Real Food Treats for Halloween (and where to find ethically sourced candy)

real food treats for halloween

Leaves have turned from green to gold.  Snow has fallen.  Halloween, always a favorite in this home, lurks right around the bend. And while my husband, our little boy and I are dutifully planning homemade costumes, carefully gathering materials for ghoulish crafts and decorations for the home, the though of how to celebrate the festivity of Halloween without (too much) emphasis on sugary treats and purchased plastic decor.  That’s not to say we don’t celebrate Halloween with treats and through trick-or-treating.  I’m never one to take a draconian approach to food; rather, I emphasize homemade, real food treats where I can.

Halloween, like most festive, seasonal celebrations, is about principle without denial, and providing a joyful holiday for my little boy and his friends.  So here’s my favorite ethically sourced candies (and where to get them) as well as some real food treats for Halloween you can make with your children at home.


Ethically Sourced Candy for Your Trick-or-Treaters

We trick-or-treat.  And, living in the center of town, I always make sure to have plenty of treats in a big basket for the goblins, witches and little ghouls that venture past my gate to my doorstep.  Like many of you, I take issue with not only the abundance of these treats, but also how their ingredients are sourced, and both how and where the candies are made.  A little sweet never hurt anyone, but I choose to purchase good quality, non-GMO, organic and fair-trade candies.  We give these away, one or two pieces each, to the children who come knocking on our door Halloween night.  I’ve also been known to leave a big basket of apples on my porch on Halloween, too.  (And, no, they didn’t end up being thrown at our house or our car.)

This year, I purchased Bug Bites (little bits of fair-trade, non-gmo chocolate) as well as Go Naturally organic blood orange and cherry hard candies.  I also picked up some American-made, brain-shaped strawberry lollipops (my little boy will go nuts for them!).  We ordered our candy in bulk online here.

We also plan to donate candy to this project so children who do not have the means we have can still enjoy some better choices this Halloween.

Honey Caramel Apples

Honey Caramel Apples

I celebrate the seasons from my kitchen, taking in the bounty that each season offers up, and transforming it into something distinct and memorable for my little boy. October brings apples, in abundance.  We eat them with breakfast, with lunch, as a snack, tucked into savory and sweet dishes.  One of my favorite ways to turn the abundance of apples into something special is to make Spooky Honey Caramel Apples.  We save these Honey Caramel Apples for ourselves, and for our close friends as few people will accept prepared food from a stranger on Halloween night.

Raw Cake Pops

Black Cat Cake Pops

This year, I’m also planning to whip up some of these Black Cat Cake Pops from Fork and Beans.  Aren’t they darling?  They look super cute and like a lot of fun to make.  The recipe includes nuts, dates, vanilla, coconut oil and maple syrup.  So impossibly easy, and a pretty good option for a simple real food treat for Halloween.  Get the recipe here.

Toasted Pumpkin Seeds with Chili and Lime

Toasted Pumpkin Seeds with Chili and Lime

In mid-October, when we drive to our local farm to pick up our weekly CSA (an impressive array of fruits, vegetables, culinary and medicinal herbs), we take the time to stop by a local pumpkin patch and corn maze.  I pack thermoses full of hot apple cider or warm milk with molasses and nutmeg, and we work our way through the maze feigning to be lost.  Later we pick out our pumpkins.  My son always chooses one that’s far too big and too heavy for him, but he manages to get it in the car.  Later we carve them, set them out on the stoop and roast their seeds.  I like to coat them with chili, salt and lime.  Here’s the recipe.

Spiderweb Cupcake

Spiderweb Cupcakes

Another treat I can’t wait to try this Halloween are these Grain-free Chocolate Spiderweb Cupcakes. While we are not a grain-free family (or even close!), I do value grain-free sweets and treats simply because I find them more satisfying overall than those made with regular flours.  The complement of fats and proteins found in grain-based flours is a nice balance for the sweeteners in the desserts and cupcakes, bringing greater balance overall to the dessert.  Get the recipe for these Spiderweb Cupcakes from Texan Erin here.

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What people are saying

  1. Pilochita says

    Thank you for this article! Great resource info!
    As a parent who is trying to do right by my children, I came to realize how hard it was to find them a better alternative, I have tried to make our own on occasions, but it’s time consuming.
    This past Halloween we went trick or treating, but my girls knew that the candy was not to be eaten. ( I just didn’t want them to miss having the experience of going out and seeing all the costumes and children, and asking for treats.)
    What we did the day after, was taking them to the organic health food store we have in our area, and they chose a few samples from the organic variety offered. What we did with the candy collected… well,all of them went into the trash, I felt to guilty with the idea of giving them away, knowing how bad they are for you…

    • Heidi says

      Also as a mother “trying to do right by my children” I let them trick or treat on Halloween…and THEN we come home, sort and count all the candy and then I let them eat it all…either in one night or piece by piece- it is up to them. My husband and I are both endurance athletes and I qualified and will be running the Boston Marathon in April next year. Our bodies are important to us and we like to take care of them. We eat healthy whole foods in our house. I make most things completely from scratch. We have balanced meals and realized that food is fuel, food is important and we need to put good things in our bodies. This is the norm in our house. On occasion I will buy candy for my kids, but it is not something I have in my house on a regular basis. Same with processed junk foods and fast food. It is not a regular thing…but it is not a “never” thing either. When my kids eat too much candy they realize what it does to their bodies and that they don’t want them to do it again- same with processed foods and anything that is not good for them. In fact, we realize eating a whole bag of organic trail mix in one weekend is not a good idea either. That being said. I do explain to my kids why we don’t eat certain foods on a regular basis, I do not completely demonize them and I let them have a fun day in October each year where they can go hog wild and learn what is good for them and what is bad. Moderation in all things.

  2. says

    It hasn’t been until recently that halloween has become popular in Australia (well where I am anyways) and I feel my children are on a sugar high all night afterwards so these are some great ideas to sub in for lollies collected. And the chilli lime pumpkin seeds can be a treat for me :-)

  3. says

    Ahh! i almost forgot I make roasted pumpkin seeds and that my son loves them to death!! Thanks for that little reminder. I have a hard enough time getting him to eat healthy treats.

    I’ve never tried lime and chili. Next new flavor I try. Thanks! :)

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