Halloween is my favorite holiday. I love the smell of candles burning inside pumpkins (I love all things pumpkin, for that matter), the crisp feel of the autumn air, and of course, trick or treating! I remember as a kid getting bags full of candy that lasted months. Now I’m the girl on the block that gives out different treats as alternatives to the junky candy bars and corn syrup laden treats from the days of yore.
I’m not talking about handing out flaxseeds and spirulina, but I have some delicious options that don’t contain refined sugars or corn syrup or red dye #2. And while you can scour the aisles of Whole Foods and get gummy candies colored with black carrot juice and sweetened with evaporated cane juice, don’t be fooled: That stuff is fancy, dressed up junk candy with a few minor improvements. Better than corn syrup, sure, but still sugary.
Most of my choices are chocolate-derived because dark chocolate is a superfood, and chocolate candy rocks! The other moms on your block will thank you when they don’t have to deal with cracked out kids on a sugar high. These are great offerings for a Halloween party, too.
Healthy Halloween Treats
1. Good ole dark chocolate. Endangered Species brand makes individually wrapped chocolates for Halloween. Their chocolate is delicious: Shade-grown and ethically traded. I love their dark chocolate mint bars. Get the mini dark chocolate squares option.
2. Homemade sugar free peanut butter cups. Reese’s, eat your heart out. Put a couple in a cute little Halloween party favor type bag. There are tons of almond or other nut butter cup recipes out there. Check out my pinterest board for more ides. Or, try Justin’s mini healthy peanut butter cups, one of my favorite treats..
3. Choco-Pepitas Bark. I found this on Bon Appetit a while back. The recipe calls for toffee bar (Endangered Species chocolate makes a more healthful alternative than Heath bars), but you could probably leave that out or sub in some chopped nuts.
1/2 cup hulled unsalted pumpkin seeds, also called pepitas
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
6 ounces bittersweet good quality chocolate
1 1/2 ounces finely chopped chocolate toffee bar
- Line a baking sheet with parchment or waxed paper, or use a silicone baking sheet, and set aside.
- Heat pumpkin seeds in a medium frying pan over medium heat and toast until golden brown, about 6 minutes. Let cool slightly, then mix with cayenne until well blended; set aside.
- Melt chocolate and toffee bar in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly, until smooth.
- Remove from heat and mix in 3/4 of the pumpkin seed mixture. Spread chocolate mixture onto the lined baking sheet very thinly, into roughly a 12-by-10-inch rectangle.
- Sprinkle remaining pumpkin seed mixture over top.
- Let set in a cool, dry location. Once bark is hard, break up into shards.
5. Dried mangoes. Kids love dried mangoes, and although they’re somewhat high in sugar, at least it’s a whole food and offers some good nutrients, like vitamin C.
Happy & Healthy Halloween!
Mary Vance is a Certified Nutrition Consultant and author specializing in digestive health. In addition to her coaching practice, she offers courses to help you heal your gut and kick nagging digestive issues for good. Mary lives in San Francisco and Lake Tahoe in Northern California. Read more about her coaching practice here and her background here.