As much as I love all the sweet treats that come with Halloween, I have to be mindful of the amount my 4-year-old consumes. Too much sugar is never a good thing with my sweet boy and, let’s face it, I don’t want an astronomical dental bill after Halloween.


The good news is that when you look beyond the candy bar wrapper, there are many fun, healthier recipes to celebrate Halloween.

As a kid, my mom always made Halloween treat substitutes to stick in my lunchbox the weeks before Halloween. I can remember how much of a fun surprise they were: popcorn balls, mini dirt pudding, dipped pretzels… The list goes on and on.

This year I will be doing the same for my little guy with these five Halloween-inspired treats:

Monster mouths

Ingredients (for 1 serving):

  • 1 apple (any variety)
  • 1 mini marshmallow, cut into fourths
  • Peanut or almond butter (or yogurt if your little one has a nut allergy!)
  • Chewy candy slice, e.g. fruit roll-up, gummy worm, etc.

Instructions:

  1. Slice apples into fourths and remove the seed/core portion.
  2. Cut out a small piece of the front of the apple–this is where your teeth will go. The apple will now resemble a mouth.
  3. Smear a little peanut butter into the area that you just cut out. Stick on the mini marshmallows. Get creative with placement for monsters in need of dental work.
  4. Place the chewy candy piece where a tongue would go and you’ve got monster mouths!

Cutie pumpkins

Ingredients:

  • Cuties or small mandarin oranges
  • Celery stalks

Instructions:

  1. Peel oranges and remove the piths (little white strings).
  2. Cut the smaller part of the celery stalk to make little “stems” on your oranges.
  3. Place celery pieces in the top hole-like portion of your orange and you’ve got some delicious and nutritious pumpkins.

Critters on a log

Ingredients:

  • Celery stalks
  • Peanut or almond butter (or yogurt if your little one has a nut allergy!)
  • Chocolate chips or cacao nibs
  • Icing tube–black or brown

Instructions:

  1. Cut the celery into 2-in. pieces.
  2. Spread peanut butter (or spread of choice) into the middle space of each celery stick.
  3. Place chocolate chips onto the sticks.
  4. Using the icing, add small “legs” to the chocolate chips to look like spiders or another type of Halloween creature.

Banana ghosts

Ingredients:

  • Bananas, peeled, cut in half
  • Chocolate chips

Instructions:

  1. Cut each banana half vertically into long pieces.
  2. Add chocolate chips for eyes and you’ve got some fun little Halloween treats. (Easiest ever, right? ?)

Mini hot dog mummies

Ingredients:

  • Hot dogs
  • Crescent rolls

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Cut hot dogs in half in the middle and set them aside.
  3. Lay out your crescent roll dough and using a pizza cutter or sharp knife, slice into 1/4-inch strips. Wrap those strips around your hot dogs (like a mummy) and leave a small area, close to the top, open where the face would be.
  4. Bake them on a nonstick pan for 7-10 minutes, closely watching them to make sure the hot dogs don’t over bake.
  5. Take them out, let them cool and serve them with dipping sauce of choice.

All of these treats are simple, easy and a perfect little surprise for the little ones this Halloween. Make them as snacks, take them to a party, stick them in the lunchbox… The options are endless!