cocoa powder
  • Flaky sea salt

Recipe from Bakerita:

"Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Grease a 14x5” tart pan or 8x8” square pan with coconut oil (I recommend lining the pan with parchment paper as well if your pan doesn't have a removable bottom). Combine coconut flour and salt in a bowl. Add the maple syrup and stir until fully combined and crumbly. Add the room temperature coconut oil and mix until a large dough ball forms, pressing out any clumps of coconut oil. I used my hands at the end to bring the dough fully together.

Press the dough into the prepared pan. Bake for 9-11 minutes, or until golden brown around the edges. Let cool completely.
For the filling, combine all of the ingredients in a small saucepan and heat until all of the ingredients are melted and throughly combined. Pour over the crust and let cool in the refrigerator until set before topping with chocolate layer.
For the chocolate topping, whisk together all of the ingredients and pour over the cooled caramel layer. Smooth evenly and sprinkle with flaky sea salt. Let cool until set. Slice into 1-inch slices, or 16 squares. Keep stored in the refrigerator."

5. All-Natural Snickers Bars

If you're like us, then you probably have a secret corner of the freezer where you keep some of your kids' candy for your own sweet tooth. But, frozen candy can often become too hard and lose a lot of the flavor. This recipe from Amrita at Crazy Vegan Kitchen is not only a healthier option, but these snicker bars also keep very well in the freezer without becoming like cement or lacking the flavor provided by the dates.

For the Grocery List:snicker bars

  • Large Medjool Dates
  • Almond Meal
  • Gluten Free Oat Flour
  • Vanilla Pod
  • Sea Salt
  • Natural Peanut Butter
  • Almond-Coconut Milk (or other non-dairy milk)
  • Maple Syrup
  • Chopped Peanuts
  • Coconut Oil
  • Raw Cacao Powder

Recipe from Crazy Vegan Kitchen:

"Make Nougat Base: In a food processor, combine all ingredients until a "dough" forms. If it's too dry, add ½ a teaspoon of water at a time until it forms a dough. Pat into the base of an 8 inch plastic lined tin. Place in freezer whilst making filling. Clean out food processor. Make Peanut Caramel Layer: In the clean food processor, combine dates, vanilla, peanut butter, milk and maple syrup. Process till you get an almost smooth, thick "caramel". Scrape down sides in-between if dates stick to the side of the processor bowl.

Pour "caramel" into a bowl and fold in chopped peanuts. Spread mixture onto nougat base and place into the freezer for 1 hour to set. Make Chocolate Coating: Combine all chocolate coating ingredients and whisk till smooth. Pour over your nougat/caramel base and then top with more chopped peanuts before placing into the freezer to set. Let your bars freeze for 5 - 8 hours, or overnight. Once frozen, pull out plastic wrap to release mixture from the tin, and cut into rectangles."

freaky fruit dishes

6. Banana Ghosts & Pumpkin Tangerines

Hosting a Halloween party? These are a great dish to serve to inject some vitamins to balance out the sugar intake. Although ghost bananasthe ingredients are simple, the decorations from this recipe by Minid from Sweet & Simple Living make them fit right into the spooky decor and Halloween flair. 

For the Grocery List:

  • Bananas
  • Chocolate chips
  • Mini chocolate chips
  • Clementines
  • Celery

Cut each banana in half, peel them, then cut the bottom of the banana at an angle to help the "ghost" stand. Using a toothpick, make a small hole for each eye and the mouth. Poke mini chocolate chips in the banana for the eyes and a regular size chocolate chip for the mouth. Peel each clementine. Take a piece of celery and cut it into small pieces to make stems then insert them into the tops of the clementines.

Get more great party favor ideas from Sweet & Simple Living!

7. Apple Teeth

These are another great option for serving during a Halloween shindig. It's a simple recipe but a classic trick for getting apple teethkids (and adults) to eat fruits during the season of sweets. This recipe comes from the brilliant minds at the Pampered Chef.

For the Grocery List:

  • 1 medium apple
  • Creamy peanut butter
  • Mini marshmallows
  • Whole blanched almonds 

Cut apple into wedges. Spread peanut butter along one side of each apple slice. For the “teeth”, place five marshmallows in the peanut butter on five of the apples (closer to the skin side of the apple). Press the remaining five apple slices down onto the marshmallows to form a “sandwich” resembling a mouth. Use two of the blanched almonds as vampire teeth. 

