Nothing puts the fun in fall like a Halloween party for the kids. It’s a great time of make believe that the whole family can enjoy. Halloween parties are fun to host and can create smiles and memories for years to come.

Fun with food

Though candy is the main attraction for this holiday, below are some alternate takes on snacks that make for a spooky good time:

Banana ghosts:
Cut several ripe bananas in half. Using chocolate syrup, draw little faces on each banana.

Mini pumpkins:
Wash and peel several Clementine oranges, but do not break apart. Wash and cut several celery stalks to make the stems. Place each stem in the center of the Clementine and enjoy.

Monster eyes:
Make strawberry flavored gelatin in an ice cube tray. Before the gelatin is completely firm, place a grape in the middle of each cube. Once the gelatin is fully firm, serve the monster eyes.

Apple bugs:
Coat apple slices with peanut butter and attach some pretzel sticks for legs. Use raisins and nuts for eyes.

Witches’ smiles:
Core and cut a red-skinned apple (leave skin on) into long, vertical slices, about ½″ wide. Spread one side of apple with a small amount of peanut butter and place on top of a second slice, so it looks like the two lips of a mouth. Stick raisins between the red “lips” for “decayed teeth.” If you prepare ahead of time, coat any exposed flesh of the apple with a little orange or pineapple juice to keep apple from turning brown.

Bony fingers:
Pour popcorn into clear plastic gloves (the type designed for wearing in the kitchen when preparing food). Tie the ends of gloves with orange and black ribbon.

Witches’ brew:
Serve orange juice or apple juice topped with a small scoop of orange sherbet, vanilla ice cream or frozen yogurt. Or, add a few drops of green food coloring to milk, then top with a small scoop of lime sherbet, vanilla ice cream or frozen yogurt, if desired.

Pumpkin dip:
Mix together canned pumpkin (3 Tbsp.), low fat vanilla yogurt (1 cup), orange juice concentrate (1 Tbsp.), cinnamon (1/2 tsp.) and maple syrup (1 Tbsp.). Dip in graham crackers or sugar cookies cut into fun shapes.

Games and things

Get the kids up and moving to burn off some of that excess sugar with some Halloween-themed activities:

Mummy wrap-up:
Using inexpensive bathroom tissue, divide up in teams and take turns wrapping one of the kids. After a minute of wrapping, call time and see which team made the best mummy.

Build a scarecrow:
Form groups and have a variety of old clothes, pillowcases for heads, markers and recycled newspaper. Groups have 20 minutes to create. Give prizes to the scariest or funniest, then place outside.

Pin the nose on the witch:
Think pin the tail on the donkey, only with a big witch picture and some cutout noses.

Bobbing for apples:
Want to avoid a watery mess? Try hanging the apples from a string.

Slime (not for eating):
Bring two cup of water to a boil in a medium sauce pan. While stirring, add in ½ cup of cornstarch. After that mixes, add in food coloring of your choice and stir. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature then enjoy for play.

Managing the sweets
Candy really is the name of the game for this holiday. There are a lot of ways these sugary calories can get out of control for you and your family. Follow these tips to help keep the sugar in check:

  • Don’t buy your candy too soon. It’s tempting to do, but the temptation to eat it before the holiday is even greater.
  • Set expectations early that your kids can’t spend the whole night scarfing down treats. Let them know ahead of time the candy is going to be spread out over several days. Set a limit, with your child’s input, on how much will be eaten.
  • Use mini snack baggies to help divide up the candy.
  • Try filling up on healthy foods before venturing out for tricks and treats.
  • Consider buying back some treats from your children. This acknowledges the candy belongs to the child and gives them a little extra spending money.