As much as we all love to celebrate Halloween, the sugar factor is cause for pause. That’s why the trick is in the treat! Being proactive with a Paleo-friendly routine for each holiday may present a short term challenge, yet each choice matters.
So I made a list of 21 delights, both edible treats and small toys, that you can pull together for an upbeat evening of celebration. Included are Paleo recipes for Halloween desserts that everyone will enjoy.
Whether your family is experimenting with a Paleo diet or fully committed, Halloween treats are bound to be everywhere. You might be wondering, “How do I make sure my kids have fun and ensure that they don’t overload themselves with sugar?”
I recommend that you set your kids up for a #SmartSplurge– my term for indulging in an enlightened and more beneficial way. Rather than gorging on all that candy, set your family up for a really enjoyable time by substituting Paleo treats and cool toys. Halloween is a great opportunity to reframe unhealthy eating, in light of the conscious approach that Paleo treats provide and are so easily integrated! Taking a few minutes to prep a simple recipe or find some cute non-edible treats will help you keep up all that good momentum you’ve created, without the negative consequences. Enjoy the fun, consciously and abundantly.
What can I do with unwanted Halloween candy?
One way to shift gears after receiving some Halloween candy is the “Candy Fairy” approach, also known as the “Switch Witch.” The idea is to allow your kids to collect candy, but then have choices only within certain boundaries, which you provide. The remaining candy is switched out for a trade that the kids will love. I’d recommend switching most of the candy that’s brought home for Paleo-friendly alternatives or a toy.
Of course, there are a few options for handling the “Switch Witch” visit. You could have the kids discover the non-candy treats in a scavenger hunt instead or use a decorated grab bag. This empowers them to find the fun in the process, and be rewarded with a few yummy treats from healthier sources, homemade or otherwise.
Here are some fun ideas for Halloween toys:
- Mini Flashlights– They’re practical and entertaining for kids walking around after dark.
- Halloween stickers– These rolls of 100 include pumpkin, ghosts, bats, mummies, vampire, trick or treat patterns and much more.
- Aroma Dough – Non-toxic, gluten-free play dough with natural scents.
- Mini coloring books – These mini coloring books are kid-sized and fun!
- Bubbles– Always a hit. Who doesn’t love bubbles?
- Glow-sticks – Watch the kids light up with glow-in-the-dark fun.
- Jigsaw puzzles – Kid-friendly puzzles in a Halloween theme for quiet play.
- Stamps – Kids will spend hours stamping pictures on paper.
- Carabiners – A novel and practical favorite for kids.
- Smiley man stretchy toy – Cute sensory gel toy for kids made with elastic and durable material that is BPA and phthalate-free.
- Skeleton bone pens– Too cool for school. These will make your kids’ day!
Six Healthier, Tasty Halloween Treats:
- Zollipops – Assorted Lollipops without the sugar; non-gmo, vegan, gluten-free with 6 flavors (NOTE: does contain sugar alcohols- xylitol and erythritol, which I generally prefer not to use).
- Cocomels Coconut Milk Caramels – Easy to serve to a group, or pop into a bag for each child.
- Pur Gum Variety Pack – Vegan, gluten-free, non-GMO, nut-free, celiac and diabetic friendly and made in Switzerland, in peppermint, pomegranate, wintergreen and spearmint. (NOTE: Also contains xylitol)
- Smartsweets gummy bears – allergen and sugar-free, sweetened with stevia.
- Mini Larabars – assorted flavors, everyone loves a chewy Larabar!
- Ona Cookies – Variety Pack – These grain-free, dairy-free, honey-sweetened cookies are a favorite.
Four Cute Paleo Party Recipes:
Here are a few fun project ideas to make yourself If you’re staying home or hosting friends:
- Banana Ghosts and Clementine Pumpkins. As my photo here illustrates, simple fruit garnishes of (dairy-free) chocolate chips and celery turn bananas and clementines into decorative treats that kids will love to make themselves! Can be great for a lunch box, too.
- Healthy Halloween Monster Mouths. They’re as adorable as they are delicious! (idea from Texanerin Baking)
- Chocolate Fruit ‘Bugs’ Halloween Candy – These will capture everyone’s imagination. (idea from The Fit Cookie)
- Better-than-Mounds Chocolate Coconut Cups – A very simple recipe using a few natural ingredients, and one I hadn’t seen before, Swerve Sweetener, a product based on erythritol which is non-glycemic and non-GMO. (idea from All Day I Dream About Food)
If you are going to choose some candy, what can you consider “healthy?”
If you’re going to buy candy at all, I recommend choosing sweets that are free from artificial dyes, synthetic sweeteners, or other allergens, such as soy, gluten, dairy or artificial colors. The “Unreal” brand of candy does a better job than the usual brands, with naturally-derived colors and no soy or GMO. The American Heart Association and the World Health Organization (WHO) recommend a maximum 38 grams of added sugar daily for men, 25 grams for women, and about 12-25 grams for children–officially, I would even recommend less than these guidelines. Given that, one fun size candy bar pushes kids right up to the limit (here is a handy chart of all of the fun size candies with calories and grams of sugar).
What does it mean when you see a teal pumpkin?
The Teal Pumpkin Project by FoodAllergy.org was created to help kids with food allergies enjoy the holiday safely. A teal-colored pumpkin displayed outside a home means that non-food treats are available. There is an interactive map online to find participating homes in your area, and you can add your house to this map if you wish to be included. You can purchase teal pumpkins at many craft and discount stores now, paint your own, or print out their signs to use instead.
At the end of the day, the point is to have fun with friends and neighbors and simply enjoy the evening. If you’re heading to a party, here are several additional ideas for Paleo party treats. Focus on the #SmartSplurge fun while enjoying healthy options to uplift everyone’s spirits!
(Note: some links on this page may provide me a small commission if you purchase from their store.)