From goblins and ghosts to princesses and fairies, kids love to get into the Halloween spirit. For parents concerned about their children’s health, however, a bag bulging with Halloween candy can be a minefield to navigate. Americans purchase over 600 million pounds of candy each Halloween, according to Huffington Post, and many children walk away with over a pound of the sweet stuff.
Turn the holiday into a learning opportunity for kids by teaching them about the effects of sugary candy on their teeth. Check out the Kool Smiles app for kid-friendly dental health infographics. Then, work with your kids to plan healthier Halloween treats to preserve their beautiful smiles. Combining healthy treats with a few pieces of traditional candy keeps your kids happy and their teeth strong.
There’s nothing more spooky than approaching the table, only to see a severed hand protruding from a bowl. Frightening fingers are a healthy treat that sticks to the Halloween spirit. Begin by washing and peeling five long carrots. Shape the ends into ovals so that you have four long fingers and one shorter thumb. Place a sliced almond “fingernail” on the end of each finger, using a dot of reduced-fat cream cheese as an adhesive. Then, simply spoon a container of your favorite veggie dip into a bowl or use a salad, arrange the fingers to look like a disembodied hand, and serve. Provide a plate of baby carrots for dipping.
Image by Mega Hammond via Flickr
Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
After the kids carve their pumpkins, what will you do with all the guts? Roasted pumpkin seeds might very well be the best part of the pumpkin-carving tradition— not to mention the easiest!
Preheat over to 300 F. Collect all the seeds from your pumpkins and rinse off as much pumpkin “goop” from them as you can. Dry them off with a paper towel and toss with about two teaspoons of olive oil (more or less depending on how many seeds you got from the pumpkins). Spread out evenly on a cookie sheet and sprinkle with seasoning of your choice (a little sea salt, garlic powder, cayenne for spicy seeds or maybe some cinnamon and nutmeg). Bake in the oven about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Image by Stephanie Richard via Flickr
A frighteningly realistic melon brain is a treat that your kids will love. Purchase a small, round seedless watermelon. Use a potato peeler to remove the green layer, exposing the white rind. Take a slice off the bottom to make the watermelon sit flat on a platter. Then, use a sharp paring knife to create ridges in the watermelon, exposing the pink insides. Kids can help trace the lines with a toothpick, but an adult should do the carving.
Nothing says Halloween like a grinning jack o’lantern. Begin by slicing the top from a navel orange, removing the insides for your kids to snack on. Then, let each kid carve one orange jack o’lantern. Fill the insides with fruit salad for a cute, healthy treat.
Image by Chris March via Flickr
Your kids will love the spooky look of this bowl full of worms. Begin by straightening a package of long straws with bendable necks. Prepare purple jello according to the package instructions. Add enough green food coloring to turn the mixture a brown or gray color. Place the straws into a large container and pour the jello mixture over them. Refrigerate for at least 8 hours, and then the fun begins. Let your kids release the jello worms by squeezing the length of each straw, leaving a wriggly brown creature behind.