Home Halloween Party Made Easy

Halloween is one of my FAVORITE holidays. I love fall and I love getting into the holiday spirit with Halloween.

When we moved to northern Arizona 11 years ago, we were lucky to be neighbors with some of our dearest friends. With 5 small children with multiple food allergies and intolerances between our families, a “traditional” Halloween experience was not appealing.

We had tried Trick or Treating a time or two. Once our son developed language and was not overwhelmed by the crowds, going to strange doors, saying “Trick or Treat” and “Thank You” was a novelty. We did it for a couple of years but he couldn’t eat any of the candy and that is a bit of a drag. I mean if you have to do all the work but not reap the rewards? Our daughter was so little that she certainly didn’t need any of that chemical and sugar filled junk either and she didn’t yet understand the concept.

Needless to say, when we moved north, creating a new holiday rhythm was welcomed.

My friend and I started planning to come up with some ideas that would work for everyone. We structured it so that each child was included regardless of their food allergies. Together, we planned the menu, activities, and alternated homes, we live next door to each other and between us, have about 10 acres combined but you don’t have to have a lot of space to make this fun.


Keep it simple and kid friendly! Because of food allergies and our desire to keep sugar low – yes, even at holidays – is important. Sugar has been linked to behavior issues, ADHD, contributes to gut dysbiosis and science has shown it depresses immune function. And that is never something we want to do.

According to board-certified internist and gastroenterologist Niket Sonpal in a recent Huffington Post article:

Research does show that consuming 75 to 100 grams of a sugar solution can hinder the body’s immune functions,” he said. “I should note that 75 grams sound like a lot, and it’s hard to think you may be consuming 75 grams of sugar, but really all it is is the equivalent of two cans of your soda.”

So we like to use healthy treats that are still fun and delicious.

Some of our favorites include:

  • Hot dog mummies – wrap your favorite hotdog in strips of dough and bake. We used Applegate Farms hot dogs and made a paleo dough.
  • We usually have some sort of soup/stew/chili/meatballs because Halloween is usually cold – sometimes with snow on the ground – where we are so we want the warmth. We split up the menu to make it easier all around. Everything typically gets a Halloween name like “Monster Meatballs” just to keep it fun. Now that our kids are older, they can help us come up with the theme, menu, and names!
  • Gelatin Halloween shapes, we used pear juice and stevia to sweeten to keep the sugar low.
  • Festive veggie trays are always popular and the kids can get involved and help or take it over completely! Pumpkins seem to be favorites and only require carrots and some cut cucumbers for the eyes/nose/mouth.
  • Banana ghosts are so easy and fun! Peel and cut bananas in half. Add 3 mini-chocolate chips, Enjoy Life is our favorite and they are allergen friendly!
  • Tangerines can make super cute mini pumpkins with cut celery for the stem. We have also left the peel on and drawn jack o’ lantern faces on them. This can also be a fun activity for kids!
  • Popcorn hands is one of our favorites. My family loves popcorn. We use organic popping corn and organic expeller pressed coconut oil and salt. We let it cool completely and use either specialty bags that look like skeleton hands or simple food service gloves! Tie with twist tie or ribbon and adorn with a Halloween ring and Viola! This can serve as a snack or “treat”.
  • Apple monster mouths are fun for kids to put together. Simply slice up an apple and have kids put peanut or seed butter on it, line it up with another slice, add some slivered almonds or pumpkin seeds as “teeth” and you have some ghoulish monster mouths!


  • Arts and craft activities like painting pumpkins or coloring Halloween pictures
  • Save your pumpkin for Halloween to carve
  • Put together a Halloween playlist and clear some space and have a spooky dance party
  • Make a fun keepsake art project like these boo paintings using your kids’ hand/foot prints
  • Set up a spooky treasure hunt! While we have the luxury of acreage, you don’t need it to make this fun. You can decorate up different rooms in your home, if you have a yard and the weather is nice (or even if it’s not, we have been out with snow on the ground) the physical activity is fun and good for everyone. We make up clues and the kids take turns figuring out where the next “trick or treat” stop is. They have a blast and since they all take turns with clues for each of them (regardless of age/ability) everyone is included and feels a part of the group.


So what constitutes a “treat” for us? It doesn’t have to be candy. In fact, most of the time it is not. I usually hit up the clearance racks as soon as the holiday is over to prep (and save) for the next year!

As our kids would go through the treasure hunt, they would get “treats” at each stop, they include:

  • Spider/skull rings
  • Halloween pencils and erasers
  • Temporary tattoos
  • Halloween themed paper straws
  • Popcorn “skeleton hands”
  • Halloween bubbles
  • Bouncy balls
  • Some candy like Enjoy Life Chocolates and Yum Earth Candy Corn
  • Glow sticks

Need more inspiration? Head on over to my dear friend and colleague Julie Matthews of Nourishing Hope for her latest blog that covers this topic in depth, with many menu ideas, activities, crafts, etc. You may see some familiar photos as I shared our tradition with her when she was creating her blog. Check out her other blog articles on her version of banana ghosts, deviled eggs, and more delicious recipes that are perfect for Halloween!

Our home parties have become a cherished event, making memories that will last a lifetime. And, it also means no excess, HFCS or chemical filled candy to sift through, restrict, try and get rid of, or to tempt me, let’s be honest! If I do find myself wanting some of the traditional Halloween candy, I usually grab some Lily’s Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups and it gives me the sweet treat but uses Stevia so I feel better about my choices.

We can always reinvent what a holiday means and make it one that honors and supports health and wellness at the same time. In fact, now with my kids being 19 and 16, they still look back on this tradition fondly. While they are now less interested in Trick or Treating or the candy of Halloween, they know that holidays are what we make it and that healthy and fun can be synonymous.

Wishing you and your family a very happy Halloween!

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