Ah Halloween… the night of ghouls and goblins. Vampires and mummies. Witches and jack o'lanterns. And a mountain of sugar, high fructose corn syrup, gluten, and who knows what else so bad that it's probably too much for a 200 pound, 6'5″ male to eat in a YEAR much less for our little 3 foot tall guys and gals to consume within days.
Halloween might still yet be a week and half away but it seems like this is one of those holidays that is now celebrated 100 times before the actual day. There are “trick or treat streets”, costume parties, harvest festivals, and the list goes on. At each of these seem to be endless buckets of candy.
Now I've heard tips on how to deal with this if you have a child on the Paleo diet that run the gamut from just let them have one piece to replace it with a piece of homemade or “better” candy or a small toy. And we've actually done all of these to varying degrees of success. Our kids don't get much in the way of sweets so they get quite excited at the prospect of anything in general. We try to stay away from the giving them one piece of “real” candy thing as much as possible though since they have gluten and dairy allergies and well, yeah, not worth it for for the tantrum and/or gastrointestinal ramifications. But just to stave off the possibility of disappointment I like to have some things prepared ahead of time that are enticing that I can just switch out for the candy they have received.
We know kids love brightly packaged things. Food companies capitalize off of this by making their boxes and bags colorful and with fun, cartoon-y drawings. As a result something like a small toy you want to exchange out for them might not seem as cool as that brightly packaged candy bar their best friend just got. So just making the ole' switcheroo might not work so well. But if YOU package your toys/treats in a fun way, they are much more apt to love it as well. Teach your kids that bright packaging can also mean healthy.
This strategy also works for treat bags your child may receive at a birthday party and any other holiday occasions as well.
Here are a few of my top Paleo Halloween ideas that make a bit more exciting for a Paleo kid/kid with allergies:
(1) Create your own fun package!
Wrap a Paleo-friendly packaged good, like a Larabar or Epic bar or something homemade like a brownie or baggie of dried fruit, with a 3 inch wide piece of orange construction paper. Tape the back to make the wrapper stay and attach a fun sticker to up the wow factor. Sit back and watch as your kids giggle in delight.
(2) Pumpkin Treat Bags
Make a pumpkin pouch out of an orange tissue paper and some floral tape. I usually do one of these to swap out all the candy my kids get at an event. Fill it with whatever you want – candy, small toys, stickers, temporary tattoos, homemade Paleo treats, or dried fruit. The list is endless as long as it is small and fits in the bag. Then when you give it to your child they will also have the added benefit of feeling like it is a present they get to unwrap. Watch the video below for a short (only 1 minute long!) tutorial on how to make these.
(3) Make Pumpkin Milkshakes
Put it in a fun glass and add a colorful straw to get into the festive spirit. You could transport them a short distance, like to a neighbor's costume party, but unfortunately, these don't travel too well if you want them to still be semi-frozen. See the recipe below.
This recipe has been linked to the AIP Recipe Roundtable by the amazing blog Phoenix Helix!