Throwing a kids’ Halloween party doesn’t have to be scary. It can even be relatively healthy. Try these great recipes and have a great celebration!
Throwing a kids’ Halloween party doesn’t have to be scary. It can even be relatively healthy, says Sandra Nissenberg, dietitian and author of I Made It Myself!: Mud Cups, Pizza Puffs, and Over 100 Other Fun and Healthy Recipes for Kids to Make, a cookbook for children and parents.
Lots of people associate Halloween with unhealthy eating, but you’d be surprised how easy it is to tone down the candy and still ramp up the fun. “The key is to get the kids involved. The party should have treats, but it doesn’t have to be all about the food.”
A homemade art project can make a great non-food starter. “Children love to make things, especially when they can take them home,” says Nissenberg. A few quick crafts make terrific table décor.
Ghostly Napkin Rings
- Paper towel tubing, cut into 1-inch pieces
- Long pieces of yarn or embroidery floss in harvest colors (black, gold, orange, brown)
- Paper napkin
Tape one end of a piece of string to the inside of each child’s paper ring. Kids can wrap the string around and around the cardboard ring until it’s completely covered. Tuck and tie the end into the ring. Slip a paper napkin “ghost” inside and add eyes with a marker.
- Large-sized construction paper
- Stickers, cut paper, dried leaves or other decorations
- Clear contact paper
Allow each child to decorate his or her construction sheet with any kind of Halloween or fall visual. Use any or all of the supplies above. Cover with contact paper to waterproof each placemat.
Make It a Meal
Topping your custom-made place settings is simple. “It’s a good idea to plan your Halloween party around mealtime, so you can start with a well-balanced main course,” explains Nissenberg. Give each child some refrigerated pizza dough “pumpkins” and let them decorate with pepperoni and vegetable features. Use cookie cutters to make ghost and witch-shaped sandwiches (chilling the bread first will make it easier to cut). Give a regular hamburger a splash of Halloween color by garnishing with orange slices or a helping of carrot and raisin salad. Other spooky side items may include baked pumpkin seeds or even some fake ketchup blood.
Once your little ghouls have finished the main course, parents should focus on getting the kids involved. And what better way to get their hands dirty (literally) than by making their own spooky snacks like the ones below?
Peanut butter makes these creepy crawlers fun to eat and “dissect.”
- 10 small round crackers
- 2 Tablespoons peanut butter
- 15 small pretzel sticks
- 10 raisins or dried cranberries
Spread peanut butter on five crackers. Use the other five crackers for the top of the cracker sandwiches. Break the pretzel sticks in half and stick six legs inside each cracker sandwich. Use two dots of peanut butter on top of each sandwich to stick the raisins on for bug’s eyes. Makes five bug bites.
Great-tasting finger food with legs! Kids will gobble them up and get a serving of fruits or vegetables!
- 5 Banana bread or zucchini bread muffins (large or small)
- 40 thin licorice sticks (or cut thick ones into strips)
Handful of raisins, blueberries or chocolate chips
Turn cooled muffin upside down and insert eight long licorice sticks (four on each side). Attach raisins, blueberries or chocolate chips for eyes (a dab of peanut butter will hold them in place).
Add these bug ice cubes to a glass of apple juice or a punch bowl for a hair-raising surprise.
- 1 small box of raisins
- ice cube tray
Put one or two raisins in each section of an ice cube tray and fill with water. Keep the tray in the freezer for at least four hours or until the ice cubes are hard. Makes enough for eight glasses.
Spider Web Cookies
Use chocolate wafer cookies from the ice cream aisle to create your web. Add extra screams by adding a gummy spider to each web.
- 1 package flat chocolate wafer cookies (found in the ice cream aisle)
- 1-2 tubes white icing or decorator gel (with thin tip) toothpicks
Using decorator icing or gel, draw a tiny circle in the middle of a chocolate wafer cookie. Outside of the circle, draw a larger circle, and continue to do so until you have drawn about four circles extending all the way to the outside of the cookie. Using a toothpick, start in the center on the mini-circle and draw straight lines to the outer edge of the cookie. Do this about four to six times around the cookie to make a web-like look over the cookie.
Candy kisses make these hats so rich it’s scary!
- 1 package flat chocolate cookies (thin mints, wafers found in the ice cream aisle)
- 1 package chocolate candy kisses
- 1 tube of white icing
- Thin decorative icing tip
Using the white icing as paste, glue down a candy kiss in the center of each chocolate wafer cookie. Create an icing hatband using white icing and the thin decorator tip.
Freaky Frozen Yogurt
Frozen yogurt witches are delicious and healthier than ice cream novelties.
- Frozen yogurt
- Pointed sugar ice cream cones
- Thin licorice strips
Place a scoop of frozen yogurt in the center of a plate. Poke strips of licorice on the top and over the sides of the frozen yogurt to make your with’s hair. Top with a sugar cone witch’s hat. Use decorator icing or gel to add a face and decorations to your witch.
Haunted Trail Mix
Kids will grab this mix by the handful. Adding crackers, pretzels and nuts makes it a nice break from just candy.
- Fish crackers
- Oyster crackers
- Pretzel sticks
- Mini-M & M candies
- Gummy treats (spiders, bugs, etc.)
- Candy corn
Mix all crackers and treats together in a large bowl or sealed container.
Don’t Forget the Games
No matter what the rules, games are a great way to wind the party down and keep every one at the party involved. Organize a game of “bobbing for apples.” Have kids guess the number of candy corns in a jar. Challenge kids to see how many ways they can count and sort their own Halloween goody bags. You can even hand each child a roll of toilet paper and hold a mummy-making contest. Check out this article for more Halloween party games.
The bottom line, says Nissenberg, is to have fun. Remember, during Halloween and throughout the year, “messes can be cleaned up, but the memories will last a lifetime!”
Recipes from I Made It Myself!, by Sandra and Heather Nissenberg, John Wiley & Sons.
For more Halloween party ideas, visit our sister site Birthday in a Box, a great source for themed party ideas and supplies.