It’s that time of the year again!  Get out your spider webs, punch bowls, and make sure you’ve stocked up on plenty of candy.  Halloween means trick-or-treating, costumes, food, and social events.  Make sure you’re not left in the cold this October with a party that less than wow’s your crowd.  So, send out your most spooktacular and ghoulish invitations to your family and friends, assemble the perfect costume, and begin the grocery list that will make your guests’ hearts beat in antici………PATION.

A Halloween party may include costume themes or feature favorites like witch’s brew, bobbing for shrunken heads (apples), popcorn “eye” balls, lady’s fingers, worms in dirt, and anything else that can be turned into a deadly dessert.  For the health-conscious, this will be your “cheat” weekend—which will extend into however long it takes stores to run out of discounted candy.  Before you shriek in horror at what may seem like a fun house mirror, let’s look at some traditional Halloween favorites and find some “alternative” substitutions for your chocolate-covered concoctions.

mini carmel apples how toSince apples are in season and orchards are selling their homegrown apples at discounted prices, let’s make caramel apples easier. Try using a spoon to “carve” your apple into more manageable, bite sized options.   Use a sugar-free caramel dip and a pretzel stick as a “stem” to add a salty-sweet addition.  For your grownup crowd, this eliminates the ever embarrassing caramel beard, and your guests mini carmel appleswill appreciate your consideration. Mixing vanilla Greek yogurt with peanut butter and milled flaxseeds adds a sophisticated and delicious addition to the traditional caramel apple dip as well. Serve with dehydrated apples or “leaves” for a healthy Halloween spoof. What do you think about the “new” genetically modified apples that do not bruise or turn brown? They may be the best dressed at the party!

Other favorites include popcorn balls.  They are easy and cheap to make, especially if you are popping the corn yourself. Using food coloring, you can create a “pumpkin carving contest” with your guests using different dried fruits, nuts, or candy.  Popcorn balls are a great way to eliminate over-eating at a party since they are pretty substantial.  Fill yours with dried cranberries, pistachios, and sunflower seeds for a “rotten” treat everyone will love!

pumpkin popcorn ballspopcorn balls






Serve up some eye balls in your guests’ drinks by freezing peeled grapes and dropping them in as an ice substitute!  If you are using a traditional witch’s brew, use a vegetable peeler to “shave” a cucumber into strands.  Freeze them to add an extra-gooey look to any drink with a hidden hydration boost!

grape eyesFor more ideas on alternative twists to your traditional Halloween foods, check out the following pictures and “like” The Food You Eat Facebook page.  Starting this week there will be a focus on all types of alternative foods for Halloween including the ever controversial “Frankenfoods” debate!  Post your ideas and respond to posts with some of your own Halloween favorites!

Mariah DavidsonMariah Davidson
IL State University student

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