8. Watermelon Brain

If you excel at carving pumpkins, then you will LOVE this creative idea for serving up watermelon.

This recipe was originally watermelon brainfeatured in Family Fun magazine, but we've pulled directions for this treat from the Rawtarian.

For the Grocery List:

  • Simple: 1 Seedless Watermelon

Wash and peel watermelon. Choose which side will make the best looking brain. Cut a small slice off the bottom so it is stable. Using a very thin or sharp knife make the first cut down the middle. Widen the cut slightly by making another cut next to the first one at a slight angle about 1/8 inch away. Remove a V-shaped sliver of melon and reveal the red fruit underneath. Using a picture as a guide, continue to carve out slivers of melon in a brain-like pattern (you could even use a stencil).

9. "Poison" Apples

Not only do these "poison" apples provide a creative twist to the typical caramel apple, but they also offer a fun craft to do poison appleswith your little ones! This recipe from Nate on Wanna Bite takes you through the process (including important tips like scraping off the shine-inducing wax on the apples).

For the Grocery List:

  • Granulated Sugar
  • Light Corn Syrup
  • Gel Icing Color
  • 12 Small Apples
  • Wooden skewers

Get the full recipe (and more creative recipes) from Wanna Bite!

gooey goodness

10. Ghostbusters Slime Popcorn

The perfect pairing for a scary movie marathon! Try out this slimy recipe from Nerdy Recipes for a snack that is sure to fill ghostbusters popcornyour kids up and distract them mindlessly munching on candy.

For the Grocery List:

  • Butter
  • Light brown sugar, packed
  • Light corn syrup
  • Miniature marshmallows (or 12 large)
  • Vanilla extract
  • Green and yellow food coloring
  • Popped popcorn

Recipe from Nerdy Recipes:

"Place butter, brown sugar and corn syrup in a 3-quart sauce pan. Cook over medium heat until sugar is dissolved.
Remove from heat and add marshmallows and vanilla extract. Stir until smooth. Add the green and yellow food coloring to create desired color.

Put the popcorn in a large bowl and pour the “green slime” marshmallow mixture over the popcorn. Stir with a large spoon until coated. Cover until ready to serve. Store in an airtight container."

11. Gusty Cups

Short on time? Too much sugar in your system? Need some fruit to cut through the chocolate? Then try these gutsy cups from gutsy cupsBianca at Elephantastic Vegan!

For the Grocery List:

  • Frozen raspberries
  • Rice syrup
  • Vegan baking chocolate (or chocolate chips)

Recipe from Elephantastic Vegan:

"Heat the frozen raspberries in a small pot on medium-high heat until soft, mash the raspberries until there are no large chunks anymore & add the rice syrup. Give it a mix and set aside to cool. In a double boiler, melt 1 cup of the chocolate. Meanwhile place 8 muffin liners in a muffin pan. Place about 1½ teaspoon of melted chocolate in the muffin liners and tilt them, so the chocolate spreads to the sides. Repeat for all the muffin liners and place it into the fridge for a few minutes (until the chocolate hardens).

Melt ¾ cup of vegan chocolate in the double boiler. Meanwhile add about a teaspoon of the raspberry filling into the chocolate coated muffin liners (place it in the middle). Once the chocolate has melted, pour it over the raspberry filling. Tilt it a bit so the top is covered with the chocolate completely. Let it harden in the fridge for about 5 minutes.
Once the chocolate is hard, carefully remove the cupcake liners and enjoy."

12. Popcorn Brains

Perfect for serving at parties and a cute idea to do with your kids - especially the part where you paint the popcorn brains pink! This recipe comes from Michelle at Tablespoon.

For the Grocery List:

  • Marshmallows
  • Butter
  • Popcorn, popped (and lightly salted if you like)
  • Red food coloring
  • Paintbrush

Melt the marshmallows and butter over a very low heat, while stirring occasionally for about 5 minutes. Remove marshmallow mixture from heat, add in one drop red food coloring and stir. Add to popcorn. With lightly oiled hands, shape the mixture into 8 popcorn balls. Paint on the "blood" as desired, with additional red food coloring. Or just drip it on for an extra brainy effect. 

Check out more creative ideas from Tablespoon!


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