Friday, October 14, 2011

Halloween Lunch Box Ideas

My favorite childhood Halloween memories are trick-or-treating in Cuyahoga Falls where my family's best friends lived and collecting massive pillowcases full of candy.  They were almost too heavy to carry.  There was this one house we looked forward to going to because the homeowner made and gave out candy coated apples.  I can't imagine how many candy apples she made each year.

We would return to our friend's house and us four kids would dump our cases and trade goodies with each other.

Once home, I would clear out a top dresser drawer and organize all my candy by size and type.  It was like having my own candy store.  I can't believe my parents let us have all those treats to ourselves to eat at our leisure.  It was usually gone within a couple weeks.  I would try to prolong the inevitable by sneaking my brother's candy here and there, later came to find out he was doing the same to me.

Now that I have kids, I'm having those feelings all over again-- the decorations, costumes, parties and trick-or-treating, their excitement makes me excited!  The only difference, really, is the feeling of my pants getting tighter just thinking about the pounds of candy around the house---boooo : (

As important as I think it is to limit my children's intake of sugar, fat and provide them with healthy meals to help them grow, learn and stay healthy, there are those holiday and special occasion exceptions where I hope they learn to appreciate and give thanks for what they have while also making their own great childhood memories.

There are all sorts of creepy cupcake, layer cake and Halloween dessert themed recipes I found and I absolutely want to make each of them.  I have to consider all the treats that are already in abundance so I've tried finding some creative ways to make some fun and scary healthy treats and lunches.

Peanut butter and jelly sandwich.  The letters have been carved out of hard salami.  The bat and grass have been made out of a sheet of roasted seaweed.  You can use scissors to easily shape the seaweed. 

Another sandwich, sliced through to form a mouth.  I used some strawberry jam to enhance the mouth, salami and black olives to make the eyes, and seaweed for his eyebrows.

The fingers are string cheese, with a red bell pepper for fingernail.  I carved a section of the cheese out to fit the finger nail.  You can use soft cream cheese to help keep it in place.

The goblin mouths are apple slices, and sliced almonds.  Slivered almonds would have worked better but I didn't have those.  I used a pairing knife to make slits in the apple first, then fit in the almonds.  I put a little lemon juice on the apple to slow down the browning.

Ideally, the pizza mummies would have had a more 'wrapped' look.  My cheese melted together.  It would have been cute to use thin ribbons of cheese and melt slightly to keep the shape.  Black olives for eyes.  The Jack O' Lantern is a carved out orange and I filled that with grapes.  Dried fruit would work well also.

Bones and monsters.  Refrigerated bread sticks make up the bones.  I carved an octopus out of a hot dog and made monster eyes with sliced carrots, sliced red grapes and sliced black olives.

Needless to say, my son was very excited about his lunches this week.  I have to step it up a notch and find some more ideas.  His teachers have been quite entertained as well.

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