Little kids spend the whole month of October figuring out their costumes (some maybe even giving it careful thought in September!), and health conscious mommas everywhere spend the whole month of October figuring out how they will make it through the sugar crazed holiday with as little teeth rotting candy as possible!
I’ve got your back!
Dear momma, I’m here to tell you it’s ok to feel that way. It’s ok to care about what goes in your kids’ bodies!
In fact, you’ll get momma guilt coming from both ends of the spectrum on Halloween (and every other holiday for that matter!). Some will say “for crying out loud, lighten up!”, and others will say you aren’t a “true” real foodie if you let your kid have some sugar…
So my answer is always to listen to your momma instinct…
Balance is key
I’ve found a happy medium for Halloween that works for my family. It usually revolves around my kiddos getting to pick a cool costume to have fun with. Let them be a kid, right?! They literally jump out of their skin for this part of Halloween, so we play it up and give the candy/sugar part the limelight instead of the spotlight.
And we have a special treat!
A special homemade treat. Sure, we hand out honey sticks or organic lollipops for the trick-or-treaters, and my kiddos trade in their trick-or-treat candy for a honey stick, but I also get my kids into the kitchen. Not only does it give them pride for work well done, and a sense of appreciation for well made food, it is family time! And that is priceless.
We’ve made homemade candy caramel apples, honey sweetened caramel corn, and these super fun pumpkin sugar cookies! The kids get to pick their treat for the year, and that, dear momma gives them some control and some say in their fun holiday.
Tips and Tricks Cookie Decorating Without Artificial Food Dye!
So here’s the deal. I think it is SO cool that you can make food dye with real food. If you hit up Google, you’re sure to find some great recipes for those dyes, and they really do work! If you have the time, and that is your thing – go for it!
This momma is in a season of busier than I planned life events happening, and I’m taking all the real food shortcuts that I can to make Halloween as stress free as possible. For me, that means buying the natural food dye – and I even bought the frosting this year! How can you go wrong with those amazing ingredients! I found the frosting at our regular local grocer, although you can Prime it quick on Amazon too.
Here are some natural food dye options to choose from. They are all plant based dyes with zero artificial ingredients! My recommendation to find these locally is to first call your local health food store and see what they have. Even some regular grocers are now carrying the McCormick brand of natural dyesnatural food dyes which is so helpful!
– Color Garden Halloween Food Coloring :: This comes with orange, black, yellow, and purple – perfect for Halloween! This is what I bought to use for the cookies pictured here, and they were super easy to work with! Color Garden also has naturally dyed sugar sprinkles. I was bummed that they weren’t available on Amazon (but keep checking that link in case they are since this post was written!), so we special ordered them to our health food store.
– India Tree Natural Food Coloring :: This is the food coloring that I typically bought before I found the Halloween colored dyes listed above. I still really like this brand, and you could combine the blue and red to get purple, or the red and yellow to get orange for your pumpkins.
– India Tree Naturally Dyed Sugar Sprinkles :: I’ve been using these for years, and really love them!
– McCormick Natural Food Coloring :: I recently discovered these, and while I haven’t personally tried using them before, I have had a few friends tell me they work fantastic. And this is the brand you can find at most local grocers that carry McCormick brands.
Another idea for getting orange (or any other color) frosting would be to use freeze dried fruit. All you have to do is blend up the freeze dried fruit into a powder, and mix it into your frosting. It does change the flavor of the frosting to the flavor of the fruit (but yum!). I have used freeze dried strawberries for pink/red, and freeze dried blueberries for purple/light blue. You could try using freeze dried mango or freeze dried peaches to get a pretty orange for Halloween!
Another idea for making the pumpkin faces on these cookies would be to use these safer, allergen friendly mini chocolate chipsallergen friendly mini chocolate chips! This brand is very popular now, so most regular local grocers will carry it in addition to health food stores (although that bulk price on Amazon is really cost effective).
– 1 cup softened butter (if you are dairy free, you can use palm shortening)
– 1 cup organic pure cane sugar (could use sucanat but the color will come out darker)
– 1 egg
– 1 tsp vanilla
– ½ tsp pumpkin pie spice (this was very mild in taste – if you really want to taste it, add another ¼ or so teaspoons, or maybe a bit of cinnamon)
– ¼ tsp sea salt
– 2 cups Namaste Gluten Free Flour Blend
1. In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar.
2. Add the egg, vanilla, pumpkin pie spice, and salt, and blend.
3. Add the flour, and mix with a spatula until well combined.
4. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.
5. Dust your counter with the Namaste flour or white rice flour so you can roll the dough out. Flour your hands and use the warmth of your hands to gently knead the dough, and then roll out the dough.
6. Cut out your shapes and bake on a silpat (or parchment paper) lined baking sheet at 350 degrees for 13 minutes.
7. Let the cookies cool completely before decorating. If you want to make your own frosting, you can follow the recipe for sugar cookie frosting recipe on THIS post.
For more ideas for a healthier (but not lame!) fun Halloween, see this post for classroom party ideas, family Halloween night ideas, and more!
Renee is a wife and momma of 3, the vision behind Raising Generation Nourished, and the author of Nourished Beginnings, a cookbook focused on nutrient-dense recipes for infants, toddlers and beyond inspired by traditional foods. She is passionate about raising the next generation of kids with a better understanding where their food comes from, and how food affects their bodies. She is committed to teaching others that simple, real food can make positive changes in health and can be done on a tight budget, all while making the kids smile.