Halloween is a magical time of year. Homes are adorned with festive fall accoutrements, including hay bails, pumpkins and mums as well as the black, purple and orange decorations that are unique to a season of ghouls and goblins.
Although decorating is a large part of the fun of Halloween, the sweet treats that are distributed to trick-or-treaters and presented at Halloween parties are arguably the most popular component of this beloved holiday. Candy is everywhere come Halloween. The National Confectioners’ Association reports that Halloween is the largest confectionary holiday, followed by Easter and Christmas. The National Retail Federation and NCA indicate the average American consumes 3.4 pounds of candy around Halloween, and 600 million pounds of candy are purchased across the country for the holiday.
Is it possible to escape the Halloween sugar overload? For those who want to enjoy some healthier options than candy corns and other sweet staples, these ideas are not so frightening.
· Pizza mummy: Use slices of toasted sandwich bread or English muffins to make some spooktacular fare. Coat the bread with pizza sauce. Then place thin vertical slices of mozzarella cheese in a haphazard pattern to replicate the look of gauze on a mummy. Two pieces of sliced black olives serve as the eyes.
· White, orange and yellow platter: Simulate the look of candy corns’ white, orange and yellow color palette with healthier offerings. Stack cauliflower, or another white food like monterey jack cheese, baby carrots and yellow bell peppers on a platter. Serve with your favorite dip.
· Deviled brains: Turn regular deviled eggs into something more sinister for Halloween buffet tables. Simply add food coloring to the filling to create a pinkish-brown hue that resembles a human brain. Then use a piping bag fitted with a thin icing tip to pipe the shape of brains onto the hardboiled egg halves.
· Veggie skeleton: Use assorted vegetable slices, cheese sticks, fruits, nuts, and more to inspire a Halloween-inspired charcuterie board. Arrange everything to resemble a skeleton on the platter.
· Ghostly bananas: Insert popsicle sticks into the bottoms of bananas and freeze until solid. Prepare white melting chocolate according to directions, then dip the frozen bananas into it. While wet, stick on two mini chocolate chips to make the eyes of the ghosts. Place in the refrigerator to harden.
· Spider crackers: Use buttery Ritz® crackers or something similar for this recipe. Spread a relatively thick layer of cream cheese (or peanut butter if allergies are not a concern) on one cracker. Cut thin pretzel sticks in half and use four on each side to make spider legs, sticking them into the cream cheese. Top with another cracker and secure to the cream cheese. Raisins connected with more cream cheese complete the eyes of the spiders.
Anyone can use his or her imagination to make delectable and healthy Halloween offerings in lieu of more sweets.