Halloween is an increasingly popular retailer’s delight! Kids are definitely not immune to the fun of the event. As a parent, it can come with a range of emotions relating to the influx of candies and sweets. I always like to embrace anything that my kids show an interest in. This can be through creative food play, craft, an outdoor adventure or any other manner of child led learning through play opportunities. Halloween brings with it so many opportunities to have fun and learn at the same time. Here are some aspects of Halloween that I thought you may find interesting from a Children’s Nutritionist.
Try Out Some Healthy Halloween Snack Ideas
Over on the Kiddipedia page, I wrote this article with 4 Nutritious Halloween snacks. I think any opportunity to offer a rainbow of fruits and vegetables to play with should be taken up with gusto. I demonstrated these recipes plus divulged some of my Halloween parent hacks in this Facebook live interview with Rachel. Watch to see how cool the grape “eyeballs” look when I shine the light through the glass bowl!
We have made a tradition out of making a vegetable and dip platter based on my children’s drawings of monsters. This was my original post with the idea for turning children’s artwork into a Halloween Monster Platter. And this is my Instagram post of this year’s incarnation:
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👻MONSTER PLATTERS🎃 It is that time of year again…. #Halloween ideas are flowing thick and fast from #bloggers across the world. Each year I do this one with my kids. The one where we create a vegetable platter based on their #monster drawings. So cute! [Despite my husband’s concern that they only draw happy monsters, I think they fit the brief]. 😉 Last night I was live on the @kiddipedia FB page talking about why I think working with children’s imagination and interests helps them form a range of positive associations with variety. Halloween may not be your thing…. But if your kids think monsters, witches, mythical creatures or eye-balls-floating-in-jelly* are fun, embrace it. Check out my article on Kiddipedia releases today for 4 simple vegie ideas at Halloween. And on my blog search -> “monster” to see my original blog post (from many scary full-moons ago) for turning your child’s drawing into a vegie platter. How do you think my kids did at breakfast today? The monster eggs with green bean [aka monster fingers] for dipping were a fittingly-themed accompaniment. *eyeballs are not harmed in my jelly recipe…. But grapes are. They get very, very hurt. #fussyeatersbreakfastrut #GoodByePickyEating #playwithfood #HappyMealtimes
Here are a couple of other ideas from the interwebs that I like for healthy fruit and veg Halloween snacks too…
Mummified Bananas – Bananas with sultana eyes wrapped in puff pastry
Frankenstein Kiwis – All you need are kiwi fruits, currants and pretzels!
Halloween Roasted Vegetables – Beetroot witches hats, potato ghosts and roasted pumpkin jack-o-lanterns
And although… Fun food play is one aspect, I have other ideas on using Halloween to enhance other learning areas.
Embracing Social Participation
Halloween is a great opportunity for children to participate in a social experience. Sometimes the thought of unstructured Halloween activity can be hard for children. Hence, I’ve made this fun printable invitation. Have your child choose a friend (or few) to invite over to do a small amount of trick or treating, a Halloween snack and then participate in handing out treats to visitors at your door. Sound OK? This may help them feel more in control of a social event that they may view as a bit overwhelming. And for parents that don’t want to be traipsing the ENTIRE neighbourhood for cheap candy, a structured play date may help you manage expectations and BIG emotional responses. Any experience with tantrums over “just one more house, pleeeeeease MUM”?
Social participation can be difficult for some children that find a range of environmental inputs overwhelming and Halloween is possibly fraught with some of the bigger inputs. Thrill seekers rejoice. But not everyone is a thrill seeker.
My 6 year old crafted up this spider (complete with 8 googly eyes) to act as an aptly-themed-envelope for the Halloween invite. What could you craft up to go with your invite? #invitationtocreate
What happens with ALL OF THAT candy?
Well, this part of my above interview with Rachel may have intrigued you. Yes, limiting the amount of time spent out trick or treating may help you feel better and keep the emotional responses at bay – but LIMITING the ACTUAL eating of the candy will not help in the long run. Letting children learn to self-regulate means that sometimes they may eat more foods that we wouldn’t ordinarily be providing. Our role as parents in this situation has been written about by the Ellyn Satter institute here and I think that it is a great little read to remind us that we are playing for the long term when we give children food learning opportunities. And we don’t want to remove the JOY from the occassion. If they eat too much, they will learn. If they have exposures regularly to foods like lollies etc, they will learn. The key is to remember the learning has to be done by the individual.
I hope you enjoy the evening too!