Unmasking How We Do Halloween

I thought long and hard about bringing you some fun, healthy Halloween sweet treat recipes, but I didn’t see how that would contribute to the cause towards less sugar consumption. If you peruse the internet or Pinterest, you will see all sorts of snacks like baby carrots made to look like fingers, ghost faces drawn on bananas, oranges posed as pumpkins, and I even saw stuffed peppers carved like a jack-o-lantern. As much as culinary concoctions are my creative outlet, I am not very artsy when it comes to cute designs! So there you have it. Like I said in this post, I want this blog to really reflect who I am and it just wouldn’t be authentic if I showed you cookies shaped like witch hats or vegetables turned into goblins that would have only been made to provide a Halloween themed recipe to my readers. Because the truth is and at the risk of sounding like a boring mom, I don’t normally make food cute for my kids.

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I have received messages asking how we handle Halloween at our house so I’m going to share that. I do want to first acknowledge that holidays, historical or Hallmark, are personal to every family. We celebrate Halloween in the traditional way but have our own tweaks which have evolved over time. To give some background, while my sister and I were growing up, my mom very much restricted sugar because my dad had Type 2 diabetes. At that time, it wasn’t common knowledge that sugar fed disease other than diabetes or caused inflammation or injury beyond teeth cavities. Either way, she had some strict rules: If we had a sweet cereal, we had to mix it with a non-sweet one too. We could only keep a small jar of our trick-or-treating candy and believe me, she also made that supply last months! Unlike most Indian families, we actually didn’t have white rice and unlike most families, we didn’t eat much white flour or potatoes, corn, and other starchy vegetables.

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My point in telling you about that is to convey the groundwork was laid early. My childhood and family’s medical history combined with what I now know about sugar’s negative impact on health, how it is mainly sourced from genetically modified sugar beets or GMO corn syrup, the effects of artificial food dyes, how we get plenty of hidden sugar just from eating out 2 times a week, and for us, some non-vegetarian ingredients such as gelatin and mono/diglycerides, has really led the way for how I want to deal with times like Halloween. My children didn’t have juice until mid-toddlerhood and it is still diluted to this day at home or at restaurants. My daughter still prefers vegetables over fruits and water as her choice beverage, but my son definitely has a sweet tooth and I do let him enjoy dietary indiscretions like Sprite 2-3 times a year but diluted with club soda.

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We try to eat as clean and low sugar as possible on Halloween day and really any day during the year that we know we will be attending a party. Last year, one meal was avocado salad, parmesan spaghetti squash, and homemade veggie burgers.

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I DO allow candy intake but in small quantity, always with permission, and we center our celebration with pumpkin patch visits, haunted houses, our neighborhood costume parade, new shirts, stickers, pencils, toiletries, pumpkin carving, and inedible treats (think dollar stores or Target bins).

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They can pick 2 pieces to eat during trick-or-treating and 2 pieces to eat when they get home. After that, they can keep 5 pieces with artificial colors and 10 other pieces which are then eaten over a few weeks. I use to give the rest away but how hypocritical would I feel feeding someone else something that I was against giving my own family? So don’t be shocked…we throw it out! The next morning when they wake up, they find that the “Switch Witch” has left a $15 or so gift for each of them. When they get older, I will probably just give them gift cards. Last year, we gave children a choice between choosing granola bars from one basket or chocolates from another. The granola bars “sold out” first. Just saying there’s a chance no one will egg your house. In fact, these teenagers were so hungry and thankful for a snack. I hope everyone stays safe, takes lots of photos to capture the memories, and perhaps consider making one small change this year, whatever feels right for you. Have a happy Halloween!  I would love to know your thoughts, views, and ideas on this topic so feel free to comment 🙂 .

 

For both sweet and savory pumpkin eats, check out my cupcakes and ravioli!

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