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
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.
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
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.
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.