Children adore Halloween, often for its tricks but mostly for its sweet treats. But all that sugar isn’t very good for them, and it’s a challenge for parents to come up with tasty treats that are as creepy or creepier than mass-produced chocolate eyeballs and gummy monsters.
Foodie, writer, and mother of two young boys, Stephanie Zubiri-Crespi knows how to make treats that are wholesome, tasty, and still thrillingly Halloween-y.
To strike a balance between treats, Zubiri-Crespi cranks up her trusty La Germania oven and unleashes her creative side. “It’s nice to go trick or treating and have a few candies,” she says, “but it’s also good to have more filling, healthier treats waiting back at home when the kids come in from trick or treating around the neighborhood.”
“Having wholesome Halloween-themed snacks on hand keeps them from attacking their candy stash right away, and when they’re not feeling hungry, it’s easier to negotiate a more reasonable schedule with them for eating the rest of their candy loot,” explains Zubiri-Crespi.
Spider pizza and spooky pretzels are great examples of quick, easy-to-make, and hearty snacks for kids fresh from the candy trail. Zubiri-Crespi makes hers with one simple secret: she uses frozen pizza dough.
“It’s faster and easier than making pizza dough from scratch, it’s practically fool-proof, and kids usually appreciate the taste of it,” she shares.
To make spider pizzas, Zubiri-Crespi loads a small disk of frozen pizza dough with toppings of choice: tomato sauce, cheese, and ham bits. She then takes an olive and cuts it into half for spider bodies, and then slices another olive for the spider’s legs. Another smaller slice forms the head, and voila, a large black spider sits on top of a tasty pizza.
“You can use any topping your kids like,” she recommends. “As long as you decorate it with a Halloween theme, you don’t have to convince your kids to try it out. They’ll be excited to eat ‘scary’ food.”
The hands-on mother, however, doesn’t recommend that mommies and daddies push themselves too hard to create a “perfect” Halloween snack. “If you’re stressed and you have less time to spend with your kids, nobody’s having any fun, and the holiday is all about having a good time shared with your children.”
According to her, if kids like vegetables, slice up carrots, kamote slices, butternut squash, zucchini, and potatoes into fun shapes like grinning faces, cats, and witch hats. Season with salt, pepper, and their favorite spices, drizzle with olive oil, and roast the veggies in the oven.
Another thing parents can do is bake whole wheat muffins ahead of time, and just put a store-bought decoration on top of it. “You can do the same with almost any baked goods: cookies, cupcakes, tiny pies, and even toast slices,” enthuses Zubiri-Crespi.
“The simplest treat of all is almost entirely store-bought,” she adds. “Gently melt some chocolate on your stove top, dip some store-bought pretzels in it, and sprinkle Halloween-themed candy sprinkles on it.”
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