They say we turn into our parents, whether we like it or not. And that's definitely true for me, especially around Halloween. I am a Halloween candy thief, just as my mother and father were before me.
During and after Halloween, when my children aren't looking, I sneak into their candy bags. I do it when they're sleeping or watching TV. I even do it when they're right in front of me. I can't help it. I usually don't keep so many treats in the house. So like many of us, I can't resist the temptation when they're around, no matter how much I want to malign the high fructose corn syrup and hydrogenated oils that make them taste so darn good!
Here are some strategies to keep the candy mayhem to a minimum, for yourself and your little ghouls and goblins:
1. First off, try to make some of the scary snacks on the healthier side. Not all! Just some!
2. Let the kids exchange some candy for toys or books.
3. Allow one piece of candy per night for their dessert. You can do this for a limited time or as long as you have candy left.
Here are some great ways to "get rid of" the candy productively:
1. Send it overseas to the troops who can't get candy so easily.
2. Put the candy in goody bags or a piñata for an upcoming party.
3. Use up the candy in cookies, or melt all the chocolate candy down and use as cake frosting, brownie filling or chocolate sauce for ice cream.
Now for the yummy, not-so-healthy Halloween recipes!
* 12 cupcakes
* 1 can white frosting
* A few drops black food coloring
* 2 feet of thin black licorice string
* 24 red hot candies
1. Make cupcakes or buy prepared cupcakes.
2. Mix white frosting with black food coloring. Spread on cupcakes.
3. Cut black licorice strings into 3-inch pieces. On either side of the cupcakes, insert the licorice for legs, 4 on each side, and bend them so they look like they have knees.
4. Place red hots where the eyes would go.
5. Cover with wax paper. Place in fridge to keep fresh until serving.
Bloody Banana Finger Pops
(Makes 12 pops)
* 4 bananas
* 1 cup chocolate chips melted (optional)
* 1-1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
* 4 sliced or whole almonds
* Tube red food coloring gel
* 2 teaspoons black frosting
* 4 popsicle sticks
* Wax paper
1. Take 1/3 of a banana. Trim it into the shape of a finger (thinner). Insert a stick in the bottom through the center about an inch up.
2. Roll the banana in chocolate and then shredded coconut (or just coconut if you don't want to use chocolate), pressing down so it sticks.
3. Color the almonds with the black frosting and press the sliced or whole almond at the tip for the "nail."
4. Place on a plate covered with wax paper.
5. Place in freezer for 2 hours.
6. Once the banana is frozen, ooze on the red gel to look like blood.
7. Serve cold as popsicles.
Eyeball Cake Pops
(Makes about 30 pops)
* 1 cake mix (any flavor) or a store-bought cake
* 1 can chocolate frosting
* 2-pound bag candy melt discs, white or yellow (can get at party store)
* Lollipop sticks
* A piece of Styrofoam or old egg carton (to hold cake pops)
* 1 tube black decorating frosting (Duff Goldman makes a good one)
* 1-2 tubes blue decorating frosting
* Red decorating gel
1. Make a 13x9 cake (homemade, box mix or store-bought). Let it cool.
2. Crumble the cake in a large bowl. Then stir in in 3/4-1 can of frosting until combined and thick enough to make balls, but not too goopy.
3. Freeze for 15 minutes.
4. When cold, form cake mixture into balls and place balls onto wax paper on cookie sheet.
5. Freeze the mixture for 15 minutes.
6. Meanwhile, melt your candy melt discs in a double boiler.
7. Dip lollipop stick into candy melt.
8. Dip candied stick into the cold cake ball.
9. Dip each cake pop into your melted candy melt discs.
10. Place the cake pop stick into a Styrofoam block or old egg carton while the shell hardens.
11. Spread a little blue frosting on the tips and create a circle. Surround the circle with a thin outer circle of black frosting and place a dot of black frosting in the center to make it look like an eye.
12. Drizzle red decorating gel down the white eyeball to look like veins.
English Muffin Mummy Pizza with Eyes
* 1/2 English muffin, preferably multi-grain
* 1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
* 2 sliced black olives
* 2 small pimento pieces
1. Toast the multigrain or white English muffin.
2. Then, sprinkle white mozzarella cheese in the same direction horizontally, all over the toasted muffin except for one 1/2" strip near the top of the muffin. Make sure there is some cheese melted above the blank strip.
3. Melt the cheese by placing the muffins back in the toaster oven or oven.
4. Remove when cheese is melted and place two sliced black olives in the blank spot for eyes. Fill the olives with small pieces of red pimento to make the eyes look scary.
Alma Schneider is a licensed Clinical Social Worker helping individuals overcome their psychological and practical obstacles to cooking and parenting on her blog and consulting business, Take Back the Kitchen. She is a native New Yorker transplanted to the suburbs with her husband, four children and loving yet stubborn Beagle Shiloh.
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