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3 Simple Tips for Spectacularly Spooky Healthy Halloween Snacks

Halloween is a tricky holiday for those trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Having several bags of Halloween candy in your home is a major temptation for your sweet tooth. You can keep the holiday healthier for yourself and your loved ones by swapping traditional treats for healthier alternatives.

Remember- a healthy Halloween doesn’t have to be bland or boring. Making some simple switches in your go-to snack ideas can transform their nutritional profile without sacrificing flavor. So, get in the spirit of the holiday with these three simple tips and tricks for tasty Halloween treats!

Start with Taste: Choosing Flavors that Fit the Feeling

Halloween is typically defined by sweet treats. Grabbing handfuls of candy from a neighbor’s stash is a treasured childhood memory for many people, and there is no reason to stop treating yourself to some sweets as an adult. However, all of that candy isn’t exactly good for you or your child’s health.

Almost 4% of the candy consumed in the United States in an entire year is eaten on Halloween (Hellmich, 2013). Given that each American eats an average of 22 pounds of candy yearly, that works out to nearly a pound of candy on Halloween alone. This year, consider the following alternatives in lieu of stocking up on bags of candy from the grocery store.

Vegan Chocolate Truffles

These vegan truffles are gluten-free and low in calories and saturated fat!

The intensely chocolatey flavor of these vegan chocolate truffles will satisfy even the biggest candy fanatics in your life. Made from dates, almond flour, chia seeds, flaxseed meal, cacao powder, and agave syrup for sweetness, these chocolate truffles taste like the real thing. Yet they have a fraction of the calories and fat! Coat yours with shredded coconut, cacao powder, or finely chopped nuts.

No Bake Pumpkin Cheesecakes

Pumpkin is perhaps the most iconic flavor of fall. Plus, its orange color makes it perfect for Halloween. Using soaked raw cashews lends a creaminess to these non-dairy, vegan cheesecakes. With pumpkin puree and maple syrup for additional texture and flavor, these bite-sized cheesecakes will hit the spot. Click here for the full recipe.

Caramel Apples

Caramel Apples are a great halloween treat to decorate to your liking!

Caramel apples are the quintessential fall treat. Make some homemade caramel to coat the apples and then dip them in black and orange sprinkles for a Halloween snack. Alternatively, you can make use of our convenient caramel apple kit.

Pumpkin Granola Bars

Pumpkin granola bars are the perfect healthy Halloween snack. These bars are made with gluten-free rolled oats, cashew butter, and pumpkin seeds for crunch and nutty flavor. Adding chocolate chips is optional -- your favorite dried fruit would make a great substitute.

Tricky Treats: Common Pitfalls for Preparing Halloween Snacks

This pumpkin mousse probably shouldn't be handed out to trick-or-treaters.

When planning healthier Halloween snacks, keep in mind the type of event at which they will be served.

When it comes to trick-or-treating, it’s expected to pass out prepackaged goods- and for good reason. Parents of little ones are often concerned about the safety associated with accepting homemade or unwrapped foods from strangers.

If you still want to give your Halloween goodies a healthier twist, consider passing out small packages of yogurt-covered raisins, naturally sweetened candies, juice boxes (with 100% juice), or fruit leather. However, it should be noted that the onus of monitoring a child's health falls squarely on their parents.

If, on the other hand, you are hosting a Halloween party or sending treats to school with your child, you have a little more leeway. Homemade Halloween treats are a great addition to a school party; just make sure to ask your child’s teacher about whether there are any allergies in the class to plan your snacks around.

As for parties you are hosting, it is best to think of Halloween snacks that can be enjoyed with one hand. People will likely be chatting and holding a plate as they eat. Anything that requires a knife, fork, or spoon should be eschewed for finger food. For more tips for serving snacks at a party, check out article on party-friendly snacks here.

Consider Presentation for a Halloween Snack Hit

This Halloween treats make the perfect party fodder for hungry guests.

Many of the best Halloween snacks can easily be adapted from regular treats. Tweaking a few ingredients can make a big difference. Consider the following ways to add a festive twist to your favorite snacks:

Color

Keep a Halloween color scheme in mind when planning your menu. Pumpkin treats provide the orange, while anything with dark chocolate will be intensely black. No-bake pistachio cookies or matcha green tea muffins provide a witch-y green color that is the perfect counterpoint to the traditional Halloween black and orange. When arranging your food, consider creating a tray of muffins or cookies with alternating colors in a checkerboard pattern.

Frosting Decorations

The tops of cupcakes and cookies make the perfect canvas for Halloween decorations. For instance, chocolate coffee flour muffins would look great with a frosting spiderweb in lieu of the chopped hazelnut topping.

Whip up a batch of vanilla buttercream frosting. Then, fill a plastic bag with frosting and snip the tip off of the corner. This will allow you to have great control when delivering frosting, ensuring clean lines. Make your best spiderweb design to adorn the treat. A bit of orange food coloring (or the liquid from steamed and pureed carrots, if you avoid artificial colorings) is the perfect addition for orange frosting pumpkins atop a cookie or cupcake.

Don’t Forget Beverages

Themed beverages add the perfect touch to your Halloween gathering. Stir up some “blood” smoothies, using blood oranges, banana, yogurt, and a few tablespoons of beet juice for more intense color. Another great trick is to purchase some dry ice (be careful when handling) for smoking drinks. Adding a couple of chips of food-grade dry ice to the punch bowl will cause it to give off a spooky smoke (Tablespoon, 2011).

References

Hellmich, N. (2013). Scary amount of candy consumption on Halloween. USA Today. Retrieved from http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/10/29/halloween-candy-consumption/3189537/

Hershey (n.d.). Reese's peanut butter cup nutrition. Retrieved from https://www.hersheys.com/reeses/products/reeses-peanut-butter-cups/milk-chocolate.aspx

Tablespoon (2011). How to mix spooky cocktails with dry ice. Retrieved from http://www.tablespoon.com/posts/how-to-mix-spooky-cocktails-with-dry-ice/fa677cec-25fb-429d-8c45-9fd8b70d196b