I am on a mission to find a better way to celebrate Halloween. At risk of sounding like the nemesis to all things fun on October 31st, I have to confess that I find myself anxiously touting my nutritional dogma in the fashion of those about to lose the debate. The upcoming horrific little holiday is to primal eating what Christmas is to anti-consumerism; a societal onslaught on the principles of those attempting to walk on higher ground with their families.
Each year, in spite of the limits I try to place on this day, the amount of junky consumables that invades our home is astonishing. The bus driver, the friends at school, teachers, neighbors… even if we don’t go to their doors, they come to ours with bags of candy. This was not as big a problem before two kids were in school. I also understand that the sugar haul my kids see is minimal compared to some of the buckets and pillow cases toted door to door.
My children are very accepting of our primal lifestyle every day. They are also human, adorable, and worried about their standing with their peers…of course they want it and of course I’m not going to just snatch it and toss it before their starry, tear-filled eyes.
Though part of me wishes I had the gumption to.
Do you not want to weep in despair at the sight of spongy, colourful fake teeth and candy hamburgers?
This year, I present my best strategy: to celebrate to death the safer elements of Halloween and starve out the others. Hopefully, by implementing one or two things, I can get some buy in for a Halloween that is not deemed successful only by its net weight in candy.
Find fun alternatives in your community
If the options are few, get together with like-minded families and throw a family Halloween party. Sometimes we just need to create our own better options.
Locally, Edmonton runs events leading up to Halloween, but not much on the 31st. Prairie Gardens runs a Haunted Pumpkin Festival up to Sunday, and Sherwood Park always runs Hallo-Baloo at Millenium Place, a great alternative event for families looking to maximize fun and minimize loot.
Encourage your little ghouls to give a little
Make your first round of trick-or-treating for canned and dried goods for the local food bank. On the last few houses they can collect treats.
Don’t leave as much room for candy
Fill them up with a fun Halloween feast! Start a tradition by making gross and fun dishes that are paleo-friendly. I’m not really into the guts and gore of Halloween, but many are… so here are some ideas:
– Eyeball appetizers – Boil eggs, then add red food colouring to the water. Crack the eggs and let them soak for about 30 min. Proceed to make your favorite deviled eggs, topping with olive slices for the iris and pupil.
– Witches’ Brew – Don’t we all have enough recipes for healthy smoothies that look disgusting? Add more spinach to make them green. Make a fun ingredient list.
– Bugs – Use toothpicks and dried fruit (raisins and dates are pretty good, solid toothpicks will go through fresh pecans) to make a plate of bugs and cockroaches. Slice dried apricots and apples to make legs and antennae. You could serve them on a “dirt pile” of yummy Choc-Avocado Mousse.
– Monster Fingers – Make chicken strips by rolling fresh chicken in almond meal and baking in the oven. After they cook, slit one end and insert a triangle of yellow pepper as a gruesome-looking “nail”.
– Frankenstein Head – Shape mashed avocados, a pinch of salt and lime juice into a square and decorate with black olive hair, cucumber slice and olive eyes, red peppers for ears. Serve with fresh veggies or alternative crackers.
– Brain meatloaf – Shape a meatloaf like a brain. Brain moulds are available at most stores this time of year. Line the mould with plastic wrap, press in the pre-cooked mixture, then turn out into a deep cake pan. Bake as usual. Ground turkey would give you the most appropriate colour, I am sure. Ew.
– Apple-lanterns – Core an apple. Cut out facial features and remove the skin in the cut-outs. Fill the apple with nut butter.
There are many, many pictures online that you can pull up to inspire your creativity… modify the ingredients and come up with something fun!
Try not to feed your dollar to the Halloween candy machine
When I was a child, my mom gave out toothbrushes and paste. She was a dental hygienist. I’m okay with being that Mom, even if it means I develop a reputation on the block. Play-doh comes in Halloween packs and dollar stores are full of very cheap toy items that could be passed out at your door. Even if you don’t have children, you can make a better choice for the neighborhood kids.
90% for 1% of the time, not the other way around
We let them eat as much as they want to eat (of what they have) on Halloween night. No limits (though sometimes I “confiscate” some of the good chocolate…). If they make themselves a bit sick, life lesson learned – not only does Mom say candy is bad for you, it actually can make you feel bad. Within a couple days, leftovers disappear. It is a far less damaging strategy than a little every day over the long term.
Of course, if I really do want to be the Healthy Halloween Fairy, I can always re-gift their crap consumables at my own door. That way, I’m not supporting the Halloween machine OR allowing all that garbage down the gullet of my own children. Think I could get away with it?
How evil does Halloween get around your house? Do your kids buy in to a healthier plan?